No bones about it, Halloween is fun. Credit: NeONBRAND/Unsplash

Here’s a (spooky) sampling of some Halloween and other (horrific) seasonal events and activities coming up (from the shadows of the night) in Chicago and beyond (the living dead). Bwahahahahahaha!  👻

Theater, magic, a haunted trail, and arcades

The Jigsaw Bride

Through 11/14: Wed 8 PM, Thu 3 PM, Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 3 PM, First Folio Theatre, Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 31st St., Oak Brook, 630-986-8067, firstfolio.org, $49-$59 (seniors $44-$54, students $20). Reader contributor Catey Sullivan wrote a recommended review for this production.

The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story

Through 11/21: Wed-Fri 8 PM, Sat 1 PM, Sun 3 and 8 PM, Pleasant Home, 217 Home, Oak Park, oakparkfestival.com, $44 (student and senior discounts available). Reader contributor Jack Helbig wrote about the production here.

House of the Exquisite Corpse

Through 10/30: Thu-Sat (timed entries every 15 minutes between 7 and 10:30 PM), Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, roughhousetheater.com, $21-$26. Writer Max Maller’s review is here.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Credit: Evan Hanover

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Because toxic masculinity is scary as shit. Through 11/6: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, the Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway, blackbuttoneyes.com, $30 (proceeds benefit Season of Concern). Marissa Oberlander’s recommended review is here.

Splatter Theatre

Annoyance’s annual comic salute to slasher films plays Sat 10/30, 8 PM, and also as part of the theater’s “Spookfest 2021,” a quartet of four Halloween-themed shows on Sun 10/31, at 9:30 PM (lineup begins 5 PM 10/31); Annoyance Theater, 851 W. Belmont, 773-697-9693, theannoyance.com, $25 ($40 for all four shows 10/31).

The Magic Lounge

Different shows nightly at 5050 N. Clark, 312-366-4500, see chicagomagiclounge.com for schedule and ticket information, 21+ (16+ admitted with legal guardian). Kerry Reid wrote about the Magic Lounge and the Magic Parlour—see below—after it reopened a couple months ago here.

The Magic Parlour

Open run, Fri 7 and 9:30 PM, Sat 4, 7, and 9:30 PM; Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe, 312-300-6803, themagicparlourchicago.com, $79-$89.

Holy Ghost Bingo: God, Goblins & Games

A Halloween-themed edition of the Late Nite Catechism franchise, where Mrs. Mary Margaret O’Brien, a former nun, plays bingo to raise money for the parish while talking about “Halloween traditions, scary movies, condemned board games, and haunted churches.” Through 10/31: Fri-Sat 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-7336, greenhousetheater.org, $35.

House Theatre of Chicago presents a 10-episode audio-only Dracula, available free on the House Theatre website under “Rumpus Room,” through 10/30.

Strawdog Theatre is offering the streaming world premiere of a horror comedy called Monster, in which a man is reunited with the monster that lived under his bed when he was a kid. This is a fully-staged piece, with episodes available for free on YouTube under Strawdog Theatre, and concludes with new episodes Halloween weekend.

A Theater in the Dark reprises its live audio drama adaptation of A War of the Worlds Fri 10/29 through Sun 10/31 at 8 PM (tickets start at $7.50), with a streaming recorded version available anytime Mon 11/1 through Mon 11/8 at theatreinthedark.com. Reader Theater and Dance Editor Kerry Reid reviewed last year’s version here.

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre has a series of short podcast dramas with a thriller/noir bent available through their website.

Dragonfly Theatre presents Ghosts of Whitechapel: The Zoom Play by Kate Black-Spence, a play that centers the voices and stories of the victims of Jack the Ripper. Available anytime through 10/31, $10 donation, with tickets at Eventbrite.

Slasher Museum

Replay Lincoln Park (2833 N. Sheffield) invites guests to enjoy arcade games while immersing themselves in a seasonal pop-up that recreates scenes from classic slashers such as Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Through Sun 10/31, open at 5 PM weekdays and noon on weekends, 21+. Check their Facebook for a complete list of spooky special events each day.

Redline VR Haunted House

Redline VR (4702 N. Ravenswood) blurs the lines between the physical and digital in this uniquely haunting experience. Participants can choose from the Raven’s Curse, a traditional haunted house inspired by Poe’s The Raven which includes two beverages (alcohol optional!) in its $15.99 ticket price. Or they can spring for the creepy crawlies hiding in cyberspace with the OsoreVR Haunted House ($10) or VR Zombie Shooting ($25). Skip the line and enjoy all three for $50. Times vary daily, so check Redline VR’s website to schedule your experience.

Ghosts on the Bloomingdale Trail

Free Street presents this self-guided tour along the Bloomingdale Trail between St. Louis and Humboldt. Visitors can use their smartphones to scan QR codes posted on signage and hear 15 different Chicago ghost stories. Through Mon 11/15, wheelchair accessible, free, and family-friendly. Read more from Reader contributor Catey Sullivan here.

Halloweekend!

THU 10/28

Halloween Edition of The House Network

Dance music from Czboogie, Adorio, L3XX, Juju, and Ladiesman, 10 PM, Spybar, 646 N. Franklin, $10, 21+.

Horror of the Humanities 

A virtual haunted house hosted by the DePaul Humanities Center where guests don avatars to search for clues, create artworks, and get their boogie on—all while learning from artists and scholars about horror’s relationship with the humanities. Special guest cameos from actors Jon Lovitz, Julia Sweeney, Vicki Lawrence, and Anthony Anderson. 6 PM, free with registration.

Evanston History Center presents The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream

Author Dean Jobb tells the true story of the ruthless Victorian-era murderer the “Lambeth Poisoner” in conjunction with his book The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream. 7 PM, online, $10 (after registering, buy tickets here or by phone at 847-475-3410).

FRI 10/29

A Lebowski Halloween

An evening of music by Desmond Jones and the King of Mars, with a Dude-heavy costume contest. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, $15, $12 in advance, 21+.

Brittain’s Tunnel of Terror Car Wash

From the safety of your vehicle, behold creepy clowns, shrieking goblins, and other seasonal beasts as they terrorize the grime right off your vehicle at Brittain’s Car Wash, at 1572 Larkin in Elgin. Tonight and Sat 10/30, 6-10 PM, $20 per car with $5 of each wash donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin, family-friendly.

Haunted History in Chicago Ghost Tour

Two tours from historian and veteran ghost tour guide Adam Selzer, who uses his lively, research-based approach to illuminate the fascinating history of downtown’s most haunted (and horrifying!) spots. Tours will begin at 7 PM downtown at 121 W. Wacker and end near a haunted pub on Clark. Sights and stories will vary with each tour. Tonight and Sat 10/30 with tickets available at Eventbrite, 7 PM, $22.

SAT 10/30

34th Annual Streeterville Dog Halloween Party

Prizes awarded to best dog costume. Awrooooooo! Eli’s Cheesecake treats and coffee will be available for human companions. 9-10 AM, MCA Sculpture Garden, 220 E. Chicago (enter through the museum’s back gate with your dog), free, family-friendly.

Spirit of Chicago 13: Suspenseful Short Stories

Chicago Filmmakers presents the thirteenth edition of “Spirit of Chicago,” a screening series featuring work by local filmmakers. Viewers can attend an in-person screening tonight at 8 PM at the organization’s theater, or stream the program through the Chicago Filmmakers website through Fri 11/5. 1326 W. Hollywood Ave, 7 PM, $10.

Trick or treaters at Halloween on Catalpa in 2020. Credit: Courtesy Andersonville Chamber of Commerce

Halloween on Catalpa

Timed and socially-distanced trick-or-treating in Andersonville. 10 AM-4PM, Catalpa between Clark and Ashland, free, family-friendly.

Community Thrift Halloween Pop-Up

The volunteer-run Community Thrift project benefits abolitionist and mutual aid projects throughout the city, and they are hosting a Halloween costume shopping pop-up from 11 AM-3 PM on the Humboldt Boulevard side of Palmer Square. All proceeds from the day benefit people recently released from Cook County Jail. Free to browse and family-friendly.

Halloween Sweets and Treats Market

Plant daddy Welcome 2 the Jungle is teaming up with the Native (2417 N. Milwaukee) to sell vegan treats (no tricks!) on the patio from 3-8 PM. Family-friendly.

Día de los Muertos Xicágo

The National Museum of Mexican Art celebrates the memories of those who have departed with this Día de los Muertos event. Guests will enjoy ofrendas created by community members, live musical performances, art activities, and pan de muerto. This event takes place outdoors rain or shine from 3-8 PM at the museum, 1852 W. 19th. Free and family-friendly.

French Halloween

French-inspired seasonal fun including a costume contest, book fair, cupcake decorating, and storytelling for kids 3-12 years old. 4-5:30 PM, Alliance Française de Chicago, 54 W. Chicago, $5/child, free for adults, family-friendly.

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade

6-8 PM, State Street between Lake and Van Buren, artsinthedark.com, free, family-friendly. 

Halloween edition of the Newport Peek-Easy: Burlesque and Variety Show

Hosted by Lilli Rascal and Noah Grey with appearances from Vivi Valens and more, 7 PM, Newport Theater, 956 W. Newport, $20, 18+.

MOLOCH at M. LeBlanc: Devil’s Night Party

Live performances by Connor Camburn, Guido Gamboa, T.D. + S.S. and DJing by DJ Valentimes, Sohrab, and Vereker. 7 PM, M. LeBlanc Gallery, 3514 W. Fullerton, free, all-ages.

University of Chicago Halloween Concerts

In an appropriately theatrical setting, the University of Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform seasonal selections, including Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre and the score from E.T. 7 PM and 9 PM, Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th, free but $10 suggested donation collected at the door, family-friendly. Must reserve tickets in advance.

Hallowolfbat

A free streaming concert presented by House of Vans featuring the Melvins supported by Coven and Heavy Temple. 7:30 PM, at Vans Channel 66.

Ghosts of Chicago: Night Walk

Beginning at the Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark), follow the guidance of a mobile app as you search for clues, solve puzzles, and consume the terrifying histories of some of Chicago’s secret haunted spots. Prizes for participating include a $1,000 travel gift card for best costume and a “high-quality” coffin. Yes, an actual coffin. Register to participate at questoapp.com. 8 PM, $17.99, $9.99 in advance, all-ages

Afrofusion Halloween Party

A Halloween celebration with Afrobeat, hip-hop and more from DJ Dee Money, DJ 3k, and DJ Matrix. 10 PM, The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West, $25, 21+.

Nocturna: All Hallows’ Eve Ball

The O.G. (original goth) DJ Scary Lady Sarah hosts a Ball to celebrate her long-running darkwave and goth night. 10:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, $20, $15 in advance, 18+.

Ballet Folklorico de Chicago Credit: Courtesy DCASE (City of Chicago)

SUN 10/31

Día de los Muertos Celebration at Maxwell Street Market

Live music and dance performances from Los Vicios De Papá, Ballet Folklorico de Chicago, and Cielito Lindo, along with sugar skull painting, marigold flower making, family portraits taken by Chicago artist William Estrada, and free pumpkins to take home. 10 AM-2 PM, Maxwell Street Market, 800 S. Desplaines, free, family-friendly.

Graceland Cemetery: Stories, Symbols, and Secrets Walking Tour

Uncover the hidden layers of meaning coded into the many sights, tombs, and headstones that make up Graceland Cemetery. In addition to demystifying some of the graveyard’s visual language, tour guide Adam Selzer will share tales of lesser-known LGBTQ+ pioneers, flappers, criminals, artists, and more. 10 AM and 1 PM, Graceland Cemetery, 4001 N. Clark, $22. As of press time, both tours were sold out, but check the Eventbrite page for openings.

El Paseo Haunted Garden

A spooky trail packed with plenty of tricks and treats for tiny ghouls and goblins featuring Chicago Architecture Biennial installations from Studio Ossidiana and Outpost Office. 3 PM-8 PM, El Paseo Community Garden, 944 W. 21st, free, family-friendly.

Happy Gallery Halloween Group Show

Champion of the underground Happy Gallery (902 N. California) is hosting a one-day group art show from 4-10 PM. Costumes are encouraged. Free, all ages.

Misplaced Lagoon IV: Thunderdome

Thunderdome-inspired drinks, karaoke, a costume contest, and more. 7 PM, GMan Tavern, 3740 N. Clark, free, 21+.

Hallo-Queen

An all-building event with an impressive lineup of DJs and drag queens. 9 PM, Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark, $30, $25 in advance, 21+.

Whore-a-Ween

Celebrate with the bands Pixel Grip (read Micco Caporale’s May cover story about them here), Kanga, and Rare DM. 9 PM, Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont, $22, $20 in advance, 21+.

November events

SAT 11/6

Recorrido de Ofrendas (Day of the Dead Altar Walk)

VillArte-Chicago, organizers of the Little Village Arts Fest, hosts an annual art walk through Little Village featuring altars from local business, organizations, and community members. Activities include live mural painting and art workshops, plus opportunities to purchase pan de muerto. Check out VillArte’s Instagram for creative prompts and ideas for making Day of the Dead art at home. Sat 11/6 and Sun 11/7: 11 AM-5 PM, La Villita, 3700 W. 26th, free, family-friendly.

Día de los Muertos: Love Never Dies Ball

The museum’s Auxiliary Board hosts this gala, featuring specialty cocktails, local food, and live music by ÉSSO and DJ Mo Mami. Attire is “creative cocktail.” 6 PM, National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th, $150, $125 in advance, 21+.

TUE 11/9

The Pilgrim Kitchen and The Harvest Celebration of 1621

Start getting prepared for the next great holiday by learning about culinary traditions from Plymouth Rock that influenced what later became Thanksgiving. 7 PM on Zoom, hosted by Culinary Historians of Chicago, culinaryhistorians.org, free but registration requested.


An earlier version of this post included a wrong start time for the Chicago Filmmakers event on Saturday 10/30; this has been since corrected as the screening starts at 7 PM. The Chicago Reader regrets this error.