Take a break from getting lost and found in corn mazes and working your way around all the harvest festivals Chicago has to offer to focus on 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 for the family in the city and ‘burbs. Check out our list of happenings, if you dare . . .
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Pier Pumpkin Lights at Navy Pier
Explore a variety of pumpkin pop-up installations throughout the Pier and enjoy fabulous fall deals at the first-ever Pier Pumpkin Lights, a month-long seasonal celebration. From jack o’lantern towers to light displays, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination will be decked out for fall. Oct. 1-Nov. 2. Event details.
Harvest Fest at Indian Boundary
Walk the makeshift patch to find your pumpkins big and small, round and tall and personalize them at the decorating station. Bring your newly decorated friend along for the Halloween-themed carnival games, petting zoo, pony rides and maybe even end the day faux-inking yourself with temporary tats. Oct. 6; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Event details.
Halloween Parade of Artists in the Loop
Arts in the Dark is a magical nighttime parade that draws together world-renowned institutions, celebrated Chicago organizations and aspiring artists in every field. It is a magical evening parade that delights the audience with unique floats, spectacle puppets and creative performances. Oct. 19; 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Event details.
photo: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
Supper with Snakes at Peggy Notebaert
Spooky snakes or just cool critters? Don your very best Halloween costume for an evening of ssscrumptious treats, ssslithery friends, and sssilly games. Play games, Trick or treat your way through a museum full of live snakes and explore new snake facts along the way. Oct. 25; 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Event details.
Terror from the Top Halloween Party at 360 CHICAGO
Guests 21 and over are invited for 360 Chicago’s Terror from the Top Halloween Party. You’ll have unlimited TILT rides, tarot card readings and master illusionist performances, a chilling DJ playlist and more. Oct. 25; 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Event details.
photo: 360 CHICAGO
Dawn of the Dead Yoga at 360 CHICAGO
Rise from bed early for Chicago’s highest, most haunted yoga class. Stick around after to sip on a pumpkin spice mimosa from Bar 94. Oct. 25; 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Event details.
Harry Potter-Inspired Halloween Party at The Laboratory
It’s a kids-only zone at The Laboratory for Harry Potter’s littlest costumed fans to enjoy lessons in ghostdom. While parents enjoy a one-hour breather, kids might just see an explosion. Or two. Or three. Let’s just see where the night takes them, eh? Oct. 26; 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. or 6:15 p.m.-7:15 p.m. Event details.
Spooky Dance Party at Lacuna Lofts
Treat the entire family to this spooky fun pop-up fest that includes a spooky dance party, character meet-and-greet with Coco, a Day of the Dead coloring station, a dance class and more! Oct. 26; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Event details.
Mummies Night: 100 Years of Mummies at Oriental Institute Museum
Celebrate 100 years of mummies, tombs, and magic. Mummify a simulated mummy, take a mummy tour, or hear a mummy-tale. Make mummy crafts, compete in a Mummy Wrap Race, and catch a family photo. Play the game many a mummy has taken to his own tomb—Senet. Oct. 26; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Event details.
photo: Lincoln Park Zoo
Spooky Zoo Spectacular at Lincoln Park Zoo
Get down like a Halloween party animal at Lincoln Park Zoo‘s annual Spooky Zoo Spectacular. Costumes are highly encouraged, but not required, at this BOO-tastic bash packed with all sorts of kid-friendly entertainment and plenty of trick or treating. But, please don’t feed the animals . . . at least not the real ones. Oct. 26; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Event details.
Great Pumpkin Pup & Kid Festival at NEWCITY
This fest will feature all things Halloween, including costume contests for pets and kids, Boo Bingo, trick-or-treating and spooky prizes. Furry ghouls can play on the lawn while kids trick-or-treat throughout the complex. Oct. 26; 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Event details.
Wicker Park Boo-Palooza
Wicker Park bubbles with Halloween fun for the entire family at Boo-Palooza. Kids and their pups can get dressed up and join the children’s costume parade. There’s also a pumpkin patch and decorating station, live music, ghost bingo, a maze and straw stack, face painting, activity tables and more. Oct. 26; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Event details.
Bubble-Bean Halloween Party
One ticket, two venues, endless fun. The party starts at Bubbles Academy at 4 p.m. with a concert, snacks, trick or treating and spooky art. At 5:30 p.m. all of the costumed cuties will parade down Wood St. over to Little Beans for part 2 of the party! Enjoy a light pizza dinner, more trick or treating, glitter tattoos, a haunted playhouse and sundaes. Oct. 27; 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Event details.
photo: Pexels via Pixabay
IN THE ‘BURBS
Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND Discovery
Things are about to get spooky with spell-binding scavenger hunts, giant Halloween models, and meet and greets with LEGOLAND‘s LEGO Shark & Police Officer. Oct. 5-Nov. 3. Event details.
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival
The City of Highwood is hosting their 10th Annual Great Pumpkin Festival, benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation. The fest will boast fan favorites, including an attempt to break a world record of most pumpkins carved and lit at once, all-you-can-carve pumpkins, trick-or-treating, costume contests, a pumpkin parade and more. Oct. 11-13; Fri., 4 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 11 p.m.-9 p.m. Event details.
Boo at the Zoo
There’s no fear factor at Brookfield Zoo, so feel free to bring the kids. With an enormous corn maze, hayrides, pumpkin smashing, pumpkin carving, a costume parade/contest, 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. 12-27; Sat. & Sun, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Event details.
photo: Chicago Botanic Garden
Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns at Chicago Botanic Garden
More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins—some as large as 150 pounds—will light up the night. The LED-lit jack-o’-lanterns will be staged along a festive, paved pathway. Oct. 16-27; Wed.-Sun., 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Event details.
Glenview Halloween Spooktacular
No need to cover up that costume with a coat. Park Center will host an indoor Halloween extravaganza with inflatables, face painting, crafts, games and all of the Halloween entertainment the kids can handle. Oct. 18; 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Event details.
All Hallows Eve 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. With 12-acres of must-see Halloween creatures and entertainment, this fear fest is for kids 8-years-old and up. Oct. 18 & 19; 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Event details.
Bubbles’ Spooky Bash at The Learning Experience
This spooktacular party is open to all with Halloween festivities in a not-so-scary haunted house. The day will include a costume contest, spooky arts and crafts, Halloween games, fall-themed snacks and appearances by Bubbles the Elephant. Oct. 19; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Event details.
photo: rawpixels via Pexels
Haunted Halloween Bash at Haunted Trails
Enjoy a meet-and-greet with superheroes, a monster slice of pizza and a soft drink, unlimited Crazy Cabs and Miner Mike Coaster Rides, $10 in gameplay, a free raffle prize entry, costume parade, trick-or-treat candy stations, a balloon drop, karaoke, music and games! Oct. 25; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Event details.
Haunted Halloween Bash at Enchanted Castle
Enjoy a superhero meet-and-greet, a monster slice of 1-topping pizza and a soft drink, unlimited Bumper Cars, Catapult Rides and Quest II Kids Playland, $10 in gameplay, a free raffle prize entry, costume parade, balloon drop, trick-or-treat candy stations, karaoke, music and games! Oct. 25; 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Event details.
Bat-Tastic Flyers at Gibson Woods Nature Preserve
Have a bat-tastic evening with presenters from Incredible Bats to fly you into Batweek. You’ll learn about these winged wonders’ lives and challenges, as well as meet live fruit bats. Fri. Oct. 25; 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Event details.
photo: LEGOLAND Discovery Chicago
Halloween Adults-Only Night at LEGOLAND Discovery
Have you always wanted to visit LEGOLAND Discovery Center without the little ones? Well here’s your chance! They have awesome activities planned for the evening including, themed booze, costume contests, glow-in-the-dark building challenges, Halloween-themed games and more! Oct. 25; 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Event details.
BatFest in Batavia
Fly over to Batavia 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. 26; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Event details.
Halloween Kinderfest at Hobrauhaus
Families are invited to celebrate the spookiest time of the year with children’s costume contests, parades, live music, face painting, Halloween-themed arts and crafts stations, $5 kids meals and more. Oct. 27; 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Event details.
— Maria Chambers