You know how it goes: weeks of assembling Halloween costumes, hours of wearing them. If you want more bang for your costume buck, check out these spots.
For Curious George
Brookfield Zoo and Lincoln Park Zoo both host Halloween bashes this month. Stop by Spooky Zoo Spectacular (Oct. 26) for trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, Spooky Glee and a not-too-scary haunted house. Boo! at the Zoo (Oct. 19-20 and 26-27) includes a haunted carousel, professional pumpkin-carving and the costume parade. czs.org; lpzoo.org.
For Lady Gaga
Music lovers can head to Old Town School of Folk Music for a program that’s more “Ooo” than “Boo.” Wiggleworms faculty lead families in a Spooky Singalong that won’t send chills up your spine. Sounds like a Halloween treat! $12. 11 a.m. Oct. 27. 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 728-6000, oldtownschool.org.
For Thomas the Train
Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad is dressed up with spider webs, pumpkins and ghosts-and five trick-or-treat stations. Kids and parents will walk away happy, since it includes candy and an educational planting activity. $6, $4 kids 3-12; $5 members, $3 member kids. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 19-20. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440, chicagobotanic.org.
For Junie B. Jones
If your kids idolize their favorite book characters, the Family Festival of Stories might be for them. It includes a costume parade, plus face painting for those who might not have a costume on hand. The best part? Professional storytellers who regale with tales at 7 p.m. Call for cost. 6 p.m. Oct. 18. Martin Recital Hall, Dominican University, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest. (708) 488-5000, dom.edu/pac.
For The Avengers
At Halloween hayride, parents and kids both can wear costumes! So if you’ve been harboring a group costume idea, now’s the time. The hayride includes dinner or s’mores over a campfire, so bring fixings. Plus, kids receive Halloween goodie bags. $13, $9 resident, free kids under 3. 4-6 p.m. Oct. 27. Knoch Knolls Park, 336 Knoch Knolls Road, Naperville. (630) 848-5000, napervilleparks.org.
For Willis Tower
There’s no better place to show off a Chicago costume than right on Daley Plaza, aka Franken Plaza. The costume contest is on Oct. 26, but the whole weekend’s full of Halloween fun, including performances, a movie, and-yes-candy. Free. Visit website for schedule. Oct. 25-27. chicagoween.us.