Halloween isn't just a day in Chicago. And it's not just for trick-or-treating. And it's not just for kids. With so many haunted happenings all across the city throughout October, it's a whole month-long celebration!
Scare yourself silly and get ready for multiple costume changes with the top Chicago Halloween 2015 events and activities below, and the picks from our blog.
SPECIAL HALLOWEEN EVENTS
In its inaugural year, The Halloween Gathering on October 24 will bring together Chicago's vast and diverse creative community in a parade filled with large-scale spectacle, music and performance — even a Zombie Thriller Dance! — along Columbus Drive. World-renowned institutions like The Field Museum, Art Institute of Chicago and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, as well as unique local organizations like Louder Than a Bomb, Silent Theatre Company and guilds of artists, will unite for this dramatic display to activate Halloween as the "artist's holiday". Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park will come alive with FREE performances all afternoon, as well as face painting, ghost stories and a children's costume parade.
Two Halloween-themed spectaculars take over 57,000 sq. ft. of warehouse in Pilsen, where ultra-creative performance group Redmoon resides. Skelebration on October 30 is geared for the 15-20 year old set, while Boneshaker on October 31 is a 21+ affair. Over-the-top theatrics are their hallmark so expect inventive machines and contraptions, whimsical costumes and massive video projections to set the scene while multiple DJs and food trucks fill the space with music and food.
Navy Pier lights up the night sky with festive fireworks on October 31. Leading up to the big show, Halloween at Navy Pier will be a trick-or-treating delight with candy giveaways, spooky movie screenings and a costume contest October 23-25, 30 & 31.
At the 18th annual Northalsted Halloween Parade, an exuberant crowd lines the streets of Boystown in Lakeview to check out the outrageous outfits for the evening parade. The family-friendly daytime portion (both take place October 31) touts its own parade and festival: for kids and pets alike.
Don't miss the annual tradition, Day of the Dead at the National Museum of Mexican Art, taking place September 18 - December 13. It is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and completely FREE! This year, La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead will feature 13 ofrendas and 116 art pieces from more than 90 artists from the U.S. and Mexico. Following Halloween, the museum will host an indoor/outdoor Day of the Dead Community Festival on November 1 with an image projection revealing the story of the Day of the Dead, and photos of dearly departed loved ones. There will also be almost a hundred ofrendas outside as well as face painting, live music, sugar skull vendors, and more!
The Chicago History Museum knows a thing or two about the city's haunted past. Take your pick from their "Dark Side of History" happenings throughout the season, which include:
- hair-raising walking tours through the most chilling places during the Crime of the Century tour on September 20;
- an eerie trolley tour through multiple spooky spots of spirits during The Haunted History Tour on October 20;
- and the creepiest of cemetery tours at Bohemian National Cemetery on October 11 - November 8, Graceland Cemetery on October 24 - 31, and Lincoln Park's Garden of the Dead tour on October 27
Spirits, scandals and sins... learn all about the ties to Chicago while aboard an evening boat tour. Seadog Cruises Haunted Tours will navigate the dark waters of the Chicago River will weaving in tales of supernatural occurrences and infamous figures from October 9-31 (weekends).
Get into the spirit with a chilling nighttime outing on wheels that zips through the shadows and darkness of downtown. Both lead you deep into the world of ghouls, gangsters, disasters and unexplainable deaths:
Or walk — if you dare — through one of Chicago's most historic neighborhoods after dark. Glessner House Museum presents Shadows on the Street: Haunted Tours of Historic Prairie Avenue on October 30-31, where tales of strange sounds, unexplained sightings, and untimely endings are lurking around ever corner!
HALLOWEEN HAPPENINGS AT MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS
- Prepare for (not so) frightening fun October 1–31 during (Not So) Spooky October at Chicago Children's Museum. DIY face painting, costuming workshops and "frankentoy" building combine creativity with hands-on entertainment for little ones. One weekends, take home your very own vials of slime to save for Halloween!
- Brookfield Zoo presents Boo! at the Zoo on weekends October 17-25, bringing
out haunted hayrides, a pumpkin patch, the "Craized Maize" corn maze,
professional pumpkin carvings, a creepy carousel, your very own
scarecrow creations and much more. Each day, catch the popular Costume Parade and
- Experience Chicago Botanic Garden's HallowFest on October 24-25... if you dare! Take either the "friendly" or "spooky" path to activities including fortune-telling, face painting, the magical Howlin' Express, Critter Olympics and more.
- Edgar Allen Poe Readings at Clarke House Museum, a spine-tingling tradition for over 25 years, will have you squirming in your seats as the terrifying tales and poetry come alive during staged theatrical readings in the intimate parlor on October 31.
SCARY MOVIE MARATHONS
A landmark cinema house on the Northwest Side, The Portage Theater presents The Massacre – 24 Hours of Horror Film Insanity on October 17-18. All your horrors come to life in these films, such as They Live (1988), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968), Fall of the House of Usher (1928), and Gremlins 2 (1990).
In Logan Square, the vintage charm of The Logan Theatre shifts to spine-chilling during Horror Movie Madness, with late night screenings of classics every night in October. These flicks span all eras, from 1931's Frankenstein to 1968's Rosemary's Baby to 1980's The Shining.