Haunted happenings: 13 frightfully fun Halloween ideas
You've picked out your pumpkin, decorated your yard and started stocking up on candy. Now, it's time to seek out some seasonal fun.
Whether your idea of Halloween is a gore-filled visit to a haunted house or an afternoon at a kid-friendly farm, you're in luck.
Check out our ideas for scaring up Halloween happenings this month.
1. Get your fill of thrills
Got the stomach for a double dose of thrills and chills? It used to be that Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee was the sole local destination for tummy-turning rides amid themed haunted attractions. And it's still a good bet. But if you want to up the fear factor, you can also check out CarnEvil at the Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates. There might not be as many rides to choose from at its Midway of the Damned attraction, but CarnEvil has four other themed areas/haunted houses. Regular admission is $35, while VIP tickets are $60. CarnEvil runs through Thursday, Oct. 31. Visit carnevilchicago.com for tickets and hours. Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee, runs through Sunday, Oct. 27; tickets run $44.99 to $64.99. Check out frightfest.sixflags.com/greatamerica.
2. Seek out a spirit
Follow a ghostly butler as you navigate the historic Mayslake Hall in "Searching for Peabody's Tomb." You'll be seeking the spirit of F.S. Peabody, the coal millionaire who built the mansion nearly a century ago. The tours cost $10 and run every half-hour starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday until Thursday, Oct. 31, at 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org. Recommended for ages 10 and older.
3. Take a spine-tingling trolley tour
Volo Auto Museum claims to have a resident wraith, and sightings of a ghost — seen in a trench coat or Civil War garb — even landed the Lake County attraction on Discovery Channel's "Ghost Lab." So watch for him while taking a family-friendly Haunted Trolley Tour at the museum, 27582 Volo Village Road, Volo. You'll meet a "ghost" groundskeeper and also hear the legend of Wallace Gale, a Civil War soldier buried just west of the museum. The tours cost $6 per adult and $5 per child, with paid museum admission. They run every half-hour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Sunday, Oct. 27. Reservations can be made at volocars.com.
4. Dress up your dog
Dog owners who can't get enough of dressing up Fido have two area options for parading their pooches. New this year is The Hoots & H'owls Pet Parade between 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Randhurst Village off Euclid Avenue in Mount Prospect. Spooky backdrops will be available for dressed-up dogs to pose in front of, and then owners can submit those photos online for a pet costume contest presented by the Daily Herald Media Group. Visit dailyherald.com/contest/hootsandhowls for rules and information. Another option: The Spooky Pooch Parade, the one time a year that dogs are allowed on the grounds of the Chicago Botanic Garden, located off Lake-Cook Road in Glencoe. The parade and costume contest runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Admission is free for spectators, though parking is $25 per car. Competition registration is $19 to $25 per dog. See chicagobotanic.org/dog.
5. See Svengoolie at Santa's
Santa's Village Azoosment Park in East Dundee hosts its Harvest Fest Days, with everything from pony rides and a petting zoo to live shows, costume contests and trick-or-treating. On Fridays and Saturdays in October, the park remains open in the evenings for its Nightmare from North Street celebration, with rides and a haunted barn. Guests can meet Chicago horror icon Svengoolie from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. Santa's Village is at 601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee. For schedule and various fees, visit santasvillagedundee.com.
6. 'B' there for B movies
"B" ready for three days of B-movies and film shorts ranging from cheesy features such as "The Giant Behemoth" and "Witchboard" to movie briefs such as "House of Monsters" and "Zombie Chic." It's Friday through Sunday, Oct. 25-27, at Woodridge's Hollywood Blvd, 1001 West 75th St. Go to atriptothemovies.com for tickets or bmoviecelebration.com/schedule/ for show times and titles.
7. Get ready for Freddy
Actor Robert Englund, aka film's Freddy Krueger, hosts the original "Nightmare on Elm Street" Friday and Sunday, Oct. 25 and 27, at Woodridge's Hollywood Blvd. theaters, 1001 West 75th St., plus Saturday, Oct. 26, at Naperville's Hollywood Palms theater, 352 S. Route 59, Naperville. And that's not all. Actor Tyler Mane, aka Michael Myers, hosts Rob Zombie's remake of "Halloween" plus "Compound Fracture" at the Palms on Wednesday, Oct. 30, and then at the Blvd. on Halloween night. Go to atriptothemovies.com for tickets, prices and program info.
8. Survive a zombie apocalypse
The zombie-themed Nightmare on Chicago Street returns to Elgin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, with live entertainment, a costume contest, gory displays, vendors and more. V is for Villains headlines. The events run along Chicago Street between Douglas and Villa. Tickets cost $7 online and $10 at the gate. For ages 17 and older. www.nightmareonchicagostreet.com.
9. Say 'Boo!' at Brookfield
Climb aboard a haunted hayride and watch a professional pumpkin carver carve 1,000-pound jack-o'-lanterns at Brookfield Zoo's annual Boo! at the Zoo Halloween celebration. The weekend event also features a daily costume parade, cookie decorating, pumpkin carving and special Zoo Chats. Boo! at the Zoo runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 27. Admission is $10.50-$15. Parking is $10. (708) 688-8000 or czs.org.
10. Scare up a Segway
Ride a Segway as quickly as a ghost to experience Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours' high-tech way to find out about Chicago's ghostly tales — complete with ghoulish guides. Chicago Haunted Tours start at 238 E. Monroe St., Chicago, running through Sunday, Nov. 3. Tours cost $65 and guests must be 14 or older (those younger than 18 must be accompanied by a guardian) and weigh between 100 to 260 pounds. Call (312) 552-5100 or visit chicagosegways.com.
11. Navigate a maze
Head to Marmion's Abbey Farms in Aurora to navigate your way through the farm's 12-acre corn maze — or a smaller 1-acre maze for kids. And don't stop there. The farm offers a pirate ship playground, scarecrow tractor wagon rides, pony rides and a petting zoo. Evening attractions include a fire pit and a flashlight adventure. Marmion's Abbey Farms is at 850 Butterfield Road in Aurora. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Sunday, Oct. 27. Admission is $5-$10. (630) 966-7775 or abbeyfarms.org.
12. Go ghost hunting
Haunted Hometowns offers its ghost hunting tours throughout the year, but it's during the Halloween season when the number of tours increases — and quickly sell out. So book early to be a part of the five-hour Elgin Cemetery Ghost Hunt Bus Tour, or two-hour Naperville: Historic District Walking Tour and Aurora: Downtown Walking Tour. The Elgin tour costs $55; the Naperville and Aurora tours cost $20. (800) 979-3370 or zerve.com/hauntdhmtwns for tour times and tickets.
13. Embrace dual identities at Double Door
Local musicians get dressed up for Halloween, too, at Double Door's annual two-night Halloween Bash, which runs Thursday, Oct. 31, and Friday, Nov. 1. The Halloween night lineup includes suburban sweethearts AM Taxi playing as The Cars, local indie rockers Big Paraid and Brighton MA teaming up on a tribute to Queens of the Stone Age, Hessler taking the stage as W.A.S.P. and DJ Erik spinning as DJ Axl Rose. Chicago's all-female KISS tribute Slutter headlines. The Friday, Nov. 1, set includes The Dead On playing as Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Blackbox channeling U2, Cold Country as Fleetwood Mac and Tony Manno as Neil Young. Sex Therapy headlines Friday as Janis Joplin. Doors open at 8 p.m., with sets starting at 9 at Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $10 each night. doubledoor.com.
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