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Fall fun abounds for Chicago families

Turn your eyes to the skies this month, when not one, but two, eclipses make it a little darker. On Oct. 8, early birds can take in the second lunar eclipse of the year (3:30 – 7 a.m. is not for the weak of heart!) at the Lunar Eclipse Viewing Event, complete with telescope observing, astronomy lectures and access to the Space Visualization Laboratory. Then on Oct. 23, watch the sun play peekaboo at the Partial Solar Eclipse Observing Event thanks to telescopes equipped with solar filters and special viewing glasses. The 4-6 p.m. event also includes hands-on educational activities for families. Free. Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (312) 922-STAR (7827), adlerplanetarium.org.

Did you know that Illinois’ official snack food is popcorn? (Did you even know Illinois has an official snack food?) Learn a little more about one of our state’s biggest commodities at Corn Harvest, Kline Creek Farm’s annual celebration of all things kernel-ly. Families can actually help harvest and store corn using authentic techniques from the 1890s. Plus, make cornhusk dolls, tour the house, explore the farmstead and meet the resident animals, such as horses, sheep, cows and chickens. Free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 11-12. 1N600 County Farm Road, West Chicago. (630) 876-5900, dupageforest.org/klinecreekfarm.

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest used to be all about breaking a world record, but now it’s added a good deed to the mix. The fest has partnered with the Autism Society of Illinois to carve one pumpkin for every individual in the state impacted by autism. If they accomplish that goal and create 52,000 jack-o-lanterns, they’ll also crush the current Guinness World Record. The fest includes costume contests, hayrides, a petting zoo, entertainment and food, plus a quiet sensory area available at the Highwood Library. Don’t be surprised if you leave grinning like a jack-o-lantern. $2; $10 activity wristband. 4-9 p.m. Oct. 17; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 18; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 19. 17 Highwood Ave., Highwood. celebratehighwood.com.

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