Chicago-area Halloween happenings


Let me begin by saying that I do not have it in me to create a comprehensive list of all of the Halloween events taking place in and around Chicago during the next week or so. In my estimation, there are at least a billion different options — from costume parades to scarecrow building to spooky storytelling.

If you are really in the Halloween spirit, you could attend multiple Halloween-themed events every day from now until the 31 (you probably shouldn’t — but you could).

What follows is information on a few of the more unique events and activities that your little ghosts and gobblins might enjoy. I figure that you already know about all of the great Chicago Park District happenings. And certainly you know what fun things are taking place in your specific neighborhood better than I do. But if you are looking for some less mainstream Halloween fun, here are a few good bets.

The family-friendly Halloween Concert performed by the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This event takes place on Saturday, October 31 at 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm. Highlights include Gustav Holst’s seven-movement suite, The Planets, as well as Star Trek Through the Years, and music from John Williams’ Star Wars film scores. The concert takes place at Mandel Hall (1131 E. 57th St.). Donations requested at the door: $8/$4 Students & Children. The orchestra will be in costume and audience members are encouraged to dress up as well.

Green City Market Halloween Party. On the morning of October 31, swing by Lincoln Park for the costume parade and a food tasting for kids. This is the last day for the outdoor market so get out there and stock up while your little ones show off their costumes.

Spooky Science at the Museum of Science and Industry. On weekends (Friday through Sunday) throughout the month of October, families can take advantage of special activities such as pumpkin smashing, making green slime, and dissecting real eyeballs (yuck!). Admission on Fridays is free this month.

Spooky Zoo Spectacular at the Lincoln Park Zoo. On Saturday, October 24, the Women’s Auxiliary Board is hosting a fun Halloween event for kids. Highlights include crafts, treat gathering and live entertainment (including the ever-poplar Mr. Singer). The fun kicks off at 11:00 am. Boo! at the Zoo also continues at the Brookfield Zoo this weekend with lots of great offerings for the kiddies.

Hallow Fest: A Garden of Good . .  and Evil at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
This event looks like a ton of fun. On October 23-25 in the evening, bring the family out to the Garden for hands-on activities, live entertainment from a vampire, a ride on the “Eerie Express” and a peek at the “ghost trains” in the The Model Railroad Garden. Visit the website to purchase tickets. Also, dog-owners should consider registering their costumed pup in the Spooky Pooch Parade taking place on October 31 from 1:00 until 3:00 pm.

Scarecrow Extravaganza.
On October 24, families can build their own scarecrow in front of Pritzker School in Wicker Park. For $25, each family gets all of the necessary supplies — except for the clothes. Participants are encouraged to come up with innovative scarecrow ideas. Last year’s event featured some really clever and funny scarecrows– can’t wait to see what people come up with this year.

Creatures of the Night at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Stop by the Conservatory on Saturday, October 31 between noon and 3:00 pm to see some normally nocturnal animals in action (including owls and fruit bats). Kids can also participate in other free activities such as planting spider plants and collecting treats.

Know of another not-so-typical Halloween event taking place? That’s what the comments section is for. Help a Chicago parent out — tell us about it.


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  • This is a great list! Love the southside info...I live down here and didn't even know about the concert at U of C! Thanks for the tip!

  • I found a listing for a Halloween skate at a facility on the southside near 76th and Racine. Let me just confess that as a Northsider the southside is pretty much a mystery to me, but I've been able to find some gems down there, such as an super awesome indoor soccer facility that has kids classes.

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