“Nightmare on Chicago Street” the Ultimate Adult Halloween Attraction!


The silence of a crisp October night is rattled by the sounds of marching soldiers as military personnel survey the bedlam. The town’s once idyllic streets are now strewn with wrecked vehicles, scattered debris, and even rotting corpses. As you move further down the road (your brain trying to process what your eyes can’t possibly be witnessing) you observe terrified locals scurrying in panic followed by yet another group of terrestrials; this second wave decisively less agile than the first. Moments later, as they amble their way into view, you realize that these really aren’t people at all…

At least not anymore.

It isn’t long before you notice the visible wafts of mist (created by your own erratic breathing in the cold night air) has increased; your heart pumping in tandem. This is a natural physical response when one discovers that they are in a decidedly unnatural situation. By then, of course, it’s too late.

You’ve unwittingly gone from casual observer to active participant in a town now overrun by the walking dead.

If what you’ve just read struck you a bit like the the plot-line of a George Romero film, in this instance you’d be (un)dead wrong! Rather, these were my first chilling moments in what was, without question, the ultimate horror fan experience!

While this is a bold statement, and certainly I’m not above bouts of fan-boy hyperbole (I prefer the word enthusiasm), its one I’m more than willing to stand by. Put simply; Elgin, Illinois’ “Nightmare on Chicago Street”  was absolutely phenomenal!

Far from relegated (contained) to a single building, this zombie-palooza utilizes an entire section of its community to thrill their guests – with local businesses and even the town’s own Mayor all in on the act!

elginChicago has NO choice but to escape to Elgin!

Having covered Svengoolie’s appearance at “Bark O’ Ween” (story HERE) earlier that same day, I’d left my younger children at home and brought my older son, Alex, along for this one. I love my kids but often get annoyed with fan events that dilute their festivities so as not to scare them. I understand not wanting to traumatize your kids but I don’t believe EVERYTHING in the world needs to be tailored for them. Though I did see a few kids here and there, the gory guests and steady flow of alcohol made this a much appreciated “adult-swim.”

a3Special Zombie-tinis enough to wake the dead!

Elgin, Illinois is about an hour away from me and I was slated to meet up there with my friend, Elizabeth, as well as Don & Angela Urban. As we’d all arrived separately, it was up to whomever arrived first to determine where we’d all end up meeting. As I was the last to get to there, I was informed that my friends were waiting for me at The Ravenheart Coffee Shop. Though located in an area listed as a “Safe Zone,” I had my share of doubts. Getting to my pals, amid all the zombies, soldiers, undead protesters, and fan costumed monsters was yet another horror film-like experience (and coming from me, that’s a compliment)!



How can I aptly describe my elation with The Nightmare on Chicago Street? Well…let me try using one of my other passions for an example…

As a volunteer at my local zoo, I know that there are two kinds of exhibits. There’s your traditional animal buildings and also ones that offer guests “total immersion.” These are becoming more and more popular as visitors not only get to see animals from a specific environment but also walk in an area that mimic their natural surroundings. The floor may feel as if you’re walking on earth, the walls may actually have “trees,” and there might even be vines hanging over head along with the sounds of birds. Take it from one who knows, The Nightmare on Chicago Street is a total immersion horror attraction!



When Alex and I finally reached our destination, we saw our friends out front waiting for us. Before venturing out, I made a quick stop inside for refreshments. I soon encountered a room full of monsters including one who stood in the middle of the shop sharing scary stories to its patrons. Even the nice ghoul taking my order was a Mexican “Day of the Dead” work of art!

Once we were all together and caffeinated, we started checking out some of the local (no pun intended) haunts. One of these was THe SPaCeTaSTe GaLLeRY (covered a bit HERE) and noticed that Dead Dick Hammer (who appeared at a recent HorrorHound Weekend) was performing at a place called “Medusa’s.”

I’ve always wanted to take in one of his shows but it would have to wait for another day. For now it was time to locate the main reason we’d entered this Apocalypse in the first place….Svengoolie! Once we spotted the building he’d be appearing, there was no question that it was the right place. An abandoned, boarded up theater with “Uncle Sven Wants You!” signs hanging pell mell. It was my understanding that similar signs were featured last year but got snagged by enthusiastic fans. I must admit, that’s one crime where I fully sympathize with the perpetrators! As soon as I saw one my eyes started glowing and I had visions of one professionally framed and hanging in my house (alongside the rest of my “Sven-surround”).


112I want!!!

Sven was slated to greet his fans at 9pm but, knowing the kind of numbers he’s known for reeling in (see virtually EVERY post I’ve ever written about a Sven appearance) we arrived an hour early. Despite the cold temps, we opted to hold our position at the front of the line. Obviously, I have no problems waiting in line to see my idol but “Nightmare on Chicago Street” made it downright fun! “People watching” was NEVER more fun entertaining as we watched observed some of the fantastic costumed fans pass us by. I thank my friends for holding my place in line as I continuously jumped out and to snap pictures. I’ve witnessed some inspired costumes in my Terror Dave days but, I have to admit, this event brought out some of the most creative ones I’ve seen to date…

122Zombie Lady Gaga & Michael Jackson

As we waited, the door to the theater opened and out passed a familiar face.  She quickly passed by, greeting Don & Angela on her way. I remembered seeing her before years ago at Horrorbles in Berrr-wyn, Flashback Weekend, and even as a fellow spectator during The Vampira Tribute at the 2010 HorrorHound Weekend. “That’s Elizabeth Haney,” said Angela. “She’s one you should definitely meet sometime.”
Angela was right, and I had no way of knowing just how soon that would be.

Coming up next….”Uncle Sven” arrives!

Dave Fuentes~

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