Kankakee is a bit of a drive for me, but I am SO glad that I made it out there. St. Pat's Haunted High School is a gem, and they have been in operation for 17 years. They are currently unsure if they will remain open in the following years to come, so if you have the chance I recommend going for a visit. At $10 a ticket with an almost 30 minute walk through, you can't beat it.
Once we pulled up and parked we were greeted to the sounds of screams coming from within the building. There were several 'roamers' who came up to us and other groups trying to catch us off-guard and surprise us. The clown was especially creepy. Unsure of where exactly to enter and pay, a group outside of the building said to go in and turn towards the gym. After we were inside and paid we waited in line for about five minutes. There were a couple more wait actors inside the gym, but they kind of stayed put and weren't as scary as the roamers.
They allowed several groups to enter and go upstairs, and after getting to the third floor, we were greeted to a (real) police officer who told us the rules. He was very serious and set the tone very well. He told us that he would kick anyone out who disobeyed. He said no swearing since most of the actors are children. Once he was done talking about the rules and the history of the building someone else came into the room and said that they were ready. We were led to a very dark room with floating candles where the large group we were in was broken up into our original groups.
When they were ready for us to enter, we walked in and we were greeted by a man who said, "Welcome to the Hell-a-vator!" and asked us to go into the room that resembled an old elevator. He told us we would be stopping on the negative thirteenth floor, and shut the door. The room started to move and shake and there was a strobe light set on slow, so it felt that it was breaking down. Then, there was a very big surprise. I'm not going to spoil it, but it definitely exceeded my first impressions and had me nervous for the rest of the haunt.
All of the rooms were exceptionally creative and unique. Even the typical rooms you would see in a haunted house each have a different spin on them. There were also a lot of rooms that were completely unlike anything I've ever encountered at a haunt. And there were a lot of rooms, inside and out.
The characters, while young, knew just the right way to get to you. Some would just scream at you which was unfortunate, but others would interact and genuinely scare you. One actor followed our group for at least four rooms. The costuming and makeup could have been better, but since it was dark it wasn't terribly crucial.
All of the props and special effects were also unique and interesting. There was a large table saw prop that spun and had blood spattered all over it with body parts sticking out. The hell-a-vator was also a unique special effect.
One complaint, however, is that there was a portion of the haunt that was entirely black and like a maze, and I just wish they put actors in there to scare you. It was pitch black and lasted for about five minutes where we couldn't get out and no one really scared us. It could have been very scary if there were more actors in that section of the haunt.
Overall, you can tell that they put their heart into this haunt. I highly recommend making the drive for this haunt. Hopefully, it lives on to see another year.
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