Countdown to Halloween: 8 days of spirited fun

  • Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns returns to the Chicago Botanic Garden Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 24-28.

    Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns returns to the Chicago Botanic Garden Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 24-28. Courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

 
By Lisa Friedman Miner
lminer@dailyherald.com
Updated 10/24/2018 1:41 PM

Halloween is creeping closer -- ever closer.

So if you haven't taken full advantage of the local fun yet, you'd better get busy. You can head to a pumpkin patch for a G-rated afternoon or go for the gruesome at a suburban haunted house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But if you're looking to broaden your Halloween horizons, here is a day-by-day list of ideas to keep you in the spirit through Oct. 31.

Wednesday, Oct. 24

Haunted house lovers have plenty of terrifying picks in Elgin, Aurora, St. Charles and other spots. For a weekday change of pace, the most daring can check out Melrose Park's 13th Floor Haunted House. Just leave the kids at home: Experts at America Haunts ranked 13th Floor the third best haunted house in the U.S. last year. It's at 1940 George St., and weekday tickets range from $19.99 to $29.99. Go to 13thfloorchicago.com for hours and details.

Thursday, Oct. 25

Hand-carved LED-lit pumpkins line a special path for the Chicago Botanic Garden's Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns. It runs from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, Oct. 24-28, at 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Characters greet visitors along the way, and there will be carving demonstrations. Admission is $11 to $18, $25 to $30 for parking. See chicagobotanic.org.

You never know what you'll find at Schaumburg's Haunting the Valley on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, at Spring Valley's Vera Meineke Nature Center.
You never know what you'll find at Schaumburg's Haunting the Valley on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, at Spring Valley's Vera Meineke Nature Center. - Courtesy of Schaumburg Park District
Friday, Oct. 26

Darkened fields and forests provide the setting for Schaumburg's Haunting in the Valley, featuring mysterious trail walks, wagon rides, live owls, games and refreshments. It's from 6:15 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26-27, at Spring Valley's Vera Meineke Nature Center, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road. Tickets are $6 to $8 and space is limited. You can get your tickets in advance at Spring Valley and additional info at parkfun.com.

Saturday, Oct. 27

Fall is a nice time to visit Brookfield Zoo, and Boo at the Zoo! makes it even more fun. Running 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 28, the annual event includes pumpkin-carving demonstrations, costume parades, crafts, a corn maze and more at 8400 31st St., Brookfield. Activities (and visiting the animals) are included in the admission price of $15.95 to $21.95. Check out www.czs.org/boo.

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Sunday, Oct. 28

The new Chicago Magic Lounge -- billed as the city's home for close-up magic -- offers a special Halloween-themed family show for those 5 and older at 2 p.m. Tickets run $15 to $25 and the show includes costumes, trick-or-treating and, of course, magic at 5050 N. Clark St., Chicago. See chicagomagiclounge.com.

Monday, Oct. 29

The Elmhurst College Wind Ensemble performs its first Halloween concert with a mix of classics and movie music. Student band members will play in costume as they cycle through Michael Jackson's "Thriller," the theme from "The Munsters" and much more. The 45-minute concert is free and includes videos, a costume contest and trick-or-treating in Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. See elmhurst.edu/music.

Tuesday, Oct. 30

Now, for something really different: A candlelit haunted historic mansion tour of the International Museum of Surgical Science. You'll learn about the architecture and the mansion's original occupants. And if that's not creepy enough, you can check out items from the museum's "morbid curiosities" collection. The $20 tour and reception are from 6 to 8 p.m. at 1524 N. Lakeshore Drive. Go to imss.org.

Wednesday, Oct. 31

If you've got kids at home, you already know the actual day of Halloween is all about trick-or-treating. When they go to bed, you can catch back-to-back horror flicks starring Vincent Price on TCM -- and raid their candy.

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