The Ultimate Chicago Halloween Guide - 10 Halloween Events for the Spookiest Experience

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As the end of October proceeds to adorn Chicago land with mellow shades of fall foliage, the appearance of werewolves, macabre parties, witches and jack o’ lanterns on porches is on the rise. Halloween, one of the most beloved and globally celebrated festivals in Chicago, presents an array of traditional parties, trick-or-treating, horror movies and pumpkin picking events to indulge in. Chicago Halloween is celebrated in unique ways, magical midnight parades and ghost tours being the most characteristic of the city. The festival is celebrated for 1-2 days of "Halloweek".

Chicago Halloween Macabre Parade
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Chicago Halloween brings endless frights and innovative events to join in the Windy City. These include concerts, club parties, ball gatherings, bar crawls, masquerades and haunted house visits. One can agree that even the most adventurous folks cannot possibly attend each, so we bring you a guide to the top Halloween events in Chicago with entertaining festivities.

Preparing for Chicago Halloween Events

Harley Quinn and Scarecrow Costumes for Chicago Halloween
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Most people start Chicago Halloween preparations by choosing some dazzling, scary and creative costumes. Before hitting Halloween events in Chicago near you, ensure that you pick up your costume at one of these iconic stores: -
  • Halloween Hallway Costume Store - Serving Loop, River North, South Loop and Lincoln Park, these chain stores are ideal for grab-and-go shopping.
  • Fantasy Costumes - Show off your scariest side with a customised Halloween outfit from this 50-year-old megastore.
  • Hollywood Mirror - Not only do they sell handmade costumes with personalized themes, but they also stock up on make-up, gifts and spooky wigs.
Pumpkin Patches in Chicago
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Picking up pumpkins for your jack o’ lantern is also customary. During October, Chicago’s plantations boast acres of fresh pumpkins waiting to be plucked. There are plenty of farms that offer entire afternoons worth of Halloween activities. The best pumpkin patches in the city for picking up supplies are: -
  • Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm - Get lost in this pumpkin maze of South Barrington and petting zoo with your kids (there’s a friendly giraffe here!).
  • County Line Orchard - Tour the kids' farms, apple and pumpkin orchards and stock up on bee yurts, baked bread and pies.

Top 10 Chicago Halloween Events

While Chicago Halloween celebrations are held at every nook and corner of the city, they often occur at the zoo, haunted houses, museums and similar places for social gatherings. Here are the top Halloween events in Chicago for a chic and spooky experience:

1. Halloween at Basement of the Dead: Haunted House Tour

Basement of the Dead, Chicago
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The basement of the Dead is a 100-year-old heritage property-turned-haunted house in downtown Aurora. Halloween connoisseurs have repeatedly christened it “Illinois’ most haunted building”. During Chicago Halloween, this haunted house is open to visitors for taking a tour through the deepest and darkest secret structures in the building. On reaching the seemingly endless corridors in the basement, you will come across bloody nurses, bloodthirsty vampires and spooky DJs. At this event, called the Night of Isolation, the only thing accompanying you will be sheer fun and a glow stick.
Location: 42 West New York Street, Aurora, Chicago, Illinois 60506
Duration: 90 minutes
Entry tickets: USD 30 (kids below 5), USD 45 (adults)
Open hours: 7pm to 10pm, Wednesday - Sunday

2. Music Box of Horrors

Music Box Theater, Chicago
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This is a 24-hour movie marathon event at the Grand Music Box Theatre in Chicago, where you can watch the best and rarest horror flicks. Accommodating up to 700 people, their 1929-built auditorium employs custom sound systems and 3D displays to make your blood curdle with thrill. Some niche screenings at the Music Box of Horrors event are Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Exorcist and Final Destination, alongside other world-famous art films. Sponsors Creepy Co. hold giveaways and sell Chicago-based Halloween merchandise at drive-in screenings.
Location: 3733 North Southport Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60613
Tickets: USD 30 - USD 40
Timings and Events:
  • Grindhouse Fridays - 9:45pm
  • Rip-off Saturdays - 9:30pm
  • Sequel Sundays - 9:30pm
Architectural style and screenings: Eclecticism; repertory

3. Arts In The Dark: Halloween Parade

Halloween Parade in Chicago
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Arts in the Dark is Chicago Halloween’s family-friendly annual parade held as a salute to cultural communities. Halloween is celebrated at this free evening event as an “artist’s holiday” and gathers over 100,000 visitors and participants worldwide. Starting from Washington Park, major parts of the city up to State Street are flooded with unique floats, blood-soaked spectacle puppets and dances by talented professionals and contingents of Arts in the Dark. Gather your fearless friends for the best Halloween event in Chicago to showcase your diversity, skills and costumes. Though the event is free, online reservations are required.
Check-in Location: General Richard Jones Armory Parking Lot, South Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60615
Reservation slots: 12pm, 1pm, 2pm
Bookings: www.artsinthedark.com

4. Nightmare at Navy Pier: Masquerade Ball

Nightmare at Navy Pier
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Featuring panoramic views of Lake Michigan and the charming city skyline, Nightmare at Navy Pier is a marvellous Chicago Halloween haunted ball event held at the timeless Aon Grand Ballroom. Under the 80-foot-tall domed ceiling ballroom, the USA’s top DJs perform live while enthusiastic crowds dance and drink at the well-stocked cash bar. Over 1,400 visitors gather at this luxurious masquerade venue to gear up the Halloween spook factor with their creative costumes and bold makeup. If you treat yourself and your friends to VIP tickets, you can enjoy balcony and restaurant access.
Location: Navy Pier, Aon Grand Ballroom, East Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611
Tickets: Starting at USD 20
Timings: 10am - 8:30pm, open daily

5. Dead Poet’s Halloween Party

Fairytale Group Cosplay in Chicago
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Mingle with the undead at the Dead Poet’s Chicago Halloween Party organized by Life Force Arts Center honour the world’s literary giants. From open mic readings, recitations to sharing your own horror verses, this spiritual Halloween party is also a hub for bites, libations and all kinds of artwork. You can come dressed as your favourite poet and amaze people with Tarot card readings and oracles. Put on your best Halloween jewellery, masks for the midnight ball and win the costume contest to enjoy a free, themed dinner.
Location: Life Force Arts Center, 1609 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60657
Tickets: USD 10 - USD 20
Event Timings: 7pm - 10pm

6. Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns

Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns at Chicago Halloween
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If you want to experience a more tranquil Halloween event in Chicago, this party of lights at the Chicago Botanic Garden is the perfect place for you. On Halloween night, the garden is bedazzled with hundreds of pumpkins, some as large as 200 pounds, all hand-carved and coloured with vibrant LED lights. The premium event welcomes visitors to dare walk the gorgeous grounds on the spooky night where tons of expert artists dressed in frightening attires showcase their pumpkin carvings. The ghoulish grounds are filled with snack bars selling tasty fall bites, seasonal beer, ale and spiked cedar.
Location: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Chicago, Illinois 60022
Timings: Gates open at 6pm for ticket holders.
Tickets:
  • Entry fees: USD 16-18 for adults, USD 12-14 for children.
  • Parking fees: USD 20 for non-members.

7. Midwest Haunters Convention

Costume Party for Chicago Halloween Celebrations
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There is nothing more impactful and rewarding than celebrating Halloween in Chicago with experienced and talented horror artists, all for free. Midwest Haunters Convention brings you the largest Halloween event in the United States, open to all actors, enthusiasts, home and pro haunters. This public event at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center also features a haunted house, Halloween trade show, seminars and educational workshops. You can show off your best costumes at their family-friendly contest and take a tour of Chicagoland's top haunted buildings with the MHC.
Location: 5555 North River Road, Rosemont, Chicago, Illinois 60018
Event timings: 9am - 6pm
Registration: www.haashow.com

8. Candy Grab: Chicago Halloweek Trick-or-Treating

Candy Grab - Trick or Treat
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Candy Grab is an exciting, free-to-attend Halloween event in Chicago held at the revered Salvation Army Mayfair Community Church. Citizens of the community and Chicago-dwellers gather here with their families and friends for live old-school music. There are massive Haunted Halloween giveaways of pre-packed candies at this evangelical Christian church alongside prayer and workshop sessions. Donning your scariest Halloween costume is encouraged at this trendy yet traditional event. Post celebrations, everyone below 12 are welcome to enjoy free ice cream! You can grab an event themed e-learning offer when you stop by at the church’s “haunted office”.
Location: 5020 North Pulaski Road, Chicago, Illinois 60630
Timings
  • Candy Grab: 1pm - 3pm
  • Church session: 4pm - 5pm

9. Spooktacular Congregational Teen Halloween Devo

Halloween at Chicago Church of Christ
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This Halloween event in Chicago is exclusively made for teens who would love a night of haunted games, prize money of USD 30 and USD 20 for a grand costume contest, spooky and interactive Halloween lessons and fellowships with other Chicagoland teens. This event is organised by The Chicago Church of Christ and is a great opportunity for teens to enjoy a fun, social and educational Halloween.
Location: 755 IL-83, 209 Bensenville, Chicago, Illinois 60106
Timings: 7:30pm - 9pm

10. Terror in the Timbers

Terror in the Timbers
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Terror in the Timbers is bound to be your scariest drive in North Illinois’ most haunted woods. Featuring mesmerizing landscape views of dense oak and timber forests, this long, haunted road drive takes you on a late-night journey to sit back and enjoy the sheer terror. This Chicago Halloween event is organised by the premium drive-through service of Camp Big Timber, where you can stay back for the night at luxury tents after your trip. Terror in the Timbers also has a “horror lite” version which involves taking a shorter route. Put on your bloodied costume and arrive at the campsite by 6 pm for your tickets.
Drive Timings: 6pm - 12am
Location: 7826, 37W955 Big timber Road, Elgin, Chicago, Illinois 60124
Tickets: www.bigtimberpumpkinfest.org

Tips for a Perfect Chicago Halloween Celebration

Chicago Halloween
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  1. Wearing a mask and social distancing at ballrooms and trick-or-treating events is mandatory.
  2. According to Illinois Halloween laws, kids over the age of 12 who participate in trick-or-treating are lawfully guilty of a misdemeanour and punishable.
  3. Before attending an event, always check for reservations early. They tend to fill up quickly during Chicago Halloween.
  4. By tradition, children must wear themed costumes to parties and pumpkin festivals. The same is encouraged for all adults.
All ghouls, goblins and ghosts are welcome to join the joyous celebrations of Chicago Halloween, a place where this charming festival offers something memorable for everyone. Have you participated in Halloween events in Chicago before or are planning to? Let us know in the comments below.

This post was published by Koushiki Kundu

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