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Chicago Haunted Houses

Basement of the Dead

Chicago Haunted House Basement of the DeadFor all things creepy and evil there is a home – a place for dwelling…a place where creatures can call their own. For these lost souls, this place of comfort sits in an 100 year old Laundry Facility – and the Basement…of The Dead.  

Located in Aurora IL, Basement of the Dead has been scaring the pants off Chicagoans for the past 11 years. And each year, Basement continues to improve – Working within the parameters of a 5000sq foot permanent venue, Basement of the Dead have earned their scares with the living. 

Todd Baraniak, an avid  home haunter,  who along with his family terrorized the old Joliet neighborhood. Eventually wanting to push their scary ideas further, they looked into the owning the real haunt experience. They loved the idea of a larger based haunt – one that they could expand and terrorize the masses, And n 2010, they found a way to make that crossover by purchasing Basement from it’s former owner who was battling with an illness during that time. 

Ranked as one of the top 5 haunts for the past several years locally, this haunted attraction keeps things fresh with new ideas yearly – keeping their victims – and resident creatures -  happy. 

One of the most frequented, and sought out haunts here in the area, these contaminated monsters know how to scare.  A great haunt where new ideas are explored and the residents know how to have fun – Basement of the Dead is an outstanding haunt.  

It is the total experience here at the Basement –  from their ultra fun and creepy – and madly skilled – dj – to entering the old building itself. Basement know how to build excitement for their patrons – some even coming back a 2nd time around. 

Their second attraction - Shattered – a 3D experience – is a colorful 3D experience filled with creepy monsters and outstanding art and chalk work that will make you want to contain your drool as you run!  

Basement of the DeadA military encampment brought to life, Basement of the Dead was the first to offer a Zombie Outbreak laser tag adventure to their attraction.  Highly detailed scenes, targets – both live – and undead – and military personal barking orders – this is a great experience for any zombie or haunted house fan. 

We talk with owner Todd Baraniak about his popular haunt. 

Haunted Attraction Magazine: What got you into designing haunts and following this avenue?
Todd Baraniak: Had many very talented family members that ran a home haunt for several years and ran into George Carpenter that created the Basement of the Dead in 2004 and wanted to sell.  We really liked what George and his family had done with the Basement of the Dead and the fan base he created, and thought we would be the perfect combination of people & talent to continue the tradition of top ranked haunted attractions.  

HAM: To why Basement was created - and when - created in 2004 and current ownership took over in 2010
TB: What you hoped to accomplish with your house design - and did you exceed those expectations?  We saw the opportunity to continue expanding the Basement of the Dead and create an entirely new haunted attraction in the 5,000 sq. ft. next door – “Shattered 3D Haunted Attraction” a top 10 3D attraction in the world with some amazing changes in store for 2015.  We recently ended up being rated #1 in Illinois by the “Chicago Tribune” and “Hauntworld Magazine” and we continue to strive to meet those high expectations every year
HAM: What type of training do your actors receive? 

TB: Actors were originally trained over several weekends in the month prior to the haunt opening in 2010 and most of the actors are now returning year after year (month after month now with the year round operations) and continue to bring more talent with them.  

HAM: And what makes them Basement worthy?  

TB: The BOTD actors each have their individual strengths ranging from unique movements, sounds, and impressions.  All of them must be extremely energetic as they are the most important part of the entire production.

HAM: How did the lazer tag idea came about - and when did start

TB:  We always thought it would be great to create an interactive experience with the BOTD zombies and had been looking for a way to use our location year round instead of just for October.  We finally found a partner with the “top of class” replica laser equipment that could be integrated successfully with our haunted attraction layout.  We started in 2014 with “Zombie Outbreak” ( and then expanded to “iCombat Aurora -Tactical Laser Tag” ( in mid 2014.

 “Zombie Outbreak” is open for 1 or 2 weekends per month and “iCombat Aurora” is open on all other weekends except for October.

HAM: It’s a fantastic game - the visuals are killer! - and it’s a super fun experience. What upgrades will go into place this year?
TB: More than 70% of Basement of the Dead & Shattered 3D will be new experiences in 2015
With the success of “Zombie Outbreak” and the large amount up front capital investment required, we have been successfully working with other haunted houses to bring the “Zombie Outbreak” experience to their local haunted attraction.  For your readers that are interested, we can be reached at 630-896-2466 to discuss partnership opportunities for 2015 and beyond.

HAM:  With both the popularity and scare factor of this particular attraction – it’s easy to see why Basement comes out on top.  A must visit venue for anyone in the Chicagoland area – or those who plan on visiting for the upcoming season. This attraction is highly intense, complete madness – making the escape from the Basement one worth trying.