From scary to sweet, Chicago has it all this October. Bonus: many of the family-friendly Halloween events around the city are free!
Here in Chicago, Halloween seems to last the entire month of October, and for many that makes it the most wonderful time of the year. And considering how questionable fall weather can be, it gives everyone the chance to get in on the fun. If one parade or trick-or-treating event gets cancelled due to weather, you have several more to choose from.
So, take a break from getting lost and found in corn mazes and working your way around all the harvest festivals Chicago has to offer to focus on more faboolous fun. There are Halloween events for all ages throughout the city (and nearby suburbs), from the scary to the sweet, and we’ve rounded up some of the best. Go to one or go to all—we dare you!
Free Halloween Events in Chicago
Chicago Pumpkin Patches & Halloween Parties
Halloween in the Parks
The Chicago Park District will host pumpkin patches with decorating stations, Halloween-themed carnival games, inflatables, and some surprise visitors. Pumpkins cost $5. They will also host numerous Halloween celebrations in the parks. Events vary by location but many include costumes, treats, and games.
Various city park locations
Pier Pumpkin Lights
Navy Pier will once again transform into an experiential fall spectacle with nearly 1,000 pumpkins for the month of October. Guests will explore a variety of pumpkin pop-up installations and enjoy Pier-wide deals and other Halloween festivities throughout the month.
600 E. Grand Ave.
Gallagher Way Annual Pumpkin Party
Trick or treat among the various candy stations, dance and sing along to music by the Old Town School of Folk Music, and/or make a kid craft. Be on the look-out for wandering performers such as stilt walkers, magicians, caricature artists and balloon artists. There will be lots of lawn games and every kid can leave with a free junior pumpkin. 1pm-5pm
Chicago Halloween-Themed Movies & More
Movies at Gallagher Way
Pack a picnic and lay down a blanket at Gallagher Way for some Halloween themed movies, starting with Coco, followed by Gremlins and Hocus Pocus. Gates open at 6 p.m. Movies start at 7 p.m. Alcoholic drinks and snacks are available for sale at the park.
Wednesday Night Live – Halloween Edition
Decorate a pumpkin, dress up for a costume contest, and stay for a free outdoor screening of Hocus Pocus in the Ainslie Art Plaza. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with the movie starting around 6:30 p.m.
4844 N. Lincoln Avenue
Chicago Neighborhood Trick-or-Treating Events
Take your pup trick-or-treating around Ainslie Arts Plaza. Vendors will be passing out various treats and promotions to pets and owners alike.
4844 N. Lincoln Ave.
Kids can trick-or-treat around the Lincoln Park Zoo grounds from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. or while supplies last. Families can stick around to enjoy the fall fest, seasonal food and drink, or other family-friendly entertainment.
2001 N. Clark St.
Roscoe Village Halloween Block Party
Roscoe Street will be shut down from Damen to Hoyne. Wear your costume and at 12 p.m. join or watch the parade. The parade ends at Damen where the marching band will give a final performance before the kids are let loose to trick-or-treat at all the local businesses. Families can also congregate in the center for Halloween themed activities and a live DJ. The party will wrap up at 4 p.m.
Roscoe St. between Damen and Hoyne
Trick or Treat Southport
Trick or Treat on Southport is a free annual community event featuring family-friendly activities, a pumpkin patch, pet parade and trick or treating at local businesses. Enjoy food trucks and a beer tent. 4pm-8pm
Southport Ave. from Roscoe to Grace
Halloween on Catalpa
Trick or treat among the many Andersonville businesses for a fun and safe Halloween experience.
Lincoln Scared Ravenswoooood
For one day, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood will transform into Lincoln Scared and RAVENSWoooooD as children trick-or-treat between participating businesses from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Maps of participating businesses are available online.
Lincoln Square and Ravenswood neighborhoods
NorthCenter will host a morning of trick-or-treating around local business, as well as free crafts and entertainment in the Town Square
4100 N. Damen Ave.
Wicked West Trick or Treat
Commercial Park will host a Halloween Parade & After Party from 2 p.m.-3:15 p.m. immediately followed by safe and family-friendly trick-or-treating around the local retail business and restaurants.
1845 W. Rice St.
Chicago Halloween Parades
Upside Down Halloween Parade
The 2022 Upside Down Halloween Parade, presented by LUMA8 and the City of Chicago, is a bit off-kilter. Instead of a parade passing its audience as it marches down the street, dance troupes, circus acrobats, musical groups, and more will occupy a stationary space and parade goers will walk past them, giving ample time to enjoy each performance. Halloween costumes are encouraged, and complimentary goody bags sponsored by Blommer Chocolate Company, Mars Wrigley, and others will be handed out.
5531 S. King Dr.
Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade
The Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade is the most fun and unique parade. Parade participants represent the many art institutions including performing arts theaters around the city, each accompanying an imaginative float or staging creative performances along the parade route. Costumes are made to glow-in-the-dark for added spectacle. 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
State St. from Lake to Van Buren
Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade
If anyone has any energy left after trick-or-treating, stop by the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade. Participants pull out all the stops for their costumes. See dancers and fire-eaters, and the most elaborate costumes.
Halsted St. from Belmont to Brompton
Chicago Halloween Carnivals
Highwood Pumpkin Fest Carnival
Highwood’s annual pumpkin fest features carnival rides, games, food, live music, and plenty of pumpkins! There’s also a Super Hero 5K fun run, walk, & stroll. Admission is free. Games and rides are additional fees.
Ticketed Halloween Events in Chicago
Chicago Haunted Attractions
The 13th Floor Chicago
Get ready for the most fun you’ve ever had getting scared at the world-famous 13th Floor Haunted House in Chicago! New this year, they also have mini escape rooms for only $5 per game. The 13th Floor is not recommended for kids under 13.
Now through Nov. 5
5050 River Rd.
Nightmare on Clark Street
For a few weeks of fall, Deuce’s Major League Bar in Wrigleyville transforms into Nightmare on Clark Street. The Halloween Pop-up includes an over-the-top immersive haunted house experience for those who dare. Tickets are required. Kids must be 15 or older and must be accompanied by an adult. If the haunted house is too terrifying, you can just enjoy the ghoulish decor, themed cocktails, and festive snacks by reserving a table online. Kids are welcome before 5pm on weekdays or before noon on the weekends.
3505 N. Clark St.
TILT Terror Nights
After 6 p.m., 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the top of the John Hancock Building will host TILT Terror Nights where you can experience a longer, more intense experience on Chicago’s highest thrill ride. Note: you must be 42 inches or taller to take part.
875 N. Michigan Ave.
Six Flags Great America Fright Fest
Go early to admire the Halloween decorations and seasonal menu items. Stay for the rides, live shows, the Monster Bash (an interactive Halloween party for tiny goblins), and the trick-or-treating on Saturdays and Sundays. But make your way to the exit at 5:45pm when The Uprising Parade: Nightly Call of the Dead begins. This is the cue for kids 13 and under to make their way to the park exit or dare to be scared. Fright Fest includes four different haunted houses and four different scare zones, where you can expect to be terrorized by jump scares.
Sep. 17-Oct. 31
1 Great America Pkwy
Boo! at the Zoo
If the zoo was photo worthy already, several Halloween themed photo spots have been created to fulfill all your Instagram needs. There are giant inflatables, a “Crazed Maize,” a Creepy Carousel, and Zoo Chats each day. Pumpkins are given to different animals on different days (check the online schedule), and everyone gets a treat as you leave. Guests age 13 or older are not permitted in the zoo wearing full-body costumes with their head covered.
Oct. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23
3300 Golf Rd.
Chicago Halloween-Themed Movies & More
Fill up your car with snacks and kids, and head over to Little Beans Cafe for a special screening of The Adams Family 2 from 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. There will be 15 car spots ($30/car) and 10 blanket and chair spots ($20/spot) in the parking lot. Tune into the sound on your radio.
430 Ashbury St.
The Forge Celebrates Halloween
All ages can enjoy hayrides through the Quarries, ghost stories in the forest, scavenger hunts, a costume contest, dance party, and family movie beginning at 2pm.
Oct. 15, 16, 29, 30
1001 Main St.
Chicago Ride-Thru Halloween Attractions
Santa’s Village Spooktacular Drive-Thru
Visit Santa’s Village Spooktacular Drive-Thru this October for a Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Experience. The park will be transformed into a Halloween Haven with family-friendly scenes, featuring The Witches Broom Lot, Mad Scientist, Alien Landing, Monster Mash Bash, and more. At the end of the route, enjoy tasty treats, including funnel cakes and hot chocolate, photo opportunities, and fun activities.
Oct. 1, 2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 27-31
601 Dundee Ave.
East Dundee, IL
Take a ride on a Halloween-themed electric interurban trains to the Illinois Railway Museum’s own pumpkin patch. Plenty of pumpkins and picture opps await!
Oct. 22, 23, 29, 30
7000 Olson Rd.