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3 boo-tiful events at Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden always puts on a spectacular array of events to celebrate the holiday season, from fall through Christmas. We’re so excited for this year’s events!

Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns

Oct. 26-29, 6:30-10:30 p.m.

Some time slots have already sold out! Purchase your tickets online in advance and save $2.

Adults: $16, $14 members

Children 3-12: $14, $12 member

Children 2 and under are free.

This year, the garden has re-vamped their Halloween offerings with a new event called Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns. One thousand hand-carved pumpkins — some up to 150 pounds — will be on display and light up the night Oct. 20-23.

Beyond just a large collection of jack-o-lanterns, the garden is looking at this as more of a natural art display. Each pumpkin will be its own work of art, hand-carved and glowing with LED illumination. You can expect to see Chicago icons such as the Picasso sculpture, classic Halloween characters and garden “monsters” such as the Venus Flytrap and corpse flower, as well as Día de los Muertos sugar skulls. The pumpkins will be staged on the Esplanade along with some entertaining characters.

In addition to the pumpkin trail, the spooky train will still be driving through the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America. There, children can see recognizable sites from across the U.S., each with spooky surprises in them as model trains travel all around.

Trains, Tricks & Treats

Oct. 21-22, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Adults: $6, $5 members

Children 3-12: $4, $3 members

Children 2 and under are free.

Families are invited to come and trick-or-treat through the Model Railroad Garden on Oct. 21 and 22 for Trains, Tricks & Treats. Come in costume for the five trick-or-treat stations offering candy, a planting activity and other treats. The garden will be decorated delightfully festive, but not overly spooky, so that the youngest kids can enjoy the fun without being too scared to sleep that night.

Spooky Pooch Parade

Oct. 21, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The parade will take place at noon.

Ticket price is per dog.

In-advance tickets (purchased on or before Oct. 28): $19, $14 members

Day-of tickets (purchased on Oct. 29): $25, $20 members

You don’t have to leave Fido at home during all the fun! The Spooky Pooch Parade is the one day during the year dogs are welcome in the garden. This popular event will sell out, as it does every year, so register your pup now. The event will also have vendors and displays from nonprofit groups. There’s no fee to watch the fun, but if Fido is part of your costume, advance tickets are required.

The Chicago Botanic Gardens is located at 1000 Lake Cook Rd. and is open daily. Admission to the garden is free, but parking is $30 per car. Families can save by purchasing the online-only offer, Family Fun Pack, which is $55 for five people and includes parking, model railroad garden and tram ride.

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