Halloween time in Chicago is filled fill plenty of slightly spooky fun for the whole family. From a not-so-scary haunted house to a ghostly cooking class, there is something for every little ghost and goblin. Here are seven kid-friendly must-dos this Halloween in Chicago.

Pick a pumpkin from the patch . . .

Pumpkin Picking

Forget traveling to a far away farm: Pumpkin patches are popping up at parks across the city throughout the month of October. Pick your favorite from a field filled with pumpkins of all shapes, and personalize it at the pumpkin decorating station. For a full listing of Chicago Park District pumpkin patches with picking dates/times, visit chicagoparkdistrict.com/events/halloween/.

Trick or treat . . .

Halloween Chicago

One of the original merchant-driven Halloween celebrations, Southport Avenue, from Belmont Avenue to Irving Park Road, treats little ones to a safe environment for candy collecting. Merchants hand out candy to mini costumed customers from 4–8 p.m., on Halloween Eve, Monday, October 30, with plenty of pop-up fun along the way. Moms and dads will enjoy the many store specials and discounts. More info is online at lakeviewchamber.com.

March in a costume parade . . .

Arts in the Dark

Arts in the Dark is a new nighttime Halloween Parade that will march along Columbus Drive, on Saturday, October 21, 6–8 p.m., with a goal of showcasing the creativity of Chicago’s diverse cultural community while also inspiring the next generation of artists.

The festivities will kick-off at 4 p.m. at Buckingham Fountain, where the Chicago Blackhawks street team will host a pre-parade celebration including music and a Blackhawks-inspired mural. Party-goers can post pictures to social media for the chance to win Blackhawks prizes.  

The parade begins on Columbus Drive at dusk, traveling from Balbo Avenue to Monroe Street, and will be led by eight “Illuminators” chosen for their remarkable efforts in their respective creative fields. It is “parade as art” as contingents combine costumes, masks, spectacle, music, movement, lighting elements and audience engagement. Join in the parade by creating lanterns using the theme “Under the Sea and Up in the Air.” Awards will be given to the artists with the most creative and best executed lanterns. Learn more at artsinthedark.org.

Party at the 'Bean' and in the park . . .

Following the Arts in the Dark parade, DCASE will host a “House Party at the Bean,” and the Chicago Park District will present a family-friendly Halloween movie and candy giveaways in Maggie Daley Park. Both family-friendly events are free and open to the public. Learn more at artsinthedark.org.

Cook up a frightful feast . . .

On Saturday, October 28, starting at 4:15 p.m. at Chicago Children’s Theatre (The Station, 100 S. Racine Avenue in Chicago’s West Loop), families are invited for an evening of cooking, communal eating and Halloween-themed entertainment.

At the Frightfully Fit Feast, families not only get to play with their food, they get to learn how to make easy-to-prepare, delicious and nutritious Halloween treats. Learn how to make everything from Spooky Eyeball Tacos to Bloody Cocktails and more. By the end of the night, everyone will have made their own Halloween-themed meal including a non-alcoholic beverage, appetizer, main dish and desert. All kids will leave with a full tummy, a Halloween goodie bag and a big smile on their face.

The price, including all food, is $20 per family member or $68 for a family of four. Each additional family member is only $15. Costumes are encouraged. Space is limited. To reserve tickets and for more information, visit icookafterschool.com.

Visit a haunted house . . .

On October 23, 6–9 p.m., the Haunted Open House at Fosco Park features a haunted house so un-scary that even the biggest scaredy cats will want to wander its hallowed halls. A Halloween movie, pumpkin decorating, coloring and free candy, hot dogs, and popcorn round of the fun at this family-friendly party.  Learn more at chicagoparkdistrict.com.

TILT or Treat . . .


Take on the TILT, which gives you the scary thrill of hovering 30 degrees over the busy streets, during TILT or Treat celebrations at 360 Chicago. Arrive in costume between Saturday, October 28, and Tuesday, October 31, and you'll be rewarded with one complimentary ride on the thrill ride. On October 29, Halloween-themed entertainment from 1 to 3 p.m. will include magic shows, ghost stories and more.

As an added bonus, children under 11 years of age visiting during TILT or Treat between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. can take advantage of a 50 percent savings, resulting in a cost of $6.75 per child or $3.30 per child qualifying for the 606 Resident Appreciation Rate.