Celebrate Halloween in Chicago with these spooky, spectacular, and supernatural events. The city is packed with haunted happenings each October, from frightening to family friendly. Celebrate the spookiest time of year with haunted houses, spooky movies, ghost tours, pumpkin picking, and beyond.

Here’s a few of the best things to do for Halloween in Chicago.

Take a haunted tour of Chicago

Congress Plaza Hotel, Lincoln Park Zoo, the former site of H.H. Holmes’ Murder Castle — these are just a few of most (allegedly) haunted sites in Chicago. Decide for yourself on these haunted and ghost tours of the city:

Explore our full guide to haunted Chicago tours. Or create your own DIY walking tour with our list of Chicago’s most haunted places.

Experience fall fun at the zoo

Photo by Julia Raasch

Don’t miss the festive fun during Lincoln Park Zoo’s Fall at the Zoo. The free zoo will be decked out in pumpkins, hay bales, and corn husks to get visitors in the autumn spirit. Plus, the festivities include the Pumpkin Walk, a path of beautifully carved jack-o’-lanterns, and Patch’s Pumpkin Bar & Grill, a fall-themed pop-up restaurant. Be sure to make your free reservations ahead of time.

Upcoming events at Lincoln Park Zoo:

  • Join in the Pumpkin Walk and watch live professional carvers ever Saturday during Fall Fest.
  • Explore the zoo after dark (if you dare) during the all-ages Zoo Nights every Saturday through Oct. 31.
  • Enjoy an adults-only evening during Adults Night Out: The Great Pumpkin Glow on Oct. 29, which features a haunted trail and seasonal cocktails.

See a spooky movie at the drive-in

Outdoor movie theatres are popping up all around Chicago, and you can expect plenty of spooky screenings this Halloween season. Check out these upcoming drive-in movie events:

  • The Music Box of Horrors is back with 31 nights of scary movies at the Chi-Town Movies Drive-in. Get your tickets now for horror classics, cult favorites, and so-bad-it’s-good flicks.
  • Asian Pop-Up Cinema will be hosting a special Halloween event at the Davis Drive-in at Lincoln Yards. Catch South Korean horror flicks Train to Busan on Oct. 30 and Peninsula on Oct. 31.

Celebrate Day of the Dead

National Museum of Mexican Art
© National Museum of Mexican Art

Day of the Dead coincides with Halloween, but the beloved Mexican holiday is a one-of-a-kind celebration. The National Museum of Mexican Art is the perfect place to experience it, with an annual exhibit dedicated to Day of the Dead customs and traditions. While the museum is temporarily closed, you can register for a docent-led virtual tour of the exhibit‘s new installations, paintings, and prints created by local artists.

They’ll also be hosting a virtual version of their annual Día de los Muertos: Love Never Dies Ball on Nov. 7. Enjoy an evening of cocktail-making, live music, face painting, cooking demos, and more.

Celebrate at an outdoor Halloween party

Haunted cabins at Whiskey Business

Chicago bars are getting creative to keep party-goers safe this year. This year’s schedule includes a variety of spooky outdoor events, with plenty of room for social distancing. Choose from rooftop igloos, haunted cabins, a drive-through horror shows, and more. Check out our guide to outdoor Halloween parties and events from local bars.

Have some family-friendly Halloweek fun

The City of Chicago will be hosting a safe and spooktacular line-up of Halloweek events — costumes are encouraged, masks are required. Check out some of the planned events:

  • Attend the Arts in the Dark Upside-Down Halloween Parade, a one-of-a-kind artistic experience on Oct. 31. With a reverse parade, the entertainment is stationary and parade-goers drive by and enjoy performances and visual arts from the safety of their own car.
  • Celebrate Halloween safely with special socially distant trick-or-treating pop-ups in neighborhood all over the city from Oct. 26 through 31.

The city also released guidelines for how to celebrate Halloween safely with local trick-or-treating guidelines.

Experience Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns

Night of 1,000 Pumpkins at Chicago Botanic Garden
Photo courtesy Chicago Botanic Garden

This popular event lights up the night with hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins. During Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden, visitors can wander the gorgeous grounds at night and admire the intricately carved jack-o’-lanterns, each handcrafted for hours by expert artists. There will also be plenty of fall snacks and sips, like spiked cider and seasonal beer.

This year, the event will feature limited capacity, timed entry, and a one-way trail to help promote social distancing. Face coverings are required. Get your timed tickets today.

Visit a haunted house

Jack o lanterns
Photo by Toni Cuenca

Feeling brave? Get all your thrills and chills at these spine-tingling haunted houses all around Chicagoland. This year’s terrifying attractions include a new drive-through experience where the undead are lurking just outside your windshield.