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? Make decorative Halloween origami, 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.
14 Can't-Miss Halloween Events in Chicago This Year
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
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
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
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
Party 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
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
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
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
We've rounded up the best places to pick pumpkins, drink hot cider, get lost in a corn maze, and more! From orchards ripe for apple picking to family farms complete with spooky hayrides, haunted houses, and more. There's no better way to celebrate Halloween all season long!
Where: Various locations.
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
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.
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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