Chicago events calendar for October 2017. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities and Halloween haunted houses in Chicago, Illinois.

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Best events for 12 months
October 2017
October 2017

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Distance is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Book fair

October 1, 2017 (noon to 5 p.m.)

1.5 miles south

Chicago Book Expo features local publishers and authors, with a pop-up bookstore, panel discussions, and readings at Columbia College on Wabash. Free.

St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 29)

5.8 miles NW

Enjoy beer, bratwurst, pretzels, live music, arts & crafts, and a weekend-afternoon kids’ fest at Oktoberfest Chicago on Lincoln Avenue at Southport Avenue. Free admission on Sunday. Ticketed craft beer tasting Friday and Saturday (6 to 9 p.m.).

Apple festival

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 30)

7 miles NW

Get some apple pie and cider, listen to local music, or visit the kid zone at Apple Fest at Lincoln & Leland Avenues. Free.

Neighborhood Oktoberfest

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 29)

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.

Tasting event

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 29)

9 miles NW

Sample signature dishes made by renowned chefs at grilling stations with a cash bar during Taste Talks All-Star BBQ at Palmer Square Park.

Pumpkin patches & corn mazes

October 1 - 31, 2017

Chicago area

Visit pumpkin patches at local farms for fun family activities, or romp through the cornfields in corn mazes.

Joliet haunted house

October 1 - 31, 2017 (begins Sept. 28)

38 miles SW

Take a 40-minute trip through 40 terrifying rooms and play Zombie Paintball at Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead [sound] in Crest Hill. See schedule.

Spirits tasting

October 3, 2017 (6:30 p.m., VIP 5)

1.2 miles south

Sample handcrafted spirits and meet the distillers at Chicago Indie Spirits Expo at Hilton Chicago for age 21+.

Beer tasting

October 6, 2017 (5 to 8 p.m.)

0.5 miles south

A ticket to Harvest Hopdown includes unlimited seasonal beer tastings from 23 local breweries, passed beer bites, and live music at the Park Grill.

Food truck fest

October 6 - 7, 2017

3 miles NW

West Town Food Truck Social features 20 trucks selling food and beverages with live music on Noble Street (from Chicago Avenue to Chestnut Street). Free.

Art fair indoors

October 6 - 7, 2017

3.2 miles NW

West Town Art Walk includes visual art, music, and fashion in restaurants and shops near Chicago Avenue & Ashland Avenue. Free.

Coffee festival

October 6 - 7, 2017

4.7 miles NW

Taste coffee, see exhibits, and attend classes at the consumer CoffeeCon at the Revel Global Events.

Sample 12 plays

October 6 - 7, 2017

17.5 miles south

See a scene from six different plays per day for $20 at A Taste of Theater at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy.

Marathon & fitness expo

October 6 - 8, 2017

Chicago locations

The free Chicago Marathon Health & Fitness Expo is Friday and Saturday at McCormick Place. The Chicago Marathon begins and ends Sunday in Grant Park, with a post-race party in Butler Field.

Oktoberfest in Naperville

October 6 - 8, 2017

32 miles SW

Enjoy live music from classic German to classic rock, German beer and food, and family-friendly activities on Saturday at Oktoberfest.

Scarecrow festival

October 6 - 8, 2017

37 miles west

Vote for your favorite handmade scarecrow at Scarecrow Fest, which includes live entertainment, arts and crafts, food, a carnival, and a petting zoo in St. Charles. Free.

Aurora haunted house

Oct. 6 - Nov. 4, 2017 (from Sept. 23)

38 miles west

A ticket to Basement of the Dead includes Shattered 3D Nightmare flashlight haunt. 2017 dates: Sept. 23, 29-30 & Oct. 6-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-31 & Nov. 4.

Beer festival

October 7, 2017 (1 p.m.)

7 miles NW

Try 50 beers from 20 breweries at Logan Square Beer Festival in Logan Square Auditorium.

Flower bulb festival

October 7 - 8, 2017 (members Oct. 6)

24 miles north

Find more than 200 varieties of bulbs, gourmet foods, 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 7 - 15, 2017 (begins Aug. 26)

Chicago locations

Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of daytime shows on weekends at 8 parks, perfect for families.
  • Oct. 7 to 8 - Oriole Park
  • Oct. 13 to 15 - Welles Park

Columbus Day Parade

October 9, 2017

1.3 miles south

The Columbus Day Parade celebrates the historic voyage of Christopher Columbus to America and Italian-American culture on State Street from Wacker to Van Buren. Free.

Pinball Expo

October 11 - 15, 2017

32 miles north

Pinball Expo has a game hall, tournament, vendors, speakers, and a banquet at the Westin in Wheeling.

Whisky tasting

October 12, 2017

1 mile south

The Whisky Extravaganza includes unlimited tastes of more than 100 whiskies, culinary pairings, and master classes at the Union League Club. Men are required to wear a jacket.

Adult zoo night

October 12, 2017 (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.

Beer tasting in the garden

October 12, 2017 (6 to 8 p.m.)

24 miles north

Sample seasonally selected beers, and then purchase them by the bottle at Autumn Brews at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

Film festival

October 12 - 26, 2017

0.5 mile east

The Chicago International Film Festival features 100 short and full-length films from 50 countries, free panel discussions, and an opening night gala. Films screen at the AMC River East 21.

Wine tasting

October 13 - 14, 2017

1.7 miles west

Choose from 250 wines to taste at Wine Riot at Revel Fulton Market, and track your favorites on the free mobile app.

Family Halloween

October 13 - 15, 2017

36 miles SW

Halloween Hollow has carnival rides, hayrides, pony rides, laser tag, contests, treats, entertainment, and food at 10925 W La Porte Road in Mokena.

Green Halloween

October 14, 2017 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

11 miles west

The Green Pumpkin Trail begins at Oak Park Visitors Bureau and includes healthy snacks and activities in local shops for kids 3 to 8. Costume optional. Free.

Architectural open house

October 14 - 15, 2017

Chicago locations

Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at 200 of the city’s finest buildings during Open House Chicago. Free.

Cheese tasting

October 15, 2017 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

3.4 miles NW

Taste cheesy foods like pizza, grilled cheese, poutine, and macaroni & cheese from restaurants and cheese vendors during Say Cheese at Concord FiftyFive.

Wearable art show

October 15, 2017

47 miles west

Uncommon Threads is a luncheon and juried fashion show of fine textile works at Q Center in St. Charles.

Ideas Week

October 16 - 22, 2017

Chicago locations

Attend talks, labs, and dinners with inspirational thought leaders (artists, scientists, musicians, inventors, explorers) during Chicago Ideas Week.

Beer festival

October 20, 2017 (7 p.m., VIP 6 p.m.)

1.9 miles west

Festiv-Ale offers Midwest beer and cider, snacks, food-cart vendors, DJ music, and a silent auction for charity at Revel Fulton Market.

Halloween festival & parade

October 21, 2017 (6 to 8 p.m.)

Downtown Chicago

The free Halloween Gathering includes a daytime festival at Millennium Park (2 to 5 p.m.) and a parade on Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe (6 to 8 p.m.)

Beer tasting

October 21, 2017 (6 to 11 p.m.)

17 miles SW

Taste 150 craft and import beers with food and live entertainment at the indoor Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival in McCook.

Halloween parade for dogs

October 21, 2017

24 miles north

Dogs in costume are allowed to enter the Chicago Botanic Garden for two hours each year during Spooky Pooch Parade and costume contest.

Halloween flea market

October 21, 2017 (3 p.m. to midnight)

31 miles west

Come in costume to the Wheaton Haunted Halloween Flea Market, which features a zombie crawl and dance with live music, plus antiques & collectibles for sale at DuPage County Fairgrounds.

Street party in Elgin

October 21, 2017

37 miles NW

Nightmare on Chicago Street is a zombie-themed party with two stages of entertainment, bands, food, booze, food vendors, a costume contest, and graffiti artists on Chicago Street between Douglas & Villa.

Women’s expo

October 21 - 22, 2017

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 [website has sound] in Rosemont convention center.

Discount tickets $3.75 at Goldstar.

Boo at the Zoo

October 21 - 22 and 28 - 29, 2017

14 miles SW

Boo at the Zoo has games and activities for kids, a hayride, and a costume parade at 1 p.m. at the Brookfield Zoo.

Film festival

October 25 - Nov. 5, 2017

Chicago & Glenview

Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema screens new films about Israeli culture at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago and ArcLight Cinemas in Glenview.

Halloween festival

October 26 - 29, 2017

24 miles north

Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe is full of spooky sights and fun activities for children and adults during Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns (formerly HallowFest). Buy tickets early.

Halloween dance class

October 27, 2017

6.4 miles NW

The Halloween Party includes a swing dance class with guided practice, a costume contest, and BYOB at Duet Dance Studio for age 21+.

Halloween pub crawl

October 27 - 28, 2017

multiple locations

Children’s film festival

October 27 - Nov. 5, 2017

Chicago locations

Billed as North America’s largest film festival for children, the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (CICFF) showcases the best in culturally diverse, non-violent, value-affirming new cinema for children and offers interactive workshops.

Halloween party - Navy Pier

October 28, 2017 (8 p.m.)

1 mile east

Join 3,000 revelers age 21+ at The Haunted Halloween Ball in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, which also includes access to Nightmare on the Pier at Lakeview Terrace.

Discount tickets $7.50 at Goldstar.

Home Movie Day

October 28, 2017 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

1.8 miles north

See home movies and bring your own to be shown at Home Movie Day at Chicago History Museum. Free.

Halloween at the zoo

October 28, 2017

2.5 miles north

Kids can wear costumes, trick-or-treat, hear music, make crafts, and see a haunted house at Spooky Zoo Spectacular at Lincoln Park Zoo. Free.

BatFest for families

October 28, 2017 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

44 miles west

BatFest has a parade, pumpkin roll, entertainment, trick-or-treating, hayrides, games, and a farmers’ market in Batavia. Free.

Trick or treat in Crystal Lake

October 28, 2017

49 miles NW

Bring kids in costume to Trunk or Treat, where they get candy from 25 decorated car trunks, with hayrides, face-painting, an outdoor movie, and Halloween games at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ. Free.

Halloween cruise

October 28 & 31, 2017

1 mile east

Cruise the lake with DJ music and a cash bar 21+.

Expand your mind

October 28 - Nov. 12, 2017

Chicago locations

Chicago Humanities Festival is a series of talks and events that explore the human condition and feature exciting thinkers, artists, and performers.

Race in Grant Park

October 29, 2017

0.7 miles south

The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K and 2-mile walk begin and end in Grant Park and include hot chocolate.

Clark Street Spooktacular

October 29, 2017

3 miles north

Clark Street Spooktacular has family-friendly games, trick-or-treating, street magicians, jugglers, balloon artists, and a costume contest. Free.

Andersonville Dessert Crawl

October 29, 2017 (2 to 5 p.m.)

8 miles north

A ticket gets you sweet treats at local restaurants on your choice of two routes during Andersonville Dessert Crawl.

Halloween parade

October 31, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)

4 miles north

Register and wear a Halloween costume to join the Northalsted Halloween Parade, or watch from the sidewalk on Halsted Street from Belmont to Addison. Free.

Halloween carnival

October 31, 2017

32 miles NW

Kids will enjoy hayrides, crafts, carnival games, entertainment, and trick-or-treating at Halloween Boonanza in Schaumburg.

Beer & music event

October 2017 (undated)

0.5 miles west

Enjoy craft beer, food pairings, and live music at Local Brews Local Grooves at House of Blues.

Bacon and beer

October 2017 (undated)

2 miles south

Enjoy craft beer, bacon-inspired tastes from local restaurants, music, and interactive games at Bacon and Beer Classic at Soldier Field.

Adventure day at Northerly Island

October 2017 (undated)

3 miles south

Enjoy arts and crafts, storytelling, a nature hike, and kayaking at Fall Adventure Day, which has outdoor education on the lakefront at Northerly Island. Free.

Bloody Mary festival

October 2017 (undated)

3 miles west

A ticket to the Bloody Mary Fest includes samples of all competing Bloody Mary entries, four samples of specialty cocktails & beers, two full-sized drinks, and passed brunch bites at 1340 West Washington Blvd.

Drink beer for the beasts

October 2017 (undated)

5 miles NW

Enjoy unlimited appetizers and five house beers during Pints for Pets to protect animals at Revolution Brewing on Milwaukee Avenue for age 21+.

Wine at the conservatory

October 2017 (undated)

5 miles west

Enjoy artisan wine paired with local, sustainably grown food at Wine under Glass, and explore the Garfield Park Conservatory. This event is for age 21+.

Andersonville Arts Weekend

October 2017 (undated)

8 miles north

Andersonville Arts Weekend starts Fri. night with receptions in galleries and shops, followed by scheduled exhibits, readings, shows, and art walks.

Campfire festival

October 2017 (undated)

8 miles north

Chicago Camp Fire Festival has real campfires, games, marshmallow roasting, professional ghost stories, live music, treats, and food vendors at Chase Park.

Piano concert

October 2017 (undated)

12.7 miles north

The Franz Liszt Birthday Gala features local pianists playing music by Liszt at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. Free for children to age 17.

Farm festival

October 2017 (undated)

22 miles west

Heritage Day celebrates fall with arts and crafts, a bluegrass band, demonstrations (spinning, weaving, 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 items.

Oktoberfest in Roselle

October 2017 (undated)

30 miles west

Oktoberfest at Lynfred Winery includes a pig roast, grape stomping, wine, and crowds.

Ghost stories

October 2017 (undated)

41 miles north

The award-winning Ray Bradbury Storytelling Festival features ghost stories, macabre fables, creepy tales, music, and dance at Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

Woodstock ale festival

October 2017 (undated)

61 miles NW

Woodstock Ale Fest features 80 craft beers, bacon, and bluegrass music.

Intense haunted house

October 2017 (undated)

45 miles NW

The Realm of Terror Horror Experience is halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach.

Family Halloween

October 2017 (undated)

Chicago area parks

Enjoy parties, dances, movies, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, craft-making, and fall festivals during Halloween in the Parks.

Halloween party - Hard Rock

October 2017 (undated)

0.2 miles south

Haunted Hotel Bash features celebrity DJs playing top 40, EDM, house, and hip-hop, plus a costume contest and cash bars at the chic Hard Rock Hotel for age 21+.

Halloween party - Lucky Strike

October 2017 (undated)

0.6 miles NE

Saints & Sinners is a costume party with a cash bar, open bowling, and all-night dancing at Lucky Strike.

Halloween at Navy Pier

October 2017 (undated)

1 mile east

Halloween at Navy Pier includes a costume contest, outdoor movie, fireworks, and trick-or-treating. See schedule. Free.

Halloween party - Congress Plaza

October 2017 (undated)

1 mile south

Haunted Halloween Ball is a giant costume party with “celebrity DJs playing house & top 40 hits” at Congress Plaza Hotel for age 21+.

Halloween party - opera house

October 2017 (undated)

1 mile SW

Halloween Masquerade includes DJ music, an open bar, and appetizers at the Civic Opera House. Costumes welcome.

Halloween party for charity

October 2017 (undated)

1.9 miles west

Illumination offers an open bar and “immersive light art experiences, captivating live performances, and a late night dance party with Chicago DJ Matt Roan” at Revel Fulton Market.

German Halloween party

October 2017 (undated)

7 miles north

The Haunted Haus Halloween Party includes a tour of haunted rooms, a scary elevator ride, adult trick-or-treating, a complimentary drink, a costume contest, and a dance party at Dank Haus for age 21+.

Alternative dance party

October 2017 (undated)

7.2 miles north

Nocturna All Hallow’s Eve Ball by American Gothic Productions has DJ dance music (goth, industrial, post-punk, deathrock, ethereal, ebm, new wave, darkwave, dark indie), performances, and a costume contest for age 18+ at Metro Chicago on N. Clark.

Freaky Halloween concert

October 2017 (undated)

15.4 miles SW

Freaky Deaky Halloween is a giant concert with 50 artists playing hip hop and electronic music at Toyota Park for age 17+.

Halloween in Oak Brook

October 2017 (undated)

22 miles west

Mayhem in the Mansion has an optional 8 p.m. show “Dr. Seward’s Dracula” and then a 10 p.m. party with drinks, appetizers, a costume contest, fortune tellers, and mansion tours at Mayslake Peabody Estate, 21+.

Pumpkin festival

October 2017 (undated)

28 miles north

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival has a parade, pet costumes, 5K races, hayrides, a carnival, vendors, pumpkin carving and lighting in Highwood. See schedule.

Halloween farm

October 2017 (undated)

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 visit the corn maze, kids’ rides, and petting zoo.

Halloween for kids

October 2017 (undated)

32 miles west

Kids 10 and under will enjoy fun activities, games, fairytales, and treats at Halloween Happening at Naperville Riverwalk’s Grand Pavilion. Free.

Freaky Halloween party

October 2017 (undated)

40.3 miles west

Midwest Freakfest is a multi-stage music and entertainment show with food and drinks for sale in McCook for age 18+ with ID. Video.

Ping pong party

October 2017 (undated)

0.5 miles SW

A ticket to the Halloween Party at AceBounce Ping Pong Bar includes two hours of passed drinks and appetizers, games, and a costume contest, age 21+.
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© October 2017 calendar of events in Chicago, IL: Halloween haunted houses, parties, festivals, best things to do in Chicago, Illinois. ord-10