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

Best events for 12 months

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

Miles are from the Wrigley Building in Chicago.

Street festival

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 30)

1.4 miles west

Fulton Market Harvest Fest promises “cooking demos, live music, booths from the city's best restaurants, and family friendly fun” at N. Halsted Street & W. Fulton Market. Children age 10 and younger are free.

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.

Bloody Mary festival

October 1, 2017 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

3.8 miles north

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 Theater on the Lake.
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St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 29)

5.5 miles NW

Enjoy beer, bratwurst, pretzels, live music, and arts & crafts at Oktoberfest Chicago at St. Alphonsus Church. Kids’ fest on Saturday & Sunday (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Free admission on Sunday. Ticketed craft beer tasting on Friday and Saturday (6 to 9 p.m.).

Discount beer-tasting tickets $29.

Apple festival

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 30)

7 miles NW

Get some 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.

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.

Oktoberfest in Roselle

October 1, 2017 (begins Sept. 30)

30 miles west

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

French opera

October 1 - 15, 2017

1 mile SW

Orphée et Eurydice is a romantic drama based on a Greek myth that features both the Joffrey Ballet and Lyric Opera with subtitles at the Civic Opera House.

Discount tickets $48 to $153.

Halloween farm

October 1 - 30, 2017 (begins Sept. 15)

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.


October 1 - 31, 2017 (also Sept.)

multiple locations

These discount prices include all taxes and fees.

Family Halloween

October 1 - 31, 2017

Chicago area parks

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

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 or play Zombie Paintball at Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead [sound] in Lockport. See schedule.

Aurora haunted house

Oct. 1 - Nov. 4, 2017 (from Sept. 29)

38 miles west

Basement of the Dead has creative special effects and entertaining characters. Dates for 2017: Sept. 29-30; Oct. 1, 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-31; Nov. 4.

Drink beer for the beasts

October 2, 2017 (6 to 8 p.m.)

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+.

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+.

Discount tickets $33 to $43.

Motown musical

October 3 - 8, 2017

0.7 miles SW

Motown the Musical is the history of Motown music told in nearly nonstop songs and energetic dance numbers at Cadillac Palace Theatre.

Discount tickets $39 to $75.

Beer tasting

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

0.3 miles south

A ticket to Harvest Hopdown includes unlimited seasonal beer tastings from 25 local breweries, passed beer bites, and live music at Millenium Park Plaza.

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.

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.

Foodie event

October 6 - 8, 2017

Location uncertain

Promising “amazing chefs, restaurants, and cultural figures,” Taste Talks Chicago includes a Friday night party, a Saturday conference with a brunch and dinner, and a Sunday cookout and closing party.

Discount cookout tickets $39.

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.

Pumpkin festival

October 6 - 8, 2017

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.

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.

Scary plays

October 6 - 27, 2017

6.9 miles north

Watch a series of 10-minute plays that are “bone-chilling, sweat-inducing, and funny-bone tickling” during Mr. Lee’s Night of Horror at The Public House Theatre.

Discount tickets $7.50.

Intense haunted house

October 6 - Nov. 4, 2017

45 miles NW

The Realm of Terror Horror Experience is halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach. Dates in 2017: October 6-8, 13-14, 20-21, 27-29, Nov. 3-4.

Halloween party

October 7, 2017 (8 p.m.)

0.8 miles south

Nobody Sleeps: A Monsters’ Ball is a costume dance party that includes treats, savory bites, and an open bar at the Palmer House.

Discount tickets $59.

Home movies

October 7, 2017 (11 a.m. to 3 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, and bring your own to be shown at Chicago History Museum. Free.

Beer festival

October 7, 2017 (1 and 5 p.m.)

7 miles NW

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

Mexican folk music & dance

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

14 miles west

Hear the famous Sones de México Ensemble play traditional Mexican folk songs and new music as you watch the colorful dancers of the Mexican Folkloric Dance Company at Lund Auditorium in River Forest.

Discount tickets $8 to $14.

Woodstock ale festival

October 7, 2017 (1 to 5 p.m.)

61 miles NW

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

Discount tickets $25.

Coffee festival

October 7 - 8, 2017

4.7 miles NW

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

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

Short films

October 8, 2017 (1 to 8 p.m.)

6 miles north

A ticket to Shortcut 100 International Film Festival includes a reception followed by 14 short films at the Music Box Theatre.

Discount tickets $13.

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.

Andersonville Arts Week

October 13 - 15, 2017

8 miles north

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

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.

Campfire festival

October 14, 2017

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.

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.

Farm festival

October 14, 2017 (if rain Oct. 15)

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.

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, and explorers) during Chicago Ideas Week.


October 18 - 29, 2017

1 mile south

Joffrey Ballet performs the Romance-period Russian ballet Giselle, a sweeping tale of passion beyond the grave, at Auditorium Theatre.

Discount tickets $61 to $81.

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.


October 20, 2017 (6 to 9 p.m.)

3.2 miles NW

Cheers & Drink Fest promises “cocktails, wine, and beer” from distilleries, breweries, and wineries, plus food vendors in beautiful Concord FiftyFive.

Discount tickets $20.

Magic show

October 20 - 28, 2017 (9:30 p.m.)

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 $49.

Halloween parade

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

Downtown Chicago

Arts in the Dark is a parade with live music, unique floats, giant puppets, and unusual costumes, which goes north on Columbus Drive from Balbo Avenue to Monroe Street. Free.

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 (6 to 11 p.m.)

37 miles NW

Nightmare on Chicago Street is a zombie-themed party with two entertainment stages, bands, booze, food vendors, a costume contest, and graffiti artists on Chicago Street (from Douglas to Villa). Anyone under age 17 must be with a parent or guardian.

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.

Halloween pub crawl

October 21 - 28, 2017

multiple locations

Get drink specials and no cover charge at bars.

Halloween at Navy Pier

October 21 & 28, 2017

1 mile east

Halloween at Navy Pier includes two outdoor movies per day, plus fireworks on Sept. 28 at 9:30 p.m. Free.

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.

Freaky Halloween concert

October 26 - 28, 2017

multiple locations

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

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 party - opera house

October 27, 2017 (8 p.m.)

1 mile SW

Halloween Masquerade includes live music, an open bar, appetizers, and a costume contest at the Civic Opera House.

Halloween party for charity

October 27, 2017 (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 Chicago DJ Matt Roan” at Moonlight Studios. Optional dinner at 7:30 p.m.

Halloween dance class

October 27, 2017 (9 to 11 p.m.)

6.4 miles NW

Wear 1980s clothing to the ’80s Halloween Party, which includes a beginner level Hustle (smooth swing) dance class, a costume contest, open dancing, and BYOB at Duet Dance Studio for age 21+.

Alternative dance party

October 27, 2017 (10 p.m.)

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 at Metro Chicago on N. Clark for age 18+.

Halloween carnival

October 27, 2017 (6 to 9 p.m.)

32 miles NW

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

Trick or treat in Crystal Lake

October 27, 2017 (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.)

49 miles NW

Bring kids in costume to Trunk or Treat, where they get candy from 25 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 27 - 28, 2017

Chicago downtown

Taste Chicago includes a $400 cocktail reception and dinner by celebrity chefs at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel on Friday, plus cooking demonstrations on Saturday.

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 - Hard Rock Hotel

October 28, 2017 (10 p.m.)

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+.

Discount tickets $10.

Halloween party - Lucky Strike

October 28, 2017 (9 p.m.)

0.6 miles NE

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

Discount tickets $6.

Halloween party - Hard Rock Cafe

October 28, 2017 (10 p.m.)

0.8 miles NW

Party Like a Rockstar will have you dancing to music by the Chicago Bulls DJ, surrounded by legendary rock and roll memorabilia in the Hard Rock Cafe.

Discount tickets $7.50

Halloween party - Congress Plaza

October 28, 2017 (9 p.m.)

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+.

Discount tickets $35.

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 for age 21+.

Discount tickets $7.50.

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.

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 (1 to 4 p.m.)

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 for kids

October 29, 2017 (1 to 4 p.m.)

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.

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.

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.
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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