Take the Family to Chicago for Halloween
Chicago is famous for its hot dogs, pizza, architecture, famous gangsters, and loyal sports fans. All these claims to fame leave many people unaware that Chicago also has a bit of a spooky reputation. Landmarks ranging from the Congress Plaza Hotel and Wrigley Field to the Holy Name Cathedral are supposedly haunted, giving our city the perfect backdrop to celebrate Halloween.
Fortunately, Chicago hosts many family-friendly events that are sure to help you and your loved ones make great memories this season. Here at Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyer, we’re eager to share some of the best activities to do this Halloween. Our recommendations are fun for all ages and will allow you to make the most of your time in the city.
Visit the Navy Pier
Regardless of the time of year you visit, the Navy Pier is a must-see attraction for family-friendly fun in Chicago. Also known as the People’s Pier, this landmark hosts various activities throughout the year and is home to restaurants that celebrate the city’s rich culinary tradition. Of course, the Navy Pier is on this list because it’s particularly exciting during the Halloween season. The annual Pier Pumpkin Lights returns this year on Oct. 1 and runs every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. until Oct. 31.
Pumpkin pop-up installations by local artists will be on display across the 50-acre pier. For the full experience, be sure to start at the main entrance and walk past the iconic Centennial Wheel. Visitors will see everything from unique designs to pieces using traditional Halloween imagery, meaning there’s sure to be something to suit everyone’s interests. Be sure to look out for pop-up performances throughout the season and take advantage of the exclusive deals at participating Navy Pier shops and restaurants.
Go to the Chicago Botanic Garden
The Chicago Botanic Garden is yet another attraction tourists frequent year-round. Visitors enjoy various gardens, natural areas, and educational tours that allow them to appreciate the scenic views even more. If you want a particularly memorable experience, be sure to attend one of the Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns events. This year, you can come anytime between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16 or Oct. 19 and Oct. 23. Chicago Botanic Garden members get discounts on the already affordable rates, and children under 2 get in for free.
As the event’s name suggests, over 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins will be on display and light up the night. The intricate designs make it hard to believe, but the event features only 100% real pumpkins. You’ll see designs featuring everything from Halloween characters and celebrities to Chicago references, and with some of the pumpkins being as large as 150 pounds, everything will feel larger than life. As you walk along the paved path to view all the pumpkins, you’ll enjoy a festive atmosphere complete with costumed entertainers, live carving demos, and food and drinks for purchase.
Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo
The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago has plenty of fall activities to get you in the Halloween spirit. If you have older teenagers, consider going on a Haunted History Tour open to ages 16 and older. Tours begin in the evening and transport you back into our city’s spooky past with the help of guide Adam Selzer. Having written several books and appeared on popular shows, Selzer provides the perfect combination of education and entertainment.
If you want a night out with the adults, be sure to get a ticket for Howl-o-ween. This after-hours event features multiple bars, a live DJ, animal chats, and tons of other activities throughout the zoo. Families with young kids can also have a good time at the Lincoln Park Zoo thanks to its annual Fall Fest. This free event allows guests to watch live professional pumpkin covers, enjoy entertainment from Mary Macaroni and the Impastas, and explore the pumpkin patch. Optional tickets provide exclusive access to attractions like the Ferris wheel and harvest maze.
Watch the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade
Chicago is home to its fair share of parades, and it’s no different during spooky season. One event that’s particularly worth checking out is the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade. 2022 will mark 25 years of this annual parade and costume contest that’s open to all ages. Participation is free for everyone whether you enter the contest or just watch the floats roll by. Be sure to go to Halsted and Aldine to watch the start of the parade and register for the contest if you’re planning to enter.
Regardless of rain or snow, the parade will make its way down to 3700 N. Halsted. Be sure to attend the awards show and afterparty to see the winners and enjoy live music. You can even bring your furry friend to march in or watch the parade as long as you assume responsibility for them.
Visit Maxwell Street Market
At one point known as the “Ellis Island of the Midwest,” Maxwell Street Market in Chicago has always been home to a lively atmosphere. Visitors come not only to shop from local vendors but also to experience entertainment in the form of live music and community activities. Consider making a trip to Maxwell Street Market to buy Halloween crafts and other seasonal items from popular and underground sellers.
You’ll appreciate the annual Día de los Muertos Celebration on Oct. 30. This event honors the Mexican holiday by celebrating and honoring those who have passed away. The event is particularly popular among Chicago’s significant Mexican population, though people of all backgrounds can participate. Activities include live music, pumpkin decorating, and even a sugar skull workshop.
As you can see from this guide, Chicago doesn’t disappoint when it comes to family-friendly Halloween celebrations. You’re sure to find activities that suit everyone’s interests and allow you to create lasting memories. If you know of any other fun things to do in Chicago around Halloween, be sure to let us know. Here at Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyer, we pride ourselves on staying up to date with local happenings.