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

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., VIP 10 a.m.)

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+.
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Apple festival

October 1, 2017

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

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

30 miles west

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

Halloween farm

October 1 - 30, 2017

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.

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.

Aurora haunted house

October 1 - Nov. 4, 2017

38 miles west

Basement of the Dead has creative special effects and entertaining characters. See schedule.

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+.

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 Millennium Park Plaza.

Food truck fest

October 6 - 7, 2017

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 6 - 7, 2017

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.]

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.

Pumpkin festival

October 6 - 8, 2017

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.

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 (Saturday afternoon) 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, a petting zoo, and vintage cars in St. Charles. Free.

Scary plays

October 6 - 27, 2017 (Fridays 7:30 p.m.)

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.

Intense haunted house

October 6 - Nov. 4, 2017

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..

Dumpling tasting

October 7, 2017 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

0.5 miles south

Taste dumplings from 10 local restaurants at World Dumpling Fest “an afternoon of cultural performance, art, and food” at Millennium Park. Free admission.

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.

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.

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.

Foodie event

October 7 - 8, 2017 (VIP party Oct. 6)

multiple locations

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.

Coffee festival

October 7 - 8, 2017

4.7 miles NW

Taste coffee, see exhibits, and hear presenters at the consumer CoffeeCon at Revel Global Events.

Flower bulb festival

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

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 7 - 15, 2017

Chicago locations

Midnight Circus in the Parks [slow website] is a series of daytime shows on weekends at eight parks, which is perfect for families.

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 “quality independent short films” at the Music Box Theatre.

Columbus Day Parade

October 9, 2017 (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 11 - 15, 2017

32 miles north

Pinball Expo has a game hall, tournaments, 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 for age 21+.

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, with light food for sale at Autumn Brews at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

Film festival

October 12 - 26, 2017 (and Oct. 4)

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.

Latin classical music

October 12 - Nov. 19, 2017

multiple locations

Chicago Latino Music Festival offers concerts of classical music from Latin America and Spain.

A taste of Korea

October 13, 2017 (6 to 10 p.m.)

3.6 miles SW

A ticket to Eat for North Korean Refugees gets you “an evening of phenomenal food, adult beverages, and music” from a dozen restaurants at Lacuna Lofts.

Wine tasting

October 13 - 14, 2017

1.7 miles west

A ticket to Wine Riot includes unlimited tastes of hundreds of wines at Revel Fulton Market for age 21+.

Andersonville Arts Week

October 13 - 15, 2017

8 miles north

Andersonville Arts Week starts Friday evening 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, music, contests, treats, entertainment, and a food court at 10925 W La Porte Road in Mokena.

Campfire festival

October 14, 2017 (2 to 11 p.m.)

8 miles north

Chicago Camp Fire Festival has a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, a bounce house, tractor rides, arts & crafts, games, live music, campfires, marshmallow roasting, professional ghost stories, 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, a runway show, and a boutique featuring 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.

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.

Tasting

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.

German Oktoberfest

October 20, 2017 (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” at Dank Haus. Free admission.

Halloween parade

October 21, 2017

1.1 miles south

Arts in the Dark is a Halloween parade of artistic creatures at 6 p.m. on Columbus Drive (from Balbo Avenue to Monroe Street). A pre-parade show starts at 4 p.m. at Buckingham Fountain. A post-parade dance party starts at 7:30 p.m. in Millennium Park. A family movie & treats is 8 p.m. in Maggie Daley Park. Free.

Beer tasting

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

17 miles SW

Taste 150 craft and import beers live entertainment and food for sale at the indoor Brew Moon Beer & Band Festival in McCook for age 21+.

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 for live music, food vendors, and 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.

Halloween at Navy Pier

October 21 & 28, 2017

1 mile east

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

Halloween at Brookfield Zoo

October 21 - 22 and 28 - 29, 2017

14 miles SW

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

Israeli film festival

October 25 - Nov. 5, 2017

multiple locations

Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema screens new films about Israeli culture at ArcLight Cinemas in Glenview and a few other locations.

Freaky Halloween concert

October 26 - 28, 2017

multiple locations

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

Halloween festival

Oct. 26 - 29, 2017 (6:30 to 10:30 p.m.)

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.

Halloween party - opera house

October 27, 2017 (8 p.m.)

1 mile SW

Halloween Masquerade includes live music, dancing, 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 Stranger Things ’80s Halloween Party, including 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 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 27, 2017 (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 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 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 (sold out) cocktail reception and dinner by celebrity chefs at Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel on Friday, plus free cooking demonstrations on Saturday (register online on Oct. 13).

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 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+.

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, a costume contest, and dancing to top 40, EDM, hip hop, and house music at Lucky Strike.

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.

Halloween party - Congress Plaza

October 28, 2017 (9 p.m.)

1 mile south

Haunted Halloween Ball turns the giant ballrooms of 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 - Navy Pier

October 28, 2017 (8 p.m.)

1 mile east

Join 3,000 revelers at The Haunted Halloween Ball in the Grand Ballroom on Navy Pier, with DJ dance music and cash bars for age 21+.

Halloween at Lincoln Park Zoo

October 28, 2017 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

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.

Halloween concert

October 28, 2017 (7 & 9 p.m.)

9.1 miles south

Witches, Winds, and Whirls! 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 28, 2017 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

44 miles west

BatFest has trick-or-treating, a pumpkin roll, entertainment, hayrides, games, an 11:45 a.m. parade, 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.

Family brunch cruise

October 29, 2017 (board at noon)

1 mile east

Halloween Brunch Cruise is a two-hour cruise aboard the Spirit of Chicago with a brunch buffet, Halloween candy, and a DJ “spinning a spooky playlist” departing from Navy Pier. Costumes welcome.

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, stilt walkers, and a costume contest. Free.

Andersonville Dessert Crawl

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

8 miles north

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

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 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, 2017 (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.”
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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