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'Midnight Terror' expands frightful presen

  • Written by Dermot Connolly

Anyone wanting to get in the spirit of Halloween and scare up a good time may visit haunted houses in Oak Lawn, Worth, and Orland Park.

In Oak Lawn, the Midnight Terror Haunted House is operating for the second consecutive year in the former Beatty Lumber property at 9531 S. 52nd Ave., but it has tripled in size over last year, when 9,000 people came through.

The 4,000-square-foot property has been turned into two haunted houses — the Factory of Malum and Blackwoods Hospital — and more than 30 rooms, as well as an outdoor “chainsaw alley” maze. In the Factory of Malum, a demonic creature who oversees a labyrinth of rooms and corridors filled with phobia-related things such as insects, snakes, rats, living dolls, electrical hazards, fire-scorched clowns, pitch-black passages, and claustrophobia-inducing narrow hallways that visitors find their way through as fiendish factory workers shriek, stalk and surprise at every turn.

After getting through that, the next task is to the adjacent Blackwood Hospital, where the hospital beds, surgical tables, and padded cells are occupied by mangled, possessed, and deranged factory employees under the care of the sadistic Dr. Blackwood and gnarly nurses.

The gory attraction was dreamed up by creator Justin Cerniuk, 26, an Oak Lawn native who runs Midnight Terror with his uncle Robert W. Page, and friends Maciej Kulawiak and Mark Krupa.

“We moved it here because it outgrew my driveway (in the 9700 block of Massasoit Avenue),” said Cerniuk, who had been creating Halloween displays there with his uncle since he was 10.

“The last year we had it in the driveway, we had 5,000 people come through,” he said. Last year, 9,000 people visited the haunted house at Beatty Lumber, and more are expected to see the expanded operation this year. More than 70 actors are involved this year, up from 20 last year.

“The ideas just come from my imagination, and I bring them to my partners,” said Cerniuk, a Marine veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I’ve always been interested in Halloween and haunted houses. It became a hobby and then took over my life,” he said with a smile.

He said his “regular job” is a nightclub photographer, but he and his partners spend at least six months working on their haunted houses. They now have professional set designers, acting coaches and makeup artists, and a new LED lighting system and improved sound system, and CGI effects, including monitors displaying monstrous footage.

The wheelchair-accessible attraction, which opened Oct. 1, will run from: 7-10 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays, with the final day of operation being Nov. 1; and from 7-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Halloween.

Regular admission is $18 person, but various discounts are available. VIP passes are $25. Discounts for large groups are also available

During Family Day, from 3 to 6 p.m. on Halloween, children up to age 12 may go through for free, with the lights on, and trick-or-treat with the actors. During this three-hour period, families can also register for the 2016 Westside Baseball season or for a local Boy Scout troop

Free parking is available in the nearby Metra parking garage at 9525 S. Tulley Ave. Tickets, discount coupons, and more information may be obtained online at www.midnightterrorhauntedhouse.com or by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Other local Halloween attractions include Haunted Woods “Dark in the Park,” sponsored by the Orland Park Lions Club at 14800 S. Ravinia Ave.

The event will be open from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10, 16 and 17, and 23 and 24. The last tickets will be sold at 10 p.m. General admission is $12 and VIP $17. A $2 discount is available with a donation of a perishable non-expired food item.

The Trick-or-Treat trail for ages 8 and under, for $3 per child, will be open from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24.

Tickets and more information may be obtained at www.orlandparklionsclub.com.

In Worth, the Park District is hosting Nightmare on the Terrace Haunted House from 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 9-11, 16-18, and 23-25, in the Terrace Center, 11500 S. Beloit Ave.

Admission is $8 for the haunted house, which is recommended for ages 8 and up.

A Teens’ Terror at the Terrace, will also be open from 6-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. Admission is $5 with student ID.

         More information may be obtained by calling the Worth Park District at (708) 448-7080.