Haunted houses nationwide will be opening soon to give thrill seekers their money’s worth. That’s why the Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) are inspecting haunted houses across the state to make sure they’re safe before the ghouls and spooky creatures are unleashed.

“Inspectors with IDOL’s Amusement Ride and Attraction Safety Division, along with other state and local partners, walk through, inspect and permit haunted houses before they’re open to the public,” said Illinois Department of Labor Carnival Manager Brian Fox.

Haunted houses in Illinois must be inspected prior to operation, Haunted houses operated by nonprofit religious, educational or charitable groups can apply for an exemption from IDOL inspection. These haunted houses must still be inspected by local authorities and/or the State Fire Marshal’s office to ensure they’re safe.

“Haunted houses are a fun and scary activity many enjoy during the Halloween season,” said Illinois State Fire Marshal James Rivera. “Making sure these attractions remain fire safe should be a top priority. We want to stress that all haunted house operators go through the proper steps and follow all safety guidelines to ensure guests are kept safe while visiting.”

According to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, haunted houses must follow these guidelines:

  • Exits and pathways must be wide enough to account for the maximum number of people in the attraction
  • There must be a limited number of dead-end paths
  • Panic hardware must be on exit doors,
  • There should be restrictions on open flame devices or pyrotechnic special effects. Furnishings and decorations must be flame resistant
  • All workers must be trained in and ready for emergencies

State law also requires a criminal background check and sex offender registry check for all amusement attraction workers, as well as a written substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing.

To report a haunted house without a permit, an accident or unsafe conditions at a haunted house, call the Department of Labor during business hours at (217) 557-3112 or after hours at (217) 993-2941 or click here.