After a summer of record-breaking heat, who doesn't welcome the
crisp fall days finally upon us? But this is Chicago, and we all
know it won't be long before we're knee-deep in snow. So get out
and enjoy the best the area has to offer when it comes to autumn
and one of most kids' favorite holidays-Halloween.
If you want a twist on the usual pumpkin carving-and if you've
ever wanted to be part of a record-setting event-now's your chance.
At the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest, visitors can add their
jack-o-lantern to the thousands of others for a shot at the record
Last year, 26,287 pumpkins were stacked on shelves and lit at
the same time. This year, the fest's third, organizers are hoping
to top that number and, hopefully, break the record in the Guinness
Book of World Records for most jack-o-lanterns lit at the same
time. The current record of 30,128 was set in Boston.
If you want to add your own pumpkin to the record attempt,
pumpkins can be carved ahead of time and brought to the fest, or
for $3 you can buy a pre-scooped pumpkin to carve at the fest. The
carving knives are kid-friendly and won't break, so parents can let
their kids work away without worry, says Eric Falberg, Highwood
alderman and chairman of special events.
The highlight of the event is when the pumpkins are lit. "It's
probably one of the coolest things you'll ever see," Falberg says.
"It takes a lot of people. We start handing out lighters and people
The lighting takes place at 5:45 p.m. Oct. 22. It takes about 45
minutes to light all the pumpkins.
17 Highwood Ave., Highwood
Could there be a better place for a bat fest than Batavia? On
Oct. 22, head to the Batavia riverwalk for a celebration of all
things batty. BatFest includes storytelling, a pumpkin roll,
hayrides, a farmers market, games and contests. There's also a
trunk-or-treat, where cars are decorated and candy makes its way
into the hands of little ghouls.
3. Scare 'em off
What says fall more than scarecrows flapping in the wind? The
St. Charles Scarecrow Festival is a great place to get inspired to
make your own as you view hundreds of handmade scarecrows along the
Don't expect to see ordinary scarecrows-the festival's
empty-headed creations in the past have included a life-sized
Noah's Ark, Shrek and the stars of "Twilight."
Plus, there's a section where kids can create their own
scarecrow to take home. The festival also includes entertainment, a
petting zoo and a kids' corner.
Downtown at Route 64 and Fox River
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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