It’s officially fall, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to do some fall festival hopping. There are plenty of pumpkins to pick, animals to pet and apples to eat. So pull on a sweater, zip up your boots, grab a pumpkin latte and go to town.
Fall favorite: Scarecrows
Check out more than 100 hand-crafted scarecrows and vote for your favorite in five categories. Once you’ve voted, get inspired to make your own scarecrow, pet some animals in the petting zoo, play at the carnival, dance to the live entertainment and eat some food. Free. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 7-8; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 9. 2 E. Main St., St. Charles.
Fall favorite: Hayrides
They’ve got all things hay here, including a hay mountain and a hayride, plus a corn maze and a pumpkin patch. Don’t leave without trying the Ferris wheel, the giant fun slide and the bounce house. Of course, the zoo animals will be out, so this will be a full day of fun. The zoo is free, but rides require paid tickets. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays-Sundays, Sept. 30-Oct. 30. 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago.
Fall favorite: Apples
It’s a Chicago tradition to come here at the beginning of the fall. You can feast on apple pie, apple pizza, apple sausages, candy apples or just a farm-fresh apple. When you’re thirsty, you can sip apple cider. They’ll have plenty for the kids to do in the kids’ zone, and don’t forget to dress the kiddos up for that annual social media pic of them holding an apple sitting in a pile of hay. It’s a classic. Free. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 1-2. Lincoln and Leland avenues, Chicago.
Fall favorite: Pumpkins
This festival screams “fall bucket list.” One visit, and you’ve just about completed everything: pumpkins galore with pumpkin lighting, pumpkin carving, pie-eating contest, costume contests, petting zoo, hayrides, carnival rides. $2, benefits Make-A-Wish Illinois. Oct. 7-9. 17 Highwood Ave., Highwood.
Fall favorite: Ponies
This will be one special day at the park to welcome fall. There will be pony rides, a pumpkin patch, food trucks, a petting zoo and bouncy houses to get out that bottled-up energy. And we can bet there will be plenty of leaf piles that will be even more entertaining to the little ones than anything else that the park district provided. Free. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct 15. Eugene Field Park, 5100 N. Ridgeway Ave., Chicago.
Fall favorite: Historic harvesting day
When you step onto this farm during Harvest Days, you’ll be transported back to a family-friendly farm in the 1840s. Learn about the harvesting days in the 19th century through hands-on demonstrations of farm work, old-fashioned treats and food and period music. Plus, see chickens, turkeys, sheep, hogs and oxen up-close and personal. $6, $3 kids under 12. 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 1. Illinois 38/Garfield Road, LaFox.