OL resident set to open haunted house at old lumber yard
Terror and bloodshed are packing
Well, actually a former lumber yard.
Starting tonight, Thursday, Oak Lawn resident Justin Cerniuk debuts his most ambitious Midnight Terror horror show yet.
At 7 p.m., his staff will creak open the doors at the former Beatty Lumber Company property at 95th Street and 52nd Avenue for a sophisticated horror show in Oak Lawn.
Cerniuk is 24 and got his start in the art of trying to scare people around Halloween in 2000, when he just turned 10 and it was a gore-gone conclusion that it would become bigger and better.
He started this project in his own front lawn and from then, with the help of his uncle, Robert Page, moved things into a garage. He started to build props and characters and meshed metal with technology to create his own garage of mayhem.
“When I was little, my uncle used to take me to some really good decorated houses in the area, where I got a lot of ideas,” said Cerniuk in a news release.
Midnight Terror became a weekly staple until 2007, when he joined the Marines and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He returned home in 2011 and the Terror was back in town.
Last year, the yard and garage featured 28 custom animatronics, 12 volunteer actors and eight rooms. He said more than 6,000 people came to get scared at his haunt and he received some donations, some of which went to the Autism Society of Illinois.
Now he is taking his act to the lumber yard and he has the village’s blessing.
Oak Lawn Trustee Tim Desmond and other village officials aided Cerniuk in finding the right available property and Beatty’s, which has been closed since 2010.
Since the closing, village officials have been trying to figure out what to do with that area. Some developers have pitched the idea for a 9-to-13 story office tower. There was talk a senior center could move in there.
For October, it will serve as a haunted house.
“My goal is for everyone to have fun and enjoy a collaborative experience where our scare team and our visitors feed off of each other’s energy and excitement,” said Cerniuk. “I want to bring back this haunted house every year, bigger and better than ever. I envision this as an exclusive Oak Lawn attraction. This is where I started 14 years ago. This is where I have roots, and I want to remain loyal to my home town.”
Tickets can be purchased online at or at the box office on site. Admission per person is $10 but there is a no-wait R.I.P. pass available for $17. Discounts for large groups are also available. The attraction is wheelchair accessible.
The haunted house is open from 7 to 10 p.m. tonight as well at Sunday, Oct. 9, 12, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29 and 30. It is open from 7 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Oct. 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1.
Patrons can park for free inside the nearby Metra parking garage at 9525 S. Tulley Ave.
To purchase tickets in advance, get a coupon worth $2 off admission on select dates, or for more information, visit midnightterrorhauntedhouse.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.