Blog Directory We Love Halloween

Monday, September 22, 2014

Midnight Terror Haunted House opens Oct. 2 in Oak Lawn

Sledge (the alter ego of Midnight Terror Haunted House owner Justin Cerniuk) is one of over 30 costumed actors eager to greet visitors.
Since he was 10 years old, Oak Lawn native Justin Cerniuk has yearned to create the ultimate spookhouse. Now, with the Oct. 2 opening of Midnight Terror Haunted House, Oak Lawn’s first ever commercial haunted attraction, Cerniuk is about to realize that dream — and give nightmares of the frightfully fun kind to the thousands of visitors expected to attend.

Cerniuk partnered with village officials to repurpose the long-abandoned Beatty Lumber yard property at 9531 S. 52nd Ave., host site of Midnight Terror, and create a win-win for everyone involved. Working diligently round the clock since August, Cerniuk and his team have converted the 4,000-square-foot Beatty warehouse into a creepy fear factory that will feature dozens of unique props, over 30 costumed actors, and 15 different rooms — including a crypt of the damned, haunted forest, and blackout barracks — that wind throughout the facility in unexpectedly frightening fashion.

Midnight Terror will provide patrons with memorable thrills they won’t get at any other paid horror-themed attraction. Everything inside is meant to overwhelm your senses, look disturbingly authentic and unfold unpredictably. From the custom-built animatronics and finely detailed props to the distinctive wall textures, eerie lighting design, and improvisational scare tactics of the actors, Cerniuk promises a Halloween thrill destination that’s a cut above the rest.

“We’ve even designed certain spaces to have distinctive scents, like the musty smell of the boiler room and the mildewed odor of the catacombs,” says Cerniuk, who personally designs and fabricates nearly every prop, fa├žade and effect used in Midnight Terror. “And visitors are getting a great value. This is no quick stroll through and you’re done. The attraction lasts up to 15 minutes, and it doesn’t end when you exit the building. There are more scares waiting for you outside, too.”

While many professional haunts charge $25 or more per ticket, admission to Midnight Terror is as low as $8 on select dates (after redeeming a $2 off coupon from; for those who want their chills without waiting in line, a $17 R.I.P. pass provides instant entry. What’s more, opening night admission is half price: only $5.

Cerniuk actually started Midnight Terror as a modest free front yard display, outside his Oak Lawn home in 2000, when he was only 10 years old. A year later, with the help of his uncle, Robert Page, he constructed a temporary haunted house in front of his garage. By the time he was a teenager, Cerniuk had become a master monster architect capable of making sophisticated one-of-a-kind props and animated characters, built from windshield wiper motors, air rams, motion detectors, micro-computer controllers and other parts he assembled together. Whether it involved welding linkages or programming relay sequences, this kid could do it all. Combine these skills with his love for Halloween and horror movies and it’s easy to believe that Cerniuk was born to bring out the goose bumps in his adoring public.

“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,” says Cerniuk, now 24.
Midnight Terror Haunted House owner Justin Cerniuk readying a prop for his haunted attraction.

Midnight Terror took a vacation when, in 2007, Cerniuk enlisted in the Marines and, over four years, served in Iraq and Afghanistan during combat operations there. Cerniuk returned older, wiser and more determined to make his home haunt better than ever. By 2013, his yard display and haunted enclosure featured 28 custom animatronics, 12 volunteer actors and eight rooms. Fans rewarded his craftsmanship and creativity with heavy foot traffic (over 6,000 visitors last October) and ample donations, a portion of which Cerniuk donated to the Autism Society of Illinois.

Inspired by the overwhelming popularity of his Halloween attraction, and backed by a strong support team that includes Uncle Robert and his two best friends — Mark Krupa and Maciej Kulawiak — Cerniuk decided to go pro this year and bring his talents to the masses. Oak Lawn Trustee Tim Desmond and other village officials aided Cerniuk in finding the right available property and cutting through the red tape involved. Now, after months of careful planning, Midnight Terror Haunted House is ready to open for business.

“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,” says Cerniuk, who cautions that Midnight Terror’s intense atmosphere is not for the faint of heart. “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.”

Midnight Terror Haunted House is located at 9531 S. 52nd Ave., Oak Lawn, Ill., 60453, near the intersection of 95th Street and 52nd Avenue. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the box office on site: admission per person is $10; a no-wait R.I.P. pass is $17; discounts for large groups are also available. The attraction is wheelchair accessible and open, rain or shine (a covered waiting area is provided), from 7-10 p.m. on Oct. 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29 and 30, and from 7-11 p.m. on Oct. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Nov. 1. Visitors 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 or email

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spirits on Sproat back to celebrate its 10th anniversary starting Oct. 3

Your favorite Halloween house will reopen beginning Friday, Oct. 3, 2014. In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we've moved the display to the back yard to accommodate more props and thrills! Make your plans to visit our improved Gallery of the Dead--if you dare!

For the complete schedule of dates and times we're open, click here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spirits on Sproat earns stellar 5 out of 5 chainsaws rating!

For the second year in a row, the Horror Tourers--a group of dedicated and well-traveled home haunt reviewers--has visited Spirits on Sproat and written up a glowing critique of our Halloween yard display. In fact, in 2013 we earned their highest possible rating: 5 out of 5 chainsaws!

Check out their written review, along with a walk-through video, review commentary video, and several fresh photos taken, by visiting

Hope to see the Horror Tourers--along with all our other fans and followers--next October!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Only 365 days to go...

Thanks to all for another wonderful Halloween season. 2013 proved to be our best year yet in terms of props, lights, scares and visitors. We're already making our plans for an even bigger and better Spirits on Sproat in 2014. Check back to starting next September for the latest updates. Happy Halloween!

Now you see him, now you don't

Look closely--that eerie image in the shadows could just be an illusion; or it could be the Invisible Man, one of our more recent enlistees in the Gallery of the Dead. He's a fascinating subject. Consider these facts:
  • Favorite songs: I’m Looking Through You, You Won’t See Me
  • Pet peeve: Being ignored while flashing strangers in his raincoat
  • Secret shame: Pulls his eyebrow hairs off every time he removes the duct tape from his head
  • Little-known fact: Sued by the mummy for use of his likeness

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Time for an terror!

Keep your test tubes and syringes far away from the Mad Scientist--he's likely to use them on his poor victim, the subject of horrible and insane experiments. Among the latest in our 2013 series of new monsters, this duo personifies weird science run amok. Here's what we know about this gruesome twosome:
  • Nickname: Beaker breath
  • Greatest inventions: The Clapper, Mr. Microphone, Snugglie (the wearable blanket with built-in fabric softener)
  • Most recent job: Sarah Palin’s campaign manager

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Return of the prodigal son

Years ago, the Blue Phantom played the keyboard for Spirits on Sproat visitors and climbed the tree above our display to scare the unsuspecting. Now, he's retired from active haunting, but he's earned a permanent spot in our horror hall of fame. Here are more details on the Blue Phantom:

  • Known for: Climbing trees, tickling the ivories, chasing after cars 
  • Nicknames: Papa Smurf, Blue Man Ghoul, Spock ears 
  • Secret shame: Hasn’t grown an inch since 7th grade 
  • Voted in high school: Most likely to wear platform shoes

Monday, October 28, 2013

Something smells awfully fishy 'round here

Our newest member of the Gallery of the Dead could quite possibly be the largest and hungriest. He normally prowls the ocean waters, but somehow he's learned to swim through grass. Come gaze upon the awesome spectre that is...Jaws! But be sure you don't spill a drop of blood anywhere near our display; sharks can smell that stuff a mile away. Betcha' didn't know these facts about our famous great white:
  • Secret shame: Received electro shark therapy treatment 
  • Favorite pigout food: Quarter flounder with cheese 
  • Little known fact: He’s so old in the tooth that he now wears dentures 
  • Sick of hearing his wife say: Chew with your mouth closed

Spirits on Sproat 2013 video now ready for prime time

The official 2013 video for our Spirits on Sproat display is now up and running on YouTube. Click below, if you dare!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Death metal has a face

Some people vow to rock and roll until it kills them. And that's exactly what happened to Iggy Vicious, quite possibly the boniest buddy among our Gallery of the Dead. Here are some little known facts on this macabre musician:
  • Known for: Playing music so loud and shrill that it can make the skin melt right off your bones
  • Favorite band: The Grateful Dead
  • Little-known fact: His dog once pulled off his leg and buried it in the backyard
  • Famous for: Recently warning Keith Richards to stop copying his image

Saturday, October 26, 2013

One bride you wouldn't want to honeymoon with

They say behind every good man is a good woman. But what if that man isn't so good? Then his mate must surely be evil incarnate, as is the case with the Bride of Dracula. She's a fetching lass in her black coffin. Come see her in all her glory at Spirits on Sproat, but bring a wooden stake just in case. Here's the 411 on the missus...
  • Sick of hearing her husband say: Not tonight, dear, I’ve got a toothache
  • Secret wish: To be the celebrity pitchman for
  • Idolizes: Cher (circa 1987), Snooky, Michelle Bachman
  • Little known fact: Won a staring contest with Medusa

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beelzebub isn't just a regular bub

You've got a date...with the devil. And he's on our front lawn! Come catch a glimpse of Mr. fire and brimstone himself, one of our newest residents of the Gallery of the Dead. Here's what we know about him:
  • Aliases: Beelzebub, Old Scratch, Mephistopheles, Rush Limbaugh
  • Amazing fact: He stays in great shape but doesn’t exorcise
  • Greatest trick ever pulled: Convincing the world that the Kardashians deserve to exist

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