Giselle (Photo by Ansa Deguchi, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Blaine Truitt Covert.)

If you just can’t wait for Halloween, you’re in luck — this weekend will be filled with spooky fun at Brookfield Zoo, Chicago Botanic Garden and North Suburban YMCA. Plus, don’t miss the latest production from Joffrey Ballet.

Arts in the Dark

5 Things to Do: Arts in the Dark

Photo courtesy of Margie Korshak, Inc.

Oct. 21

LUMA8, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District have collaborated to create this evening Halloween parade to “showcase the creativity of Chicago’s diverse cultural community and inspire the next generation of artists.” The fun begins with a pre-parade party at Buckingham Fountain with the Chicago Blackhawks street team. After the parade, which will travel Columbus Drive from Balbo Avenue to Monroe Street, there will be a “House Party at the Bean” and a family-friendly party at Maggie Daley Park complete with a Halloween movie, trick-or-treating, mini golf and more.

Boo! at the Zoo

5 Things to Do: Boo! at the Zoo (Brookfield Zoo)

Young guests to Brookfield Zoo’s Boo! at the Zoo show off their Halloween attire. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Zoological Society.)

Oct. 21-22

Don your best costume and head out to Brookfield Zoo for Halloween-themed crafts, haunted hayrides, a disco carousel, corn maze, giant pumpkin carving with a professional pumpkin carver, and more. Can’t make it? Boo! at the Zoo will also take place next weekend.

Trains, Tricks & Treats

Trains, Tricks & Treats at Chicago Botanic Garden

Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

Oct. 21-22

Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden closes for the season next weekend, so don’t miss this chance to explore it one more time while trick-or-treating in costume. Plus, bring your pup to the Garden on Oct. 21 for the Spooky Pooch Parade.

Spooktacular Halloween Party

5 Things to Do: North Suburban YMCA Spooktacular Halloween Party

Photo courtesy of North Suburban YMCA.

Oct. 22

The North Suburban YMCA will host its 10th annual Halloween party with a spooky pool boat ride, bounce houses, a costume contest, a haunted maze, crafts, treats and more. The party will open early for children with special needs from 1:30-2 p.m.


5 Things to Do: "Giselle" at Joffrey Ballet

Christine Rocas and Dylan Gutierrez (Photo by Todd Rosenberg.)

Runs through Oct. 29

Joffrey Ballet’s new season opens with the Chicago premiere of Lola de Ávila’s adaptation of “Giselle,” considered to be one of the greatest ballets of the Romantic era.


  • Piven Theatre will host their first family-friendly Octoberfest at Temperance Beer Co. on Oct. 22. Guests will enjoy performances by Young People’s Company and Performance Project, DJ Dan Chiss, face painting, donut races, butterbeer, raffle prizes (including “Hamilton” tickets) and more. La Cocinita Food Truck will also donate $2 to Piven for every Adult Taco Meal and $1 for every Kids Taco or Quesadilla Meal purchased at the event.

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Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital






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