Loads of demented prison guards, frightening clowns, and strange prisoners await those who make their way to The 17th Door Haunted Experience, which is back for its fifth year in Fullerton.

The 17th Door Haunted Experience (Fullerton, Calif.)

Fencing, barbed wire, and a guard tower greet those approaching The 17th Door. Photo credit: Ryan Billings

Halloween and horror-loving guests assume the role of inmates in the fictional Perpetuum Penitentiary. Where they can expect to be subjected to horrifying experiences as they navigate the many dark corners of the haunt.

A visit to the gas chamber in Perpetuum Penitentiary awaits you.

One of the masks greeting inmates in the gas chamber. Photo credit: Ryan Billings

The experiences at The 17th Door can be more intense than the average Halloween attraction, with a long list of advisory and trigger warnings on the website and above the door to the haunt.

Answers to some FAQ including what visitors should expect to face at The 17th Door.

Information from the FAQ page on The 17th Door website. Photo credit: Gigi Gradillas

The 17th Door is one of the only haunted experiences in OC that requires visitors to sign a waiver. And, they even have a safe word, mercy.

The safe word allows guests to opt-out of any of the, you guessed it—17 doors—which cues a staff member to escort participants to the next door or even outside of the attraction completely.

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“I’m excited honestly like I can’t wait to you know, get waterboarded and electrocuted,” Aurora Persidetti said.

Still, some prospective inmates held a more even tone, “I’m going in with no expectations so let’s see how it goes,” said attendee Kyle Warner.

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The event has been terrifying residents of Orange County and beyond since 2015. Initially located in Tustin, it was centered around the experiences of Paula, a college student.

After moving to Fullerton in 2017, the setting shifted to the penitentiary, where Paula is serving a prison sentence for murdering her son.

The haunt has been ranked as one of the most frightening Halloween attractions in California by various haunted house review websites and has built a loyal fanbase in its seven-year run.

Inmates have taken over parts of Perpetuum Penitentiary.

Inmates have taken over parts of Perpetuum Penitentiary. Photo credit: Ryan Billings

Guests can also choose to partake in several add-ons including an on-site virtual reality experience.

And, starting Sept. 24 will also have the option to attend a 50-minute field trip, away from the prison, which will be just as interactive as the main event.

The new offsite experience was created for guests who want to continue the torture, ahem, we mean fun. Adrenaline junkies take note, The 17th Doors’ website says there is even a possibility of inmates being suspended 20 feet in the air.

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The 17th Door delivers on its promises to scare. Attendees who do not opt-out may be electrically shocked, have insects placed on them, and get wet, just to name a few of the experiences offered.

A Perpetuum Penitentiary guard gives instructions inside the experience.

A Perpetuum Penitentiary guard gives instructions inside the experience. Photo credit: Ryan Billings

Far from fearless? Just remember to say mercy!

The 17th Door Haunted Experience cast members have fun backstage.

The 17th Door Haunted Experience cast members have fun backstage. Photo credit: Ryan Billings

The 17th Door is open for select nights until October 31. It is located at 1851 W. Orangethorpe Ave. Tickets are available to purchase from their website.

Author profile

Ryan Billings (He/Him) is an aspiring writer from Westminster, CA.

Author profile

(They/she) Student journalist who enjoys reading, cooking, and dying my hair.