On the road: Halloween haunts, by sea or by Segway
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Who will scarf down the most pie at the 52nd annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival Oct. 23-27?
Celebrate Halloween on a Seadog Haunted Tour on the Chicago River.
Parents and kids get in on all the seasonal action at Clark Street Spooktacular on Oct. 26.
Get into the season with a haunted Halloween tour atop a Segway. Ghoulish guides escort you to mysterious locations in downtown Chicago while talking about haunted hotels, houses, ghosts, murders and various and sundry ghastly disasters. This tour visits the sites of haunted Fort Dearborn, the Iroquois Theatre disaster, the morgue on State Street, the Dead Alley and the former home of Al Capone's supposedly haunted yacht. All riders on the tour must be at least 14 years old (and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult).
6:15 and 8:45 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, Oct. 22-31. Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours, 238 E. Monroe St. Chicago; $65; (312) 552-5100 or chicagosegways.com.
Lincoln Park goes dark
Take a trip into the city when Clark Street in Lincoln Park is transformed into a Halloween wonderland for the appropriate-for-all-ages Clark Street Spooktacular. The free event features street magicians, jugglers, balloon artists, Halloween inflatables, theater performances, scarecrow parade and costumed characters strolling Clark from Armitage to Diversey. Count on free refreshments, crafts and games before taking the kids on a trick-or-treating trek to participating businesses. Be sure to dress for the costume contest.
1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. Spooktacular Headquarters, 2324 N. Clark St. Chicago. Call (773) 880-5200 or visitclarkstreet.com.
Chicago's murky past
Mix Halloween, the Chicago River and architecture and you've got a Seadog Haunted Tour, a nighttime cruise that includes information about the city's fabulous buildings while learning ghostly secrets about the city itself. Costumed tour guides highlight infamous incidents and supernatural sightings from Chicago history and reveal the lingering stories that plague famous buildings along the Chicago River.
6:15 p.m. Friday to Sunday in October; additional 8:15 p.m. tours Saturdays in October. Board at Navy Pier, 600 East Grand Ave. Cost is $29.95 plus tax for adults; $18.95 plus tax for children 3-12; $1 for ages three and under. Walk-ups are welcome, or make reservations at www.seadogcruises.com/Chicago/chicago-haunted-tours or (888) 636-7737.
Say "Howdy" to fall
Point the vehicle northwest to Union, Ill., to enjoy the Fall Festival at Donley's Wild West Town. More than the average McHenry County pumpkin patch, the fest offers rides on the C.P. Huntington train for a spooky journey through the old mine tunnel. A mountain man introduces kids to the Chief, they exchange beads, and the kids receive a pumpkin of their choice from the Chief's private patch. Stop at the pumpkin painting station and the most creative pumpkins get prizes. Visit Clayton's Sasparilla Saloon and sing Halloween classics, then indulge in fresh pies, muffins and cookies.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Oct. 26-27. Donley's Wild West Town, 8512 S Union Road, Union, IL. Tickets are $16 and include admission, rides, shows and attractions; kids 2 and under free. (815) 923-9000 or wildwesttown.com.
Smashing pumpkin fest
The 52nd Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival's theme is "Pumpkin Adventures" and the adventurous squash fest features over 1,000 entries in the Lions decorated pumpkin display on the courthouse lawn, two carnivals, two huge indoor craft shows, tons of vendors, pie eating contest and a 90-minute parade on Sunday. Take advantage of free pumpkins, ghost stories in the park, the teen carnival, zombie mini-golf, historic homes walk, Halloween party, scary stories in the cemetery and lots of country cooking.
4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23; 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. Downtown Sycamore, IL. Carve out details at sycamorepumpkinfestival.com.
RSVP for ET's and UFO's
It all started Jan. 16, 1987, when a Belleville, Wis., police officer reported seeing a cluster of lights in the sky. Soon, he and his partner saw what is believed to be a UFO. More than a dozen reports of UFO activity (cigar-shaped objects in the late afternoon sky departing in clouds of vapor) from January to April of that year begat UFO Day in Belleville. Visit the UFO Capitol of the World on the 27th annual UFO Day when aliens and humanoids get together for a craft fair, kids' games, pet parade, pumpkin decorating, lots of food and a beer tent, a Forbidden Forest and costume parade all in the riverside village that's just 17 miles south of Madison.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26. Downtown Belleville, Wis. (608) 424-3336 or belleville-wi.com.
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