Celebrate Halloween in Chicago with these spooky, spectacular, and supernatural event. The city is packed with haunted happenings each October, from frightening to family friendly. Celebrate the spookiest time of year with nighttime parades, trick or treating, ghost tours, Day of the Dead celebrations, and beyond.

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

Arts in the Dark

Arts in the Dark ©mollymemisi/Dreamstime

This artistic nighttime parade features large-scale puppets, costumed performers, elaborate floats, and luminous lanterns for a surreal evening in downtown Chicago. The city’s creative community, including renowned institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago and Lookingglass Theatre Company, combine forces to produce this annual Halloween parade.

Oct. 19, 2019
State Street from Lake to Van Buren
Free

Spooky Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo offers a fun, free, and safe way for kids to trick-or-treat in the heart of the city with Spooky Zoo. This annual event draws more than 25,000 families who gather treats as they wander around animal habitats that are home to lions, gorillas, polar bears, and more. The event is held during the the zoo’s five-weekend Fall Fest celebration, which offers Ferris wheel rides, a corn maze, a pumpkin patch with professional carvers and animal-themed activities.

Oct. 26, 2019
Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.

Free

Friday Night Flights

Northalsted Halloween parade

Northalsted Halloween Parade ©Northalsted Business Alliance

The Northalsted Halloween Parade is ranked one of the 10 Best Halloween Celebrations in the U.S. by Fodor’s Travel. The parade takes over Boystown, one of the nation’s largest and oldest LGBTQ+ communities. The raucous procession kicks off on Halsted Street at Belmont Avenue with the Chicago Thriller flash mob, a troupe of ghoulish zombies performing the famous dance routine. Join in the dancing or march along with the fabulous parade to Roscoe Street, where a panel of drag queens will award prizes for the best costumes.

Oct. 31, 2019
Halsted from Belmont to Brompton

Free

Dia De Los Muertos Xicágo

Día de los Muertos exhibit

Experience an authentic Day of the Dead celebration at the National Museum of Mexican Art in the Pilsen neighborhood, home to a thriving Latino community. Traditional make-your-own ofrendas (altars), live music, face painting, and art activities transform the museum and nearby Harrison Park into a festive community gathering place similar to one you would find in Mexico on Día de los Muertos.

Oct. 27, 2019
National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St.
Free

Chicago Hauntings ghost tour

You’re in for a spine-tingling good time with Chicago Hauntings, named one of the Top 10 Ghost Tours in America by Haunted America Tours. You can’t go wrong with its popular Original Ghost Tour, a 3-hour narrated bus tour that whisks you around the city to some of its best-known haunted locales. See the site of the Eastland ship disaster on the Chicago River; the location of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, where a group of gangsters met their demise; and the abandoned City Cemetery, the final resting place of some 13,000 unmarked graves.

Various dates
Meet at Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan Ave.
$39

Edgar Allan Poe readings at Glessner House

This historic home is the perfect spine-tingling setting for staged readings of Poe’s terrifying stories and poetry by the skilled actors from Lifeline Theatre. There’s a reason this has been a Glessner House tradition for the past three decades — its an evening of Gothic literature not to be missed.

Oct. 26, 2019
5 – 6:15 p.m. and 8 – 9:15 p.m.

Glessner House, 1800 S. Prairie Ave.
$25

Nightly spirits Chicago ghost tour

Nightly Spirits’ two-hour Chicago Ghost Tour appropriately begins at The Red Lion Pub in Lincoln Park, reputedly one of the city’s most haunted bars. A guide takes ghost hunters through dark alleyways and around creepy buildings as they tell tales of murdered Prohibition-era gangsters and ghosts that refuse to leave their dwellings. The approximately one-mile tour includes stops at two or three bars to sample spirits of a different kind. The purchase of drinks is not included or required.

Various dates
Meet at Red Lion Pub, 2446 N. Lincoln Ave.
$25

Dead Poet’s Halloween Party

Mingle with dead poets as Life Force Arts Center summons the spirits of literary giants to its annual Dead Poets Halloween Party. Come dressed as your favorite dead poet and compete for the best costume prize. You can also take part in an Open Mic session, reciting your favorite poet’s works or sharing your own spooky sonnets. There will also be bites and libations, Tarot and other oracle readings, and Halloween jewelry, masks, and artwork.

Oct. 26, 2019
7 – 10 p.m.

Life Force Arts Center, 1609 W. Belmont
$10/$20