Step Inside America’s Longest Running Haunted House

Do you dare?

01-step-inside-americas-longest-running-haunted-house-Courtesy-The-Childrens-Museum-of-IndianapolisCourtesy The Children's Museum of IndianapolisHaunted houses are a classic Halloween-time activity—and they’re certainly nothing new. After all, The Children’s Museum Guild in Indianapolis has been putting on a haunted house for 54 years, making it the longest running haunted house in the country.

When one member of the Guild suggested putting on a haunted house to raise money, others were skeptical. Eventually the idea was approved, though, and the first 1964 Halloween made more than twice as much money as that year’s two other fall fundraisers (a fashion show and a dance) combined. Don’t miss these other 15 best haunted houses in America.

After the success of the first haunted house, the Children’s Museum kept the tradition up, using a new theme every year. The 1975 “Skeletons in Our Closets” house (pictured above) moved to a new location, which gave space to store costumes and props for future years. (If you haven’t prepared for Halloween, try these 17 clever last-minute costumes.)

These days, the haunted house has two versions: one with the lights on “for children who scare easily” and another spookier lights-out for those who can handle the chills. (Thrill seekers should also check out these haunted Airbnbs you can stay in overnight.)

This year, the Children’s Museum put on a Wicked Woods haunted house. Those who dare can try to sneak past monsters hiding in trees, and whatever undead might be in the graveyard.

02-step-inside-americas-longest-running-haunted-house-Courtesy-The-Childrens-Museum-of-IndianapolisCourtesy The Children's Museum of IndianapolisPast years have included the 2016 Cursed Castle, featuring a decrepit castle with a massive dragon lurking inside. (If you’re booking a trip, check out these Airbnb castles you can actually rent.)

04-step-inside-americas-longest-running-haunted-house-Courtesy-The-Childrens-Museum-of-IndianapolisCourtesy The Children's Museum of IndianapolisIn 2015, pirates took over the haunted house as visitors went on a hunt for buried treasure. Who says dead men tell no tales? (For more spooky fun, don’t miss the best haunted hay rides in the country.)

05-step-inside-americas-longest-running-haunted-house-Courtesy-The-Childrens-Museum-of-IndianapolisCourtesy The Children's Museum of IndianapolisPennywise had nothing on the 2014 Creepy Carnival, which sent “festivalgoers” through a frightful night. Turns out circuses aren’t all fun and games. Check out these other 22 most haunted places in America.

06-step-inside-americas-longest-running-haunted-house-Courtesy-The-Childrens-Museum-of-IndianapolisCourtesy The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Earlier haunted houses included The Fright Is Right (1984), which also included the Newly Dead Game; Nautical Nightmares (1992), which let visitors bring home their own pet goldfish after working through “Pirates of the Scareabean”; and Sports Spooktacular (1991), featuring “Monday Fright Football” and “Wimbledoom.”

When the haunted house got its start the 1960s, a ticket cost just 50 cents, but today’s $8 entry fee still qualifies it as budget-friendly. Don’t miss these other frugal fall activities for the whole family.

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.