Whether you like ‘em spooky or sparkly, Chicago’s bringing you a pillowcase full of Halloween productions this October. You’ll find more than your fair share of spine-shivering spectaculars … if you dare, that is.
Consider it your solemnly sworn parental duty to expose your kids to this classic comedy, adapted from the Oscar-nominated Mel Brooks romp of the same name. Following in someone’s footsteps is oh-so-hard, and no one knows it better than Dr. Frankenstein, grandson of the original Dr. Frankenstein and his “bring a corpse to life” infamy. The young doc is setting out to complete the life’s work of his grandfather and, with sidekicks like an eager Igor, a distractingly divine lab assistant and a fiancé who, frankly, couldn’t give two bolts for anyone else, how can he lose? Performed in a newly renovated theater in downtown Lake Forest, the show brings more all-ages laughs than you can shake a tap-dancing monster foot at.
Runs through Oct. 30
John& Nancy Hughes Theater, 400 E. Illinois Road, Lake Forest
Halloween is the season for reveling in the otherworldly and the suspension of disbelief; what could be more fitting, then, than an evening of “sophisticated tomfoolery” in an historic hotel as storied as (and dating back to) the Great Chicago Fire itself? Guests arriving at the stunning Palmer House Hilton’s Potter’s Lounge will be led to a private performance venue for an intimate, mind-blowing performance by third generation magician Dennis Watkins. Hot on the heels of his lauded turn as the titular character in The House Theatre’s Death and Harry Houdini, Watkins will showcase his award-winning blend of sleight-of-hand, mentalism and more during this 75-minute performance. Although occurring later in the evening, this show is all-ages friendly. But moms and dads? Your $79 tickets include beer and wine, which is more than you can say for any other shows you’ll take them to this season.
Palmer House Hilton Hotel, 17 E. Monroe St., Chicago
Dr. Seward’s Dracula
It’s a question as old as Nosferatu: what happened after Bram Stoker’s tale of the Prince of Darkness left off? Dr. John Seward, administrator of the local insane asylum, has shut out the world after the deaths of his friends and lover at the hands of Dracula. But when Irish author Bram Stoker persuades Seward to hear his side of the story—and very familiar murders begin anew—he realizes he has a lot of work to do. The gorgeous Mayslake Peabody Estate provides just the right gothic touch for the Chicago premiere of Joseph Zettelmaier’s spooky production. Have offspring just starting to sink their teeth into all things vampiric? This is just what the doctor (or dentist) ordered—and delivered in a performance palatable to your middle-schoolers on up. (Family-friendly theatrical vampires? Take that, Twilight!)
Runs through Nov. 6
Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook
10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse
Admit it: you don’t actually know what to do in the event of a zombie apocalypse, do you? Never fear, because Theatre-Hikes has your back (but not your brains). Part comedic tour de force, part actual walking tour, this hilarious production gives you helpful hints and strategies—all from the comfort of your very own picnic blanket. (Concerned about mobility issues while traipsing from scene to scene? The show features a low-impact performance day for patrons with hiking concerns.) Geared for ages 8 and up—or those who don’t mind cartoonish gore and zombie makeup—this lighthearted remount will ensure you’ll never be caught unawares by the undead.
Runs weekends in October
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois 53, Lisle, plus various Chicago Park District parks