cheap entertainment Archives

Six Flags Fright Fest BOGO Coupons at Dunkin Donuts

My Dunkin' Donuts put out a stack of coupons for buy one, get one free tickets to Six Flags' Fright Fest Oct. 2-11, or $15 off Oct. 15-Oct. 31. The signage said you were supposed to buy something, but my shop was just giving them away.

Of course, if you buy the season pass for next year you can go to Fright Fest as much as you want for the rest of 2010. And you know, it's only open on weekends.

And, yes, yes, I used to work there as the Bride of Frankenstein. Tell us another one, Granny.

More Dunkin' Donuts deals available now:

  • Free treat bag with purchase of 1 dozen doughnuts or 50-count Munchkins. They are small but cute, and really, I'd rather my kids have small bags, wouldn't you?
  • Use this Amex card at DD, get $5. Still available, and I really need to do this since we are at DD at least 3x a week since it opened up right outside the gymnastics center in Oak Park. (In fact, Nutmeg and I are there right now.)
  • Free doughnut with purchase of medium or larger beverage. This offer is on the bottom of every receipt at my location: Go to within 3 days and tell about your visit.
  • Free medium beverage when you enroll in Dunkin' Perks, plus another on your birthday.

Amazon: $3 Off One Album Download Tuesday Only



Tomorrow only, Amazon is offering a coupon code for $3 off a download of one of 35 new release albums. The coupon code is PICKDEAL, and the eligible items are listed here. Choices include Hurley by Weezer and 34 other albums by bands I've never heard of but hip people like you probably really love. 

The albums are priced from $5.99-$7.99 to begin with, so $3 makes for a very good deal, if you download music.

Six Flags Great America: Buy a 2011 Season Pass, Get In Free the Rest of 2010



When I was in college, I worked at Fright Fest. I was the Bride of Frankenstein. It kind of sucked because middel-school boys would try to pull my tall wig off every single day, which really hurt since it was attached to my hair with a million bobby pins. Still, it was better than a lot of Fright Fest jobs, like standing along the "haunted train" route to scare the passengers, because I was free to go inside and warm up with a hot cocoa and an apple turnover anytime I wanted.

Also, I had mono but didn't tell the Fright Fest bosses because I didn't want to get fired or banned from using the communal makeup.

I could relive those moments of my youth for less this year, since Six Flags Great America is selling 2011 season passes for the lowest price in $20: $59.99 if you buy four. Buying the pass now also gets you in for the remainder of the 2010 season, including, you guessed it, Fright Fest.

'Course, the park's only open on weekends at this point, and the Hurricane Harbor water park is closed for the season, but still, a good deal.

Just don't pick on the Fright Fest characters. 

$25 Off Blue Man Group Tickets

When you order tickets for Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre, use the coupon code FALL8 to take $25 off. That makes them $44 each. This offer ends August 29. 



This Week's Deals and Steals Newsletter: Free and Cheap This Week

This week's Deals and Steals newsletter collects a few free and cheap deals in the Chicago area for the next couple of weeks. Some of these will be new to you, others old news. You can subscribe to the weekly email newsletter here.

  • Free workshops on creating eco-friendly play spaces and kids projects at Colori Eco Paint Boutique on Saturday, July 31.
  • Free entrance: Fiesta del Sol street fair in Pilsen, July 29 - August 1. Family-friendly event features carnival rides, giveaways and Mexican food.
  • Cheap classroom supplies (up to 80% off) at Learning Resources tent sale in Vernon Hills. August 5-7 and August 12-14. (Thanks, Mashup Mom!)
  • Free at CVS this week: free photo book and free or (if you have coupons) moneymaking Kotex product. (Also, in an update, moneymaking BioTrue contact solution.)
  • Free garage sale finder: See every advertised rummage sale in the Chicago area this weekend on the map at ChicagoNow blog Garage Sale Warrior.

$4 Movie Plus $1 Popcorn Plus $1 Drink = 1 Heck of a Cheap Date



This Sunday, July 25, use this coupon at an AMC theater to get any size popcorn for $1 and any size drink for $1. (Thanks to the brilliant posters on

For a really cheap date, combine with $4 AMC movie tickets from KGB deals.

Hm, we're rid of 2 of our kids this weekend. Maybe a date for Mr. and Mrs. Frugalista? 

Five Free eBooks This Weekend



Do you have a BlackBerry, Android, iPad or iPhone?

Then get out of here, you're not a frugalista.

Just kidding. But you can get five free e-books for your device from Borders this weekend -- in fact they should be available for download already here. Oh, and you could also read them on your computer if you want.

The titles:

Dean Koontz's "Frankenstein: Prodigal Son,"

"One Shot" by Lee Child

"The Alchemyst" by Michael Scott

Julia Child's "Kitchen Wisdom"

"Master your Metabolism" by Jillian Michaels

You can also download chapter 6 of Danielle Steele's upcoming novel "Legacy," which hits shelves Sept. 28. 
First you need to download their eReader application -- also free -- for your device or computer. If you already have the app, just search for these titles in the Borders e-book store.

Also, keep in mind that there are generally lots of free classic books available for ebook readers. For example I have reread a couple of my favorite Jane Austen novels since I got my Kindle. (And I must say, they get better every time -- except for that way she has of breaking out of the story at the end just when it's time for the satisfying romantic climax, and wrapping it all up in her own voice as if she called you to let you know how it turned out. Jane, cut it out with the premature narrative withdrawal, would you?)

Photo from Borders.

Where to Find Chicago Happy Hour Deals



The Frugalista must admit she doesn't get out much these days. For me, Happy Hour sometimes consists of a few moms gathered in a backyard with a bottle of wine and a Slip N Slide to keep the kids occupied. Which has its own charms.

But if she did get out to bars, she would totally be on the lookout for happy hour specials. I started to research this but found out that a state law prohibits happy hour drink specials? Yowzas, I'm not in Wisconsin anymore!

Still, there are food specials out there, and some bars do advertise Friday night drink specials -- whether they are flouting the law or if the law is narrow enough to easily get around I'm not sure. The Chicago page shows that I could be drinking $5 martinis tonight at Stefani Tuscany Cafe on W. Wacker, or half-price appies at Sully's House Tavern on the Near North Side. tells me I can get a free buffet at Lincoln Park's Kincades from 5-7 p.m. on Fridays. Lots of other food and drink specials listed here.

Chowhound always has good recommendations, and here are some ideas for Chicago happy hour buffets, although they date bake to 2006 so it'd be a good idea to call and check if they're still going.

BarsOnline Chicago informs us that we could get a Guinness for $2.50 tonight at Hog Head McDunna's in Lincoln Park West, or a free buffet at Jack Sullivan's on North Clybourn (a reader just informed me they've been closed more than 3 years. Told you I don't get out much!). 

Oh, and by the way! I wrote this post for my friend Myscha Theriault's's Friday happy hour carnival. Check it out.

Photo by Kenny Hindgren, used via Creative Commons license.


Free and Cheap Summer Fun for the Kids



Summer vacation is entering its second week here in Oak Park, and our play group just got rained out. Which means the kids are driving me krazy with a capital K, which reminds me to post these ideas for free and cheap ways to keep kids occupied in Chicago this summer. Feel free to chime in with your own ideas in the comments section.

Summer Movies

For stay-at-home parents, it's a summer institution: the weekday morning cheap-o movie series for kids. The kids may be loud, the movie may stink, but at least it's air conditioned. Classic Cinemas is still showing $1 movies every Wednesday, starting June 16. (This week, yay!) For an even better deal, Cinemark is selling a 10-movie punch card for $5 this year, kicking off June 15 with Monsters vs. Aliens. Marcus Theatres kicks off June 30 with The Lightning Thief.

Chicago Park District Events

Wee Windy City provides links to the schedule for free movies in neighborhood parks, as well as the calendar of other Park District events.

Free Bowling

Sounds too good to be true, but it's for reals: Children can play two games free every day of summer at a ton of bowling alleys across the country. There are lanes in Chicago (including Waveland Bowl), Berwyn, Arlington Heights, Downers Grove, Orland Park and lots of other local spots. If parents want to play along, they can buy a $25 family pass for the whole season.

Bike to the Botanic Garden

Did you know that admission to the Botanic Garden up in Glencoe is free? It's just the parking that costs -- a whopping $20 per car. If you have one of those bike trailer thingies or if your kids are old enough to pedal on their own, strap on helmets and hit the trails.

Photo by Michael_Lehet, used via Creative Commons license.

Free Stuff to Do in Chicago Parks This Summer

ChicagoNow blog Wee Windy City today lists your options for free (or cheap, but mostly free) stuff to do in Chicago parks this summer. I know that our neighborhood splashpad figures heavily into my own summer "schedule" this year. Not only is it free, it saves on baths!

Summer Scheduling Series: Chicago Park District

Entertainment Book for $6 Today Only



I'm working up a post on affordable gift ideas for dads, grads and teachers, but here's one right away: any Entertainment Book for any city for $12 shipped, today.

Thanks, Want Not!

The email I just got:

$6 Cash Back
All 2010 Entertainment Books

Reg: $35-$45
Today: $6 + Free S/H (after Cashbaq rebate)



Next Week Is "TV Week" on Amazon

It's no shark week, but if you like to buy TV shows on DVD, check out Amazon's Gold Box offerings for next week. They're promising up to 67 percent off on the following shows:

·         NCIS: Seasons 1-6
·         Desperate Housewives: The Complete Seasons 1-5
·         Gilligan's Island: The Complete Series Collection

Nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" like 100 or so hours of grisley crime scene investigations, right?

Watch To Kill a Mockingbird for $4 in Downer's Grove



You can see the classic movie To Kill a Mockingbird on the big screen for $4 per person next week in Downer's Grove.

I hope my husband doesn't read this post because I'd like to take him to this movie as a surprise. But if you are reading, Epu, will you go out with me Wednesday night? If we can get a sitter?

Where: Classic Cinemas Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave., Downers Grove

When: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

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Free Kids Things to Do Over Spring Break This Week



Has your house suddenly been infested by rugrats demanding TV and snacks? Do not panick. Those are your children. They're normally in school at this time, but this week, to commemorate the changing of the seasons or the crucifixion or however you see it, these children will be out of school lo these five days.

It's Spring Break, as in, Break Everything in Your House. Alternatively, you can get them out and about so they can break things in museums instead. Here are some fun free things to do over Spring Break:

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Today's Groupon: Architectural Boat Tour Half Off -- SOLD OUT



When friends are visiting Chicago in the summer, taking them on one of those architectural boat tours is the best possible outing in my opinion. You cool off by getting out on the water, you rest your feet, and you look smart or at least hide your ignorance by having the tour guide tell them all about the buildings. And if you're like me, you won't be bored taking the tour again with future guests because you'll have forgotten most of the names and details.

Today's Groupon is a 75-minute river tour on the Wendella line for $12 (52% off). Like all Groupons, it's good for a year, so I would definitely wait until it gets nice and warm out there to make my reservation.


Photo by pmarkham, used via Creative Commons license.

Second City: Free, Cheap and a New Way to Double Your Haiti Donation


Certain things are so unfunny that even Second City can't wring any good material out of them. Like, than Haitian earthquake. Which is probably why SC is playing it straight and matching its audiences' donations to the Red Cross this week. Go see one of the participating shows and donate, and they'll match the donations at the end of the week.

And while we're on Second City, lookie here!

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Polar Adventure Days Tomorrow


Tomorrow (Saturday) is one of the three Polar Adventure Days of the winter at Northerly Island, and it's a free Park District thing. Watch ice sculpture happening, see wild animals, storytelling, crafts. Supposed to be snowshoe rentals but I don't think there will be snow.

They say siberian huskies will be there. I was hoping for sled rides, but a) not that much snow left and b) now that I look at it, the press release doesn't actually mention rides. Just that the dogs will be there, not that they will pull you. Damn lazy dogs.

I always thought these polar days sounded like fun and tomorrow would be a good day for it if it is not raining.

Photo by http2007, used via Creative Commons license.

Free Documentaries Online

Today on Wise Bread, I learned about the streaming movie site I am thinking about pulling the plug on our teensy Netflix plan -- we've had the same movie sitting around for 2 weeks so really even though it is only $5 a month we are overpaying. I'm adding this site to my list of free and cheap sources of movies and TV shows (, RedBox with free movie codes, Amazon downloads) to fill the gap.

I don't see really new hits like Food Inc. on here, but there are several that look of interest to us frugalites:

Supermarket Secrets (an expose of the British mainstream food system, sounds kind of similar to Food Inc.)

Money as Debt: International Bankers Own the World and This Is How

There does seem to be a surfeit of depressing stuff on this site, but I guess that's just the way of the documentary. Sorry, I'm sure I would be a better person if I did, but I don't think I can stomach Auschwitz Parts I through VI at this point in my life.

Thanks to my fellow Wise Bread blogger Paul Michael for his post!

Free Museums on Saturday


The Notebaert Nature Museum is free this Saturday if you print and present this admission card. Kids LOVE the butterfly enclosure there and it's probably the highest-profile Illinois museum participating in Smithsonian Magazine's free museum day. Others include the Swedish American Museum, which has that fun kids' immigration activity thing, and the Aurora Fire Museum.

Too bad we are booked solid Saturday what with the Parenthesis consignment sale and then a free "tea" for kids and their dolls at the Oak Park Women's Exchange. Which by the way is supposed to be a great place to get inexpensive outfits for kids' dolls, if you're like me and the kids' grandparents have so generously given them an outrageously expensive doll for which there are so many outrageously expensive outfits on display at a certain outrageously huge store on Michigan Ave.

No matter -- I just found out that our Oak Park Public Library now has a Museum Adventure Pass program, similar to the museum passes Chicago Public Libraries has been providing for years. Using that we don't have to wait for a free day -- we could go free anytime the pass is available to the Morton Arboretum, the Kohl Children's Museum, the Brookfield Zoo or even get a parking pass to the Chicago Botanic Garden. OK the list is not as extensive as the Chicago program's but there is plenty there to keep us busy.

Lots of other suburban libraries are participating in this including Oak Forest, Aurora, Berwyn, Evanston, Forest Park and more.

Photo by kevcole, used via Creative Commons license.

Free Thursday: Blogapalooza

ChicagoNow's throwing a little party for the general public tomorrow along with the 900 shops on Michigan Ave. Well, it's kind of an event at the various stores, but since there will be free food and drink and fun, interesting people there, I shall call it a party.

Michigan Ave.! Just like Oprah's party. Here are the deets:

Thursday, Sept. 24

5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

900 N. Michigan Ave.

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$5 Off Disney on Ice or The Greatest Show on Earth


We recently took advantage of an offer to get Disney on Ice tickets at the United Center for $11 a seat, and it was worth every penny. My 5-year-old in particular was mezmerized by the show and I told myself, "Now you don't have to take them to Disney World!"

 Disney is over for the rest of the year at United Center, but there will be a run at MetroCentre in Rockford come December. And the Ringling Brothers show Zing Zang Zoom will be at both Rosemont and the United Center soon.

For both Disney and Ringling shows, the coupon code MOM appears to be still active for discount tickets. But if you don't end up using that code, here is another for $5 off per ticket any Disney on Ice or Ringling Bros Show, through the end of the year: FS22.

According to a little card I picked up at the United Center, that code will work at Ticketmaster, for phone orders and even at the venue box offices, for up to six tickets.

And "no double discounts." So don't even think about trying to combine MOM with FS22 for $6 tickets. Not gonna happen.


Great Deals for Tuesday

I just flew back from San Francisco, and boy are my arms tired! Actually, they are from hauling around a baby with his car seat. But they're not too tired to type up some deals!

60% off Uggs Boots on DealNews. (Thanks, Wise Bread!) (And possibly even better: 79% off kids' shoes from LL Bean + free shipping, also on DealNews. Hey, this DealNews site is addictive!)

Today's Groupon: Ticket to Millennium Park Gourmet Food Event for 47% off. (That makes it $89 instead of $169. The deal is already "on" meaning that if you sign up you definitley get it. Tickets available for 9/26 or 9/27 only. You have until midnight to buy.)

Walgreens coupon-free moneymaker: Buy vitamin drink packets for a $2 profit after Register Rewards. (Thanks For the Mommas!)

Printable coupons:

Sign up for the Luvs network for a $5/1 coupon. (Thanks, Money Saving Mom!)

$2/1 Healthy Choice coupon

$2/1 off Advil




Free "Party" With Oprah in Chicago

It's usually pretty hard to get tickets to see Oprah live. Long waiting lists, yadda yadda yadda. But Tuesday, you could see Oprah on Chicago's Magnificent Mile, taping the season premier of her 24th season. And admission is my favorite price: free.

You'd better have the day off, though. According to Oprah's Web site, they're letting people into the "party" area at noon, and taping starts at 5 p.m. I can't imagine how early people will start lining up for entrance, but they do say that overnight camping will not be permitted.

It's kind of funny that they call it a party, though. To me, a party means punch and pie, or something of the edible and drinkable nature, whereas Oprah's page says to bring water and that "No food of any kind will be provided" for the seven-hour even (Five hours of waiting for taping to begin + two hours of taping.)

You will get live music, though, from the Black Eyed Peas and our hometown girl Jennifer Hudson. That's kind of party-like.

The show is all-ages and kids are allowed if accompanied by adult. But I'm not bringing mine, that's for sure. Seven hours of standing outside, with no punch and pie?

I love you, Oprah, but I'll have to miss your party.

Photo by nayrb7, used via Creative Commons license.

Deals From Other ChicagoNow Bloggers

McDonald's new breakfast menu includes $1 McMuffins (previously $2). Thanks Chicago Business Insider!

Avoid paying too much at garage sales from Garage Sale Warrior.

40% off Jersey Boys or free dinner at Italian Village. Thanks Off Broadway in Chicago!

Free Gyros from Kronos on Sept. 1 (print coupon NOW)! Thanks to Recession Busters.

Also from Recession Busters, the 2010 Entertainment Book is out.

Wrigley for $5

No, you won't see Derrek Lee smash any grand slams or any of the pitching staff destroy a Gatorade machine, but if you just want to introduce the family to the Friendly Confines for about $50 less than usual per person, check out the Wee Windy City post about the $5 minor league game on August 9.

For kids, going to the ball game is all about the hot dogs and malt cups anyway -- at hot dogs are a buck during this game.

Oh, and also it's Free Mocha Monday at McDonald's. I had one of these iced last week -- they're small and excruciatingly sweet, but just the right size for an afternoon pick-me-up.

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