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Halloween In Chicago

Updated on October 9, 2012

Celebrate Halloween in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago LOVES halloween. Be sure to check this guide to Halloween events if you'll be in the Chicagoland area for Halloween this year. We've got haunted houses, pumpkin patches, spooky movies in the parks, Boo in the Zoo and much, much more.

Franken Plaza in Chicago's Daley Plaza
Franken Plaza in Chicago's Daley Plaza

Halloween Events Sponsored by the Chicago Park District

The Chicago Park District runs a variety of Chicago Halloween festivities suitable for the whole family. Their website lists: pumpkin patches, spooky 'drive-in movies', staged 'haunted houses', costume contests, Halloween festivals, and even a puppy Halloween party!

Franken Plaza 2011 - October 28 through October 30

Chicago's Daley Plaza becomes Franken Plaza for Halloween between October 28 through the 30th, with special performances, a Monster Bash, prize give-aways, hayrides and trick-or-treating. Midnight Circus, Magic Matt, and Dave Herzog's Marionettes perform acrobatics and theatrics at the 14th annual Chicagoween celebration.

Friday, October 28th features a 5:50pm screening of Beetlejuice.

Saturday, October 29th is the Monster Bash and its costume contest (11am through 11:45am) and treats. The Monster Bash goes from 11am to 8pm.

Sunday, October 30th closes early at 6pm.

These events are free to the public.

Lincoln Parks' Spooky Zoo Event
Lincoln Parks' Spooky Zoo Event

Lincoln Park's Spooky Zoo

Free crafts, trick-or-treating, haunted house and education - October 23

Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting its Spooky Zoo event on Saturday, October 23.

Lincoln Park's Spooky Zoo

11:00 am - Family entertainment

12:00 noon - 2:00pm - Haunted house, arts & crafts, educational activities, trick-or-treating

Spooky Zoo Spectacular, hosted by the Auxiliary Board, is an opportunity for children to celebrate Halloween in a free, safe and family-friendly environment. Guests are invited to: Learn fun facts about the animals in the Spooky Zoo Education Zone within the Pritzker Family Children's Zoo, stimulate their minds while making crafts in the US Bank Arts and Crafts Zone in the Kovler Lion House, collect treats and enjoy entertainment throughout the zoo while dressed in their best or spookiest costumes. New for 2011, bring your toddlers to Regenstein Center for African Apes for special activities and entertainment for our littlest guests.

Brookfield - Boo at the Zoo
Brookfield - Boo at the Zoo

The Brookfield Zoo for Halloween

Fridays through Sundays - 6pm To 10pm beginning October 15

Get full details at the Brookfield Zoo's official Creatures of the Night page. You can also view a slideshow of images from Creatures of the Night via Picasa web albums.

"The Trail of Terror" has you passing through the woods where you'll find a dozen gruesome scenes of monsters and mutations. A make-believe virulent pathogen has been released into the atmosphere, are you brave enough to face the dangers that it has spawned?

"The Haunted Tram" spooks unsuspecting passengers on a foggy, darkened trail. Take in the horrifying details of gory scenes with monsters, goblins, and other creatures appearing unexpectedly.

Not-so-scary activities. Jack-o-lanterns and animated displays adorn The Pavilions for the Monster Mash Dance Party taking place every night. Bounce in the Ghost Ship Galleon Jumpee and enjoy the performance of stilt walkers and jugglers. Additionally take part in pumpkin carving and cookie decorating.

Hamill Family Play Zoo offers Halloween-themed craft activities and games: creating paper bats and a glowing work of art (while supplies last)! The 'backyard area' is home to a nightly scavenger hunt.

The Swamp and Australia House with their alligators, snakes, Rodrigues fruit bats (with a 3-foot wingspan) and an Argus monitor lizard offer real life monsters to view. (Indoor animal buildings close at 9:30 p.m.) During Creatures of the Night, several of the zoo's restaurants and gift shops will also be open.

Park in Brookfield Zoo's main parking lot (First Avenue and 31st Street). Activities are free (with the exception of cookie decorating, pumpkin carving*)

Costs

Zoo Admission - $12 for adults, $8 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over - children 2 and under are free

Combo Ticket - (includes zoo admission and Creatures of the Night admission) $18 for adults, $12 for kids 3-11 and senior over 65

Parking - $9

Cookie Decorating - $3.75 (includes 2 cookies, frosting, and sprinkles)

Pumpkin Carving - $2.75 (includes pumpkin and carving kit)

Boo In The Zoo - Brookfield Zoo's Halloween Festivities

This quick video shows a sampling of Brookfield Zoo's "Boo at the Zoo" Halloween events. There is a costume parade & contest, pumpkin carving and special activities. Lighthearted spookiness reigns at after-dark carousel rides.

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago for Halloween

Everyone has different ways of celebrating Halloween and a big city like Chicago has plenty of options. What is your favorite way to spend Halloween in Chicago?

What is your favorite Chicago Halloween activity?

See results

Chicago Ghost Tours - Presented by Richard T. Crowe or set sail on Lake Michigan With SeaDog or The Tall Ship Windy

Chicago Ghost Tours

If you'd like to get some Chicago history and sightseeing done with your Halloween festivities, check out some of the local Chicago ghost tours and hot spots.Richard T. Crowe's Ghost Tours shares three decades of Chicago ghost-hunting with you. Choose from a luxury bus tour, limo package or private tour of Chicago's most haunted spots, with these in-depth excursions lasting approximately 4 hours and costing $44 per person.

Haunted Chicago Cruises

SeaDog Tours offers Haunted Chicago boat rides during the month of October on Friday Saturday and Sunday Evenings (October 7 through October 31). These tours board at 6:45 and cruise from 7pm to 8pm. The cost is $17.95 per child and $28.95 per adult. Costumed tour guides fill you in on Chicago's infamous massacres and supernatural occurrences, as well as telling you some grisly tales about the Hancock building..

Spirit Ships and Haunted Harbors sets sail Friday through Sunday in October at 7:15pm (7pm on Saturday nights). Both written and orated by local historian / playwright / storyteller Orion Couling, this journey offers "a rousing sail and story telling adventure that peers into the dark waters of Great Lakes ghost ships and darker deeds of souls that sailed its shorelines." The sailing costs $30 for regular admission, with youth and seniors paying $25, or children paying $10.

Navy Pier's 'Navy Fear' celebration has attractions suitable for the whole family. Located right on the lakefront with a carnival-atmosphere any day of the year and regular installments such as the Chicago Children's Museum - this one is always a hit for Chicago families at Halloween time. Saturdays are the big days to hit Navy Pier during the month of October for Halloween fun.

Kids in costume receive a 50% discount to The Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze

Trick Or Treating

Costumed children aged 12 and under are invited to trick or treat at various Navy Pier locations on the following dates and times:

  • Friday, Oct. 28: 3:30pm - 7:30pm
  • Saturday, October 29: 12 noon - 4pm
  • Sunday, October 30: 12 noon - 4pm
  • Monday, October 31: 3:30pm - 7:30pm

Trick or Treating treats will be distributed at the following locations: Bubba Gump's, Harry Caray's Tavern, Life in the Windy City, IMAX Theatre, Ahoy Chicago, Garrett Popcorn Shop, iCandy Sugar Shoppe, King Wah, Connie's Pizza, Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze, Tall Ship Windy, Riva Cafe and Navy Pier Signature Store

Chicago Childrens Museum

Fridays through Sundays in October (as well as Halloween day), the Chicago Childrens Museum will offer costume creating, pumpkin decorating, a "spooky backyard" and a Monster Mash Dance Party.

Navy Pier Halloween Fireworks

Navy Pier continues its Fireworks Show With A Halloween Theme at 9:00pm every Saturday in October.

Halloween Nightlife in Chicago - Northalsted Halloween Parade

If you're interested in hitting some North Chicago nightclubs and maybe entering a few Halloween costume contests, North Halsted in the "boystown" neighborhood is for you. Around 6:15 pm they even have their own parade, kicking off at the corner of Belmont and Halsted.

The 14th Annual North Halsted Halloween Parade will be emceed by Miss Foozie on Sunday, Oct. 31 and feature a "Little Street of Horrors" theme. Suitable for children, families and pets, the Northalsted Halloween Parade is always one of Chicago's most unique Halloween celebrations, with hundreds parading down Halsted Street in costume. This year will also feature floats. Registration for the parade / costume contest begins at 3pm at Spin Nightclub, 800 W. Belmont

Kids and pets costume contest winners are announced just after the parade, followed by adult and group contest winners on the Main Stage (Roscoe and Belmont) starting at 7:30 p.m.

Categories for this year's costume contest include:

  • Kids
  • Pets
  • Drag
  • Scariest Adult
  • Most Original
  • Best Theme
  • Best Couple
  • Best Group


PS - Boystown is an "alternative" district in Chicago noted for its vibrant gay community. Just so you know ;)

Chicago Halloween Parade - South West Chicago's Garfield Ridge Neighborhood

Check out a quick video of a child-friendly halloween parade in the south western Chicago neighborhood of Garfield Ridge

Fantasy Costumes

Portage Park's Six Corners Shopping District

Fantasy Costumes is open year-round in Chicago's Portage Park neighborhood. Right off the Six Corners shopping district, its located across the street nearly from the Portage Theatre on Milwaukee Ave. Featuring a large selection of both adult and children's costumes for every occasion (mascots, Purim, Santa suits, Mardi Gras costumes, etc..) they feature specialty items such as Ben Nye, Graftobian, Mehron, Snazaroo and Wolfe Brothers makeup; prosthetics; Star Wars, Super Hero and Wizard of Oz accessories..

Fantasy Costumes In Action - Corner of Irving Park and Milwaukee

Check out couple's costumes provided by Fantasy Costumes as well as a WGN broadcast from Fantasy.

Halloween Store on Lincoln Ave.
Halloween Store on Lincoln Ave.

Halloween Stores in Chicago

Purchase costumes, d├ęcor and props

Chicago always has a bunch of shops pop up in September that specialize in Halloween goods. Find wigs, makeup, masks, costumes, props and more at these Halloween superstores. Where are they at this year and which ones are worth stopping at? I'll be updating this for you here.

Which Chicago Neighborhood has the best trick or treating? - Do you have a favorite Chicago neighborhood for either fantastic decorations or great treats?

Directory of The Best Chicago Halloween Yard Displays

Chicagoland Home Haunts gives a great directory on the BEST Halloween displays to be found in the Chicagoland area. Areas Represented Include: Orland Hills, Orland Park, Mokena, Oak Forest, Plainfield, Lockport, WoodRidge, Burbank, Carol Stream, Arlington Heights, Algonquin, Lake In The Hills and, of course, Chicago.

Chicagoans take their Halloween festivities seriously. Do you have a favorite neighborhood to visit in Chicago on Halloween night - either for the excellent treats they give out or the fantastic decorations? Vote now!

Which Chicago neighborhood has the best trick or treating?

See results

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Contact Laura Schofield


*If you would like to suggest any links To Chicago Halloween attractions or have your own photos and / or stories published, please send me an email. I can be contacted through my personal homepage, laura-schofield.com. If you enjoy the work I've done here, I do offer professional copy writing, photo restoration / manipulation, search engine optimization and web design services. I can again be contacted for any of these services through my website.

Sharing The Chicago Halloween Spooks

Pass it on!

If you really enjoyed this lens you should nominate it for a Lens of the Day award. If it wins, this lens will be prominently displayed on Squidoo for a day. And just think how many people will get some tips on things to do in Chicago, whether they're in Chicago or just being an armchair tourist. We might even get a few more tips to post on here So go on and get everyone cooking - share this lens!

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Have you ever spent Halloween-time in Chicago? What is your favorite activity? Is it Boo in the Zoo? Seeing spooky movies in the parks? Trick or treating in the Chicago neighborhoods? Sound off here!

Your favorite Chicago Halloween Activities

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    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 5 years ago from South Africa

      I have never been to Chicago. It looks wonderful!

    • arbellizi profile image

      arbellizi 6 years ago

      Chicago is a beautiful city and Halloween is the best holiday ever, This is why this lens is awesome...

    • profile image

      jarcseo 7 years ago

      That was fabulous lens. I really like that lens very much. Hope you can add this types of events further also. anyway thanks for the lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Good lens of Chicago at this time.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      We have some great haunted houses in this town!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Well done, a very inclusive lens on Halloween in Chicago.