Pack up your bindle (that’s the handkerchief-on-a-stick thing) and head to Hobo Night, Homewood’s tribute to the nomads who passed through their town courtesy of the nearby railroad. The evening includes a bonfire (with marshmallow roasting, natch), a sing-along, hobo stories and tours of the Illinois Central Railroad caboose that makes its home in the Homewood Rail Park. Those looking to get a jump on Halloween can enter the costume contest—bindles are advised. Free. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 8. Chestnut and Park avenues, Homewood.
In the excitement of Halloween, the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) sometimes gets forgotten. But kids 5-12 can learn about the day, which pays tribute to friends and family members who have passed away, at Sugar Skull Painting. Embellish the traditional decorative skulls, or team up with your family to make an ofrenda (altar) that honors the dead. Either way, you’ll learn that skulls don’t have to be creepy—sometimes, they’re just plain beautiful. $3, $2 members. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 29. Des Plaines History Center, 781 Pearson St., Des Plaines. (847) 391-5399.
You might not be able to dig up Starbursts or pick Milky Ways off a tree, but that doesn’t mean some of your favorite sweet treats don’t originate from plants. Kids 3-5, with adult, can explore The Candy Garden and learn which confections come from the natural world, plus play a few candy games. Your little King Kandys and Queen Frostines won’t be able to resist going on such a sweet adventure. $25. 9:30-11 a.m. Oct. 13, 18 and 19. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074.