My social media feed is filled with photos of kids at pumpkin patches, parents drinking cider beers and lawns decorated with giant spiders and webs. Halloween is one of my favorite celebrations and getting ready for the spookiest day of the year brings me more joy than enjoying a cup of coffee in my PJ’s on any given Sunday. And that is dang near impossible to rival when you are the mother of three little boys.
The holiday is at the top of my list for so many reasons. First, you basically celebrate it the entire month of October. Also, the weather is still mild. Most years, you can help your children carve pumpkins, attend spooky fall fests and crash haunted parades while wearing jeans and a light sweater. I call that a win.
Here are 10 events in the nearby western suburbs to get the most out of the last half of October:
Pick up a map and sticker card at the Visitor’s Center at 1010 Lake Street in Oak Park; the Pumpkin Trail guide map will lead you into different shops around the downtown area to gather healthy green treats. Decorate pumpkins, listen to live music on Marion Street, get your face painted and stop in to Lake Street Theater for a free screening of “Minions” at 10 a.m.
When: Oct. 14, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Start at 1010 Lake St., Oak Park
The Oak Park Conservatory is headed to the dark side. There will be “tricks, treats and Halloween fun” for all ages at this frightful, yet friendly, event.
When: Oct. 20, 6-9 p.m.
Where: Oak Park Conservatory, 615 Garfield St., Oak Park
Price: $5 advanced tickets, $7 at the door (based on availability)
The River Forest Public Library and Centennial Park will host kids 12 and under in costume for fun spooky stories and games! There will be pumpkin painting, crafts, s’mores, hot cocoa and bingo!
When: Oct. 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: The River Forest Public Library, 735 Lathrop Ave., River Forest
Create spooky decorations and enjoy time together. Snacks and materials for projects are included with the price of admission.
When: Oct. 20, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park
Price: $20 for one adult and one child. Each additional adult or child is $5
Brookfield Zoo is hosting little goblins of all ages to enjoy crafts, haunted hayrides, a crazed corn maze, a costume parade and more.
When: October 21-22, and 28-29, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.Where: Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield Price: $14.50 for kids, $19.85 for adults (Save money and order online!)
The Park District of Oak Park is hosting a scenic run/walk around Oak Park. This event features a 5K walk/run, a 10K run and the Youth Mile for kids ages 7-14. The 10K passes by eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings! *Register asap as spots fill up quickly.
When: Oct. 22, as early as 8 a.m. depending on your race
Where: Start at 201 N. Scoville Ave., Oak Park
Price: Between $33 and $48 depending on race
Riverside is lighting up the tower and parading near Town Hall! Spooky entertainment is all the buzz, and all ages are encouraged to wear costumes and get in the Halloween spirit.
When: Oct. 25, 6 p.m.
Where: Centennial Park, 10 Pine Ave., Riverside
Aubrey Jacknow of Gagliardo Reality is throwing a trick-or-treating bash at Pleasant Home! There will be a photo booth, face painting, pumpkin patch and treats for your goody bags.
When: Oct. 26, 2-6 p.m.
Where: The Pleasant Home, 217 Home Ave., Oak Park
Price: A cash donation to Sarah’s Inn or an item to donate
Kids can wear their costumes and ice skates for fun on the rink! There will be a costume contest, creepy crafts and halloween candy for extra festive fun.
When: Oct. 27, 6:15-8:15 p.m. (younger kids) and 8:30-10 p.m. for teens
Where: Ridgeland Commons, 415 Lake St., Oak Park
Price: $7, $3 skate rental
This drop-off event to view the movie “Monster House” is perfect for kids 5-10 years old. They’ll receive lunch and a movie with price of admission.
When: Oct. 29, 12-2:30 p.m.
Where: The Cheney Mansion, 220 N. Euclid, Oak Park
Price: $25 residents, $35 non-resident