Boo with a view
Add the fear of heights to your Halloween list of spooks when you take the kids to trick-or-treat 1,000 feet up. On Halloween, children can explore the John Hancock Observatory and collect goodies around every corner amid the sky-high, 360-degree views. While kids trick-or-treat, adults can indulge in the new fall cocktail -- The Sparkle Punch -- or the pastry of the month (Chocolate Fondant Cake) at Lavazza Espression cafe.
4:30 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at the John Hancock Observatory, 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Admission to the observatory is $18 for adults (12 and older), $12 for kids (3-11), and free for children younger than 3. (888) 875-8439 or jhochicago.com.
East Meets Midwest
Head into the city for an unusual night out with hip-hop artists Himanshu Suri (Heems) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dapwell). Heems and Dapwell guest curate an evening of special live performances, Bollywood DJ sets, and video projections as a part of the Museum of Contemporary Art's First Fridays series. Tickets include museum admission and live entertainment.
6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago. Tickets cost $14 in advance or $18 at the door. Guests must be at least 21. (312) 280-2660 or mcachicago.org.
He's a magic man
You needn't travel to Vegas for a breathtaking magic show -- just get to the Palmer House Hilton for the Magic Parlour. Guests first meet for wine and beer at Potter's Lounge and then are whisked up to an elegant suite for an evening of magic performances and mind-reading by host Dennis Watkins. Watkins, a renowned magician hailing from a family of magicians, performs the Magic Parlour at the historic hotel every Friday night. Check the website for special performances on different dates.
7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1-Dec. 27. The cost is $75 per person. Buy tickets at themagicparlour chicago.com or call (773) 769-3832.
Feels like the first time
More than 30 downtown shops, galleries and restaurants are open late on First Fridays in Racine, Wis. See artists' new exhibits, meet them, and enjoy free bites; listen to music both in stores and on the sidewalks while browsing possibilities for holiday gifts; take a horse-drawn carriage ride; explore museums for free; and enjoy the historic charm of downtown Racine. Pick up a downtown Fun Book to guide your shopping and entertainment, and to save money at local shops.
4 to 11 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, in downtown Racine, Wis. For details, go to firstfridaysracine.com and for lodging information, visit racine.org.
In the mood
Big Band music is back in the air with Justin Timberlake's latest album and the Big Band Fall Ball at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wis. The evening starts with a cash bar and an elegant sit-down dinner followed by vintage tunes courtesy of In The Mood, a 16-piece ensemble that performs original arrangements from the 1940s big-band style. The event is a part of the resort's one- and two-night Big Band Weekend stay packages. Both options include two tickets to the big band dance and dinner, as well as a champagne brunch for two adults on Sunday morning.
5:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Lake Lawn Resort, 2400 E. Geneva St., Delavan, Wis. One-night Big Band Weekend package is $239; two-night package is $299, plus resort fee and tax. (800) 338-5253 or lakelawnresort.com.
The cheese stands alone
Wisconsin Cheese Originals Festival celebrates the arrival of American artisanal cheese with a weekend of creamery and farm tours, tasting seminars and cheese-focused meals. Meet Wisconsin cheese makers and get in on events such as Lunch with Cheese & Chocolate Dessert Pairing; compare and contrast European traditional cheeses to Wisconsin original cheeses; and enjoy an Artisan Cheese & Craft Beer Pairing.
Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2, at Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Drive, Madison, Wis. Prices for tours, lunches and dinners vary. VIP all-day passes cost $89 or a la carte tickets are $25. wicheesefest.com or (608) 358-7837.