You don’t have to go too far to find faBOOlous Halloween extravaganzas. Whether you have a Harry Potter loving wizard, an animal lover or a candy craver to keep entertained, we’ve got the skinny on spooky Halloween fun in the city and burbs. Check out our list of happenings, if you dare . . .

IN CHICAGO

 

Hogwarts Bash and Monster Mash at The Laboratory
Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss the party on October 28, complete with pizza, snacks, games and a movie. Kids 5-12 can come dressed in costume — and ready to stop any explosions that might arise in the lab. Parents can enjoy a guilt-free night out knowing that kids are being entertained and educated!

If you’re little is more into monsters, enroll him or her in the Monster Mash Day Camp on October 9.  Not only will kids explore movie monsters like Frankenstein through captivating experiments, they’ll also cook up some spooky treats.

Monster Mash Day Camp
Oct. 9; 9 a.m.-3p.m.
Cost: $90

Harry Potter Halloween Party
Oct. 28; 6:15 p.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: $40

The Laboratory
2349 W. North Ave.
Wicker Park
Online: thelaboratorychi.org

Harvest Fest at Indian Boundary
Throughout the fall, The Chicago Park District is bringing some country into the city as they transform local parks into pumpkin patches.  At the Harvest Fest, the fun goes beyond just finding a pumpkin as kids explore a petting zoo, carnival games, decorating stations and more.  Check out the Park District website for more info on fabulous fall festivities.

Oct. 8; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Free entry; $1 per ticket with activities ranging from 2-4 tickets
Indian Boundary Park
2500 W. Lunt Ave.
West Rogers Park
Online: chicagoparkdistrict.com

Halloween Parade of Artists
Arts in the Dark is a parade that celebrates the diversity of Chicago. Blackhawks fans will want to arrive early (4:00) to check out the pre-parade activities sponsored by Chicago’s favorite hockey team. After watching an exciting and eclectic parade which begins at 6:00, head over to the bean for a dance party or Maggie Daley Park for a family friendly Halloween movie.

Oct. 21; 4 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Cost: free
Parade takes place on Columbus Dr. from Balbo to Monroe
Loop
Online: artsinthedark.org

Fright Flicks at Navy Pier
Pack a picnic and head to Navy Pier for a double feature of family friendly and classic Halloween films. Whether you choose to watch Monster’s Inc. and Ghostbusters on October 21st or Monster House and Beetlejuice the following week, everyone will have a great time. There’s nothing like watching a big screen with the city and the lake in the background. If you’re up for a late night, stay for the Halloween fireworks on the 28th to round out a fabulous day out.

Oct. 21 & 28; 3 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free
Navy Pier
600 E Grand Avenue
Near North Side
Online: navypier.com

EEK-o-Friendly Halloween at the Sod Room
There’s plenty of fun to be had in this green space as kids enjoy a concert by Sarah Jane Lane, pizza and of course plenty of playtime. Make sure to dress your kids in costume, as TK Photography will be on hand to capture all the cuteness and you’ll earn plenty of “likes” after posting the digital image you’ll be sent home with.

Oct. 27; 5:30-7:30p.m.
Cost: $35/one adult & one child, $20/additional child, $7/additional adult
Sod Room
1454 S. Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor
South Loop
Online: sodroom.com

spooky-zoophoto: Lincoln Park Zoo

Spooky Zoo Spectacular
Get down like a Halloween party animal! Head over to Lincoln Park Zoo for a Spooky Zoo Spectacular that’s fun for the whole family. The long-lasting celebration is celebrating its 31st year. Costumes are encouraged at this BOO-tastic bash that is packed with all kinds of kid-friendly entertainment and plenty of trick or treating, but please don’t feed the animals . . . at least not the real ones!

Oct. 28; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: Free
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Lincoln Park
Online: lpzoo.org

Halloween Party at Little Beans Café 
See the Little Beans Village in a new light as the village is transformed into a series of trick-or-treating stops. Come in your best costume to win the contest at this popular event and boogie down on the dance floor. Before heading home, munch on a pizza dinner and spooky snacks.

Oct. 28; 4 p.m.-7 p.m.
Cost: $35/first child, $25/sibling
Little Beans Café
1809 W. Webster
Bucktown
Online: littlebeanscafe.com

Not-At-All Spooky Halloween Party
This year’s Not-At-All Spooky Halloween Party at the Purple Monkey Playroom features family favorite Daniel Tiger. The party is geared toward littles up to four, but you’ll have a great time, too . . . especially if you visit the make-your-own caramel apple bar. Space is limited and the event sells out, so reserve in advance online.

Oct. 30; 5:45 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Cost: $35/child with one adult; $15/sibling; $10/additional adult
Purple Monkey Playroom
2040 N. Western Ave.
Bucktown
Online: purplemonkeyplayroom.com

IN THE ‘BURBS

halloween-party-generalphoto: anjanettew via flickr

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival
The 7th Annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival is looking to beat the Guinness World Record of 30,851 for most pumpkins carved and lit at once. The festival is also partnering with Make-A-Wish in Illinois with hopes of raising $60,000. So BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) because they need your help making history. Each carved pumpkin will get you free admission for the weekend to a fest that includes family fun, pie eating contests, hayrides rides, pony rides, carnival rides, kids crafts, a petting zoo, two stages packed solid with live entertainment and so much more.

Oct. 5-Community Appreciation Day and Oct. 6-8; Times vary by day
Cost: bring a carved pumpkin for free admission; $3/person without a pumpkin, $5/person for a weekend pass, children 6 and under are free
City Hall
17 Highwood Ave.
Highwood
Online: highwoodpumpkinfest.com

Annual Halloween Hollow
Don’t be scared one bit! A very family-friendly Halloween is coming to Mokena and there’s so much to do! With carnival rides, ghost town games, hayrides, horseback rides, a build-your-own scarecrow in a scarecrow lab and more, the kids won’t know where to start. Top all that off with snacks and goodies from local restaurants, free stage entertainment, a monster marketplace, and a pumpkin patch and painting by Home Depot, this Halloween Hollow might just wake the dead. Don’t miss Trunk-R-Treat and the Mutt Strutt which are new this year.

Oct. 13-15; Fri., 5 p.m.-9 p.m. (Carnival, Merchants & Food Vendors); Sat., 1 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free; some activities require a fee
Main Park
10925 W. La Porte Rd.
Mokena
Online: mokenapark.com

Green Halloween
Go green this Halloween at the Oak Park Green Pumpkin Trail. Costumes are optional at this trek through town that will lead kids ages 3-8 to local business and organizations for all sorts of kid-friendly activities and for some healthy trick-or-treats—emphasis on the treats, of course. Don’t miss the screening of Minions, painting of pumpkins or a run-in with Captain America and Moana who will be in town!

Oct. 14; 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Free
Oak Park Visitors Bureau
1010 Lake St.
Oak Park
Online: downtownoakpark.net

All Hallows Eve
The creepy-crawlies come out on two of the darkest nights of the year, and you don’t want to miss the terrifying fun at Naper Settlement. Prepare to come face-to-face with literature’s most frightening characters of the past, present, and future or meet the lost souls of the dead who you won’t soon forget. But leave your costumes at home, they’re not allowed. With 12-acres of must-see Halloween creatures and entertainment, this fear fest is for kids 8-years-old and up. It is not recommended for younger children. Or their scaredy-cat parents, either!

Oct. 20 & 21; 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Cost: $20; free for Settlement members
Naper Settlement
523 S. Webster St.
Naperville
Online: napersettlement.org

Glenview Halloween Spooktacular
No need to cover up that costume with a coat. Just head to Glenview for an indoor Halloween party created just for kids ages 2-10. Park Center will host a Halloween extravaganza complete with inflatables, face painting, crafts, games and all of the Halloween entertainment they can handle. And your whole family will stay nice and warm no matter what the October weather brings. Now that’s our kind of Halloween treat!

Oct. 20; 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: $10/child
Park Center
2400 Chestnut Ave.
Glenview
Online: glenviewparks.org

Boo at the Zoophoto: Jim Schulz / Chicago Zoological Society

Boo at the Zoo
There’s no fear factor at Brookfield Zoo, so feel free to bring kids of all ages. With an enormous corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin smashing, professional pumpkin carving, a costume parade / contest, photo ops at the pumpkin patches, a build your own scarecrow and much more, your kids will likely be dragging you home by the end of the day! Don’t forget to stop by the animal cages to witness the animals enjoy their very own Halloween pumpkins.

Oct. 21, 22, 28 & 29; 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $19.85/adults; $14.50/ages 3-11
Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Rd.
Brookfield
708-688-8400
Online: brookfieldzoo.org

Chicago Bump Club Halloweenphoto: Chicago Bump Club

BCBoo: Little Monster Mash Halloween Bash
It’s going to be a scary good time for parents and kids at the BCBoo! Little Monster Mash Halloween Bash. Younger kids can explore the Little Beans playspace and those a bit older can check out the obstacle course while in their goblin gear. Live entertainment, dinner, games, crafts and family photos make this a party you and your littles won’t want to miss.

Oct. 22; 4 p.m-6 p.m.
Cost: $15/child, $10/adult
Little Beans Café
430 Asbury Ave.
Evanston
Online: bumpclubandbeyond.com

photo: Chicago Botanic Garden

 

Halloween at Chicago Botanic Garden
Not all bad things come in threes. Case in point: Three Halloween happenings at Chicago Botanic Garden. Enjoy ghoulish good times with the Spooky Pooch Parade. Fido and friends will get in the Halloween spirit with a special parade (October 21), the only day of the year that dogs are allowed at the Garden. Save time to stop by the Model Railroad Garden for Trains, Tricks & Treats (October 29 & 30) where you can trick or treat in costumes. Join in the Night of 1,000 Jack-O-Lanterns (October 20-23): one look at the intricately carved pumpkins and you’ll be in awe.  Add in the seasonal treats for sale and you’ve got the perfect evening.

Oct. 21; 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Spooky Pooch Parade
Cost: (In Advance) $15/member, $20/non-member; Children 3-12 $10/member, $12/non-member (Day-Of) $20/member, $25/non-member, Children 3-12 $12/member, $14/non-member

Oct. 21-22; 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Trains, Tricks & Treats
Cost: $6/adults; $4/ages 3-12; free for ages 2 & under; members save $1

Oct. 26-29, 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Night of 1,000 Jack-O-Lanterns
Cost: (In Advance) $12/member, $14/non-member;  Children 3-12 $10/member, $12/non-member (Day-Of) $14/member, $16/non-member, Children 3-12 $12/member, $14/non-member; free for ages 2 & under

Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Glencoe
Online: chicagobotanic.org

BatFest 
It’s going to get batty at Batavia’s annual Halloween family festival. Fly over for trick-or-treating, the Mothers’ Club Parade, dance performances, music, a pumpkin carving battle, the farmers’ market, pet costume contest, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, dance lessons, games, hayrides and much more!

Oct. 28; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Batavia Riverwalk & Peg Bond Pavilion
4 1/2 W. Wilson St., Lower Level
Batavia
Online: downtownbatavia.com/batfest

What are you doing to celebrate Halloween? Let us know in the Comments section below!

— Lisa Snart