Chicago events October 2019. Things to do in Chicago.

Best events for 12 months

Chicago events October 2019

Oktoberfest in Naperville

October 4 - 5, 2019
32 miles SW
Enjoy live music from classic German to classic rock, German beer and food, and family-friendly activities at Oktoberfest.

Neighborhood Oktoberfest

October 4 - 6, 2019
8 miles NW
St. Benedict’s Oktoberfest features German food, beer, and party bands under tents in St. Benedict’s Courtyard, plus a kids’ carnival. Free entry.

Flower bulb festival

October 4 - 6, 2019
24 miles north
Find 250 varieties of bulbs (tulips, daffodils, crocuses), gourmet foods, beer, wine, cider, gardening demonstrations, live music, and kids’ activities at the Fall Bulb Festival at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Free except parking.

Innovation conference

October 5, 2019
1.7 miles SW
Hear dozens of fascinating speakers “discuss the most urgent issues of our time and remake the case for free markets and open societies,” watch films, and network at the Open Future Festival sponsored by The Economist at Chicago Union Station.

AIDS walk

October 5, 2019
2.1 miles south
AIDS Run/Walk Chicago at Soldier Field is 3.1 miles long, with an optional run of 6.2 miles. Free for children age 12 and younger.

Celtic festival

October 5, 2019
35 miles NW
Celebrate Ireland, Wales, and Scotland at Northwest Celtic Fest, with dancing and music on two stages, a Celtic marketplace, food vendors, craft beer, Irish Wolfhound dogs, and kids’ activities at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. Free including parking.

Woodstock ale festival

October 5, 2019
61 miles NW
Woodstock Ale Fest features locally made beer, food, and classic rock music on Clay Street for age 21+. No pets.

Apple festival

October 5 - 6, 2019
7 miles NW
Buy apple pie and cider, listen to local music, and visit the kids’ zone at Apple Fest on Lincoln Avenue (from Lawrence to Eastwood). Donation $5.

Food convention

October 5 - 6, 2019
16.1 miles NW
Watch cooking demonstrations, learn how to make cocktails, see celebrity chefs, sample food and wine, and shop from vendors at the Great Food Expo at the convention center in Rosemont.

Women’s expo

October 5 - 6, 2019
17 miles NW
Hear celebrity speakers, watch chef demos, and shop from 600 vendors of beauty and health products at the Chicago Ultimate Women’s Expo in Rosemont convention center.

Circus in the park

October 5 - 20, 2019
Chicago locations
Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of shows at nine parks, which is perfect for families.

Beverage tasting

October 6, 2019 (1 to 4 p.m.)
5.3 miles north
A ticket to Wine, Whiskey, & Craft Beer Stroll includes a glass, samples of wine/whiskey/beer, and “delicious local bites” in 15 neighborhood shops, beginning at Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce for age 21+.

Drink beer for the beasts

October 7, 2019
6.8 miles SW
A ticket to Pints for Pets includes appetizers, trivia games, and three drink tokens for house beer at Lagunitas Brewing Company for age 21+.

Beer tasting in the garden

October 10, 2019 (6 to 8 p.m.)
24 miles north
Sample seasonally selected beers and then purchase them by the bottle, with light food for sale at Autumn Brews at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe for age 21+.

Beer festival

October 11, 2019 (6:30 to 10 p.m.)
7.9 miles north
FestivAle offers Midwest specialty brews, food, and live music for charity at Artifact Events.

Comics convention

October 11 - 13, 2019
17 miles NW
ACE Comic Con Midwest features superheroes, comic creators, panel programming, a kids’ zone, and 150 vendors at Rosemont convention center.

Pumpkin festival

October 11 - 13, 2019
28 miles north
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival has trick-or-treating Fri., a 5K run/walk Sat., costume contests Sun., carnival rides, vendors, pumpkin carving, and a wall of lit pumpkins in Highwood. October 10 is “community appreciation night.” See schedule.

Scarecrow festival

October 11 - 13, 2019
37 miles west
Vote for your favorite handmade scarecrow at Scarecrow Fest, which includes entertainment, arts & crafts, food vendors, and a carnival in downtown St. Charles. Free.

Bacon and beer

October 12, 2019 (2 p.m., VIP 1 p.m.)
2.5 miles south
Enjoy bacon-inspired tastes from local restaurants, craft beer, music, and interactive games at Bacon and Beer Classic at Soldier Field.

Campfire festival

October 12, 2019 (2 to 10:30 p.m.)
8 miles north
Chicago Campfire Festival includes real campfires, marshmallow roasting, s’mores, cocoa, a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, a bounce house, face painting, food vendors, singing, professional ghost stories, and the film “Hocus Pocus” at 8:30 p.m. at Chase Park. Children age 2 and younger are free. You can bring a blanket and cooler. Schedule.

Farm festival

October 12, 2019 (12 to 6 p.m.)
22 miles west
Harvest Fest [formerly Heritage Day] celebrates fall with inflatables, a petting zoo, pony rides, a craft sale, pumpkin painting, hayrides, live entertainment, a beer garden, and food at Fischer Farm in Bensenville. The cost is $6 for each child age 2 to 17.

Ideas Week

October 12 - 17, 2019
Chicago locations
Attend talks, labs, and labs with inspirational thought leaders (artists, scientists, musicians, inventors, and explorers) during Chicago Ideas Week.

Halloween parade for dogs

October 13, 2019 (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
24 miles north
Dogs in costume are allowed to enter the Chicago Botanic Garden once a year for Spooky Pooch Parade and costume contest. Free to watch, except parking.

Columbus Day Parade

October 14, 2019 (12:30 p.m.)
1.3 miles south
The Columbus Day Parade of 150 floats, bands, and marching units celebrates the voyage of Christopher Columbus to America and Italian-American culture on State Street (from Wacker to Van Buren). Free.

Pinball Expo

October 16 - 19, 2019
32 miles north
Pinball Expo has a game hall, tournaments, vendors, and speakers at the Westin in Wheeling.

German Oktoberfest

October 18, 2019 (7:30 to 11:59 p.m.)
7 miles north
German American Cultural Center promises authentic German food and drinks at its Stammtisch Open Haus Oktoberfest, with “plenty of yodeling, dancing, and pretzel eating” on floor 5 of Dank Haus for age 21+.

Fashion show

October 18, 2019 (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
7.2 miles west
Fleurotica is an haute-couture runway show where flowers meet fashion at Garfield Park Conservatory. Tickets include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

Chocolate & wine

October 18 - 19, 2019
2.5 miles west
Chocolate, Wine & Spirits Expo promises 50 vendors displaying products for you to sample and purchase, wine and spirits tasting, and chef demonstrations at Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium. Held in March and Oct.

Ghost conference

October 18 - 20, 2019
19.8 miles SW
Join ghost hunters, mediums, clairvoyants, and paranormal enthusiasts at Chicago Ghost Con to hear speakers, attend workshops, watch films, shop from 40 vendors, and watch a paranormal pro wrestling event at Holiday Inn Chicago SW Countryside.

Family Halloween

October 18 - 20, 2019
36 miles SW
Halloween Hollow has carnival rides, hayrides, pony rides, music, contests, games, Halloween entertainment, a beer tent, and a food court at Mokena Main Park.

Free opera

October 19, 2019 (2 to 5 p.m.)
1 miles south
Hear three opera pieces performed by graduate students with piano accompaniment during OperaFest at Roosevelt University. Free.

Halloween parade

October 19, 2019
1.1 miles south
Arts in the Dark is a Halloween parade of artistic creatures on State Street (from Lake Street to Van Buren). Spectators cannot have face masks, backpacks, or lawn chairs. Afterwards, attend parties at Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park. Free.

Home movies

October 19, 2019 (1 to 5:30 p.m.)
1.8 miles north
Get a glimpse of adorable pets, questionable fashions, long-departed loved ones, and neighborhoods in transition at Chicago Home Movie Day at Chicago History Museum. You are welcome to bring your own movie to show. Free.

Free piano concert

October 19, 2019 (7:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
12.7 miles north
The Franz Liszt Birthday Gala features talented pianists playing music by Liszt at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. Free.

Beer tasting

October 19, 2019
17 miles SW
Taste 150 craft and import beers until 9:30 p.m., with live entertainment and food for sale at the indoor Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival in McCook for age 21+.

Block party

October 19, 2019 (12 to 10 p.m.)
25.6 miles north
The inaugural Steep Ravine Infusion Fest has live bands on stage, food and drink vendors, beer, spirits, and a “make your own infusion bar” at Ravinia Brewing in Highland Park for all ages. Free admission.

Tasting at the arboretum

October 19, 2019
27 miles west
Sample hard cider and seasonal beers from 45 local breweries and cideries while listening to live music at the Cider and Ale Festival at Morton Arboretum for age 21+. You are welcome to bring a lawn chair.

Halloween flea market

October 19, 2019
31 miles west
Come in costume to the Wheaton Haunted Halloween Flea Market to shop for food, antiques, and collectibles at DuPage County Fairgrounds, with a Gothic Illusion Show (7 p.m.), a costume contest (9:15 p.m.), and special guests. Children age 12 and younger are free.

Street party in Elgin

October 19, 2019 (6 to 11 p.m.)
37 miles NW
Nightmare on Chicago Street is a zombie-themed party with bands, booze, food vendors, and graffiti artists on Chicago Street (from Douglas to Villa). No pets, strollers, weapon props, or large bags. Requires a parent or guardian if younger than age 18.

Architectural open house

October 19 - 20, 2019
Chicago locations
Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at 250 of the city’s finest buildings, ranging from skyscrapers to private clubs, during Open House Chicago. Free.

Bloody mary festival

October 20, 2019
3.8 miles north
A ticket to Bloody Mary Fest gets you samples of competing bloody mary entries (plus beer and mimosas), two full-sized drinks, brunch bites, lawn games, and an artisan market at Theater on the Lake for age 21+.

Wearable art show

October 20, 2019 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
47 miles west
Uncommon Threads is a luncheon, a runway show, and a boutique featuring fine textile works at Q Center in St. Charles.

Food of the Philippines

October 21, 2019
multiple locations
Choose from 22 restaurants offering a special fixed-price menu during Filipino Restaurant Week.

Film festival

October 21 - 27, 2019
0.5 mile east
The Chicago International Film Festival features 150 short and full-length films from 50 countries, free panel discussions, and an opening night party. Films screen at the AMC River East 21.

Halloween in the Parks

October 21 - 31, 2019
Chicago area parks
Enjoy family-friendly parties, dances, movies, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, craft-making, and fall festivals during Halloween in the Parks.

Pumpkin patches & corn mazes

October 21 - 31, 2019
Chicago area
Visit pumpkin patches at local farms for fun family activities, or wander cornfields in corn mazes.

Halloween farm

October 21 - Nov. 3, 2019
32 miles SW
The Haunted Barn at Bengtson’s Pumpkin Fest in Homer Glen is fine for mature kids. The Fun Barn will entertain even the youngest children. Also enjoy kids’ rides, pig races, a pumpkin chucker, and a petting zoo.

Pop-up children’s playland

October 21 - Jan. 22, 2020
3 miles NW
Children love the play rooms that have jungle animals, a light show, a unicorn blazing across a disco rainbow sky, an electric spirograph, and a friendly shark at Bixbee Imagination Station. Their parents love the photo ops.

Discount tickets

A play about writer C.S. Lewis

October 22 - Nov. 3, 2019
0.9 miles north
London-born actor David Payne brings the witty author to life in one-man show My Life’s Journey: An Evening with C.S. Lewis. Hear about his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien, why he nearly abandoned the Narnia Chronicles, how he came to embrace Christianity, and how an American woman turned his life upside down, at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.

Discount tickets

Diverse circus

October 22 - Nov. 11, 2019
7.9 miles south
UniverSoul Circus includes Caribbean dancers, Chinese acrobats, African clowns, and extreme motorsports in a heated tent in Washington Park.

Discount tickets

Dinner cirque show

October 23 - 27, 2019
0.5 miles SW
Love, Chaos, and Dinner is an aerial and acrobatic show performed around you by Teatro ZinZanni as you eat dinner in a giant tent on the 14th floor of Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop. Suggested for age 13+. [This photo was taken at the Seattle location.]

Discount tickets

Halloween festival

October 23 - 27, 2019
24 miles north
Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is full of spooky sights for children and adults during Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, including entertaining characters, live artists carving pumpkins, and ghostly trains.

The Color Purple

October 23 - Nov. 3, 2019
18 miles west
Based on the book and film, The Color Purple won a Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, with its story of hope featuring a joyous score of jazz, ragtime, gospel, and blues at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.

Discount tickets

Blue Man show

October 23 - Nov. 10, 2019
4.5 miles north
Blue Man Group puts on a colorful show that combines comedy, theater, music, and special effects for all ages at Briar Street Theatre.

Discount tickets

Latin classical music

October 23 - Nov. 22, 2019
multiple locations
Chicago Latino Music Festival offers classical music concerts, with a focus on artists and composers from Latin America and Spain.

Adult zoo night

October 24, 2019 (6:30 to 10 p.m.)
2.5 miles north
Leave the kids at home and head to Adults Night Out at Lincoln Park Zoo to experience unique animal chats and live entertainment. You must be age 18+ to attend, and age 21+ for the cash bars.

Arts party

October 24, 2019 (6 to 9 p.m.)
2.6 miles west
Lightbash features “music, interactive light activations, hors d’oeuvres, and an open cocktail bar” at Ovation Chicago.

Murder mystery

October 24, 2019 (8 p.m.)
20.1 miles north
Based on a novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Nile is a whodunit set on a honeymoon cruise down the Nile River at Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview.

Discount tickets

Beer conference

October 24 - 27, 2019
multiple locations
Attend tastings, talks, meals, and parties in breweries and museums during Beer Culture Summit. See prices on the tickets page.

Cole Porter musical

October 24 - Nov. 2, 2019
26 miles NW
Enjoy timeless tunes and witty dialog in Anything Goes, a boy-meets-girl dance musical with madcap hijinks aboard a ship, at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.

Discount tickets

Joliet haunted house

October 24 - Nov. 2, 2019
38 miles SW
Walk through 23 terrifying rooms containing disturbing scenes, intense actors, heavy fog, strobe lights, and loud music at Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead in Lockport. No children younger than age 10, and 10 to 15 require an adult. See schedule.


October 24 - Nov. 10, 2019
10.2 miles north
When a naked body turns up in a bathtub, an amateur detective follows clues to determine if it is a harmless prank by a medical student or something more sinister in Whose Body? at Lifeline Theatre.

Discount tickets

Free horror movies outdoors

October 25, 2019 (7 p.m.)
2.9 miles SE
Watch scary movies outdoors at Campfire Horrors Arrive at 6:30 for “campfires, family-friendly activities, and marshmallow roasting” at Northerly Island. Bring a chair or a blanket, and wear warm clothes. Free.
  • Oct. 11 (7 p.m.) - Misery (R)
  • Oct. 18 (7 p.m.) - Shaun of the Dead (R)
  • Oct. 18 (8:45 p.m.) - I Know What You Did... (R)
  • Oct. 25 (7 p.m.) - Interview with the Vampire (R)

Halloween carnival

October 25, 2019 (6 to 9 p.m.)
32 miles NW
Kids will enjoy crafts, inflatables, trick or treating, a costume contest, a haunted train ride, carnival games, and entertainment at Halloween Boonanza in Schaumburg.

Trick or treat in Crystal Lake

October 25, 2019 (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.)
49 miles NW
Bring kids in costume to Trunk or Treat, where they get candy from decorated car trunks, with hayrides, face-painting, a bonfire, an outdoor movie, and Halloween games at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ. Donate three canned goods per family.

Jazz dance

October 25 - 26, 2019 (7:30 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
Known for its exhilarating and emotional performances,Giordano Dance Chicago performs three works including a world premiere at Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Discount tickets

Interactive melodrama

October 25 - 27, 2019
7.5 miles north
All 30 members of the audience get to walk around the actors during Southern Gothic [website has sound], a PG-13 retro drama about four Southern couples that takes place in a 1962 house built inside Windy City Playhouse. You also get to taste samples of the cocktails they drink, and eat party snacks. Review.

Discount tickets

Affordable haunted house

October 25 - 27, 2019
8.1 miles north
“Venture through a macabre play house overrun by the orphaned children trapped inside” at The Attic Haunted House in Chase Park (PG-13). Closed Monday to Thursday.

Discount tickets

Intense haunted house

October 25 - Nov. 2, 2019
45 miles NW
Realm of Terror Haunted House promises “the craziest, most intense, extreme Halloween experience” located halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach. Beverages for sale at the bar. See schedule.

Discount tickets


October 25 - Nov. 9, 2019
0.7 miles south
The Magic Parlour is an evening of close-up magic by an award-winning magician in the beautiful Palmer House Hilton Hotel.

Discount tickets

Halloween party - Congress Plaza

October 26, 2019 (9 p.m.)
1 mile south
Haunted Halloween Ball turns the giant ballroom in the Congress Plaza Hotel into an abandoned hotel run by zombies, with entertainment, a costume contest, and DJ dance music for age 21+.

Discount tickets

Halloween party - opera house

October 26, 2019 (8 p.m.)
1 mile SW
Halloween Masquerade includes live music, dancing, an open bar, and appetizers at the Civic Opera House. Wear either a costume or formal attire with a mask.

Halloween at Lincoln Park Zoo

October 26, 2019
2.5 miles north
Kids can wear costumes, trick-or-treat, hear music, make crafts, and visit the corn maze and haunted house during Spooky Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo. Free.

Halloween party for charity

October 26, 2019 (9:30 p.m.)
2.5 miles west
Illumination offers an open bar and “immersive light art experiences, captivating live performances, and a late night dance party” with DJ music, dancing, and an art auction at Church of the Epiphany. A fundraiser dinner at 7:30 p.m. can be reserved at additional cost.

Halloween Concert

October 26, 2019 (7 & 9 p.m.)
9.1 miles south
The Halloween Concert is “a one-hour, family-friendly concert with costumes, storytelling, and special effects” performed by the University Symphony Orchestra and the Hyde Park School of Dance in Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago. Donation.

Family fest in Batavia

October 26, 2019
44 miles west
BatFest has trick-or-treating, a pumpkin roll, dance performances, games, an 11:50 a.m. parade, costume contests for people and pets, pumpkin carving competitions, and a farmers’ market in Batavia. Free.

Halloween at Brookfield Zoo

October 26 - 27, 2019
14 miles SW
Boo at the Zoo has candy stations, kids’ crafts, a hayride, a corn maze, animal chats, a 1 p.m. costume parade, a 1:30 p.m. dance party, and hourly pumpkin smashing at the Brookfield Zoo.

Feed your mind

October 26 - Nov. 10, 2019
Chicago locations
Chicago Humanities Festival is a series of talks and events that explore the human condition and feature exciting thinkers, artists, and performers. The 2019 theme is “power.”

Sexy poetry party

October 27, 2019 (7 p.m.)
3.4 miles NW
Inspired by the lush 19th-century bordellos of Paris and New Orleans, The Poetry Brothel features readings by poets, burlesque, live music, vaudeville, aerialists, visual art, and magic at The Den Theatre.

Discount tickets

Day of the dead

October 27, 2019 (3 to 7 p.m.)
5.5 miles SW
Remember the dearly departed at Day of the Dead Xicágo, with altars (ofrendas), live music, face painting, art activities, and traditional Day of the Dead Bread (Pan de Muerto) inside and outside the National Museum of Mexican Art. Free.

Halloween for kids

October 27, 2019 (1 to 4 p.m.)
32 miles west
Kids age 10 and younger will enjoy fun activities, games, fairy tales, and treats at Halloween Happening at Naperville Riverwalk’s Grand Pavilion. Free.

Music + magic

October 28 - Dec. 30, 2019 (Mondays 7:30 p.m.)
8.3 miles north
The Music & Magic show “features close-up magic at your table and a live jazz band on stage” plus a magician performing on stage during band breaks at Chicago Magic Lounge for age 16+.

Discount tickets

Clark Street Spooktacular

October 31, 2019
3 miles north
Clark Street Spooktacular has family-friendly games, trick-or-treating in shops, street magicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, and a costume contest. Free.

Halloween parade

October 31, 2019
4 miles north
Register and wear a costume to join the Northalsted Halloween Parade followed by a costume contest, or watch from the sidewalk on Halsted Street (from Belmont Avenue to Brompton Avenue). Free.

Halloween dance class

October 31, 2019 (8 to 10 p.m.)
10.6 miles NW
Learn the spooky routine of Michael Jackson during Thriller Dance Class at “May I Have This Dance”

Nightmare Before Christmas

October 31 - Nov. 1, 2019 (7:30 p.m.)
1 mile south
Hear the Chicago Philharmonic perform the score of The Nightmare Before Christmas live onstage with a costume contest at Auditorium Theatre.

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