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 . . .

photo: via

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. 7; 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

Halloween Parade of Artists
Arts in the Dark is a magical nighttime parade that draws together world-renowned institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago, celebrated Chicago organizations like Lookingglass Theatre Company, important programs like After School Matters and aspiring artists in every field. It is a magical evening parade that delights the audience with unique floats, spectacle puppets and creative performances that will be exceptionally dramatic in the parade’s new location on historic State Street.

Oct. 20; 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: free
Parade takes place on Columbus Dr. from Balbo to Monroe

Harry Potter-Inspired Halloween Party
It’s a kids-only zone at The Laboratory for Harry Potter’s littlest costumed fans to enjoy pizza and lessons in ghostdom. While parents enjoy a night out on the town, kids might just seen an explosion. Or two. Or three. Let’s just see where the night takes them, eh?

Oct. 26 & 27; 6:15 p.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: $45
The Laboratory
2349 W. North Ave., Wicker Park

spooky-zoophoto: Lincoln Park Zoo

Spooky Zoo Spectacular
Get down like a Halloween party animal at Lincoln Park Zoo’s 32nd 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. 27; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: Free
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St., Lincoln Park

Wicker Park Boo-Palooza
Wicker Park bubbles with Halloween fun for the entire family at Boo-Palooza. Get dressed up and join the children’s costume parade on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. There’s also a pumpkin patch and decorating station, a Mr. Dave Music performance, bobbing for apples, face painting, activity tables and more.


Oct. 27; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $10/family suggested donation
1425 N. Damen, Wicker Park

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

halloween-party-generalphoto: anjanettew via flickr

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival
The City of Highwood is hosting their 9th Annual Great Pumpkin Festival, benefiting Make-A-Wish Foundation. The fest will boast fan favorites, including all you can carve pumpkins, trick-or-treating, costume contests, a pumpkin parade and more.

Oct. 5-7; Fri., 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 11 p.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: $3 daily admission, $5 weekend pass, free for ages 6 & under
City Hall
17 Highwood Ave., Highwood

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 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. 19; 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Cost: $10/child, free for ages 2 & under
Park Center
2400 Chestnut Ave., Glenview

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.

Oct. 19 & 20; 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m.
Cost: $20; free for Settlement members
Naper Settlement
523 S. Webster St., Naperville

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 opps 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. 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 & 28; 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $21.95/adults; $15.95/ages 3-11
Brookfield Zoo
3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield

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. Kids can explore the Little Beans playspace 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. 21; 4 p.m-6 p.m.
Cost: $10-$15
Little Beans Café
430 Asbury Ave., Evanston

photo: Chicago Botanic Garden

Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns at Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago Botanic Garden is daring to be different, as you’ll find nothing else like this event in Chicago. More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins—some as large as 150 pounds—will light up the night. To make it extra ghoul, New York-based Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns will spend up to 15 hours sculpting a single pumpkin using scalpels, knives, gouges and power tools. The LED-lit jack-o’-lanterns will be staged along a festive, paved pathway, starting at the Esplanade. Along the way, encounter entertaining characters, watch live carving and view the ghostly trains in the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America.

Oct. 24-28; 6:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Cost: (Before Oct. 23) $16/adults, $13/ages 3-12; (After Oct. 23) $`18/adults, $15/ages 3-12; free for ages 2 & under
Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd.

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. 27; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Free
Batavia Riverwalk & Peg Bond Pavilion, Batavia

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

— Maria Chambers & Lisa Snart