At The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Guild’s 59th Annual Haunted House, you’ll have the once-in-a-nightmare chance to explore the town where Halloween villains live during their “offseason.” The classic villains—mad scientists, witches, zombies, werewolves, and more—are back. And they’re just DYING to meet you.
When does the haunted house at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis open?
This year’s haunted house opens on October 10 and runs through October 31. The haunted house is open Tuesday-Sunday. Continue reading to find information on Lights-on and Frightening Hours.
2023 Haunted House: BOOville
BOOville is full of all the Halloween villains: ghosts, an underwater sea creature, the Grim Reaper and so much more,” says Guilda, BOOville’s very own resident witch. Add mad scientists, zombies and werewolves that howl. No need to fear, the good witches of the Museum Guild will be near to keep those silly monsters in check with lights on while they hand out treats during AES Indiana’s Lights-on Hours. Older ones who “dare to be scared” can visit the haunted house during AAA’s Frightening Hours with the lights off — setting the stage for creepy stuff.
The Haunted House offers AES Indiana’s Lights-on Hours (for children who scare easily) and AAA’s Frightening Hours (with the lights off, for children who dare to be scared). Tickets are $9 and available by calling 317-334-400 or online at childrensmuseum.org/haunted-house.
Organized by The Children’s Museum Guild, the 59th Annual Haunted House, BOOville, is presented by Old National Bank.
AES Indiana’s Lights-on Hours ($9)
Recommended for children who scare easily.
Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Wednesday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and 3:30–6:30 p.m.
Sunday, Noon–5 p.m.
Note: The Haunted House and the museum are closed on Monday, Oct. 30, but the house reopens on Tuesday, Oct. 31 (Halloween) for Lights-on Hours.
- Includes fun, upbeat music with all lights turned up.
- The same scary objects are in the house so can still be frightening for some children.
- Friendly-faced greeters without Halloween masks are in each room of the house passing out treats to visitors similar to trick-or-treating.
- Children can play seek-and-find and look for a pumpkin stuffed animal as they move through the rooms of the Haunted House to help play up the fun of each room.
- Each room also features a Halloween-related fun fact to ask your child such as “how many bones are in the human body?” (Answer: 206!)
AAA’s Frightening Hours ($9)
Lights off: for those who dare to be scared
Thursday–Saturday, 4–9 p.m.
- Includes eerie music and minimal lighting.
- Haunters hide throughout the house to jump out and scare unsuspecting visitors.
- Although visual effects are used to maximize the scare experience, the frightening factor of the Haunted House focuses more on the “startle” rather than gore.
- As they move throughout the house, many visitors will scream with surprise or fear.
Children’s Museum Haunted House Tickets
Tickets are $9 per person—museum general admission is not required. Children’s Museum members receive a discount. Find more ticket info here.
“A visit to BOOville is a full sensory experience with moans and groans, howling and hooting, creaky floors that may wobble when you walk, giant glowing eyes and rooms that make you feel like your own eyes are playing tricks on you,” says Guilda. “Take this time while your child is creating their sensory cauldron to explain that the items within BOOville are not to be touched when they visit.”
If you’re nervous about experiencing spiders and snakes, prepare for a visit ahead of time by creating a sensory cauldron. Decorate and fill a plastic bucket with spooky stuff like grapes and pretend they’re monster eyes. You could also use googly eyes and pom poms, or include rubbery spiders and snakes in the sensory bucket. Explain they’re not real — it’s pretend play that you created. Explain they will see different kinds of pretend monster eyes inside the haunted house, they’re just a different way of creating make-believe fun.
“Sensory boxes provide children the opportunity to play while touching, learning and experiencing items that are not familiar, while re-discovering characteristics of things with which they are already familiar,” says Elyse Handel, early childhood education manager at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. “This type of play not only positively impacts children’s brain development, but also supports their fine motor skills, cognitive skills and serves as a calming and soothing activity that can help children self-regulate their emotions and feelings. Think about your child’s needs and personal interests as you create their sensory box.”
You can use materials like sand or rice, or even craft materials like pom poms and felt or tissue paper. Providing children opportunities to play and experience a variety of materials that stimulate different skills is important. Children can search for items within the box/cauldron, count and sort and create or make up stories about the contents.
Witch Crafts and Other Fun Fare
The witches used their wands to whip up Halloween tips and tricks to help you have a fab-BOO-lous Halloween at home! Discover some of their tricks at childrensmuseum.org/haunted-blog.
- Sing Halloween songs like, “The Monster Mash,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Thriller.” Uncover the magic with lessons like how black light makes your white clothes look purple. Or, use magnets to move things — magical tricks you can teach at home.
- Make freaky food together, like punch in a witch’s cauldron with dry ice. Create Creepy Crawly Jello Cups: Pour different colored Jello into small clear cups and before the mixture hardens, add gummy candy to make the treats look infested with worms and bugs. Bake a cake that looks like a graveyard and let little ones decorate it with things that might scare them and talk about how it’s OK to be afraid and how you can overcome fears.
- Create popsicle stick puppets and talk about the characters they’ll see in BOOville. Explain that they’re make-believe just like your popsicle puppets are.