music & nightlife · attractions & tours · outdoor activities ·
Published September 18, 2023
The Best Ways to Celebrate Halloween in Chicago
Bust out the costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and Halloween candy—spooky season has arrived in Chi-Town. 🎃👻🕷️
by Chicago Bucket List
Summertime Chi is behind us, and while a tear or two may have been shed, we're diving headfirst into spooky season. Fall in Chicago is jam-packed with Halloween-themed events, no matter your age, scare affinity, or favorite autumn activities.
From horror film screenings to ghoulish parties and haunted ghost tours, there's no shortage of nightmarish fun to enjoy. Looking for something a little more lowkey? Paint pumpkins and sip spiked hot cocoa with your besties, or round up the kids for a day at the pumpkin patch. Read on for more of the best ways to celebrate Halloween in Chicago.
24 Can't-Miss Halloween Events in Chicago This Year
Attend a Haunted Cocktail Soiree
For an elevated approach to Halloween, dress up and attend Haunted Soiree: A Macabre Cocktail Party. More than just drinks and costumes, this experience pulls you into a haunting tale based on historical events and centuries-old legends. Immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere with mini-cocktail tastings, captivating live performances, and wandering entertainers, each holding a piece of the original ghost story.
Where: International Museum of Surgical Science: 1524 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL
Party at Nightmare on the Express
All aboard! Halloween is taking over the Ogilvie Train Station with three dance floors, over a dozen DJs, dancers and performers, costume contests and themed competitions, spooky activations, and more. Bonus: a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Never Had a Bad Day Foundation to support those suffering from cancer.
Where: Ogilvie Train Station: 120 N Canal St, Chicago, IL
Grab a Drink at Frankenstein's Mad Scientist Cocktail Lab
Frankenstein's might look like an ordinary bar from the outside, but inside, you’ll find yourself surrounded by mysterious potions, shimmering elixirs, and spine-tingling concoctions. Mad scientists will guide you through the experience and together, you'll unlock the secrets hidden within the simmering beakers and test tubes!
Along with concocting your own spirits, you can also opt for a game of Duckpin bowling, plus enjoy additional drinks from the bar and spooky photo ops.
Where: The Pink Squirrel: 2414 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL
Experience The Garden of Decay
The Garden of Decay is a brand-new immersive theater experience now open at Navy Pier. Explore a haunted genetic plant lab with a grieving botanist's quest for resurrection, guided by audio narration. Afterward, enjoy interactive art, themed vendors, botanical cocktails, and late-night entertainment at the Garden of reCreation. Family-friendly daytime experiences are available, with an 18+ atmosphere after 7:15 PM.
Where: Navy Pier: 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL
Join the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade
The Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade is not your average parade. Yes, there are performers, bands, and floats, but there are also jeeps, fire breathers, and wildly creative costumes. Anyone is welcome to participate as long as they register ahead of time. And if the parade isn’t enough Halloween fun for you, head to the after-party, where cash prizes will be awarded.
Where: Parade begins at Halsted & Belmont and ends at Halsted & Brompton.
Paint a Pumpkin at JoJo’s
Gather the family, friend group, or the office softball team, and head to JoJo’s Pumpkin Patch for food and fall festivities. Pick a pumpkin from the patch and paint it to your heart’s desire, then order from a menu that includes smash burgers, pot pies, caramel apples, pumpkin and apple pies, and spiked hot cocoa. Not to mention a full bar with signature cocktails and JoJo’s famous pumpkin patch shake.
Where: River North, 23 W Hubbard St
Get Spooked at Nightmare on Clark Street
Nightmare on Clark Street is back for another year with multiple levels of thrills and scares. Make your way through the terrifying, adults-only haunted house in this immersive, over-the-top horror experience.
Where: 3505 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL
Survive the Sweet Dreams Halloween Pop-Up
Imagine every scary movie you’ve ever watched has come to life in one spot. That’s what you can expect at this 20,000 sqft Halloween pop-up. Prepare to meet some of the most infamous characters in horror as you make your way through frightening scenes and nightmarish setups. Ticket includes a free drink for those over 21!
Where: Rizzo’s Bar & Inn, 3658 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
Go on A Boos and Booze Bar Crawl
Take your pick of three neighborhood bar crawls happening on October 28 in West Loop, Wicker Park, and River North. Come dressed in costume and make your way through 5+ venues with discounted drinks, complimentary shots at designated bars, prizes and giveaways, and a free Halloween mask while supplies last!
Where: Various locations. Check event pages for details.
Party at the Monster Mash Halloween Bash
Dress up in your most creative and frightening costume for this Halloween party happening on October 28. Prizes will be doled out to the top three best costumes, and there will be raffle prizes throughout the nights. You could win gift cards, a chance to go to a Blackhawks game, concert tickets, and more. GA tickets include a call drinks package, food and drink specials, two raffles, and entry into the costume contest!
Where: Passport Bar Room: 1601 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
It's not Halloween until you've picked out a pumpkin and carved a jack-o-lantern. We've rounded up the best places to pick pumpkins, drink hot cider, get lost in a corn maze, go on a hayride, and more! There's no better way to celebrate Halloween all season long!
Where: Various locations.
Make a Basic Witch Cocktail
Mix up your own witch's brew at this DIY fall-themed cocktail experience. Expert instructors will guide you through each class, sharing their knowledge and experience to help you hone your mixology skills as you create drinks like the Caramel Apple Mule, BOO-Cardi Rum, Iced Pumpkin Spiked Latte, and Bathtub Gin & Juice!
Where: River North, 23 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL
Dance at the Cauldron After Dark
Get ready to cast some serious moves at The Cauldron Chicago. This event combines dancing, drinks, and witchy vibes to transport you to a mystical realm filled with groovy beats and a spellbinding ambiance. Grab your wands, put on your best wizard robes, and let the music guide you!
Where: The Cauldron: 1612 W Division St, Chicago, IL
Go to the Halloween Party at The Cauldron
The Cauldron will kick things up a notch at a ghoulish Halloween Party on October 28! Come dressed in your most haunting attire—the spookier, witchier, and zombie-er, the better—and prepare for a night filled with chills, thrills, and ghostly delights. Tickets include a specialty Halloween-themed drink or shot!
Where: The Cauldron Chicago: 1612 W Division St, Chicago, IL
Go to a Park Pop-Up Event
The Chicago Parks District is hosting several pop-up events during the weeks leading up to Halloween. Take the whole family to make themed arts and crafts, sip cider with the Sanderson Sisters, go to the Upside Down Halloween Parade at Washington Park, visit the Halloween Town at Wicker Park, explore the Halloween Horror House at Sherwood Park, and more.
Where: Various locations
Dance at TAO Halloween Weekend
TAO is hosting a DJ party series featuring Sam Feldt, Lil Jon, James Kennedy, and Lost Frequencies! Happening Thursday, Friday, and Saturday before Halloween, you can come out in your costume and dance the night away with some of the best DJs in the world.
Where: TAO Chicago: 632 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL
Attend Bloody Whim: Immersive Halloween Experience
Discover nightmares filled with dark corners, creepy characters, and jump scares in this immersive Halloween experience. Soothe your nerves with delicious themed cocktails like the IV Blood Bag, the Witches Brew, and the Green Zombie alongside live performances every night within the bowls of The Butcher Bar, a Texas Chainsaw-inspired haunt.
Where: 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago IL
Watch Classic Halloween Movies
Throwback Movie Club is hosting classic spooky season films all throughout October on the roof at Back 2 The Video Store. Come kick back under the moon with specific movie-themed cocktail menus and smores, and watch movies like Hocus Pocus, Signs, The Shining, Practical Magic, Scream, and more!
Where: Whiskey Business: 1365 N Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL
Attend a Witches Brew Cocktail Experience
You're invited to a cocktail party featuring custom-themed cocktails and some of Chicago's best performers. Each ticket allows guests 90 minutes to take fun photos in movie-themed photo ops, with two immersive performances will take this cocktail party over the top.
Where: Never Have I Ever: 2247 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL
Haunted Shipwreck at Offshore Rooftop
Party at the Hubbard Inn Halloween Bash
Don't miss out on the spine-chilling fun as Hubbard Street is transformed into a nightmarish playground. This Halloween party will be one for the books, with haunted surprises all night long. Receive a free shot upon entry if you arrive before 11pm, and spend the night dancing with friends at this multi-level venue right in the heart of River North.
Where: Hubbard Inn: 110 W Hubbard St Chicago, IL
Trick or Drink Your Way through Halloweekend
Round up your friends, bust out your Halloween costume, and get ready to party your way through ten Chicago bars. Kick off your night at Hopsmith Tavern to get your wristband and map with participating bars, their location, and their drink specials.
Where: Start at Hopsmith Chicago: 15 W Division St., Chicago, IL
Go to Fall Fest at the Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo hosts a myriad of Halloween-themed events and attractions throughout the month of October. Trick-or-treat the zoo with the family, and check out ticketed attractions like the harvest maze, pumpkin walk, a super-sized slide, inflatables, and more. Guests can also enjoy free musical entertainment, a pumpkin patch, and professional pumpkin carvers. Or enjoy an adults-only evening with animal chats, live DJs, fall-themed activities, and multiple bars throughout the zoo.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo: 2001 North Clark Street
Brave a Ghost Tour
Chicago has a handful of ghost tours if you’re up for a night of spooks and frights. Learn about the haunted history behind the Congress Hotel, the mysterious deaths that took place along Prairie Avenue, the dark events that took place in Chicago’s old Red Light district, and other shadowy secrets across the city.
Where: Various locations.
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