Halloween isn’t here quite yet, but you can start celebrating this weekend with a murder mystery at Oil Lamp Theater and a harvest festival (complete with a pumpkin patch that gives back) in Chicago. You can also attend a healthy living and parenting conference, see a world premiere play at Black Ensemble Theater, or explore some of the Chicago area’s best sites.
Opens Oct. 12
Oil Lamp Theater’s latest production opens just in time for Halloween. This whodunit begins with an innocent party but ends with a poisoned guest and a few plot twists. And if you’re still making Halloween plans, Oil Lamp will host a special performance Oct. 31.
This healthy living and parenting conference is coming to the Chicago area for the first time ever with seminars, workshops and more for both bloggers and parents. Workshops include “Superfood Swaps for a Cleaner Routine” and “Turn Your Picky Eater into a Health Food Lover.” Find a complete schedule and more details online.
Loews Chicago Hotel will turn its rooftop terrace into a pumpkin patch and biergärten this weekend. This free, family-friendly event will feature carnival games, face painting, caricature and balloon artists, and food, including Salted Warm Pretzels, Beef Short Rib Chili, Kid’s Shells ’n Cheese and Warm Cider Doughnuts. Guests can purchase a pumpkin for $10 and all proceeds will benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana.
Opens Oct. 14
Black Ensemble Theater will present the world premiere of “Living the Black Renaissance,” “a musical resistance against racism” written and directed by the theater’s Founder and CEO Jackie Taylor. “‘Living the Black Renaissance’ has difficult moments because the racism pill is a very difficult pill to swallow,” Taylor says. “In order to solve our societal issues we must be able to confront those issues. And that is the purpose of ‘Living the Black Renaissance (More Than a Moment in Time).’”
Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago is back with free behind-the-scenes access to more than 200 buildings in the Chicago area for one weekend only. Participating sites include the Chicago Board of Trade Building, Civic Opera House, Goodman Theatre, Northwestern’s Ryan Field, FEW Spirits Distillery and The Field Museum. Start planning your itinerary today!
- This year’s Chicago Ideas Week runs Oct. 16-22. Speakers include Bobbi Brown of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Chief Education Office of Chicago Public Schools Janice Jackson, fashion designer Zac Posen, former NFL player and U.S. astronaut Leland Melvin, and actress Lena Waithe.
Give Back Opportunities
- Stop by Vintage Bliss & Co., an artisan jewelry studio and boutique that recently opened in Highland Park, for gorgeous jewelry, clothes, gifts and more. If you buy something pink in October, Vintage Bliss will donate 5 percent of the sale to Bright Pink.
- Register today for Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s Hounds for Hadley dog walk on Oct. 14. Enjoy a walk through Winnetka, complimentary refreshments, trick-or-treating, and raffle prizes. Proceeds will help those with sight loss thrive at home, work, and in their community.
- The Giving Rocks Foundation will host its annual fundraiser, Giving Rocks Unplugged, on Oct. 15 with headliner (and Grammy Award nominee) Matthew Santos. The event will feature Syd Rocks necklace making, food from Depot Nuevo, a silent auction and more. Proceeds will fund research to end LCH and pediatric cancer. Purchase tickets today.
- Treat yourself and give back with Grand Geneva Resort & Spa’s Breast Cancer Awareness Package. Book your October getaway now and $25 for each night you stay at Grand Geneva will be given to the Aurora Health Care Foundation’s Breast Cancer Fund.
More from Make It Better:
- 9 New Fall TV Shows You Won’t Want to Miss
- 4 Under-the-Radar Wine Vacations in North America
- Behind the Scenes: What It’s Like to Be on the TODAY Show
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.