Clown from The Fear Haunted House at Navy Pier
Clown from The Fear Haunted House at Navy Pier Credit: Courtesy the Fear Haunted House

All Hallow’s Eve Eve Variety Show Live-lit readings, music, and, what the hell, a shadow-puppet show. Writer and artist Audrey Niffenegger, Fred Sasaki of Poetry Magazine, filmmaker Chris Hefner, accordionist Rob Cruz, and artist April Sheridan are among the guests. Wed 10/30, 8:30 PM, California Clipper, 1002 N. California, 773-384-2547,, $7.

Boo Ha Ha! The Raven Theatre’s annual festival includes bounce houses, face painting, and trick-or-treating. Sat 10/26, 2-5 PM, Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, 773-338-2177,, free.

Boo-Palooza Costume parade and contest, pumpkin decorating, face painting, ghost bingo, bobbing for apples, and all that good stuff. Sat 10/26, 10 AM-2 PM, Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen, 312-243-7881,, free.

B-Side Booze Cruise The Reader and the Empty Bottle host a Halloween boat party on the Tall Ship Windy, with drinks from Goose Island, nosh from Blackwood BBQ, metal from Bloodiest, and a view of Chicago’s skyline. Oh, and evil. Thu 10/31, 6:30-9:30 PM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312-595-7437,, $40.

Boss Halloween tribute Michael McDermott & the Duke Street Kings as Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Sat 10/26, 8 PM, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, 773-445-3838,, $28.

Bump in the Night: Stories from Life After Dark 2nd Story presents a storytelling event that doubles as a masquerade cocktail party. Featured storytellers include Bobby Biedrzycki, Cyn Vargas, and Molly Each. Sun 10/27, 7:30 PM, Untitled, 111 W. Kinzie, 312-880-1511,, $20, $15 in advance.

Creatures of the Night Nocturnal buggers like bats, owls, and spiders are featured in this Halloween-themed program. Wed 10/30, 4-7 PM, Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park, 312-746-5100,, $3 suggested donation.

Day of the Dead The all-building event includes Burning Man-themed entertainment, like live art, circus cabaret, and, naturally, fire-spinning artists. Phuture, Strix, and Radiohiro represent just a small sample of the evening’s performers. Thu 10/31, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203,

Docktoberfest DJs and bands galore (Too White Crew, Comasoft, Bright White, etc) supplement the costume contests, fashion show, and photo shoots. 10/25-27, Financial and Polk,, $5 suggested donation.

The Fear Haunted House Zombie Army Productions presents a haunted house designed for teen and adult audiences. Through 10/31: Thu 7-10 PM, Fri-Sat 7-11 PM, Sun 7-10 PM; also Wed 10/30, 7-10 PM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312-595-7437,, $20.

Fear of a FLOF Planet II: A Hip-Hop Halloween Hoedown The DJ/all-spandex crew the Fabulous Ladies of Fitness presents a Halloween edition of their monthly dance party, featuring a costume contest and free break-dancing lessons. Gold chains and high-top Adidas sneakers encouraged. Thu 10/31, 10 PM, Cole’s, 2338 N. Milwaukee, 773-276-5802,, free.

Forest Park Casket Races The second annual “casket car” race features contests for funniest and creepiest car design. It’s like the pinewood derby, only decidedly more morbid. Sat 10/26, 10 AM, Beloit and Madison, Forest Park.

Franken Plaza Daley Plaza morphs into “Franken Plaza” for Halloween, featuring performances, hayrides, arts and crafts, a candy giveaway, and more. 10/25-10/27: Fri 12-7:30 PM, Sat-Sun 11 AM-6 PM, Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington, 312-346-3278,, free.

Freaky Deaky A two-night costume party infused with enough EDM and hip-hop to make your brain bleed. Night one (Fri 10/25) features Griz and Danny Brown, while night two (Sat 10/26) has Dada and Clockwork. And if you don’t think Danny Brown is going to do something entertaining, think again. Fri-Sat 10/25-10/26, 7 PM, Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence, 773-561-9500 or 866-448-7849,, $29.

Fright Fest Ride roller coasters and be taunted by flesh-eating zombies from below as the amusement park transforms itself into a maze of haunted houses and other spooky attractions. 10/24-27, Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Pkwy., Gurnee, 847-249-4636,, $45-$65.

Game of Tombs Halloween party A mega five-building compound is the setting for this annual costumed dance party that features art exhibitions, an open bar, and three stages of music. Sat 10/26, 8 PM-3 AM, Golan Productions Studio, 1501 N. Magnolia, 312-642-4500,, $75-$100.

The Gamma People and Beginning of the End double feature The Northwest Chicago Film Society presents a double bill of sci-fi classics, both in 35mm projection. Watch giant grasshoppers terrorize Michigan Avenue! Wed 10/30, 7:30 PM, Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park, 773-685-4291,, $5.

Get Spooky Halloween-themed arts and crafts, storytelling, costume contest, and “Thriller” dance classes. Sun 10/27, 2 PM, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, 773-445-3838,, free.

The Great Pumpkin Party Pumpkin decorating, costume parade, and trick-or-treating. Sat 10/26, 10 AM-12:30 PM, Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton, 312-575-0306,, free.

Great Punk’n Party Carve some pumpkins and await the tapping of Southern Tier Pumking and Uinta Punk’n at 7 PM. They’ll be poured through pumpkins lined up at the bar, because that sounds fun. Punk rock soundtrack to boot. Tue 10/29, 4 PM, Fountainhead, 1970 W. Montrose, 773-697-8204,, free.

Halloweekend Dirty Pigeons as Ozzy Osbourne, the Shams Band as the Traveling Wilburys, Metropolly as Liz Phair, and others. Fri 10/25, 9 PM, Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494,, $12, $10 in advance.

Halloween party Forget the costume contest prizes—$300 for first, $100 for second, bottle service for third—Steve Wilkos is the judge. Done and done. Sat 10/26, 10 PM, Grandbar, 1600 W. Grand.

Halloween Bash Slutter as Kiss, AM Taxi as the Cars, Big Paraid and Brighton MA as Queens of the Stone Age, Hessler as WASP, Silver Machines as Motorhead, Sex Therapy as Janis Joplin, the Dead On as Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, and others. 10/31-11/1, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160,

Halloween at Navy Pier Including haunted houses—both a nighttime adult version and a daytime “low-scare” version—zombie face painting, pumpkin carving, a costume contest, trick-or-treating, fireworks, and plenty more. Through 10/31: Dates and times vary, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, 312-595-7437,, $5-$20.

Halloween loft party Party-maker collective the Numbered Days hosts this Halloween loft party, featuring a costume contest, trick-or-treat booth, and DJs Kyle Garner, Clash Gordon, and Matt Roan. Sat 10/26, 9 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-252-6179 or 866-468-3401,, $15.

Halloween Hootenanny Chris Ligon and Heather McAdams host their very own Halloween party, with live music—Ligon, Sharon Rutledge, Casey McDonough, Jane Baxter Miller, and Kent Kessler perform—and 90 minutes of 16mm horror-film trailers. Thu 10/31, 9 PM, FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118,, $15.

Halloween-themed rock Gnuman as Gary Numan, Thee Guyguys as the Go-Go’s, Sheshe & the Jabbers as GG Allin, Legitimate Misfits Lineup as the Misfits, and XtwoXtruthsX as Strife. Sat 10/26, 8 PM, Township, 2200 N. California, 773-384-1865,

Haunt Jaunt Bus trip to three haunted houses: Realm of Terror in Round Lake Beach, Basement of the Dead in Aurora, and Asylum Experiment in Villa Park. Ticket price includes round-trip transportation, a buffet at Mahoney’s Pub & Grille and admission to the haunted houses. The bus will pick up from Pippin’s Tavern at 4 PM and the Lodge Tavern (21 W. Division) at 4:15 PM. Sun 10/27, 4 PM, Pippin’s Tavern, 806 N. Rush, 312-787-5435,, $70.

Haunted bar crawl Three-stop bar crawl starting at Fado Irish Pub and traveling to Fireside Lounge (5739 N. Ravenswood) and the Bucktown Pub (1658 W. Cortland). Also features a visit to the Biograph Theater and the site of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Thu 10/24, 6 PM, Fado Irish Pub, 100 W. Grand,, $39-$49.

Haunted house Family-friendly Halloween event. Tue-Wed 10/29-10/30, 5-8 PM, Austin Town Hall, 5610 W. Lake, 312-746-5006,, $3.

Haunted indoor drive-in movie series Screenings of installments from the Twilight series. Nothing is more frightening. Thu-Sun 10/24-10/27, 6:30 PM, Wicker Park, 1425 N. Damen, 312-243-7881,, free.

Hood Smoke, Miss Remember Hood Smoke and Miss Remember dress up and perform the Police’s Synchronicity and Nirvana’s Unplugged in NY, respectively. Thu 10/31, 10 PM, Jerry’s, 1938 W. Division, 773-235-1006,

Horror of Humanities An “avant-garde haunted house” of art installations and performance art followed by lectures and readings of original fiction. Keynote address and reading by horror fiction author Kathe Koja. Mon 10/28, 6 PM, Cortelyou Commons, DePaul University, 2324 N. Fremont,, free.

Howl-O-Ween Dog lovers can enter their pets in this canine costume contest for a measly five dollars, which will benefit the park. It’s free of charge for anyone who wants to view the parade. Tue 10/29, 6 PM, Berger Park, 6205 N. Sheridan, 773-761-0376,, free.

Mind Shivers Mentalist Sidney Friedman performs “15 telepathic, extrasensory wonders” for his annual show. 10/25-10/27: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 7 PM, Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret, 1383 N. Milwaukee, 773-278-1830,, $20 plus two-drink minimum.

Murder Mystery at the Marble Palace This year’s caper takes place prior to the closing of the World’s Columbian Exposition, aka the Chicago World’s Fair, in 1893. Period costumes welcome. Fri-Sat 10/25-10/26, 7:30-10:30 PM, Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie, $80, $140/pair.

Naked Ghouls Reading Naked Girls Reading Chicago hosts its fifth annual Halloween event, featuring readings of Hitchcock tales. Reservations recommended. Fri 10/25, 7-9 PM, Everleigh Social Club, 939 W. Randolph,, $20, $35 for two tickets.

Night of the Disco Dead Slo ‘Mo and LesBiFriends cohost this costumed dance party set to R&B slow jams and disco tunes. DJ Tess and DJ Smooth & Delicious handle the turntables. Expect to hear some Grace Jones, Donna Summer, and Liza Minnelli. The attendee with the best costume goes home with a cash prize and VIP tickets to a future show at R&B/hip-hop-focused club the Shrine (2109 S. Wabash). Thu 10/31, 9 PM-2 AM, the Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash, 312-753-5700,, $7.

Phantom Phest Doctor Pyramid & I Love Rich as Bad Company, Vaudevileins as Guns n’ Roses, and Mooner as Warren Zevon. Wed 10/30, 9 PM, Quenchers Saloon, 2401 N. Western, 773-276-9730,, $10, $5 with Phantom Phest wristband.

Public House Halloween Themed “Mummies, Funkensteins and Slutty Inanimate Objects,” the theater’s good time features showings of OJ Didn’t Do It: What Really Happened and Fright Night Fight. Plus games and costume contests. Thu 10/31, 8 PM, Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark, 800-650-6449,

Pumpkins in the Park This 5K race through Lincoln Park features two “Fear Zones” and a postrace party. Awards given for fastest times and best costumes. Spooky sprints at 2 PM for kids ages 12 and under. Sat 10/26, 4 PM, Lincoln Park (1700 N. Stockton), 1700 N. Stockton, $35.

Rocky Horror Picture Show A shadow-cast screening of the cult classic, with an obligatory dance party leading into the proceedings. Dress up in your favorite boa or be ostracized for all of eternity. Fri-Sat 10/25-10/26, midnight; also Thu 10/31, midnight, Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6604,, $12.

More Rocky Horror Picture Show The staging of the cult musical is given a steampunk twist by director Lauren Lundy. 10/24-10/27: Thu-Sat 9 PM, Sun 6 PM, Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, 773-769-3832,, $20.

Spooky Seas Families are invited to spend the night at the Shedd Aquarium for its annual Halloween celebration. There will be presentations, animal encounters, food, and more. Children must be five and older to sleep over. Fri 10/25, 6:30 PM, Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore, 312-939-2438,, $75.

Squidling Brothers Circus Sideshow An off-kilter vaudevillian show, featuring a sword swallower, a glass walker, a “human garbage disposal,” and other insane people. Thu 10/24, 10:30 PM, Live Wire Lounge, 3394 N. Milwaukee,, $8.

Statesville Haunted Prison and City of the Dead Participants are guided through a haunted prison with more than 150 actors creeping through more than 40 rooms with names like the “Vampire Lair,” “Cell Block A,” and the “Clown Doctor.” Tour lasts 40-50 minutes. Not appropriate for children. 10/3-11/2, Statesville Haunted Prison, 17250 S. Weber, Crest Hill, 877-722-7332,, $30.

Supper With Snakes After hosting a pizza dinner, biologists at the museum introduce and discuss more than eight species of exotic snakes. Costumes encouraged. Sat 10/26, 5:30-7:30 PM, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon, 773-755-5100,, $20, $15 members.

13 Terrors Haunted house at Theater on the Lake. Recommended for ages eight and older. Through Sat 10/26: 7-10 PM, Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore, 312-742-7994,, $10.

Tricks & Treats: A Howl of a Good Time Festivities include a costume contest for kids and dogs, face painting, games, and more. Sun 10/27, 11 AM, Bridgeview Bank, 1970 N. Halsted, 773-327-1515,

Truck and Treat Four food trucks—Babycakes, Curried, Schnitzel King, and Toasty Cheese—offer two dishes each in this second annual event. Prizes are awarded for best costume. Crossing Tavern (2548 N. Southport) hosts the official afterparty, which features one complimentary cocktail for each attendee. Thu 10/31, 7:30 PM, Wrightwood Park, 2534 N. Greenview, 312-742-7816,–treat.html, $29-$39.

Zombie Prom Set in the 50s at Enrico Fermi High, this “girl loves ghoul” rock ‘n’ roll musical follows one high school romance to the nuclear-waste dump and back. Fri 10/25, 10:30 PM, and Thu 10/31, 8 PM, Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse, 773-381-4554,, $20-$30.