Halloween 2023 Guide for Chicago Families

Get ready for spooky season with these fun activities.

When October arrives, we’re so ready for the spooky season. Chicagoland offers plenty of spooktactular things to do with your family. You can attend a few Halloween events, celebrate at home or see some spooky decorations. Read our family guide below to find the best things to do with Chicagoland kids this Halloween.


Photo Credit: Brookfield Zoo

Many of our favorite Halloween events are back in October! Check a few of our spooky event picks below and find more events in our calendar.

Boo! at the Zoo at Brookfield Zoo

Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 2023

The not-so-scary and fun-filled event has something for the entire family to enjoy. There will be giant inflatables, sweet treat stations throughout the zoo, photo frames and more. Come dressed in costume.

Movie in the Park – Hocus Pocus at Berens Park

Oct. 13, 2023

Families can join Elmhurst Park District for a fall showing of “Hocus Pocus.” Bring a blanket. The movie begins at dusk.

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade

Oct. 21, 2023

  • Address: State Street moving south from Lake to Van Buren, Chicago
  • Cost: Free

This annual Halloween parade returns to State Street for its ninth year. See unique floats and creative performances along the way.

Spooky Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo

Oct. 21, 2023

Spooky Zoo offers a free, safe alternative to trick-or-treating as well as a variety of family-friendly entertainment. Dress up in costume and come to the Lincoln Park Zoo ready for a day full of Halloween fun.

Spooktacular Activities

Photo Credit: Clark Street Spooktacular

You don’t have to squeeze all your Halloween outings in one, quick weekend. Instead, Chicagoland likes to celebrate all month long with pumpkin patches, haunted houses and more. We’ve rounded up our favorite spooky things to do with kids below.

Halloween Yard Displays for Families

Chicagoland residents don’t hold back when decorating for Halloween. In fact, a few houses in the city and suburbs go all out to invite Halloween fans to visit from all over. You’ll love to visit these Halloween yard displays. Bring our scavenger printable to see if you can spot our listed spooky decorations. 

Kid-Friendly Haunted Houses

Haunted houses are a great way to get a little scared during the Halloween season. We’ve rounded up some kid-friendly haunted houses that won’t terrify your littles ones and more traditional attractions for your cool tweens and teens.

Haunted Things to Do in Chicagoland

Speaking of spooky places, if you love a ghost story, then you’ll love to hear the haunted ones centered on Chicago. We rounded up a few haunted things to do in Chicagoland including The Old Joliet Haunted Prison, The Congress Plaza Hotel and more.

Pumpkin Patches Worth the Drive from Chicago

Halloween isn’t complete without carving a jack-o’-lantern. You can make a stop at one of these pumpkin patches filled with other fun fall attractions, too.

At-Home Fun

Photo Credit: iStock/skynesher

Who says you can’t have Halloween fun at home? Bring some mysterious fun to your house with crafts, books, games and more. Check out our at-home Halloween guide for more ideas.

Halloween Books for Kids

Spookify your home library with some thrilling Halloween books for kids. Parents from the 80s and 90s will especially love the Little Golden Book version of “Ghostbusters”!

Halloween Crafts for Kids

These Halloween crafts for kids can also double as your house decorations in October. Check out our video tutorial for creating these creepy, shrunken apple heads

Kid-Friendly Halloween Party Ideas

Planning to host a howling Halloween party with kids? We’ve got some fun ideas — including games, recipes and more — to get your boo bash started. 

Trick-or-Treating Alternatives

If you’re not in the mood to go door-to-door for candy this year, we’ve got some trick-or-treating alternatives that you can easily enjoy at home.

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