A smashing pumpkin festival
There are festivals featuring pumpkin decor and then there's the Pumpkin Festival in Sycamore, Ill., with a theme of "Happiness is ... the Perfect Pumpkin." Thousands of decorated pumpkins are on display on the courthouse lawn, along with art and craft shows, zombie miniature golf, a carnivals and a house walk. Don't miss the pie eating contest on Saturday or the colossal parade Sunday afternoon.
7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 28 in downtown Sycamore. Free admission. Visit sycamorepumpkinfestival.com.
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Belleville, Wis., becomes the UFO Capitol of the World on UFO Day when aliens and humanoids get together for a craft fair, kids' games, Forbidden Forest, pumpkin decorating, lots of food and a beer tent, film festival, Monster Ball and a costume parade.
7 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, Oct. 27, in downtown Belleville. Free admission. Call (608) 424-3336 or visit belleville-wi.com/ufoday.
The popularity of craft brewing takes center stage at the third annual Lake Geneva Beer & Spirits Festival held at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa. Beer lovers can sample lagers, ales and stouts served by more than 25 Midwestern breweries and four regional distilleries. In addition to 120 different beers, try specialty liquors and foods that pair well with beer while live musical performances set the scene.
1 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wis. Admission is $40 and includes a commemorative glass with unlimited beer tasting. Designated driver tickets are available in advance for $10 and include unlimited gourmet soda and bottled water. Call (800) 345-1020 or visit lakegenevabeerandspirits.com
Scare up free fun
Take little Vampira and Frankenstein Jr. to Daley Plaza for Chicagoween and bags full of free fun. Midnight Circus will perform breathtaking acrobatics and kids can enjoy free arts and crafts on Franken (Daley) Plaza as well as dances, family comedy and the Saturday Monster Bash, which includes a kids' costume contest and trick-or-treating.
4:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Oct. 27-28; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Tuesday, Oct. 29-30, at 50 W Washington St, Chicago. Free admission. (312) 744-3315 or visit chicagoween.us.
Tower of terror
Prepare yourself for the Zombie Apocalypse as the undead take over the dana hotel and spa. Experience frightening encounters including a full floor of zombies, a designated "ugly room" for ghoulish makeovers, themed hotel and spa packages and an elevator ride not for the faint of heart. Guests may also want to check out the rooftop Vertigo Sky Lounge with its costume and zombie dancing contests. Book a package and find an apocalypse survival kit in each room.
Event times vary Friday to Wednesday Oct. 26-31, at 2 W. Erie St., Chicago. Zombie hotel packages start at $339. Call (312) 202-6060 or visit danahotelandspa.com.