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Best Things to Do for Halloween in Chicago

Wandering what to do in Chicago for Halloween? Here are the top things to do for Halloween in Chicago for all ages.

These are many Halloween events and activities taking place in Chicago and the suburbs all through October leading up to Halloween weekend. From costume parties and scary activities for adults to family friendly parades and events for young kids, you will find something for any age.

For out of town visitors, please note that the weather in Chicago during Halloween weekend is very unpredictable and temperatures can vary greatly. Be prepared for fall, winter, or summer like temperatures (sometimes all in one day!) as well as rain.  Make sure to pack a travel umbrella, layers and check the weather right before your visit to know what to expect.

I suggest bookmarking this blog post as I plan to update it regularly with current information and any new activities and events.

Best Things to Do For Halloween in Chicago

pumpkin patch Chicago Halloween


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Enjoy the Pier Pumpkin Lights at Navy Pier

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Navy Pier is a must do if you are visiting Chicago with toddlers or kids. Fun attractions include a large Ferris wheel (click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line), rides and games, restaurants, shops and the Chicago Children’s Museum.

During the entire month of October, Navy Pier will transform into an insta-worthy fall spectacle with nearly 1,000 pumpkins and a variety of pumpkin pop-up installations.

Don’t miss Slightly Spooky Saturdays, a new series of free Halloween pop-up events every Saturday in October with family-friendly movies, circus acts, strolling actors, a costume contest and delicious Halloween-themed food and drink specials and more.  Each Slightly Spooky Saturday (October 9-30) features a different theme. 

Navy Pier is also the starting point for many boat rides and lake cruises.

 

Take a Ghost Tour

Explore Chicago while learning about its haunted past. Visit the sites of some of the most gruesome disasters and murders in Chicago’s history while hearing stories of death, disaster, murder, ghosts, and infamous gangsters from your local guide.

This haunted segway tour and Halloween bike tour are only offered in October.

This ghosts and gangsters tour is available year round and also covers Chicago’s history of organized crime.

Visit Lincoln Park Zoo During Fall Fest

Enjoy Halloween and fall themed activities during Lincoln Park Zoo’s annual Fall Fest. During this free, family-friendly celebration, enjoy a pumpkin walk, live pumpkin carvers, a festive pop-up bar, animal chats, musical entertainment and more.

Where: 2400 N. Cannon Drive

When: The zoo is open every day from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Fall Fest is on Fridays–Sundays from October 8–October 31. Select Fall Fest attractions will remain open during the week.

Cost: FREE. There are also paid experiences including AT&T Endangered Species carousel rides, Lionel Train Adventure rides, pumpkin walk, pumpkin patch, caricatures & face painting, caramel apple & S’mores station and a festive pop-up bar.

Visit the Museum of Science and Industry During Boo Fest

 

 
 
 
 
 
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The Museum of Science and Industry is celebrating Halloween for two weeks during their Boo Fest. Explore specially decorated exhibits, examine the science of Halloween with pumpkin drops and slime, try your hand at eyeball dissection and more. Kids can go trick-or-treating on Halloween weekend.

When: Boo Fest runs from October 15 – 31, 2021 (Friday, October 29 reserved exclusively for MSI members). Closed on Mondays.

Where: 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60637

Cost: Boo Fest activities are included in Museum Entry, except where noted.

Visit the Museum of Illusions Chicago

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Experience mind-bending illusions in a festive Halloween go-to destination. Museum of Illusions Chicago has completely transformed into the Museum of Spooky Illusions during the month of October. The museum offers an interactive, immersive and fun experience for both adults and kids with exhibits that will teach you about vision, perception, the human brain and science.

Where: 25 E Washington St., Chicago, Illinois

Cost:  Prices vary. Tickets prices start from $21.00 for adults and $15.00 for children (5-12) for non-peak hours. Visit their website for full details on hours and prices.

Take Photos at Jack’s Pumpkin Patch Pop-Up

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Jack’s Pumpkin Patch Pop-Up is an outdoor fall experience located on over 2 acres in Goose Island.  You will find the largest corn maze in downtown Chicago, hidden boozy bar, axe throwing, carnival games, music, fortune telling, three full-service bars and several picture back drops to take instagrammable fall photos. Pre-purchased access is required.

Address: 1465 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Dates: Until October 31, 2021

Cost: Prices vary by date.

Have a Pumpkin Patch Shake or Cookies N Scream Biggie Shake at Jojo’s Shake Bar

Pumpkin Patch Shake

Jojo’s Shake Bar has created a pumpkin patch during the month of October on their 5,000 sq ft patio in River North (23 W Hubbard St) with over 600 pumpkins, a 1954 Red Ford truck, Hay Bales, and a bathtub filled with corn to satisfy your perfect fall photo needs.  You can order a Pumpkin Patch Shake, which is topped with a whole pumpkin pie slice, taffy apple, roasted marshmallow, and toffee pretzel.

During Halloween weekend (October 29 – 31, 2021), JoJo’s is bring back their COOKIES N SCREAM Biggie Shake, a Vanilla Oreo Concoation, Topped with an Orange Candy Skull, Witches Hat DoDo, Chocolate Tombstone & Skeleton, and Sweet Gummy Worms. For an extra $6 customers 21+ can pick from a variety of alcohol options to add to their shake. 

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

In addition to these pop-up pumpkin patches above, there are many pumpkin patches you can visit in Chicago and the suburbs in October. Here is a list of the best pumpkin patches in and near Chicago.

Watch Spooky Movies at Gallagher Way

Gallagher Way next to Wrigley Field has teamed up with the Music Box Theatre to show free outdoor movie screenings of spooky movies this month. Attendees can to bring their own food, or grab a meal from the food truck or nearby restaurants. The movie schedule is as follows: October 6: Casper, October 13: The Addams Family, October 20: Ghostbusters and October 27: The Nightmare Before Christmas.

When: Wednesdays, October 6, 13, 20 & 27. Gates open at 6 p.m. and movies start at 7:00 p.m.

Where: Gallagher Way Chicago, 3635 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60613

Cost: FREE. VIP seating is available for $25.

Watch Scary Movies on the Lawn

Movies on the Lawn: The Davis Theater is hosting outdoor movie screenings of Halloween movies (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hocus Pocus and Beetlejuice) at Lincoln Yards. Guests are invited to BYO: lawn chairs, blankets, umbrellas, picnic items. Concession items are available for pre-order upon ticket purchase and are also available for purchase on the night of the event.

When: October 14-16, 2021. Doors open at 6PM. Show starts 30 minutes after sunset.

Where: 1665 N Ada Street, Chicago

Cost: Tickets are $10/person + taxes/fees. Minimum of 2 tickets per purchase, maximum of 6 tickets per purchase.

Music Box of Horrors at the Drive-In

The Music Box of Horrors: Dawn of the Drive-In will once again take over the Chi-Town Movies Drive-In for late shows Sunday-Thursday, and double-features every Friday and Saturday night in October. This years themes include Nü-Metal Mondays, Thirsty Thursdays, Friday Night Double Features, Rip-Off Saturdays, and Serial Killer Sundays. With mind-melting visuals and high body counts, this year’s lineup is perfectly in line with the Music Box’s eclectic taste in horror offerings and events—a combination of audience favorites and rarely screened titles, specialized intros, pre-show content, filmmaker Q&As, nightly trivia with fantastic prizes, and of course, some surprises. Every element will be presented safely & responsibly in the Drive-In setting.

If you don’t have a car, you can select Row A when making your ticket purchase and come with a chair for you and your friends to watch the movie.

When: October 1-31, 2021

Where: Chi-Town Movies Drive-In, 2343 S Throop St, Chicago, IL 60608

Cost: Single Feature – $30 per car / $25 Music Box Members Double Feature – $40 per car / $35 Music Box Members

Watch 24 Hours of Horror Movies at the Music Box

In addition the drive in series all month, you can watch 24 hours of horror movies at the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview starting at noon on Saturday, October 23. In addition to 24 hours of movie madness, The Music Box of Horrors will feature special guests, giveaways, vendors, and much more. Passes gain entry for you to come-and-go throughout the entire 24 hours.

When: October 23 -24, 2021.

Where: 3733 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Cost: $30 General Admission / $25 Music Box Members (if purchased before October 22nd) or $35 General Admission / $30 Music Box Members (Day of)

Best Things to Do For Halloween Chicago Suburbs

Visit Brookfield Zoo During Boo! At the Zoo

Boo! at the Zoo is a spooky Halloween-themed event perfect for families. Activities include a corn maze, creepy carousel, photo ops, and more. Children will receive a sweet treat as they exit the zoo. They are not having a costume contest, but kids are encouraged to wear costumes.

Where: Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL 60513

When: Saturdays and Sundays, October 9 – 24, 2021

Get Lost in a Corn Maze

There are many corn mazes in the Chicago area – from large intricate mazes perfect for adults and older children to small kid-friendly corn mazes. 

Richardson Adventure Farm located in Spring Grove, Illinois (about an hour north of the city) claims to be world’s largest most intricate corn maze.

In addition to their daytime corn maze, Jonamac Orchard has a haunted corn maze on Friday & Saturday nights. On Howl-O-Ween Weekend (October 30 – 31, 2021) only, visitors you can bring dogs to the daytime corn maze.

Here are more corn mazes near Chicago.

Visit a Haunted House

There are several haunted houses in the Chicago area but these are the two scariest:

13th Floor Haunted House Chicago (5050 River Road in Schiller Park), rated as one of the Top 5 Haunted Houses in the U.S.A. by USA Today, has returned for its eighth season with a new location and two new exhibits entitled Bad Blood and Spirit of Halloween.

Old Joliet Haunted Prison (401 Woodruff Rd., Joliet, IL) is Chicagoland’s only haunted house inside a real abandoned prison. Prices and hours vary.

Shoot Zombies with Lasers at The Forge: Lemont Quarries

Play Zombie Apocalypse Tactical Laser Tag at The Forge: Lemont Quarries outside of Chicago. Do you think you have what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse? Find out when you immerse yourself in their one-of-a-kind, live action, Tactical Laser Tag experience. This 40-minute game consists of jump scares, zombies, fog machines, flashing lights, and cinematic sounds. Minimum age of 8 years old recommended (with purchase of earlier time slots). Watch the What to Expect video below for gameplay details:

Where: The Forge: Lemont Quarries, 1001 Main Street, Lemont, IL 60439

When: 5pm-8pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from October 1- 31, 2021

Cost:  $40.

Chicago Halloween Events

UPSIDE DOWN Parade

The 2nd Annual UPSIDE DOWN Parade is a “reverse” family-friendly parade that consists of 20-25 performance groups (including dance performances, circus acrobats, musical groups, sports mascots and more) stationed along Russell Drive. Families will be invited to wear costumes and walk through the route together.  Attendees will receive a complimentary goody bag at the end of the route (While Supplies Last).

Where: Washington Park

When: Saturday, October 23, 2021 from 12pm-3pm.

Cost: FREE

Arts in the Dark Parade

Now in its seventh year, Arts in the Dark is an evening family-friendly parade that celebrates Halloween as the “artist’s holiday” with unique floats, spectacle puppets and creative performances – all set against the backdrop of historic State Street. 

When: Saturday, October 30, 2021 6-8pm

Where: State Street moving south from Lake to Van Buren

Cost: FREE

Other Halloween Chicago Events

In addition to the activities mentioned above, other Halloween events in Chicago include: Rosehill Cemetery ‘Crypt’ 5K Run/Walk (October 22, 2022), Pup-O-Ween (October 23, 2021), Wicker Park BOO-Palooza 2021 (October 23, 2021), Logan Square Halloween Parade (October 24, 2021), Pumpkin Party at Galagher Way (October 30, 2021), Lincoln Scared and RAVENSWoooooD (October 31, 2021) and Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade & Costume Contest (October 31, 2021).

Chicago Halloween Parties for Adults Only

These evening Halloween parties are limited to adults only. You can buy tickets and find more Chicago Halloween parties at eventbrite here.

Adults Night Out: Lincoln Park Zoo

Adults Night Out: The Great Pumpkin Glow is a unique adults only after-hours experience at the Lincoln Park Zoo takes that takes place annually right before Halloween. This your chance to explore the zoo after the gates close while also enjoying seasonal activities such as a pumpkin walk, a haunted trail, themed food, and seasonal cocktails. Limited to adults 18+ only.

Where: Lincoln Park Zoo

When: 6:30–10 p.m. on October 28, 2021

Cost: $15–25

Haunted Halloween Ball Chicago at Congress Plaza Hotel

Haunted Halloween Ball, Chicago’s biggest Halloween costume party, takes place at the Congress Plaza Hotel, which is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in the world by USA Today.  The Ball will combine elements of a lavish VIP nightclub and lounge experience, with the exclusiveness of a luxury hotel gala, and the terror and chills of a haunted house. The massive 20,000 square foot ballrooms of the 122-year-old hotel has been transformed into an abandoned hotel run by zombies. Other entertainment includes encounters with the Haunted Halloween Ball vampire bellmen, zombie cocktail servers dressed as French maids and theatrical performances by costumed go-go dancers.  Attendees will competein the $2,000 cash and prize virtual costume contest. This event is 21+.

Where: Congress Plaza Hotel Chicago, 520 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

When: October 30, 2021 from 9pm – 3am

Cost: Early-bird tickets are $20. Table reservation packages that include two premium bottles, eight party tickets, and reserved seating, start at $1000. A special Halloween weekend hotel room rate of $139/night is available for a limited time at Haunted Congress Plaza Hotel.

‘Army Of The Living Dead’ Halloween Party at Recess

For one night only on Halloween weekend, Recess in Chicago’s West Loop will be transformed into an apocalyptic Las Vegas, overrun by blood-thirsty zombies, as seen in the hit Netflix movie “Army of the Dead”. Enjoy themed food and drink specials, games, and enter their costume contest with a $500 prize. 

Where: 838 W. Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL 60642

When: Doors open 8 pm, Friday, October 29, 2021

Cost: Tickets are available here for $10.00 per person (plus fees and sales tax).

Halloween Party at Offshore

Offshore Rooftop & Bar, the nation’s largest rooftop venue is hosting a Luxe Halloween Costume Party, with over $2,000 in giveaways, a costume contest, music, dancing, and more. Dress to slay. 21+

Where: Offshore Rooftop & Bar, 1000 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

When: Saturday, October 30, 2021. Doors open at 8pm.

Cost: $95 per person (plus fees). Tickets are inclusive of a premium 4-hour bar and decadent passed bites.

As you can see there are many things to do in and near Chicago for Halloween.


Planning a trip to Chicago? Check out my Chicago guides and itineraries:

savvyglobetrotter

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