Haunt 31: Actors, animatronics and everything in between

Hannah Soukup, Staff Writer

If you don’t want to spend money on attending a haunted house, you’re not alone. Haunt 31 is a completely free haunted house on 340 South Annandale Drive, Lake In The Hills,  IL. 

It’s composed of actors, large displays, animatronics, and places to take ‘spooky’ photos. There are several different sectors within this haunt to provide visitors with an array of attractions. 

Toby Wrolson, creator of Haunt 31, began his yearly tradition of turning his residential home into a haunted house in 1998. Filled with witches, ‘undead’ western characters and much more. Plus, this site hosts nearly 18,000 visitors each Halloween season. 

After an exclusive interview with Wrolosn, he revealed that all actors are volunteers that are typically present on weekends. 1-10 volunteers are dressed up in costumes during weekends, and occasionally on weekdays. 

“The display/walk through is free, but we do have donation boxes if visitors wish to help with storage costs,” Wrolson said.  

His small hobby has turned into a place for families to visit. 

The official opening date for Haunt 31 was Oct. 15, 2022, as actors were present on this date, but all future weekends throughout the Halloween season will contain actors too. 

“As the display grew, and more and more people would sign the guest book, send us an email, or talk to us and tell us how this is their ‘family tradition’ to come see us,” Wrolson said. “I realized I had to keep it going bigger and better every year.”

 Wrolson grew up with a difficult home life, and hopes that by providing children with Halloween traditions, he’s able to give to others what he did not receive. 

“Due to alcohol abuse, I was never really close to my father as a child and have limited good memories,” Wrolson said. “I feel the kids will remember the annual outing the rest of their lives no matter what other things they have going on at home.”

This haunt has cost Wrolson over $80,000, but he plans to continue growing Haunt 31 throughout the years to make it as memorable as possible. 

“If I could, I would build elaborate displays all over the country, bigger and better every year to give every kid memories to have for the rest of their lives,” Wrolson said.