With Halloween falling on Thursday, this weekend offers the best chance to scare up some seasonal fun. We have a selection of ideas for this Saturday and Sunday that range from fearsome to family-friendly.
Check in at 'Hotel Transylvania': The animated kid-friendly film will be shown free at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Charlestowne 18 in St. Charles, the Elk Grove in Elk Grove Village, the Ogden 6 in Naperville, the Fox Lake and the Cinema 12 in Carpentersville. The Tivoli in Downers Grove will show it at 11 a.m. Saturday, and the York in Elmhurst will show it at 9:30 a.m. classiccinemas.com.
Hit Fright Fest: The event, at Gurnee's Six Flags Great America, pairs haunted attractions with the usual thrill rides. Tickets run $44.99 to $64.99. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. frightfest.sixflags.com/greatamerica/.
Explore CarnEvil: The newest haunted destination in the suburbs includes a Midway of the Damned, a Blades of Gory skating attraction and more at the Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates. Regular admission is $27, while VIP tickets are $50. CarnEvil runs through Thursday, Oct. 31. Visit carnevilchicago.com for tickets and hours.
Hit other haunted houses: Up the fear factor by checking out haunted houses from Aurora to Zion. For a listing of suburban haunted houses, click here.
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. both days this weekend as well as Wednesday and Thursday. It's at 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org. Recommended for ages 10 and older.
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. Reservations can be made at volocars.com.
'B' there for B movies: "B" ready for showings 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." They are at Woodridge's Hollywood Blvd, 1001 West 75th St. Go to atriptothemovies.com for tickets or bmovie celebration.com/schedule/ for show times and titles.
Survive a zombie apocalypse: The zombie-themed Nightmare on Chicago Street returns to Elgin at 6 p.m. Saturday 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.
Call 'Ghostbusters': See a free screening at 10 a.m. Saturday of the 1984 comedy "Ghostbusters," starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Sigourney Weaver, at the Ogden 6 Theatre, 1227 E. Ogden Ave., Naperville. Children can attend in costume. Visit classiccinemas.com.
Check out Boo Bash: Kids can trick or treat, make their way through a haunted maze and hop on a tractor-pulled wagon ride at the Mundelein Park District's Boo Bash at Keith Mione Community Park, 1401 N. Midlothian Road, Mundelein. Other highlights include performances by the musical group Funikijam. Youngsters are invited to dress in costume. The event runs 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. (847) 866-0650 or mundeleinparks.org.
Say 'Boo!' at Brookfield: Climb aboard a haunted hayride and watch a professional pumpkin carver 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. Admission is $10.50-$15. Parking is $10. (708) 688-8000 or czs.org.
Hear a story with bite: Enjoy Bram Stoker's classic "Dracula" told by storyteller/actress Megan Wells in a one-woman show at the Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St., Woodstock, It's at 3 p.m. Sunday and tickets are $23-$26. (815) 338-5300 or woodstockoperahouse.com.
Visit Franken Plaza: Head down to Chicago's Daley Plaza, at Washington and Dearborn streets, as it becomes Franken Plaza for Halloween. The Midnight Circus performs throughout the weekend with a variety of stars. A Monster Bash includes trick-or-treating, hayrides and the kids' costume contest (for children ages 12 and younger). Other highlights include arts and crafts, a Harvest Marketplace and a "Wicked" singalong. Free. Events run 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit chicagoween.us.
Navigate a corn maze: The area is dotted with mazes where you can wander among the scarecrows -- or encounter some frightful creatures. Click here for a sampling.
For more ideas, click here for our listing of the weekend's fall and Halloween festivals.