Halloween Gathering Festival & Parade
The Chicago Cultural Mile hosts their second annual Halloween Gathering this October in Millennium Park. After the success it saw last year, the costume parade and all the family-fun activities are returning just a week before Halloween 2016. They partner with other Chicago cultural institutions like The Field Museum to provide autumnal education and art performances during the fest. It’s free to attend and will include an arts-heavy lineup. Expect crafts, face paint, and creative costumes for the entire family. On October 22nd, the daytime festival is open from 2-5 p.m. in the park, and the parade kicks off on Columbus from Balbo to Monroe from 6-8 p.m.
Northalsted Halloween Parade
Many of these events take place in the days and weeks before Halloween. But the Northalsted Halloween Parade isn’t intimidated by the holiday landing on a Monday. It operates every year on Halsted Street between Belmont and Addison on Halloween night – rain or shine. It’s free to attend and even march in, so long as you register ahead of time. Break out your best costume and bring the entire family along for a crack at the costume contest. It’s happening October 31st from 5-10 p.m.
Chicago Botanic Garden
Head north of the city to the Chicago Botanic Garden for an October calendar full of autumnal nature activities. Their 385 acres of park bloom millions of plants every year, making it the best possible place to get lost in the stunning foliage all season long. Try their Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, Trains, Tricks & Treats, or Spooky Pooch Parade.
Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL, USA, +1 847 835 5440
Halloween at Navy Pier
Navy Pier always comes through with some good, clean family fun. Visit them on the lakeshore on four different days to experience their full schedule of Halloween activities. Consider their special Halloween fireworks show, trick-or-treating on the pier for kids 12 and under, and a costume contest. Come for the all-day parties on October 23rd, 29th, 30th, and 31st.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s Spooky Zoo Spectacular
Lincoln Park Zoo’s 30th annual Spooky Zoo Spectacular is the perfect place to bring your animal-loving kiddos. They’ll get to run around the zoo all day in their favorite costume, make crafts, experience Fall Fest rides, trick-or-treat, and more. It’s all free to the public and happening on October 29th from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 742 2000
Shedd Aquarium’s Spooky Seas Overnight
If you’ve always wanted to experience the perks of after hours at one of Chicago’s world-class museums, the Shedd’s Spooky Seas Overnight is waiting for you. You can buy tickets for just their Halloween-themed evening activities or one that includes access to their all-night slumber party. You and the kids will go on a pumpkin scavenger hunt, exploring the aquarium in all your costumed glory. Pack the sleeping bags for October 28th at 6 p.m.
Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 939 2438
There truly is a music festival for every occasion, and Freaky Deaky is here for you this Halloween. It takes place over three days, and the 2016 lineup includes DJ Khaled, Travis Scott, and Schoolboy Q. It operates much like every other Chicago music fest and leans heavily on EDM acts. Costumes aren’t required, but you’ll look pretty silly without one. Tickets are available in packages or single days, and you must be 17 to enter.
7000 Harlem Ave, Bridgeview, IL, USA, +1 708 594 7200
River North Halloween Crawl
Celebrate Halloween the good old-fashioned way: with all of the drinks and none of the kids. Leave the trick-or-treat bags at home and don your best get-up for the River North Halloween Crawl. The price of the ticket includes a dinner buffet, gift cards, costume contests, freebies, and more. Just keep your wristband on and you can roam free through their bar itinerary. Come thirsty on October 29th from 8 p.m.-12 a.m.
431 N Wells St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 312 527 5973
Wrigleyville Halloween Crawl
This Halloween bar crawl is cut from the same cloth as its River North cousin and is thrown by the same company every year. You can expect the same perks and prices, just different bars a few miles north. But what River North doesn’t have is a 24-hour Taco Bell waiting for you at the end of your long crawl. Choose wisely on October 29th from 8 p.m.-12 a.m.
3474 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 244 8000
Halloween Warehouse Party
If bar crawls aren’t your scene, and you can’t locate a decent house party to attend, try out a massive warehouse bash instead. This one takes place in a huge space off the Stevenson Expressway, and tickets include free drinks, all-night dancing, costume contests, and a few hundred of your newest and sweatiest friends. The fun happens on October 22nd from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. You must be 21 to drink and 18 to enter.
Haunted Booze Cruise
Why confine yourself to land when you can take your Halloween spirit to the seas? Board the Mystic Blue at Navy Pier and set sail around Chicago on Throwback Group’s Haunted Booze Cruise. Costumes are encouraged, and drinking is a part of the deal. Each ticket gets you on deck for the four-hour trip and access to the open bar. It’s happening October 21st from 8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Statesville Haunted Prison
If your Halloween isn’t complete without a few frights, Statesville Haunted Prison has you covered. It may be out in the suburbs, but it’s been Chicagoland’s most popular and record-breaking haunted house for the last 16 years. Visitors take a 45-minute trip through a simulated haunted prison and are treated to all the scariest ‘prisoners,’ jump-outs, and horror imaginable. Kids ten and under aren’t allowed in, and those 15 and under need to be accompanied by an adult. It’s the most frightening place in the state and definitely not for the faint of heart.