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Haunted Spots for Low-Key Thrills & Chills

If you’ve tricked out your house in spider webs, ghosts and goblins and your little ones can’t seem to get enough of the gore, it might be time to take them on a scare adventure. From big-league haunted houses to animated farm sheds and farms that offer a bonus corn maze or pumpkin patch, we’ve searched Chicago for the best spots for pint-sized frights with just the right amount of spook for little ones. Read on . . . and get a bit of scream on.

Bengston's Fun Farm and Haunted Barn

Recommended age: The Haunted Barn is PG13, no one under the age of 12 is permitted without an adult; the giggles in the Fun Farm are open to all ages

Experience the frights of Halloween as you navigate the scary and completely animated Haunted Barn. If you chicken out on walking the Haunted Barn or if you're with little ones who prefer a lot less scare factor, get your giggles on in the animated Fun Barn.

13341 W. 151st St., Homer Glen; Online: pumpkinfarm.com

photo: MS(

Museum of Science & Industry Boo Fest

Museum of Science and Industry's Boo Fest is two weeks of family friendly science experiments that will get you in the Halloween spirit! Explore specially decorated exhibits, examine the science of Halloween with pumpkin drops and slime, try your hand at cow eyeball dissection and more. 

5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Hyde Park; Online: msichicago.org

Goebbert's Pumpkin Farm Haunted House - Pingree Grove

Recommended age: Appropriate for school-age kiddos

Take a walk on the spooky side with twists and turns through this haunted adventure.  Bring a cozy sweater, because there are thrills and chills that will leave your spine-tingling.

42W813 Reinking Rd., Pingree Grove; Online: goebbertspumpkinpatch.com

Goebbert's Pumpkin Farm Haunted House - South Barrington

Recommended age: Appropriate for school-age kiddos

Make no mistake, friends, this 10-room house is designed for kids, but it's not for those who don't like to be big-time spooked. So, be ready to walk it with kiddos jumping on your back like scaredy-dog Scooby Doo.

40 W. Higgins Rd., South Barrington; Online: goebbertspumpkinfarm.com

Sonny Acres Farm Spook Shed

Recommended age: Ghosts and goblins 12 & under; Haunted barn recommended for ages 11 & up.

While Sonny Acres has a haunted hayride and barn appropriate for those who don't mind the daylights being scared out of them, they also have a Spook Shed and daytime hayrides perfect for little ones who'd just like to dip their toes into Halloween fun. The shed is completely automated with no actors.

29W310 North Ave., West Chicago; Online: sonnyacres.com

All Hallows Eve at Naper Settlement

Recommended age: This fear fest is for kids 8-years-old and up. It is not recommended for younger children. Or their scaredy-cat parents.

The creepy-crawlies come out on two of the darkest nights of the year, Oct. 15 & 16, and you don’t want to miss the terrifying fun at Naper Settlement. Naper Settlement will transform into an eerie and bizarre wonderland, featuring spine-chilling attractions and interactive experiences. View performances by magician Steve Chezaday, take a stroll through a zombie maze, browse the mysterious dark art gallery, play a game of laser tag and rock out to monster jams. 

523 S. Webster St., Naperville; Online: napersettlement.org

Scarecrow Trail at Morton Arboretum

Recommended age: Open to all ages

Guests can stroll around Meadow Lake to view scarecrows created by local scout troops and school groups all throughout the month of October. After your walk, vote for your favorite scarecrow in the visitors center. 

4100 Il-Rte. 53, Lisle, Online: mortonarb.org

Great Wolf Lodge

Recommended age: Open to all ages

Great Wolf Lodge is embracing the spooky season with the return of their annual month-long Howl-O-Ween celebration, running Oct. 1-31. This year's activities include Trick-Or-Treat Trail, The Thrill of Howl-O-Ween Yoga Tails, Monster Bash Dance Party and Critter Cartoons, just to name a few.

1700 Nations Dr., Gurnee; Online: greatwolf.com

The Forge: Lemont Quarries

Recommended age: The Forge has a Fear Factor Scale on their website for each activity so you can best figure out which work best for your family

The Forge: Lemont Quarries is inviting all to the largest outdoor adventure course in North America. This fall, in addition to their regular activities, they will host Fear Month to celebrate the change of seasons. The month includes family movie nights, zombie tag, fireside ghost stories and more. 

1001 Main St., Lemont: Online: forgeparks.com

photo: Museum of Illusions

Museum of Illusions

Recommended age: Open to all ages

Museum of Illusions is decking out its space with themed decor for Halloween, making it a go-to destination for the holiday. Playing into the illusions throughout the exhibits, such as their well-known Head on a Platter, Vortex Tunnel, Infinity and Anti-Gravity Room and more, the decorations will serve as a great backdrop. 

25 E. Washington St., Loop; Online: moichicago.com

Scream Scene

EDITOR'S NOTE: CLOSED DUE TO COVID FOR THE 2021 SEASON

Recommended age: Regular haunts recommended for ages 10 & up; parents discretion for "Lights On" experience

Scream Scene has been famously terrifying visitors since 1997 with its insane clown maze, crazed butchers and chainsaw maniacs. However, they tone it down for two days only so little ones can experience the fun with a "Lights On" performance they won't soon forget.

Oakton St. & Skokie Blvd., Skokie; Online: screamscene.org

—Maria Chambers

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