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HALLOWEEN IN CHICAGO: 13 HAUNTING PARTIES & EVENTS FOR 2018

Stalk these 13 Chicago party haunts and spine-chilling events this Halloween season.

Halloween in Chicago is about so much more than booze cruises and pub crawls — although who doesn't love cocktails on the water and bar-hopping with friends?

If you're after something a little different, though, you can pretty much pick your poison: a haunted hotel rooftop party, a pageantry-filled masquerade ball or a hunt for clues through a haunted mansion, to name just a few.

Chicago Halloween events in 2018 come in every spooky shape and size. Here are 13 parties and events that are upping the ante on chills and spills this year.

1. Arts in the Dark 

October 20
6-8pm
State Street

Tickets: FREE

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade in Chicago

October takes on an element of the surreal as dusk falls upon Chicago. Arts in the Dark brings together artists from around the city for a procession filled with spectacle, puppetry, legions of masked entities, luminous lanterns, and mesmerizing performances. This year’s parade, which takes place on October 20, will be led by eight “Illuminaries” recognized as influencers in their respective fields. World-renowned institutions, including the likes of the Art Institute of Chicago and Lookingglass Theatre Company, get involved each year. 

2. Chicago Athletic Association Annual Halloween Party: UNDERWORLD'S FAIR

Saturday, October 27
9pm. – 12am, followed by an afterparty in the Game Room
Chicago Athletic Association
12 S. Michigan Ave.
Tickets: $25 prepaid admission, includes coat check and bar specials

Chicago Athletic Association hotel invites guests to dance the night away, as if it were the last night on earth, at its fourth annual Halloween event – Underworld’s Fair.  The World’s Fair of 1893 put Chicago on the map and 125 years later it’s the first to disappear into the ether. Celebrate Halloween as if it were a dystopian state by seeking shelter in the building’s Stagg Court, accompanied by hundreds gathered to dance into the dust to the sounds of iconic house music including local legend DJ Pierre, presented by Empty Bottle.

3. The Godfrey Haunted Hotel 2018

Saturday, October 27
9pm-2:30am
IO Godfrey Rooftop Lounge
127 W Huron St
Tickets: Starting at $25

The Godfrey Haunted Hotel Dia de los Muertos black margarita in Chicago

Roam 20 hotel rooms on the haunted 5th floor of the Godfrey Hotel Chicago as you ascend to a lair of revelry at the IO Godfrey rooftop party. It's not like you'll be able to sleep anyway! General admission tickets are $25 (with cash bar), while group and VIP experiences of every kind are available at various price points. 

4. Drake Hotel Masquerade Ball: A Nightmare on Walton Street

Saturday October 27
9pm-Midnight
The Palm Court of The Drake Hotel
140 E Walton Pl
Tickets: $40

Drake Hotel Masquerade Ball in Chicago

The stunning Palm Court at the historic Drake hotel is the setting of a Chicago tradition: a luxurious masquerade ball, filled with history and mystery. Live entertainment by the Flat Cats, masques and black tie attire add to the ambiance of extravagance. Seating will be available in the Palm Court and Club International rooms on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

5. The Last Midnight

Saturday, October 27
8pm-1am
Colvin House
5940 N Sheridan Rd
Tickets: $60-$100

The Colvin House and Fierce Productions cordially invite you "to the eternal union of ill-fated souls" — a spine-tingling immersive theatrical experience that calls upon you to hunt a ghostly mansion in search of hidden secrets. After all that spooky sleuthing, you'll hit the Killer Dance Party and celebrate among fellow ghostly guests. General admission tickets include exclusive entry to a transformed Colvin House Mansion, unlimited wine and signature cocktails, passed and stationary hors-d'oeuvres from True Cuisine Catering, and a Hellish Costume Contest with prizes. VIP tickets include access to the Third Floor Lounge, with a special performance and bottle service, as well as complimentary parking.

6. Haunted Halloween Ball

Saturday, October 27
9pm-3am
Congress Plaza Hotel
Tickets: $20

The Congress Plaza Hotel's Haunted Halloween Ball combines elements of a lavish VIP nightclub with the exclusivity of a luxury hotel gala — and then throws in the terror of a haunted house! On this one night, the 122-year-old Congress Plaza Hotel will appear entirely abandoned — except for its zombie occupants! In the meantime, hundreds of costumed party-goers will dance to the dark and dastardly beats of world-renowned DJs and recording artists. And you'll encounter vampire bellmen, zombie cocktail servers, and costumed go-go dancers along the way. 

7. 32nd Annual Edgar Allan Poe Readings

Saturday, October 27
5-6:15pm or 8-9:15pm
Glessner House
1800 S Prairie Ave
Tickets: $25

Interior of the Glessner House in Chicago

Squirm in your seats as actors from Lifeline Theatre present staged readings of Poe's terrifying stories and poetry. This has been a Glessner House tradition for the past three decades, and its an evening of Gothic literature not to be missed.

8. Nightmare at Navy Pier: Haunted Halloween Ball at Aon Grand Ballroom

Saturday, October 27
8pm-2am
Navy Pier
Aon Grand Ballroom
Tickets: TBA

Decorated Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago

The stunning Aon Grand Ballroom is a sumptuous backdrop for your Halloween celebrations, commanding views over Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Revel under the Grand Ballroom’s 80-foot domed ceiling as you dance to the beats of top live DJs and sip at the fully stocked cash bar. Treat rather than trick yourself with a VIP ticket add-on for access to the ballroom's balcony. 

9. Dead Poet's Halloween Party

Saturday, October 27
7-10pm
Life Force Arts Center
1609 W Belmont
Tickets: $10/$20

Pick the brains of dead poets as Life Force Arts Center summons the spirits of literary giants to its annual Dead Poets Halloween Party. By the way, Frankenstein author Mary Shelley will be hosting! Come dressed as your favorite dead poet and compete for the best costume prize. Or take part in an Open Mic session, reciting your favorite poet’s rhapsodic words or sharing your own spooky sonnets. Nibble on delicious bites, sip libations, indulge in Tarot and other oracle readings, and browse haunting Halloween jewelry, masks and artwork while you're there. 

10. Day of the Dead Xicágo

Sunday, October 28
National Museum of Mexican Art & Harrison Park
Tickets: FREE

Costumed couple during Day of the Dead Xicago in Chicago

Light, projection and visual displays will transform the National Museum of Mexican Art’s exterior and the surrounding area for this annual Day of the Dead celebration in Pilsen. What's more, in Harrison Park, visitors will create their own ofrendas (Day of the Dead altars), transforming the soccer field into a festive community gathering place, just like those you would see in Mexico on Día de los Muertos. Pan de Muerto (Day of the Dead Bread), altar demonstrations, live musical performances, face painting, and art activities will round out the evening. 

11. Halloween Happy Hour at the Chicago History Museum

Tuesday, October 16
6-9 pm
Chicago History Museum
1601 N Clark St
Tickets: $15

Throughout the year, the Chicago History Museum hosts History Happy Hours, where guests enjoy two drinks on the Museum, tours, talks and activities highlighting the collection and its special exhibits. For the Halloween season, the Museum has something special in mind: a Halloween Happy Hour that delves into Chicago's haunted, creepy, scary history! Costumes, of course, are encouraged. General admission on Tuesday evenings is free for Illinois residents. Tickets for the happy hour are $15 per person, which includes two complimentary drinks, tours, and museum admission. 

12. Northalsted Halloween Parade

Wednesday, October 31
7:30 pm
North Halsted St from Belmont Ave to Cornelia Ave
Tickets: FREE

Spooky characters at Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade ChicagoNorthalsted Halloween Parade in Chicago

© Northalsted Business Alliance

The Northalsted Halloween Parade is ranked one of the 10 Best Halloweens in the US by Fodor’s Travel Guide. At this annual event, an exuberant crowd lines the streets of Boystown, one of the nation's leading LGBTQ+ communities, to check out fantastical outfits during an evening parade. A costume contest judged by a panel of drag queens, and Halloween food and drink specials at restaurants and bars along Halted Street, are only a few of the parade highlights.

13. Día de los Muertos: Love Never Dies Ball

Saturday, November 3rd
6-10pm 
National Museum of Mexican Art
Tickets: $125 advance/$150 at the door

Honor life and the spirits of los muertos at this spectacular post-Halloween event, with live music, delicious bites, beer and cocktails, and a chance to win a whole slew of prizes. It's all in support of the National Museum of Mexican Art, which ensures that admission to its hallowed halls remains free to the public throughout the year.