Terror Behind the Walls Packs In Crowds at Eastern State Pen

Updated - Terror Behind the Walls 2011 – Schedule, Hours, and Pricing Is Now On Its Own Page

If you are looking for the updated Terror Behind the Walls 2011 – Schedule, Hours, and Pricing information, you can now find it on its own page - Guide to Terror Behind the Walls 2011.

Frequently Asked Questions About Terror Behind the Walls

What Is Terror Behind the Walls Actually Like?

Unlike most other Philadelphia tourist attractions, we've never directly experienced Terror Behind the Walls- and never plan to. So, we can't speak from firsthand experience, on this.

And hopefully, we've made our enthusiasm for (nearly) all things Philadelphia very clear, by the mere existence of this web site.

But in summary - our aforementioned enthusiasm for (nearly) all things Philadelphia, doesn't extend to Terror Behind the Walls.

The tour of Eastern State Penitentiary is sufficiently foreboding, even in broad daylight, that it really doesn't need artificial enhancements. (We've been to it in the daytime - trust us.)

That having been said, the burgeoning crowds (and they get larger every year) for Terror Behind the Walls, indicate that there's a pretty large market for that stuff. So, here's the info (but don't say we didn't warn you in advance!)


Is Terror Behind the Walls For Me, And/Or My Children?

Our recommendation would be to err on the side of caution.

Accordingly, if there's any doubt in your mind, as to whether you and/or your family is going to enjoy something like Terror Behind the Walls, then we'd very strongly recommend, that you find another Halloween-themed form of entertainment, especially if your kids don't like scary things.

There are other ghost tours in Philadelphia that will give you plenty of macabre ambience, but won't involve actors jumping out at you.

Although you won't find them on this site, you can easily surf the Web for photos and videos, and get a very quick feel, for what your Terror Behind the Walls experience is going to be like. If you even think there's a possibility, that you won't like it, head elsewhere.

"Family Nights" at Terror Behind the Walls - Don't Think That It Still Won't Be Terrifying - It's the Same Show and Tour!

In fairness, Eastern State Penitentiary offers "Family Nights". Every Sunday in October 2010 - namely, October 3, October 10, October 17, and October 24 - are Family Nights. (Halloween falls on a Sunday in October 2010, and that night, most definitely, will not be Family Night!) They also take place on Wednesday, October 13, Thursday, October 14, and Tuesday, October 19.

However, don't get the wrong impression. Eastern State Penitentiary acknowledges that even on Family Nights, "it's the same show." The only distinction is that on Family Nights, a terrified child has the right to declare "Monster, be good", and the frightening actor has to stop his/her antics, as a result.

While it's a sincere effort on Eastern State Penitentiary's part, we have absolutely no confidence that your child is going to feel any better or more reassured, as a result of this right. Moreover, every night, there are ubiquitous and myriad disturbing, creepy elements, within the castle - the visuals, the makeup on the actors, the strobe lights, the sound effects - that aren't subject to the "Monster, be good" rule. And they are going to be just as bothersome on Family Nights, as any other night at Terror Behind the Walls.

What Do I Need to Know About Tickets for Terror Behind the Walls?

Ticket Prices

Eastern State Penitentiary has three different ticket prices, depending on which night, you decide to go.

For the fall of 2010, Saturday nights are $30; Fridays and Sundays are $25; Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are $20. On - and only on - the various Family Nights, which we'll discuss in detail, below - tickets for children are $10. (Children under the age of 7 aren't permitted in Eastern State Penitentiary, at any time.)

Special Student Prices - $5.00 Discount On Terror Behind the Wall Tickets on Certain Nights

Student with a valid student ID, can enjoy a $5.00 discount off the face value of tickets for that particular night, on the following nights-

Friday, October 1, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another Promotion - Any Terror Behind the Walls ticket is good for a $5.00 discount, on the Eastern State Penitentiary Day Tour - it doesn't have to be the day you go to Terror Behind the Walls

You can thus save $5.00, on the $12.00 regular adult admission to the daytime tour, which would be reduced to $7.00, accordingly.

The Tickets Are Timed For Entry, At Half Hour Intervals

Each night of the show lasts from 7:00 PM till midnight (appropriately enough). However, logically, Eastern State Pen has the tickets staggered at half hour intervals, to try to keep the crowds spaced out as evenly as possible. You have to enter during the time window stated on your ticket.

If You Really Don't Want To Miss It, Make Reservations in Advance, Especially on Weekend Nights

Eastern State Pen draws large crowds for this event, and reservations in advance are strongly recommended, especially on weekend nights.

It Ends At Midnight? Will I Be Safe in Fairmount, That Late at Night? And Will Anything Still Be Open, Nearby, To Eat and Drink?

Although, as with any urban environment, you should exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings-

The immediate area around Eastern State Penitentiary - in the city's increasingly hip, vibrant neighborhood known as Fairmount - has a large concentration of bars and restaurants, with lively crowds deep into the night, even when Terror Behind the Walls isn't running. And on nights when it is running, it should be hopping with foot traffic, and people sitting outside. If you end up going to Terror Behind the Walls late at night, you'll have plenty of choices in bars and restaurants, even till 2 AM.

That having been said, be alert and aware. Particularly if you are parking on the street, don't leave anything (whether you perceive it to be valuable or not) in plain view in your car. And the further you park away from Eastern State Pen, the more caution you have to exercise.

Terror Behind the Walls 2010 Schedule

This has proven to be so popular, that it now begins in mid-September and extends a week beyond Halloween itself, into November.

Friday, September 17 - Saturday, September 18

Friday, September 24 - Saturday, September 25

Friday, October 1 - Saturday, October 2 - Sunday, October 3

Friday, October 8 - Saturday, October 9 - Sunday, October 10

After October 10, some weeknights are available as well:

Wednesday, October 13 - Thursday, October 14 - Friday, October 15 - Saturday, October 16 - Sunday, October 17

Wednesday, October 20 - Thursday, October 21 - Friday, October 22 - Saturday, October 23 - Sunday, October 24

Wednesday, October 27 - Thursday, October 28 - Friday, October 29 - Saturday, October 30 - Sunday, October 31 - Halloween

After Halloween, the weeknight shows end, and the schedule wraps up with:

Friday, November 5 - Saturday, November 6


Getting To Terror Behind the Walls - SEPTA Buses and Transit Lines, SEPTA Regional Rail, Taxicabs - and Of Course, Driving

We Offer A Complete Guide to Taking SEPTA to Terror Behind the Walls - Check It Out!

Since there are many different ways of getting to Terror Behind the Walls via SEPTA, and since nearly all of the travel within Philadelphia would be after dark - we've actually created a comprehensive, detailed Guide to Taking SEPTA To Terror Behind the Walls - this guide analyzes the various mass transit options available to you - including what may be your best bet - taking SEPTA Regional Rail to 30th Street Station and cabbing it from there.

Parking In and Around Eastern State Penitentiary, For Terror Behind the Walls - On the Street, in the Commercial Lot Next Door...

Plus our RECOMMENDED OPTION - Park at the Philadelphia Zoo For $15, and Take the "Ghost Bus" There, Complete with Ghost Storyteller

While there is metered street parking in and around Eastern State Penitentiary, it becomes very difficult to obtain during Terror Behind the Walls performances, especially on weekend nights. There is a substantially-sized commercial lot directly next door, which has a wrought-iron fence, landscaping, and a guard checkpoint, but that fills up pretty quickly too.

As you can imagine, on a Friday or Saturday night, the parking situation in Fairmount may be only marginally less frightening than what you'll be encountering, inside the walls of Eastern State Penitentiary!

Fortunately, Eastern State Penitentiary has devised a superb solution. In 2010, during every night of Terror Behind the Walls, you now have the option of parking at the Philadelphia Zoo - located about 12 blocks away from Eastern State Penitentiary.

By doing so, you can park easily at the Zoo, and then ride the special Ghost Bus to and from Eastern State Penitentiary. The Ghost Bus will travel in a continuous loop, between the Zoo and the prison. The first Ghost Bus will leave the Zoo at 6:30 PM, since Terror Behind the Walls opens at 7:00 PM, each night. The last Ghost Bus will leave Eastern State Pen, half an hour after Terror Behind the Walls falls silent at midnight, each night.

We Highly Recommend the Ghost Bus Option, for $15

$15 is a small price to pay for one carload, given that you will save yourself a lot of time, by not circling the prison, vainly looking for somewhere to park. It's not much more expensive, than what you'd pay at the one commercial lot, even if you could get into it. It's also completely safe at the Zoo. And as an added incentive, Eastern State Penitentiary has put a Ghost Storyteller on each bus, to provide entertainment during your 12-block circuit from the Zoo to the prison, and back.

The Philadelphia Zoo is also easy to reach, via the Schuylkill Expressway, located at 3901 Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Just get off at Exit 342 - Girard Avenue, and follow signs for Zoo/Ghost Bus Parking.

New for 2010 - Eastern State Pen After Dark VIP Tour - Terror Behind the Walls

Let's say that even the Terror Behind the Walls Quick Pass isn't enough to slake your thirst for trembling.

If you're willing to pay the premium price of $99/person, you can experience the all-new for 2010, Eastern State Penitentiary After Dark VIP Tour. This combines a nighttime tour of Eastern State Pen's history, before setting you loose, on the demented destinations within the haunted house.

This is available, during every night of Terror Behind the Walls, but only at 8 PM. There is a maximum of 15 people per night, so if you're interested in forking over the cash for high-end horror, do it early. (And if you decide you want to reserve all 15 spots for your party on any given night, it's $1,399, total - essentially, buy 14, get one free.)

New for 2010 - From Terror Behind the Walls Offers 13 - Allegedly - "Lucky Winners" - The Unique Opportunity to Tour the Haunted Prison Alone - and One Winner Can Bring Five Friends For An Overnight Stay, Gourmet Dinner, and Ghost Stories

Although we would have a decided lack of enthusiasm for winning such a contest - and we wouldn't be accepting the "prize"...

On the remaining 13 nights of Terror Behind the Walls (from October 20 through November 6, 2010), each evening, one person will be offered the opportunity of a lifetime - the privilege of going through the haunted house alone.

It might very well be the opportunity of a lifetime, in the most literal sense, as you might not survive the experience, having dropped dead of a heart attack.

And if the winners are (understandably) too terrified to try it, they can bring a single guest. (How do you handle it when your friend calls you and says, "Would you be willing to go through Terror Behind the Walls with me, by ourselves?")

Should you somehow survive unscathed, and live to tell the tale- you'll also receive $50 in Lukoil gas coupons (the price of gas being equally terrifying), plus you'll need the gas to get away from Eastern State Penitentiary as fast as you possibly can.

Of the original 13 winners, one even luckier person will have the chance to come back and bring five friends to share the misery, although they'll also receive a gourmet dinner and be entertained by ghost stories, prior to staying overnight in the prison. This person and the five unfortunate friends will likely be the only half-dozen people who are staying - of their own free will - overnight at the prison, during its entire history, dating back to the early 19th century.

If you happen to be one of the lucky 13, you'll be notified by Eastern State Penitentiary via e-mail by 2:00 PM of the day you win (i.e., early enough to put your affairs in order and give your final good-byes, should you not survive the evening). But to enter the contest, you have to go to Eastern State's official web site.


New For 2010 - "Fright and a Bite" Dinner Packages Combine Terror Behind the Walls, With Enjoyment Sitting At A Table

Perhaps you can't imagine braving the unique, ghastly re-creations of Eastern State Penitentiary, without first fortifying yourself with a quality meal (and some drinks to stiffen your resolve).

If so, the new-for-2010 "Fright and a Bite" Dinner Packages may be right up your alley. And, the really cool part of the offer-

Since you probably won't be able to stand waiting one minute more than you have to, to directly experience the forces of darkness, unleashed within the castle walls:

Each package comes with a Terror Behind the Walls Quick Pass. This pass permits you to bypass the hordes descending on Eastern State on these crisp fall Fairmount evenings, and thus hasten your firsthand encounters, with the ghostly denizens awaiting you inside the walls!

You'll receive a Halloween-themed meal and your tickets to the horror, along with dessert. Here's the breakdown:

The Fairmount Restaurants, Offering "Fright and a Bite" Packages

Illuminare Italian Ristorante - 2321 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130 - 215.765.0202

Location - Fairmount Avenue, between 23rd and 24th Streets; it's a two-block walk from Eastern State Pen, which is at 2124 Fairmount Avenue.

Adults - $60; Children - $50

RECOMMENDED - Jack's Firehouse - 2130 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130 - 215.232.9000

Location - Fairmount Avenue, between 21st and 22nd Streets; it's literally across the street from Eastern State Pen.

Price - $60 per person

RECOMMENDED - London Grill - 2301 Fairmount Avenue - Philadelphia, PA 19130 - 215.978.4545

Location - 23rd and Fairmount Avenue, it's literally down the street from Eastern State Pen, which is at 2124 Fairmount Avenue, on the same side of the street.

Price - Adults: $65 - Children: $30

RECOMMENDED - McCrossen's Tavern - 529 N. 20th Street - Philadelphia, PA 19130 - 215.854.0923

Location - Unlike the other restaurants participating in Fright and a Bite, McCrossen's Tavern is not located a short distance from Eastern State Penitentiary. It's actually half a mile away - far enough to be a long walk or a cab ride. It is located on 20th Street, near the intersection of 20th and Spring Garden Streets. To get to Eastern State Pen, you just walk north on 20th Street, until you reach the intersection of 20th Street and Fairmount Avenue. You'll see the turrets of Eastern State Penitentiary from there. Turn left onto Fairmount Avenue and you're there.

Price - Adults: $55

Mugshots Coffeehouse & Café - 2100 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130 - 215.500.7650

Location - Directly across the street from Eastern State Pen.

Price - Adults - $45

RECOMMENDED - Rembrandt's Restaurant and Bar - 741 North 23rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130 - 215.763.2228

Location - At the intersection of 23rd Street and Aspen Street, if you walk out the door and look left, you'll be facing the western wall of Eastern State Penitentiary, which runs down 22nd Street.

Price - Adults - $65

RECOMMENDED - The Belgian Café - 21st and Green Streets, Philadelphia, PA - 215.235.3500

Location - At the intersection of 21st Street and Green Street. As with McCrossen's Tavern, The Belgian Café is not located just a stone's throw from Eastern State Penitentiary. It's a 3 ½ block walk.

When you leave The Belgian Café, head north on 21st Street, for three blocks, until you arrive at the intersection of 21st and Fairmount Avenues, where you'll see the front of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Price - Adults - $45

Trio Pan-Asian BYOB - 2624 Brown Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130 - 215.232.8746

Location - At the intersection of Brown Street and Taney Street, between 26th Street and 27th Street. As with McCrossen's Tavern and The Belgian Café, Trio Pan-Asian BYOB is not located just a stone's throw from Eastern State Penitentiary. It's over a ½ mile walk.

When you leave Trio Pan-Asian BYOB, walk east on Brown to 26th Street and turn right onto 26th. Walk down to Aspen Street, and make a left onto Aspen. Keep going on Aspen until you pass Rembrandt's, and you'll see the western wall of Eastern State Penitentiary, at 22nd Street. Go up to the wall and make a right, and walk around to the front facade on Fairmount Avenue.

Price - Adults - $55 - Sun-Thurs - $65 - Fri-Sat

Philadelphia Hotels Near Terror Behind the Walls

Eastern State Penitentiary's Fairmount location, unfortunately, means that there is only one hotel very close by...

Best Western Center City - $ - 501 North 22nd Street - 22nd and Hamilton Streets - Philadelphia, PA 19130-3507 - 215.568.8300

But since not everyone can stay at the Best Western, we recommend that you try one of the four hotels, in the nearest Center City District - namely, the Parkway Museums District. We discuss them on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway Hotels Page.

Of course, if you're looking for a broader selection of Philadelphia hotels, take a look at the Philadelphia Hotels Guide.



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