Halloween is the greatest of all kid holidays—a chance to dress up and have people hand you candy by the bagful. But it’s also a time for scaring—a little or a lot, depending on the age and sensibility of your child.
Here are some of the Chicago-area haunted happenings where you and your kids can get a little scare—or a big one. The editors of Chicago Parent have not visited these sites and cannot vouch for how scary they are. When ages are listed, they come from the event operators, not our experience. It is up to you as parents to decide just how scared you want your kids want to be.
Haunted L Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St. (312) 744-3370, www.cityofchicago.org/specialevents Take a spooky but kid-friendly ride through the Loop. Hours: 7, 7:25, 7:50 and 8:15 p.m. Oct. 20-21 and 27-28; 11:40 a.m., 12:30, 12:55 and 1:20 p.m. Oct. 22 and 29. Admission: Free. Tickets available on a first-come, first-serve basis the day of each ride.
Haunted Scenes 5151 N. Milwaukee Ave. (312) 742-4521, www.hauntedscenes.com Different scary characters haunt each room. This haunted house, courtesy of the 16th Chicago Police District, raises money for the Chicago Police Memorial Fund. Ages 7 and up. Hours: 5-9 p.m. Oct. 27-30. Admission: Donations accepted.
Robie House Secrets and Shadows 5757 S. Woodlawn Ave. (773) 834-1847, www.wrightplus.org Explore the Robie House’s nearly 100-year history with guided flashlight tours and stories about its previous inhabitants. All ages. Hours: 7-8:40 p.m. Oct. 21-22. Tours leave every 20 minutes and are 45 minutes long. Admission: $16, $12 kids 12 and under.
No Scare Halloween Fest and Maze Athletic Field Park, 3546 W. Addison St. (773) 478-2889, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com Pumpkin patches, haunted houses, not-so-haunted houses and parties. Ages 8 and under. Hours: 4-7 p.m., Oct. 28-29. Admission: $3.
Haunted Basement Avondale Park, 3516 W. School St. (773) 478-1410, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com Eight different scenes with dimmed lights, props and scary things from the past. Ages 15 and under. Hours: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 14 and 21. Admission: $2.
Haunted House Harrison Park, 1824 S. Wood St. (312) 746-5491, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com The field house becomes home to ghouls and ghosts. Hours: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 28. Admission: Free.
Haunted House Williams Park, 2710 S. Dearborn St. (312) 747-7107, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com A small pumpkin patch, treats and scary images. Hours: 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 28. Admission: $1.
Haunted House Kennicott Park 4434 S. Lake Park Ave. (312) 747-7138 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com A former grammar school is transformed into a haunted maze. Hours: 7-9 p.m. Oct. 28. Admission: $3.
Haunted House Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave. (773) 287-7641, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com A field house is transformed into a haunted house. Hours: 7-9 p.m. Oct. 28 and 31. Admission: $2.
Haunted House Archer Park, 4901 S. Kilbourn Ave. (773) 284-7029, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com A basement is converted into a haunted maze. Hours: 7-9 p.m. Oct. 28-29 and 31. Admission: $3.
A Day in Sleepy Hollow South on Highway 57, exit 315 (815) 935-5665, www.btpd.org Costume contests, a candy egg hunt, a hayride, a maze, a magician and a petting zoo. (Remember to wash your hands after petting the animals.) Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 8. Admission: $6
Haunted House Mann Park, 3035 E. 130th St. (773) 646-0210, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com Twenty horror scenes throughout the building. A lights-on session for younger children (4-6 p.m. Oct. 27). Hours: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 27-Oct.30. Admission: $5.
Haunted House Trumbull Park, 2400 E. 105th St. (312)747-6759, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com A maze and a costume contest. Ages 5-15. Hours: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 30. Admission: Free. No Scare Halloween Fest and Maze Athletic Field Park, 3546 W. Addison St. (773) 478-2889, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com Costumed characters guide children through a lighted, no-scare maze. Ages 8 and under. Hours: 4-7 p.m. Oct. 28. Noon-3 p.m. Oct. 29. Admission: $3.
Halloween Maze Gladstone Park, 5421 N. Menard (773) 631-7859, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com Friendly, costumed characters guide children through a lighted, no-scare maze. Costumes highly recommended. Ages 10 and under. Hours: 5-6:30 p.m. Oct. 28. Admission: $2.
Creatures of the Night 300 N. Central Park Ave. (773) 638-1766, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com The conservatory is turned into a zoo with live snakes, bats, owls and other nocturnal creatures. Ages 4 and up. Hours: Noon-3 p.m. Oct. 29. Admission: Free.
Field of Screams Mt. Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St. (312) 747-6564, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com A cornfield with 12 scary scenes. Ages 8 and up. Hours: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 27-31. Admission: $5. Spooky Seas–Shedd Aquarium1200 South Lake Shore Dr. (312) 692-3333, www.sheddaquarium.org An family Halloween event with food, trick-or-treating through the galleries, music, dancing, animal encounters, presentations and a costume parade. Come for the evening or stay overnight (kids 5 and up only). Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Hours: Evening: 6-10 p.m. Oct. 28. Overnight: 6 p.m. Oct. 28-9 a.m. Oct. 29. Admission: Evening: $30, $20 members. Overnight: $60, $50 members.
Crazed Carnival Haunted House Lincoln Park Cultural Center 2045 N. Lincoln Park West (312) 742-7726 www.chicagoparkdistrict.com Haunted house for kids 10 and over and a Pumpkinpalooza with prizes, rides and candy for kids 12 and under. A hayride and family entertainment at Pumpkin Patch at the Shore. Hours: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Oct. 28. Admission: $5.
Northbrook Park District Haunted House Sports Center, 1730 Pfingsten Rd., Northbrook (847) 291-2993 www.nbparks.org A kid-friendly haunted house with props and scenes, but no live characters. Ice skating 7-9 p.m. each night. Ages 5-8. Hours: 4-5 p.m. Oct. 28-29. Admission: $2.
Boo! At the Zoo Brookfield Zoo First Avenue at 31st Street Brookfield (708) 485-0263 www.brookfieldzoo.org Events include a costume parade and contest, zoo keeper talks, pumpkin carving demonstrations and a haunted hayride. Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 22-23 and 29-30. Admission: $8, $6 kids 11 and under. Westmont Jaycees Haunted Dungeon of Darkness 1100 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove (630) 960-2666. A children’s haunted house with the lights on. Hours: 2-4 p.m. Oct. 23 and 30. Admission: Free adults, $2 kids.
Batavia/St. Charles Jaycees Haunted House 901 N. Batavia Ave., Batavia (630) 584-2666 www.bataviajaycees.org A haunted house for kids. Hours: 1-3 p.m. Oct. 30. Admission: $1.
Haunted Manor, Charlestowne Mall 3800 E. Main St., St. Charles (630) 513-1120 www.charlestownemall.com A not-so-scary Halloween maze for kids. Hours: 4-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-9 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday Sept. 28-Oct. 31. Noon-9 p.m. Oct. 10. Admission: $3.
Haunted Galleries at the Lake County Discovery Museum Lakewood Forest Preserve Route 176 and Fairfield Road Wauconda (847) 968-3400 www.lakecountydiscoverymuseum.org Live characters from Lake County’s past retell their stories in the haunted halls of the museum. Costumes are encouraged. Ages 6 and up with adult. Hours: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 26-27. Admission: $7 adults, $3 kids 4-17.
Richardson’s Corn Maze 9407 Richardson Farm, Spring Grove (815) 675-9729, www.richardsonfarm.com/r-maze.htm Navigate one of the largest corn mazes in the world. Mazes are lightly haunted. Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 29, noon-9 p.m. Oct. 30. Admission: $8.50, $6 seniors and kids 5-12, free kids under 5.
Fright Fest Six Flags Great America 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee (847) 249-INFO, www.sixflags.com Six Flags is transformed into a giant Halloween haunt with entertainment, haunted houses, rides and games. Hours: 5-11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday Oct. 8-30. Admission: $46.34 people 54 inches and taller, $30.89 people under 54 inches tall, free kids 3 and under.
Spookview Halloween Happening Oak View Center 4625 W. 110th St., Oak Lawn (708) 857-2200, www.olparks.com Scare stations, games, crafts, creature movie features, food and ghost stories around the campfire. Ages 3-10. Hours: Costume parade: 245 p.m. Event: 3-7 p.m. Oct. 22. Admission: Free. Extra costs for activities (50 cents-$2).
Children’s Haunted FarmVillage of Palos Park 12700 SW Highway (708) 361-3650, www.palospark.org Walk through a haunted barn, take a hayride to a haunted graveyard and hear stories around the campfire. Ages 8 and up. Hours: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 28-29. Admission: $10.
Cam Wigton is a Chicago writer.