Halloween is fast approaching and there’s plenty to do, from a walking trail of thousands of jack o’ lanterns in Lake Zurich to professional ghost tours in Aurora to the return of Boo! At the Zoo.
Here is a roundup of upcoming Halloween events. Be sure to check websites or social media for rules and COVID-related updates.
Alsip Fall Festival: 12-4 p.m. Oct. 30. Alsip Aquatic Park lot, 12521 S. Kostner Ave. Admission: TBD, check website. 708-389-1003; alsipparks.org.
There will be live music, carnival rides, costume contest, hayrides, food truck, pumpkin decorating, trick or trunk and ax throwing.
Enjoy a hayride around Lake Gregory and make s’mores at the campfire. Costumes will be judged as participants enter the park. Must register online.
Aurora Hauntings Ghost Walk: 8 p.m. Fridays Sept. 24-Oct. 29. Admission: $20-$25. 773-733-2711; chicagohauntings.com.
Explore the “City of Cemeteries” with author and ghost tour guide Diane Ladley on this ghost walk tour. Locations include the railroad’s haunted, 150-year-old roundhouse, Aurora’s Riverwalk and Stolp Island.
A Nightmare at West Main: 7-9 p.m. Oct. 15 and 22. West Main Community Park, 40W101 W. Main St. Admission: $8 in advance/$10 day-of. 630-879-5235; bataviaparks.org/special-events.
Take a spooky walk in a haunted woods.
Explore the woods of Red Oak on a spooky self-led trail hike. Then listen to ghost stories by the campfire.
There will be downtown trick or treating, spooky stories at the library, a parade, performances from local dance companies, reptile show, magician and human and pet costume contest.
Batavia Bat Race 5K/10K: 8:30-11 a.m. Oct. 30. Batavia Farmers Market, River and State streets. Admission: $5-$40. 630-877-2780; bataviaunitedway.org/bat-race.
This chip-timed race sends walkers and runners down the Fox River Trail bike path. Costumes encouraged.
Boo at the Zoo: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends Oct. 9-24. Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Road. Admission: $17.95-$24.95; parking $15. 708-688-8000; czs.org.
Wear a costume and take pictures at many of the spooky scenes. Visit the Craized Maize corn maze on the Zoo’s West Mall or take a spin on the Creepy Carousel.
Drive-through Trunk or Treat: 4-6 p.m. Oct. 30. East Golf Course, 315 Glenwood Road. Admission: free while supplies last. 708-755-1351; chparkdistrict.net and visit page 18 of the fall recreation brochure.
Vendors will pass out candy as you drive by the festive cars and scenes.
Halloween fun will include kid’s games, hayride, inflatables, scavenger hunt, trackless train, costumed characters, balloon twisters, magician, face painting and more.
Specters and Spirits: 7 p.m. Oct. 8. Downers Grove Museum, 831 Maple Ave. Admission: $35/$45 nonresident. 630-960-7500; dgparks.org.
Explore the allegedly haunted Downers Grove Museum and Main Street Cemetery with some light appetizers and a nonalcoholic beverage.
Monster Mash Dance Party: 9 and 10:30 a.m. Oct. 30. Fishel Park, north side of Grove Street, west of Main Street. Admission: $10/$15 nonresident. 630-960-7500; dgparks.org.
Kids ages 3 and a half to 9 can kick off Halloween by learning some fun dance moves to classic Halloween songs and then go on a candy hunt around Fishel Park.
This drive-through event will feature actors, horror props with lighting and audio effects. Enter on McClure Avenue only.
Midwest Philharmonic Orchestra Halloween Pops: 6 p.m. Oct. 31. Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way. Admission: $13-$20. 847-312-3690; midphil.org.
Featuring the works of John Williams and more.
Event features pumpkin carving (for $2 per pumpkin), live music, crafts and vendors.
Thriller at Main Park: 5-8 p.m. Oct. 15. Main Park, 400 W. Nebraska St. $10 per child before Oct. 12/$15 after Oct. 12. 815-469-9400; frankfortparks.org/special-events.
There will be a DJ dance party, balloon artist, spooky games, hay ride, haunted paths, thriller dance contest, kid crafts and small pumpkin patch. Kids registered by Oct. 12 will receive a goodie bag.
There will be a costume contest and trick or treating for dogs.
Trunk or Treat: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 30. Breidert Green parking lot, 432 W. Nebraska St. Admission: free. 815-469-2177; villageoffrankfort.com.
Children trick-or-treat from decorated trunks of cars in the Breidert Green parking lot in downtown Frankfort. Costume parade kicks off at 10 a.m.
Howl o’ Ween Dog Parade: 9 a.m. Oct. 23. Peck Farm Park, 4038 Kaneville Road. Admission: free. 630-232-4542; genevaparks.org.
Registration required; prizes awarded.
There will be games, a Mad Scientist, costume contest, Halloween egg hunt, bounce houses and more.
Halloween Spooktacular with the New Philharmonic: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and 3 p.m. Oct. 3. The McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd. Admission: $53/$51 seniors. 630-942-4000; atthemac.org/events/halloween-spootakular.
The orchestra performs an evening of spooky-themed music.
Pumpkin Fest: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 14. Central Park, 250 Library Lane. Admission: $9/$11 nonresident. Registration required. 847-223-7529; glpd.com/event/pumpkin-fest-2.
There will be Halloween games, hayrides, a character path and costume contest.
Halloween House Decorating Contest: 6:15-7:45 p.m. Oct. 27. Register by Oct. 22. Admission: free. 708-598-1233; hhparkdistrict.org.
Winners will be notified by Oct. 29. Those who won in 2019 and 2020 are not eligible to enter.
Halloween Egg Hunt and Costume Parade: 10:30-11:30 a.m. Oct. 30. Krueger Park Soccer Field, 9100 S. 88th Ave. Admission: $6/$8 nonresident. 708-598-1233; hhparkdistrict.org.
Wear a costume for the parade and contest and then collect treat-filled Halloween eggs.
Time slots are every 15 minutes. Walk a trail filled with zombies, creepy music and moving props.
Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival: Oct. 8-10. Green Bay Road and Highwood Avenue. Admission: $5 daily; children 10 and under free. 847-668-1213; highwoodpumpkinfest.com.
This annual event features live music, a costume contest, carnival, children’s activities and more.
Trick or Treat in the Woods: 6 p.m. Oct. 21. Messenger Woods Nature Preserve, Bruce Road east of Cedar Road. Admission: $3. 815-946-2216; reconnectwithnature.org.
Wear a costume, walk a spooky trail, roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire. Three sessions will be offered.
Spooky Campfire Night: 4-5:30 p.m. Oct. 30. Pilcher Park Nature Center. Admission: $6. 815-741-7275; jolietpark.org.
Roast marshmallows and listen to ghost stories around a campfire. For ages 6 and older.
Ghosts on Route 66: 2-3 p.m. Oct. 23. Admission: free. 815-740-2660; jolietlibrary.org.
This is an online event and a URL will be sent via registration email.
Old Joliet Prison Haunted History Tour: 6 or 8 p.m. selected dates in October at the Old Joliet Prison, 1125 Collins St. Admission: $30. 815-723-5201; jolietprison.org.
True stories of some of the prison’s most notorious residents.
For Lake Forest preschoolers through third graders and their parents. Activities include a haunted hay maze, carnival games, haunted zoo, scary sensory lab and more.
Jack O’ Lantern World: Hours vary on select dates in October. Paulus Park, 200 S. Rand Road. Admission: $14-$22. 224-757-5425; thejackolanternworld.com.
This is a walking trail through 15 themed “worlds” of hand-carved jack o’ lanterns designed by local artists. The trail is three-quarters of a mile long. No tickets will be sold on-site.
Lemont Quarries Forge Fear Month: 3:30-8 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October. The Forge Lemont Quarries, 1001 Main St. Admission: free, activities cost extra. 630-326-3301; forgeparks.com/forge-fear.
A month of Halloween-themed events includes zombie laser tag, a showing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” a guided adventure game and fireside ghost stories.
Trick or Treat on Main Street: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 29. Downtown Libertyville, 158 E. Cook Ave. Admission: free. 847-680-0336; mainstreetlibertyville.org/events/libertyville/trick-or-treat-on-mainstreet.
Participating stores will have a bright orange pumpkin sign on their door or window.
Scarecrow Trail at The Morton Arboretum: 7 a.m. to sunset daily in October. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53. Admission: $11-$16. 630-968-0074; mortonarb.org.
Stroll the path along Meadow Lake to see the scarecrows created by a local scout troop. Vote on your favorite.
Not-So-Scary Hayride: 12-3 p.m. Oct. 11 and 17. Dellwood Park, 199 E. Woods Drive. Admission: $7. 815-838-1183; lockportpark.org. Purchase tickets at hauntpay.com, search Lockport, Illinois. No tickets sold on-site.
No scares allowed — just princesses, super heroes, hayrides, games, s’mores and music at this event for kids. Costumes encouraged.
Build a scarecrow that will be displayed throughout downtown. Visitors can vote in the categories of Scariest, Funniest and Most Creative. Registration gets you a wood base and straw; must provide your own clothing and costumes for your scarecrow.
There will be a carnival, kid’s activities (some cost extra) and contests.
Trick or Treat in the Woods: 5 p.m. Oct. 16 and 22. Hickory Creek Preserve, LaPorte Road east of Wolfe Road. Admission: $3. 708-946-2216; reconnectwithnature.org.
Wear a costume, walk a spooky trail, roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire. Several sessions will be offered on both days.
Undead Acres: Zombie Paintball Safari from 6-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6-10 p.m. Sundays Sept. 24-Oct. 31. Santa Fe Landscaping and Nursery, 3450 W. Crete Monee Road. Admission: $26. 708-534-3600; undeadacres.com.
Ride on a trailer with mounted paintball guns and shoot at zombies who won’t shoot back. There is a shooting gallery and axe throwing as well.
Wear a costume and trick or treat at businesses’ tables. Other fall activities will include a giant pumpkin bounce house, carnival-style games, a pumpkin patch, a storybook walk and more. Children ages 12 and under must register.
Naperville Hauntings Ghost Walk Tour: 8 p.m. Saturdays Sept. 25-Oct. 30. Quigley’s Irish Pub, 43 E. Jefferson Ave. Admission: $20-$25. Chicagohauntings.com.
The walk examines Naperville’s haunted history led by author and ghost tour guide Diane Ladley.
The museum’s historic buildings are transformed into the backdrop for short performances and interactive, spooky experiences. Not recommended for children under 8 years old.
This new, 21-and-over event will feature live music by groups including Libido Funk Circus and Mr. Blotto, a food truck graveyard and booze bar; plus fire dancers, contortionist, illusionist, reptile and bug show, Halloween-themed vendors, costume contest and more.
Smash your pumpkins for composting.
Activities include a pumpkin hunt, costume contest and hayrack rides. All ages.
Kids ages 4-5 can enjoy Halloween games, pizza and a treat bag. Registration deadline is Oct. 1.
Halloween Movie in the Park: 6:45 p.m. Oct. 8. El Morro Park, 155th and Arroyo Drive. Admission: free. 708-687-7270; oakforestparks.org.
The movie “Hocus Pocus” will be shown outside, so dress for the weather. Concessions will be available.
Costumes, Pumpkins and Candy, Oh My!: 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14. Wolfe Wildlife Refuge, 109th and Laramie Ave. $10 residents/$15 nonresidents; registration required. 708-857-2225; olparks.com.
Carve a pumpkin and enjoy s’mores by the campfire.
Locate “pumpkins” and trade them in for a real pumpkin, decorating kit and some sweet treats to take home. Participants must be accompanied by a nonpaying adult.
Participants will be guided through the cemetery to visit with the ghosts of early Oswego residents and pioneers.
Park District staff will award a house Most Spookiest. They will post pictures to Facebook for voters to name People’s Choice. Winners announced Oct. 28.
Wear a costume and join the fun. There will be crafts, candy, games and more at this event.
The Flute Choir presents a slate of seasonal music.
Come for an evening of live animals, hayrides, marshmallows around a campfire, live music and pumpkin painting.
Scarecrow Festival: 12-6 p.m. Oct. 8, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 9 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 10. 450 W. Main St. Admission: free. 630-443-3967; scarecrowfest.com.
Handmade scarecrows will be showcased around town for visitors to view and vote for their favorites. There will be a Family Zone with live entertainment and family activities and the Autumn on the Fox Craft Show in Pottawatomie Park.
Drive by several of the spookiest homes and admire the ghoulish yard displays of St. Charles’ finest home haunters.
South Chicago Heights
For kids 11 and under. There will be games, puppets, food and Halloween fun.
Haunted Ghost Story Train: 5, 6:15 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16, 23, 30. Castlemuir Depot at the Fox River Trolley Museum, 361 S. LaFox St. $16.50. 312-473-0993; foxtrolley.org/Ghost-Story-Train.
Ride the ghost story train then gather around the campfire. Only 80 tickets per run will be sold. Everyone must purchase a ticket regardless of age.
Family Activity Night Halloween: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22. Tinley Park Public Library, 7851 Timber Drive. Admission: free. 708-532-0160; tplibrary.org.
Create fun Halloween crafts with family.
Haunted houses, creepy crypts and fear galore — nothing is off-limits at this improv comedy show.
Boo Bash: 12-3 p.m. Oct. 24. Oak Park Avenue train station, 6700 South St. Admission: free. 708-444-5000; tinleypark.org and search events.
Look for trick or treating, costume contest, crafts, music, games, food and more.
There will be a DJ, a haunted house inflatable, photo area, face painting, carnival games and dancing.
Show off your costume and trick or treat at the big trucks. Stay for a hayride. Leashed dogs welcome.
Trick or treat at businesses on Main Street. Other activities include a pet costume parade, pumpkin carving contest, kid-friendly haunted house, carnival games and bounce houses. Shuttle is available from the park district fest lot.
After Hours Ghost Wauk Tour: 6, 7:30 and 9 p.m. Oct. 1-2. Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St. Admission: $20. 847-263-6300; geneseetheatre.com.
Learn about the theater’s fascinating history, unsettling stories and paranormal activities. Tickets must be ordered in advance; 20 people maximum per tour.
Spooktacular Halloween Stroll: 5:15-8:30 p.m. Oct. 22. Cosley Zoo, 1356 Gary Ave. Admission: $12.95. 630-665-5534; cosleyzoo.org.
Take an evening stroll through the zoo and enjoy the family-friendly decorations, activities and pumpkin decorating. Entry times are scheduled in 15-minute increments with the last entry at 7:30 p.m.
Movies include “Night of the Living Dead” Sept. 25, “The Lost Boys” Oct. 2 and 4, “The Craft” Oct. 9 and 11, “The Monster Squad” Oct. 16 and 18, “The Shining” Oct. 23 and 25 and “Halloween” Oct. 30-31. See website for show times.
Beware the creatures that lurk in the woods.
Participants will stay in their vehicles as they drive through Shiloh Park and trick or treat at multiple stops hosted by the Park District, local businesses and other organizations. Costumes and car decorations encouraged.
Annie Alleman is a freelance reporter for the Beacon-News.