The excitement in the air for Halloween is palpable — costumes are hung in the closets with care and visions of sacks of candy dance in kids’ heads. You have a busy weekend of prepping for the ghoulish day ahead, but carve out time for these fabulous happenings around town. Read on for our Editor’s favorite picks.

photo: Donley’s Wild West


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.

Museum Campus

Go Prehistoric at Jurassic World: The Exhibit
The Field Museum is always the place to go when you want to gawk at real dinosaur fossils, but right now you can also see what it would’ve been like to walk among these breathtaking creatures in Jurassic World: The ExhibitionFri.-Sun. Event details.

Navy Pier

Eric Carle Brightens Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Children’s Museum newest exhibit, Very Eric Carle, introduces, reacquaints and inspires visitors to the work of renowned author and illustrator, Eric Carle. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Noble Square

Akeelah and the Bee Hits the Stage
Adapted for the stage from the award-winning film, Akeelah and the Bee is an inspirational story about a determined 11yo girl overcoming hardships on Chicago’s South Side. Akeelah uses her talent to compete in a national spelling bee while bringing her community together. Fri. & Sat. Event details.



Boo! at the Zoo
Stir up Halloween fun in the company of lions, tigers and bears. Animal lovers of every age are invited to drop in for haunted hayrides, pumpkin carving demos, a creepy cowboy carousel, special zoo chats, a costume parade and contest, and more. Sat. & Sun. Event details.


Stock Up on Pumpkins at Siegel’s Farm
Siegel’s Farm welcomes families to harvest memories at the annual Pumpkin Fest with more than 30 attractionsAs a bonus, guests can watch an 1,800lb pumpkin drop from a crane on Sunday. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Last Chance to Enjoy this Month-Long Fall Fest
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 and apple cider donuts. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Forget Trick-or-Treat . . Brick-or-Treat!
Monsters, zombies, and swamp creatures – oh my! LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is being invaded by all sorts of creepy creatures.  Highlights include monsters and skeletons overrunning MINILAND, a scavenger hunt, trick-or-treating for bricks and building challenges! 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 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. Fri-Sun. Event details.

West Loop

Halloween Haven at Chicago French Market
Slip the kids in costume (and you, too!) and trick or treat your way through 30+ vendor shops. Many will be offering coupons and specials. Come for the sugar, stay for lunch! Sat. Event details.


Get Your Screen Time in at an International Film Fest
Calling all movie lovers, young and less young . . . The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival is back! Check out the website to find out how to enjoy the wide-ranging flicks, participate in workshops and meet filmmakers from across the globe. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

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