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Glancer Magazine

MOM'S LITTLE BLACK BOOK | Joliet Prison Tours


Most know by now that October is my favorite month of the year! I love love love haunted houses and everything about Halloween and the Fall season! My girls and I have frequented just about every ghost tour or haunted house in the area, as well as every corn maze and hayride within miles, so I am always seeking a new twist for our eternal passion.

We have gone to the Statesville Haunted House in Joliet, which many assume is the Joliet Prison, but in fact, it is not. Old Joliet Prison is now officially offering tours of their abandoned facilities. There are four different kinds of tours - the History and Photography tours recommended for ages 10 and up and the Haunted or Guard tours recommended for those 16 and older.

Having teenagers and asking them to hang with mom on a Friday night doesn’t usually bode well, but the intrigue of exploring the inner depths of Cell-0117, the prison chapel with defaced confessionals, the hospital with barred windows, and the padlocked segregation cells, was enough to earn their company for a couple of hours.

Captivating! Absolutely spectacular! The stories shared by the docents on the Haunted Tour, covering the darker side of the Historical Prison, were indeed the more grim stories but incredibly engaging given the setting of the stained-glass, dusk lit abandoned chapel and flashlight glow of the decrepit hospital. We got to see the inside of cell block 0117 and the original 1858 segregation cell. The real “fear” set-in when the guide advised us not to close the door of the cells, as she had no way of getting us out!

I can see why the Haunted Tour is recommended for 16 and up, but I would highly recommend the History or Photography tour for the younger kids or scout activities. Truly a fascinating experience of living history.

Overview Walking tours of the Old Joliet Prison lead by docents and trained tour guides from the Joliet Area Historical Museum. Select from three different tours: History or Photography Tour (Ages 10 and older) and Haunted or Guard Tours (Ages 16 and older).

Joliet Prison Tours 1125 Collins Street Joliet, IL 60432 (815)-723-5201

Hours: Dates and times vary depending on tour selected.

Price $: Starting at $15/person. Group/School rates available.

ABOUT THE WRITER Naperville mom Kristen Kucharski graduated from Illinois State University in 1992 with an International Business Degree. She is married and has two energetic daughters and her house is always full of children. Kristen’s column titled, Mom's Little Black Book, is a monthly feature written for moms who are looking for ways to keep their kids busy.

For Hundreds of Mom’s Little Black Book Adventures for All Ages,Written by Kristen through the Years, Visit