Updated Aug. 16, 2017, by Manon Blackman.
Temperatures are falling, but outdoor fun is just starting to heat up.
Even if you’re missing sun and sand, you’ll love a Saturday afternoon spent picking apples and searching for that perfectly round pumpkin. It’s definitely worth the drive!
Your family can also stay closer to home with many of the fall activities offered throughout Chicago and the North Shore. So grab your calendar and start planning for these fall festivities.
Apple Orchards and Pumpkin Patches
This orchard offers two mazes: a short maze for kiddos and a longer maze for the experts. 14510 Route 176, Woodstock
Don’t forget to say hello to Peter the Pumpkin Eating Dinosaur. 200 S. County Line Road, Hobart, Ind.
Didier’s Pumpkinfest runs Sept. 23 to Oct. 31 and this year features a new Mobile Room Escape along with a Silly String Asylum and Pig Races. 16678 W. Aptakisic Road, Lincolnshire
Enjoy pony and camel rides, Goebbert’s Pumpkin Express, pig racing, a haunted house, magic shows and more! 42W813 Reinking Road, Hampshire
If your child loves animals, don’t miss out on milking a cow or visiting the “Kitty Barn.” You also get to pick out a free pumpkin. 33603 High Drive, East Troy, Wisc.
Sadly this no-frills orchard has a limited season due to very small crop yields. Check back next fall for a variety of apples perfect for both eating and cooking. 1050 Crest Road, Green Oaks
Once you make your way through the haunted forest, enjoy a hay-wagon ride, woodland walk, bale maze and more fall activities. 1N318 Watson Road, Maple Park
Odyssey offers a corn maze, cow train, corn cannon, zip lines and a zombie safari hayride. 19111 S. Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park
Not only can you pick the perfect pumpkin, but you can also take a ride down a slide in a giant 11-foot ball before getting lost in the world’s largest corn maze. 909 English Prairie Road, Spring Grove
Make it a date night! Pick your own apples (weekends only) and then sample fruit wines. W6384 Sugar Creek Road, Elkhorn, Wisc.
Find décor for Halloween decorating as well as jams, jellies and local honey. 37W446 Fabyan Pkwy., Geneva
Fall Color Festival
This fest features a Scarecrow Trail, Fall Color 5K Run & Walk, Theatre-Hikes, a Glass Pumpkin Patch and more! Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle
This nationally celebrated haunted house has been featured by BuzzFeed, The Huffington Post and Discovery Channel. 8240 N. Austin Ave., Morton Grove
Discover your capacity for fear as you walk through this haunted house, a combination of Addison’s Disturbia Torment of Fears and Rosemont’s Screams in the Park. MB Financial Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival
Friday, Oct. 6 to Sunday, Oct. 8
You’ll be surrounded by pumpkins at this favorite local fest. Go trick-or-treating, shop the gourmet market, cheer on your furry friend during the pet costume contest and more. Downtown Highwood
Spooky Pooch Parade
Saturday, Oct. 21
It doesn’t get much cuter than this! Start planning your pup’s costume now because he or she can win Best Costume Overall, Best Dog/Owner Costume, Best Horticultural Interpretation and other categories. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Trains, Tricks & Treats
Saturday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 22
Visit Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden one more time before it closes as you trick or treat in costume. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns
Thursday, Oct. 26 to Sunday, Oct. 29
Walk amongst over 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins — some up to 150 pounds — and enjoy other Halloween activities and treats. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe