“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
If you’re new around here you may not know, but this is one of my most favorite times of the year! And lucky for us, Chicago has a lot to offer when it comes to free and paid things to do for Halloween. Here’s a list of 6 of my favorite free things to do in Chicago during Halloween, and 4 honorable mention (paid) things to do!
There are plenty of pumpkin patches around the city. My favorite (and IMO one of the most unique ) is at the Island Party Hut tiki bar along the riverwalk! They have hay bales covered in pumpkins, a fun outdoor area and tiki drinks! You can buy a pumpkin or just go for the Autumnal atmosphere!
Another cute pumpkin patch is at Lincoln Park Zoo! They host a “fall fest” that lasts 5 weeks and includes a Ferris Wheel, corn maze, pumpkin carving contest – and you can watch the animals play with pumpkins during their animal enrichment time! Also, on October 26 you can take your kids for an alternative to trick-or-treating.
I might be late to the game on this one – but Free Tours By Foot offer … literally free tours by foot! My husband and I are signed up for the October 31 Ghost and Haunted History tour! Free Tours By Foot are a “pay-what-you’d-like” pay structure, and use licensed, local, freelance tour guides to show you around! They’re not only located in Chicago, either. So check them out on your next vacation, too!
This is a free parade downtown in the loop. It starts after the sun goes down and everyone in the parade is covered in lights! It offers a spooky New Orleans vibe in downtown Chicago. I have high hopes for this year, since 2019 is the year of Broadway! (I’m sure that will make for some awesome costumes). This year the parade takes place on October 19.
Something I’ve stumbled on this year that I’m really interested in checking out is an authentic Day of the Dead celebration at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen! It takes place on October 27. I love the art, history, heritage and family ties associated with Día de los Muertos and would love a place to respectfully learn more about the tradition. Love that the museum is hosting this!
Every Friday of October they play a Halloween Movie at Northerly Island, complete with campfires, Mars Wrigley treats, marshmallow roasting and free popcorn and hot beverages. There are still 2 Fridays in October to check out this free event. This Friday, October 18 go for the 7pm showing of Shaun of the Dead, then stay for the 8:45pm showing of I Know What You Did Last Summer. The following Friday, October 25 they are showing Interview with a Vampire! (I might see ya there!)
Other things to do that are paid
House of Beetle is a pop-up bar in the South Loop with interactive scavenger hunts and themed cocktails. Tickets are $35.
This is an interactive “Hex-a-Long” where the crowd is invited to shout, sing, cheer and scream along with the movie. You’ll also receive a goody bag with candy, bubbles and other fun things. It’s family friendly, and tickets are $12.
Watch the Nightmare Before Christmas at Auditorium Theater while Chicago Philharmonic plays the music to the show. Last year, my husband and I saw the Bride of Frankenstein while the orchestra played the music in the background, and it was an amazing experience! I cannot recommend this enough. Tickets start at $30.
The same tiki bar that offers the pumpkin patch has a “haunted” boat tour down the Chicago River on Halloween! Last year, we gathered a bunch of our friends to do this tour and it was really fun. Especially if the weather is right, this is a really unique and fun way to celebrate and drink! Tickets start at $30, and you can add an open bar package.
Still need a Halloween Costume? Check out my easy Amazon Prime DIY Halloween Costumes!