13 freaky and family-friendly local attractions for Halloween
With Halloween on a Tuesday, getting your suburban haunts in before Oct. 31 means making the most of your weekends.
Here are 13 ideas -- a few for each weekend between now and Halloween -- to help you build up to the big day. Some are family-friendly; some are not. So pick, choose and enjoy.
• Creep out to a mix of history and horror at Naper Settlement's All Hallows Eve Friday and Saturday, Oct. 20 and 21. Scary literature comes alive at the historic attraction with Frankenstein's Laboratory, a Victorian Insane Asylum, a Torture Dungeon and more. Not for kids younger than 8, and no costumes allowed.
Naper Settlement is at 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. Event runs from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets cost $20. (630) 420-6010 or napersettlement.org.
• Go family-friendly with Chicago's new nighttime Halloween parade and celebration Saturday, Oct. 21. Arts in the Dark kicks off with a free pre-parade celebration at 4 p.m. at Buckingham Fountain. The parade starts at 6 and wraps up at Maggie Daley Park with a Halloween movie and a candy giveaway.
The event is free. artsinthedark.org.
• Take your kids -- and costumed pets -- to Randhurst Village in Mount Prospect for the annual Halloween Fall Festival Saturday, Oct. 21. Highlights of this free event include a pet costume parade with prizes, entertainment, pumpkin decorating, crafts, wagon rides and live owl appearances from the Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington.
The event kicks off at 11:30 a.m. in center court at Randhurst, located at Rand and Elmhurst roads in Mount Prospect, and runs until 4. Pet parade registration is at 11:30 a.m. in front of the AMC movie theater. randhurstvillage.com.
• Shop til you drop on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Wheaton Haunted Flea Market, which includes music, entertainment, vendors, food and celebrities. Come in costume.
It's at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. The market runs from 3 p.m. to midnight. Admission is $7 for adults and free for kids 12 and younger. zurkopromotions.com.
• Dress in costume for a night of food, drinks and theater at Raue Center's Costume Gala: A Halloween Soirée. The event includes a 6 p.m. reception as well as a private 8 p.m. performance of Williams Street Repertory's "Little Shop of Horrors," a musical about a lovesick floral assistant and his bloodthirsty plant.
The gala is at 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Tickets start at $85. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org.
• Navigate azombie apocalypse when Nightmare on Chicago Street returns to Elgin on Saturday, Oct. 21. The downtown appears to be under attack, while the "safe zone" offers entertainment, food, drinks and graffiti artists. Anyone younger than 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Nightmare on Chicago Street is between Douglas Avenue and Villa Street in Elgin. It runs from 6 to 11 p.m. Early-bird tickets cost $12; tickets at the gate are $15. nightmareonchicagostreet.com.
• Check out the last play in Joseph Zettelmaier's horror trilogy at First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook. "The Man-Beast" is a chilling werewolf-inspired tale of a hunter on the trail of a savage creature and the reclusive woman who agrees to help him collect the bounty.
It's at the Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st Street and Route 83, Oak Brook. Weekend performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $44, with senior and student discounts available. (630) 986-8067 or firstfolio.org.
• Laugh along to "Monsters on Ice," which -- despite its name -- is completely ice free. Schaumburg's Laugh Out Loud Theater performs an improv show full of mysteries, tricks, treats, monsters and ghost stories. But no ice.
Laugh Out Loud is at 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. The shows are at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday in October. Tickets cost $12-$20. (847) 240-0386 or laughoutloudtheater.com.
• Piece together a kid-friendly Halloween party at Legoland Discovery Center's Brick-or-Treat in Schaumburg. Activities include a scavenger hunt and character appearances.
Legoland is at Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. Brick-or-Treat runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, through Halloween. General admission is $19.95, with online discounts available and $5 off for kids in costume. legolanddiscoverycenter.com/Chicago.
• Sink your teeth into Bram Stoker's "Dracula" when Libertyville's Improv Playhouse Theater marks the 120th anniversary of this horror classic by staging Orson Welles' 1938 radio version on Saturday, Oct. 28. Director David Stuart describes it as "eerily PG-rated." The night also includes treats and other surprises.
Improv Playhouse Theater is at 735 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. A Halloween-themed improv show follows at 9. Tickets cost $5 to $10 in advance, $5 to $15 at the door. (847) 968-4529 or improvplayhouse.com/.
• Enjoy beer at the ballpark Saturday, Oct. 28, during the Cougars Halloween WitchCRAFT Beer Fest in Geneva. Tickets include a souvenir glass and 18 3-ounce samples. Food trucks will sell sandwiches, tacos and more. The bash also features a costume contest, music and Halloween movies. Must be 21.
The fest is at Northwestern Medicine Field, 34W002 Cherry Lane, Geneva, and runs from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets cost $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Designated drivers get in for $20. milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20170727&content_id=244807366&sid=t446&vkey=tickets.
• Get a double dose of thrills and chills when you combine scary rides and scarier creatures at Fright Fest, at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. Special entertainment, activities for kids and a trick-or-treat trail are available during the day. Ghouls roam the park after sundown, and visitors can find additional scares at haunted attractions.
Great America is at 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee. See sixflags.com/greatamerica for hours and admission rates.
• Be afraid -- very afraid -- at a suburban haunted house. Check out our list and find one near you.