Chicago events October 2018. Things to do in Chicago.

Best events for 12 months

Chicago events October 2018

Drink beer for the beasts

October 1, 2018
(5:30 to 8 p.m.)
6.8 miles SW
A ticket to Pints for Pets includes appetizers and three drink tokens for house beer at Lagunitas Brewing Company for age 21+.

Halloween farm

October 1 - 30, 2018
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.

Pumpkin patches & corn mazes

October 1 - 31, 2018
Chicago area
Visit pumpkin patches at local farms for fun family activities, or wander cornfields in corn mazes.

Jazz at the aquarium

October 3 & 10, 2018
(Wednesdays 5 p.m.)
2 miles south
Hear musicians and vocalists, see views from the terrace, buy cocktails & food, and visit the aquarium at Jazzin’ at the Shedd at Shedd Aquarium.

Joliet haunted house

October 4 - 31, 2018
38 miles SW
Walk through 40 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.

Aurora haunted house

October 4 - Nov. 3, 2018
38 miles west
Basement of the Dead has creative special effects and entertaining characters. Expect lines. See schedule.

Beer tasting

October 5, 2018
(5 to 8 p.m.)
0.3 miles south
A ticket to Harvest Hopdown includes unlimited seasonal beer tastings from 25 local breweries, food stations, and live music at Millennium Park Plaza.

Food truck fest

October 5 - 6, 2018
3 miles NW
West Town Food Truck Social features a dozen trucks selling food and beverages with live music at W. Chicago Avenue & N. Noble Street. Free. [Also see nearby West Town Art Walk.]

Art fair indoors

October 5 - 6, 2018
3.2 miles NW
West Town Art Walk includes visual art, music, and fashion in restaurants and shops along W. Chicago Avenue (from N. Milwaukee Ave. to N. Western Ave.). Free. [Also see nearby West Town Food Truck Social.]

Oktoberfest in Naperville

October 5 - 6, 2018
32 miles SW
Enjoy live music from classic German to classic rock, German beer and food, and family-friendly activities at Oktoberfest.

High-tech kitchen for families

October 5 - 7, 2018
26.9 miles NW
A ticket to Sue’s Tech Kitchen lets you play with interactive exhibits, explore edible chemistry, and eat treats at Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg.

Pumpkin festival

October 5 - 7, 2018
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. See schedule.

Scarecrow festival

October 5 - 7, 2018
37 miles west
Vote for your favorite handmade scarecrow at Scarecrow Fest, which includes three stages of entertainment, arts and crafts, food, a carnival, and a petting zoo in downtown St. Charles. Brochure. Free.

Free horror movies outdoors

October 5 - 26, 2018
(Fridays 7 p.m.)
2.9 miles SE
Watch scary movies outdoors at Campfire Horrors “accompanied by campfires, family-friendly activities, and marshmallow roasting” at Northerly Island. Bring a chair or blanket, and wear warm clothes. Free.
  • Oct. 5 - Nosferatu (no rating)
  • Oct. 12 - Carrie (R)
  • Oct. 19 - Beetlejuice (PG)
  • Oct. 26 - The Exorcist (R)

Halloween in the Parks

October 5 - 31, 2018
Chicago area parks
Enjoy family-friendly parties, dances, movies, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, craft-making, and fall festivals during Halloween in the Parks.

Intense haunted house

October 5 - Nov. 3, 2018
45 miles NW
Realm of Terror Haunted House promises “the craziest, most intense, extreme Halloween experience” located halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach. See schedule.

Bacon and beer

October 6, 2018
(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.

Family art parade

October 6, 2018
(12 to 4 p.m.)
8.7 miles NW
Join artists, musicians, puppeteers, and mobile floats in the small Spin City Mobile Arts Parade that begins at River Trail Plaza (2900 W. Lawrence Avenue) and goes a half mile to 4654 N. Kedzie Avenue, where artists will lead art-making activities & demonstrations. Free.

Celtic festival

October 6, 2018
(11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
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 6, 2018
61 miles NW
Woodstock Ale Fest features locally made beer, bacon and other food for sale, and bluegrass music at Clay Street & Newell Street for age 21+. No pets.

Indian pow wow

October 6 - 7, 2018
6.8 miles NW
The American Indian Center of Chicago Powwow features songs, dancing, drumming, arts and crafts, and native foods at DePaul College Prep High School, and organized by the American Indian Center.

Apple festival

October 6 - 7, 2018
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.

Flower bulb festival

October 6 - 7, 2018
24 miles north
Find 250 varieties of bulbs, 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.

Circus in the park

October 6 - 21, 2018
Chicago locations
Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of shows at nine parks, which is perfect for families.

Columbus Day Parade

October 8, 2018
(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.

Spirits tasting

October 9, 2018
(6:30 p.m., VIP 5)
1.2 miles south
Sample handcrafted spirits and meet the distillers at Chicago Independent Spirits Expo at Hilton Chicago for age 21+.

Film festival

October 10 - 21, 2018
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.

Whisky tasting

October 11, 2018
2.7 miles SW
A ticket to Whisky Live Chicago includes a dinner buffet, entertainment, and a glass to sample 180 different scotches, bourbons, and whiskies at UIC Forum.

Beer tasting in the garden

October 11, 2018
(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+.

Fashion show

October 12, 2018
(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.

A taste of Korea

October 12, 2018
(6 to 10 p.m.)
7.5 miles north
A ticket to Eat, Drink, Korea gets you “an evening of phenomenal food [made by acclaimed chefs], adult beverages, and music” at Ravenswood Event Center to support North Korean refugees living in China.

Beer festival

October 12, 2018
(7 p.m.)
7.9 miles north
Festiv-Ale offers Midwest specialty brews plus food and a silent auction for charity at Artifact Events.

Comics convention

October 12 - 14, 2018
1 mile east
ACE Comic Con Midwest features superheroes, comic creators, WWE wrestling superstars, panel programming, and 100 vendors at Navy Pier.

Family Halloween

October 12 - 14, 2018
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.

Affordable haunted house

October 12 - Nov. 3, 2018
8.1 miles north
The Park After Dark promises a $12 “highly detailed and thrilling adventure through the rotting remains of the abandoned pool deck” at Chase Park: PG-13. Kids can visit with lights on for $5, Oct. 31 (4 to 8 p.m.).

Campfire festival

October 13, 2018
(3 to 9 p.m.)
8 miles north
Chicago Campfire Festival includes real campfires, marshmallow roasting, s’mores, a pumpkin patch, inflatables, face painting, food vendors, live kids’ music (5 p.m.+), a haunted house (5 to 6:30 p.m.), fire shows (6 p.m.), and professional ghost stories (7:30 p.m.) at Chase Park. Kids 2 and younger free.

Vegan food event

October 13, 2018
9 miles north
Chicago VeganMania includes chef demonstrations, live music, speakers, exhibitors, samples, and a food court at the Broadway Armory. (Unlike vegetarians, vegans don’t eat eggs and milk.) Donation.

Farm festival

October 13, 2018
(10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
22 miles west
Heritage Day celebrates fall with arts and crafts, a bluegrass band, demonstrations (spinning, weaving, doll & candle making), and colonial soldiers who fire a cannon on the hour at Fischer Farm in Bensenville. Free except pony rides, petting zoo, and food for sale.

Architectural open house

October 13 - 14, 2018
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.

Aquarium show

October 13 - 14, 2018
24.5 miles west
Family-friendly Aquarium Extravaganza is a showcase for live fish and coral, display aquariums, and vendors at Odeum Expo Center in Villa Park.

Halloween at Brookfield Zoo

October 13 - 28, 2018
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, and hourly pumpkin smashing at the Brookfield Zoo.

Cheese tasting

October 14, 2018
3.4 miles NW
Taste cheesy foods like pizza, grilled cheese, macaroni & cheese, and cheesecake from restaurants and cheese vendors during Say Cheese Fest, with samples of adult beverages at Concord FiftyFive for age 21+. Held in April and October.

Bloody Mary festival

October 14, 2018
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, live music, lawn games, and an artisan market at Theater on the Lake for age 21+.

Ideas Week

October 15 - 21, 2018
Chicago locations
Attend talks, labs, and dinners with inspirational thought leaders (artists, scientists, musicians, inventors, and explorers) during Chicago Ideas Week.

Latin classical music

October 17 - Nov. 18, 2018
multiple locations
Chicago Latino Music Festival offers classical music concerts, with a focus on artists and composers from Latin America and Spain.

Pinball Expo

October 18 - 20, 2018
32 miles north
Pinball Expo has a game hall, tournaments, vendors, and speakers at the Westin in Wheeling.

Israeli film festival

October 18 - 28, 2018
multiple locations
Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema screens new films about Israeli culture, mostly at ArcLight Cinemas in Glenview.

German Oktoberfest

October 19, 2018
(7:30 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. Donation.

Wine tasting

October 19 - 20, 2018
1.7 miles west
A ticket to Wine Riot includes unlimited tastes of hundreds of wines at Revel Fulton Market for age 21+.

Halloween parade

October 20, 2018
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.

Beer tasting

October 20, 2018
(6 to 11 p.m.)
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+.

Halloween parade for dogs

October 20, 2018
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.

Tasting at the arboretum

October 20, 2018
(1 p.m., VIP noon)
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 20, 2018
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 20, 2018
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.

Wearable art show

October 21, 2018
47 miles west
Uncommon Threads is a luncheon, a runway show, and a boutique featuring fine textile works at Q Center in St. Charles.

Ideas conference

October 24 - 25, 2018
0.9 miles north
Hear dozens of “inspiring and thought-provoking presentations by people who are passionate about designing a better future” during Cusp Conference at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Halloween festival

October 24 - 28, 2018
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.

Halloween dance class

October 26, 2018
(9 to 11 p.m.)
6.4 miles NW
You are welcome to dress up as your favorite character to learn the Thriller dance routine at Halloween Thriller Dance Party, with a costume contest and BYOB at Duet Dance Studio for age 21+.

Alternative dance party

October 26, 2018
(10 p.m.)
7.2 miles north
Nocturna All Hallows’ Eve Ball by American Gothic Productions has DJ dance music (goth, industrial, post-punk, deathrock, ethereal, ebm, new wave, darkwave, dark indie), games, vendors, and a costume contest at Metro on Clark Street for age 18+.

Halloween carnival

October 26, 2018
(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 26, 2018
(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.

Culinary events

October 26 - 27, 2018
0.6 miles west
Taste America Chicago includes a cocktail reception and dinner by celebrity chefs at Prime & Provisions on Friday, plus free cooking demonstrations at Sur La Table on Saturday.

Halloween party - Congress Plaza

October 27, 2018
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+.

Halloween party - opera house

October 27, 2018
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.

Home movies

October 27, 2018
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.

Halloween at Lincoln Park Zoo

October 27, 2018
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 27, 2018
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 Moonlight Studios. An optional dinner at 7:30 p.m. can be reserved at additional cost.

Halloween party

October 27, 2018
(7 p.m.)
6.7 miles south
A ticket to Nobody Sleeps at the Corpse Cabaret includes a reception, a seven-course meal (vegetarian option), a Halloween cabaret show, a DJ dance party, and a costume contest at the Parkway Ballroom.

Halloween Concert

October 27, 2018
(7 and 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. The 9 p.m. concert is on a separate web page.

Piano concert

October 27, 2018
(7:30 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 for children age 17 and younger.

Family fest in Batavia

October 27, 2018
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 pes, pumpkin carving competitions, and a farmers’ market in Batavia. Free.

Ghost tour

October 27 - 28, 2018
0.5 miles SW
Take a 1.5-hour spooky stroll through downtown as your guide talks about the graveyard under Lincoln Park and Chicago’s love affair with gangsters, guns, crime, and murder on the Haunted History & Ghost Tour, beginning outside The Oriental Theatre.

Coffee festival

October 27 - 28, 2018
32.4 miles west
Taste coffee, see exhibits, hear presenters, and take classes at the consumer CoffeeCon in Warrenville.

Feed your mind

October 27 - Nov. 11, 2018
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 2018 theme “explores the history and impact of our visual culture.”

Clark Street Spooktacular

October 28, 2018
(1 to 4 p.m.)
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 for kids

October 28, 2018
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.

Halloween parade

October 31, 2018
(7:30 p.m.)
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, 2018
(8 to 10 p.m.)
10.6 miles NW
Learn the spooky routine inspired by Michael Jackson during Thriller Dance Class at “May I Have This Dance”

Nightmare Before Christmas

October 31 - Nov. 1, 2018
(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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