Did you rock September? Excellent. Welcome October with a bang at events full of fall fun! From apples to corn mazes, read on to find our Editor’s fail-proof picks for loving the family life this weekend.

photo: Lincoln Park Zoo Fall Fest



Strap on an Apron for a Family Cooking Class
Kids work side-by-side with their parents (or grandparents!) to make and then enjoy a delicious meal. It’s the perfect combo of a fun activity, hands-on cooking instruction, a delicious dinner and recipes so you can recreate the dishes at home. Fri. Event details.

See a Very Special Blue Man Performance
Blue Man Group and Autism Speaks have teamed up for a collaborative performance.  Slight modifications, such as dim lighting, bean bags, calm environment and quiet corners, have been made so kids with autism can partake in the Blue Man experience.  Sun. Event details.

Lincoln Park

Go Wild for a Zoo Fall Fest
Usher in the harvest season with your animal friends at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall Fest, a celebration complete with rides, activities and entertainment. An a-maize-ing corn maze, Ferris wheel, two corn pools, hay mountain, a giant burlap sack slide and hay wagon rides round out the extravaganza. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Lincoln Square

Keep the Doctor Away with this Apple Fest
Dozens of vendors will be selling apples in all shapes and forms — apple cider, candy apples, apple pie, apple strudel — as well as handcrafted items. There is also a kid zone full of children’s activities and live music by local singers and instrumentalists. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Logan Square

Come One, Come All! Midnight Circus in the Parks!
Chicago’s offbeat circus takes its act on the road, performing in parks in all corners of the city  — this week’s venue is Kosciuszko Park. The troupe does high-wire acts, juggling, clowning and acrobatics. It’s all for a good cause: The tour raises money to improve public parks and playgrounds. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Near East Side

Schedule a Dinner & a Cruise to Remember
Lawry’s The Prime Rib is teaming up with the Chicago Architecture Foundation for an unforgettable cruise down Chicago’s famous river. Experience the architectural highlights on both branches of the river and then enjoy a three-course meal of Lawry’s classics. Fri.-Sun. Event details.



Bring the Kids into the Fold with Origami in the Garden
A stunning tower of white cranes ascending skyward. A glorious winged horse. A life boat suspended by bronze oars. Sounds like a dreamlike fantasy, but we can assure you it’s quite real. The Morton Arboretum’s exhibit, Origami in the Garden, is inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding and it’s reams of wholesome fun. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Keep Coming Back For this Fall-Long Festival
Take a wee drive for more than 25 attractions at the Shades of Autumn Festival. You have the traditional hayrides, pumpkin picking and petting zoo, but, the littles will be wowed by the famous pumpkin cannon, hamster track, semi-truck slide, trikes for tikes, scrumptious apple cider donuts and so much more. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Get the Kids in on the Oktoberfest Fun at Hofbräuhaus Chicago
In a grand dining hall packed with communal tables, you can get excited about a rotating array of European musicians that play oompah music on stage (brace yourself for the chicken dance). There are also kids’ parades and games, and you might even see an aplhorn, a long horn used by Swiss mountain dwellers. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Dream Big with Disney
Adventure is waiting and courage leads the way at Dream Big! With the help of enchanted pixie-dust, Tinker Bell takes you on a journey of beloved Disney tales with your favorite cast of characters. Join in the fun as they all learn that true love is the greatest magic of all! Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Tackle Fall Like It’s Done in the Wild, Wild West
Don your best cowboy boots and get ready for an autumn Wild West adventure via Donley’s Wild West Town, a family themed park with loads of things to see and do. Pan for faux gold, take a vintage canoe ride and see a show. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Can’t get enough of those fests? Check out our story: Harvest Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss. For more ideas on how to spend this weekend, check out our Family Events Calendar

Share your weekend plans in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers