7 frightfully fun activities to get in the Halloweeen spirit
From spooky festivals to haunted train rides, the suburbs are bustling with activities to set the mood for Halloween.
Thrill-seekers can get their kicks at frightening events in Gurnee and Naperville, where ghouls and ghosts will come to life. Scary stories will be told in Lisle and South Elgin. And various other activities, both family-friendly and for more mature audiences, are sure to get residents in the Halloween spirit.
Characters come to life during the Naper Settlement's annual All Hallows Eve.
- Daily Herald file photo
All Hallows Eve
For two nights leading up to Halloween, the Naper Settlement campus will be transformed into one large haunted house. The historic buildings will be converted into a murder castle, Frankenstein's lab, a torture dungeon and a Victorian insane asylum. Creepy characters will roam the grounds, and spooky entertainment is sure to delight thrill-seekers. Tickets cost $20. Free for Naper Settlement members and kids younger than 4.
Info: 6:30 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 19-20, at Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, (630) 420-6010 or napersettlement.org/allhallowseve.
For two weekends in October, mini-golfers at the Mountain View Adventure Center can play among ghosts, ghouls and other creatures that emerge after dark. Kids who come to the course in costume receive a special treat. Prices range from $6 to $8.50 per game depending on age and residency, with an option to play a second game for $3.
Info: Oct. 19-20 and 26-28. Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 to 8 p.m. Sundays at the Mountain View Mine mini-golf course, 510 E. Algonquin Road, Des Plaines, (847) 391-5733 or www.dpparks.org.
Haunted houses and creepy creatures are all part of Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America.
- Courtesy of Six Flags Great America
When the sun goes down, ghosts, ghouls and zombies lurk around Six Flags Great America during the annual Fright Fest. Attendees brave enough to enter the park after dark can check out haunted houses, visit spooky scare zones or ride roller coasters in the dark. Family-friendly entertainment and Halloween-themed activities are available during the day.
Info: 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays, Oct. 19 and 26; 11 a.m. to midnight Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 21 and 28; 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, and Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 29-31. Six Flags Great America is at 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee. See website for prices. www.sixflags.com/greatamerica/special-events/fright-fest-night.
The Grimmest of Ghost Tales
Spooky literary tales from the Brothers Grimm will be brought to life during interactive walking plays at the Morton Arboretum. Characters will act out the original versions of the Grimms' Fairy Tales as guests follow along, hiking through the trees and gardens that make up the arboretum's campus. Walking plays are about 90 minutes long and don't exceed two miles. Prices vary from $10 to $20 depending on age and membership status.
Info: 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 20-21, at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Route 53, Lisle, (630) 725-2066 or www.mortonarb.org/events/walking-plays-morton-arboretum.
Ghost Story Train
Passengers on a special Ghost Story Trolley in South Elgin can wear a costume, listen to spooky stories and ride to the John Duerr Forest Preserve and back. Participants also are encouraged to gather around a bonfire to sing campfire songs and enjoy s'mores. The spooky train rides, which cost $16.50 per person, serve as a fundraiser for the Fox Valley Trolley Museum.
Info: 5, 6:15 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27. Rides start at the Castlemuir Depot, 365 S. La Fox St., South Elgin, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.foxtrolley.org/GhostStoryTrain.
Nightmare on Chicago Street
As zombies take over downtown Elgin Saturday, Chicago Street will be the only spot where visitors are safe from the apocalypse. Four stages of live entertainment, food, drinks, graffiti artists and performances from other guests, such as Svengoolie, can be found in the safe zone. Meanwhile, other parts of the city will appear to be under attack, with cars damaged, trash thrown about, tires burning and businesses boarded up.
Info: 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, on Chicago Street between Douglas Avenue and Villa Street, Elgin. www.nightmareonchicagostreet.com. Check website for updated ticket information.
A Haunting in the Valley
Covered wagon rides and mysterious walks through the fields and forests of Schaumburg's Spring Valley are among the highlights of the popular Haunting in the Valley. The event, which takes place the weekend before Halloween, also includes games, refreshments, a live owl display and a bonfire. Tickets cost $6 in advance or $8 at the door. Space is limited, so organizers encourage those interested to pre-purchase tickets.
Info: 6:15 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, at the Vera Meinke Nature Center, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, (847) 490-7020 or www.parkfun.com/programs/special-events.