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
(starts Sept. 14)
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. Closed Sept. 17 to 20.

Pumpkin patches & corn mazes

October 1 - 31, 2018
Chicago area
Visit pumpkin patches at local farms for fun family activities, or romp through the 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. Discount prices for Illinois residents.

Aurora haunted house

October 4 - 31, 2018
(starts Sept. 28)
38 miles west
Basement of the Dead has creative special effects and entertaining characters. See schedule.

Powerful black women

October 4 - Nov. 4, 2018
2.1 miles NW
Award-winning Eclipsed is about five Liberian women who struggle to negotiate power, protection, and peace in a tale of hope and resilience set in a civil war at 773 N. Aberdeen Street.

Ticket deal $8 to $15

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, passed beer bites, and live music at Millennium Park Plaza.

Ticket deal $29 (2 for $45)

Museum party

October 5, 2018
(9 p.m. to midnight)
1 mile south
Mix and mingle, visit the bar, eat snacks, see exhibits, and dance to bands at After Dark in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago for age 21+.

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 on Noble Street (from Chicago Avenue to Chestnut Street). Free. [Also consider the 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 Chicago Avenue (from Milwaukee Ave. to Western Ave.). Free. [Also consider 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 live entertainment, arts and crafts, food, a carnival, a petting zoo, and vintage cars in St. Charles. Free.

Intense haunted house

October 5 - Nov. 3, 2018
(begins Sept. 28)
45 miles NW
The Realm of Terror Haunted House promises “the craziest, most intense, extreme Halloween experience” located halfway to Milwaukee in Round Lake Beach.

Woodstock ale festival

October 6, 2018
61 miles NW
Woodstock Ale Fest features 80 craft beers, bacon, and bluegrass music.

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, hosted by the American Indian Center.

Apple festival

October 6 - 7, 2018
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.

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
(also Sept.)
Chicago locations
Midnight Circus in the Parks is a series of shows at nine parks, which is perfect for families.

Family Halloween

October 6 - 31, 2018
Chicago area parks
Enjoy parties, dances, movies, pumpkin patches, haunted houses, craft-making, and fall festivals during Halloween in the Parks.

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.

Mind reader

October 10, 2018
(8 p.m.)
3.4 miles north
Chicago Tribune calls mentalist Mark Toland “mind blowing.” He can tell you your birthday, where you grew up, and what you did last summer in his show of psychological illusions and mysteries of the mind at Greenhouse Theater Center for age 16+. Video.

Ticket deal $13

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.

Music of Pink Floyd

October 11, 2018
(8 p.m.)
0.6 miles south
Australian Pink Floyd is a choreographed laser and light show with 3D effects featuring the incredible music of Pink Floyd at The Chicago Theatre.

Ticket deal $25 to $30

Whisky tasting

October 11, 2018
2.7 miles SW
A ticket to Whisky Live Chicago includes a dinner buffet, a comedy show about whisky, educational classes, and a glass to sample 150 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.

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, adult beverages, and music” from a dozen restaurants at Ravenswood Event Center.

Beer festival

October 12, 2018
(7 p.m.)
7.9 miles north
Festiv-Ale offers Midwest beer and cider, snacks, food-cart vendors, live music, and a silent auction for charity at Artifact Events.

Family Halloween

October 12 - 14, 2018
36 miles SW
Halloween Hollow has carnival rides, hayrides, pony rides, music, contests, treats, entertainment, and a food court at 10925 W La Porte Road in Mokena.

Vegan event

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

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, 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 13 - 14, 2018
Chicago locations
Get a rare behind-the-scenes look at 200 of the city’s finest buildings during Open House Chicago. Free.

Halloween at Brookfield Zoo

October 13 - 28, 2018
14 miles SW
Boo at the Zoo has games and activities for kids, a hayride, animal chats, and a 1 p.m. costume parade at the Brookfield Zoo.

Cheese tasting

October 14, 2018
3.4 miles NW
Taste cheesy foods like pizza, grilled cheese, poutine, and macaroni & cheese from restaurants and cheese vendors during Say Cheese Fest at Concord FiftyFive. 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 and other specialty drinks, two full-sized drinks or beers, and passed brunch bites 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.

Diverse circus

October 17, 2018
7.9 miles south
UniverSoul Circus includes Caribbean dancers, Chinese acrobats, African clowns, and exotic animals in a heated tent in Washington Park.

Ticket deal $16

Pinball Expo

October 17 - 20, 2018
32 miles north
Pinball Expo has a game hall, tournaments, vendors, speakers, and a banquet at the Westin in Wheeling.

Latin classical music

October 17 - Nov. 18, 2018
multiple locations
Chicago Latino Music Festival offers concerts of classical music from Latin America and Spain.

Adult night at the planetarium

October 18, 2018
(6 to 10 p.m.)
2.5 miles SE
Adler After Dark offers open access, science talks, planetarium shows, entertainment, and no-host bars at Adler Planetarium for age 21+. This month has two themes: deep space and the deep ocean.

Adult zoo night

October 18, 2018
(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.

Israeli film festival

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

German Oktoberfest

October 19, 2018
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” at Dank Haus. Free admission.

Music of the Carpenters

October 19, 2018
(7:30 p.m.)
46 miles west
Close to You: The Music of The Carpenters is a moving tribute to Grammy Award winner Karen Carpenter by Lisa Rock and a six-piece backing band performing We’ve Only Just Begun, Close to You, and more at Batavia Fine Arts Centre.

Ticket deal $13

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 at 6 p.m. on State Street (from Lake Street to Van Buren). Free.

Beer tasting

October 20, 2018
(6 to 11 p.m.)
17 miles SW
Taste 150 craft and import beers, 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 for two hours each year during Spooky Pooch Parade and costume contest.

Halloween flea market

October 20, 2018
31 miles west
Come in costume to the Wheaton Haunted Halloween Flea Market for live music, food vendors, and antiques & collectibles for sale at DuPage County Fairgrounds.

Street party in Elgin

October 20, 2018
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.

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” at the 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.

A Chorus Line

October 25 - Nov. 3, 2018
26 miles NW
One of the most popular musicals ever, A Chorus Line is a story about casting a new Broadway musical, with songs like “What I Did for Love” at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights for mature audiences.

Ticket deal $20

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
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 (SOLD OUT), plus free cooking demonstrations at Sur La Table on Saturday.

Halloween party - Hard Rock Cafe

October 27, 2018
(10 p.m.)
0.8 miles NW
Halloween Goes Hollywood will have you dancing to “a live DJ playing a mix of the latest and greatest in dance, electronic, pop, R&B, hip hop, and top 40 hits” surrounded by legendary rock and roll memorabilia in the Hard Rock Cafe for age 21+.

Ticket deal $6

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+.

Ticket deal $35

Halloween party - opera house

October 27, 2018
1 mile SW
Halloween Masquerade includes live music, dancing, an open bar, appetizers, and a costume contest at the Civic Opera House.

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, and bring your own to be shown at Chicago History Museum. 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 see a haunted house at 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 Chicago DJ Matt Roan” at Moonlight Studios. Optional dinner at 7:30 p.m.

Halloween party

October 27, 2018
(7 p.m.)
6.7 miles south
Nobody Sleeps at the Corpse Cabaret is a costume dance party that includes treats, savory bites, and an open bar at 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.

Family fest in Batavia

October 27, 2018
44 miles west
BatFest has trick-or-treating, a pumpkin roll, entertainment, hayrides, games, an 11:50 a.m. parade, and a farmers’ market in Batavia. Free.

Coffee festival

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

Expand 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.

Clark Street Spooktacular

October 28, 2018
(1 to 4 p.m.)
3 miles north
Clark Street Spooktacular has family-friendly games, trick-or-treating, street magicians, jugglers, stilt walkers, and a costume contest. Free.

Halloween for kids

October 28, 2018
32 miles west
Kids 10 and under 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 Cornelia 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 at Thriller Dance Class at “May I Have This Dance.”

Halloween party - Lucky Strike

October 2018
0.6 miles NE
Saints & Sinners is a costume party with a cash bar, open bowling, a costume contest, and dancing to top 40, EDM, hip hop, and house music at Lucky Strike.

Halloween at Navy Pier

October 2018
1 mile east
Halloween at Navy Pier includes two outdoor movies per day, plus fireworks one evening. Free.