Debby Friday performs Friday, October 27 at Thalia Hall. Credit: Katrin Braga

It’s scary how much fun stuff is happening right now! Spooky season never misses. 

It Takes a Village (ITAV) Pumpkin Patch
Sat 10/21, includes a petting zoo, a bounce house, face painting, food, games, and a train, 4020 W. Division, free to attend, all-ages. Reservations required

For a classic autumn adventure appropriate for the whole family, look no further than the annual It Takes a Village (ITAV) Pumpkin Patch. Happening on Saturday, October 21, this free event includes a petting zoo, a bounce house, face painting, food, games, a train, and—oh yeah!—a pumpkin to take home and carve. ITAV is converting the parking lot of their Division Street location (4020 W. Division) into a pumpkin patch, but the fun sprawls across the block. The event happens from 10 AM-2 PM. Reservations are required to guarantee a pumpkin.

Sanctum Dark Music Festival
10/26-10/28, various locations, various ages, tickets start at $40. Full details and tickets at

Does a four-on-the-floor beat bring out your devilish side? Sanctum Dark Music Festival might be for you. Now in its second year, this festival is a celebration of macabre club culture, and it provides a reliable sampling of the hottest established and emerging acts in synth pop, darkwave, and electro-industrial. Running from Thursday, October 26 to Saturday, October 28, the fest opens with a lower-key “pre-party” at Epiphany Center for the Arts (201 S. Ashland) featuring Bestial Mouths, Un Hombre Solo, Blood Handsome, and Replicant. Things really heat up the next night at Thalia Hall and the adjoining Tack Room (1807 S. Allport) with Friday’s talent featuring Kontravoid, Buzz Kull, Tempers, Debby Friday, Madeline Goldstein, and Panic Priest. Saturday is also at Thalia Hall, and features performances by the Soft Moon, Geneva Jacuzzi, Pelada, Spike Hellis, SDH, and Conjunto Primitivo. Events at Thalia Hall are for those 17 years old and up, and Tack Room and Epiphany events are 21+.

If you check out our music section, you’ll see my impassioned plea to experience Geneva Jacuzzi, but every night promises at least one act that will delight you, if you’re into music you can dance to in black latex. Speaking of which, this year’s master of ceremonies—er, sacrilege—is Chicago’s favorite rubber-clad naughty feline Wildcat Shadow. Tickets start at $40 and go up based on the night with two- and three-night passes available. As organizers explain on the Sanctum website, there are no VIP options so audiences can get the same level of access and artists can be decently compensated.

Sideshow Gallery
Anniversary party, Sat 10/28, 6-10 PM, Sideshow Gallery, 2219 N. Western, free

Also happening Saturday, October 28 is an anniversary party for the Logan Square art gallery and oddity shop Sideshow Gallery (2219 N. Western). Going from 6-10 PM, the party features magic tricks, sideshow performances, and tarot and crystal ball readings. Plus, the Guilty Pig food truck will be on-site serving up decadently delicious farm-to-table eats for all the hungriest ghosts and goblins. Attending the event is free, and costumes are highly encouraged.

Zombi Disco
Featuring Rae Chardonnay, Finding Ijeoma, Nate Large, and DJ Pluto. Sat 10/28, 7 PM-12 AM, Color Club, 4146 N Elston, $20-50, tickets at

If you need a little good karma with your witchy fun, check out the Zombi Disco at Color Club (4146 N. Elston), also on Saturday, October 28. Happening from 7 PM-midnight, Zombi Disco is ACRE’s annual fundraiser for their artist-run residency programs. Because it’s an artist-organized event, you know the visuals and ambience will be impeccable. Rae Chardonnay, Finding Ijeoma, Nate Large, and DJ Pluto will be dropping beats all night. The event promises a photobooth, costume contest, and raffle. Yejin Yoon, Sarita’s Pleasure Pies, and Katie Rauth will be on hand with food pop-up vending while Max Li will offer tintype portraits. Tickets run $20-$50.

Slow & Low Festival
Sat 10/21, 10 AM-8PM, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, $15 for those three and older, $52 for groups of four, tickets at

For those whose brains are not in full-on Halloween mode (how is that possible?!), allow me to offer two more things to check out: the Slow & Low Festival at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand) on Saturday, October 21, and Mary Lattimore’s performances with Jeremiah Chiu at Constellation (Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28). 

Slow & Low is a free festival running from 10 AM-8 PM that celebrates all things lowrider. Lowrider cars are mobile art objects that represent customization as a source of pride, self-expression, and community. They’re a result of how Mexican Americans distinguished themselves during the rise of the hot rod in post-war America, and the cars have evolved over the years to reflect technological changes as much as Chicano ideas, attitudes, and struggles at different points. Expect unparalleled sights and sounds that include not only the cars at the heart of the culture but also the fashions, tattoos, wares, and music of lowrider artists. Admission costs $15 for those three and older or $52 for groups of four. 

Mary Lattimore performs Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28 at Constellation. Credit: Jamie Kelter Davis

Mary Lattimore and Jeremiah Chiu
10/27-10/28, Constellation, 3111 N Western, $25, 18+, tickets at

For the Halloween-averse, check out two of the brightest stars in the world of classically infused experimental music. Mary Lattimore is a classically trained harpist with a flat, lilting voice that plucks at listeners’ heartstrings in ways that can be as playful as they are painful. Former Chicagoan Jeremiah Chiu is an electronic music composer with a sound that eagerly wanders, easing in and out of rhythms layered with things like bird calls and off-the-cuff conversations. While different artists, their approaches are in conversation, each providing thoughtful dispatches from a musical ecosystem that’s like a soft sweater with some pulled and fraying parts showing. Tickets are $25 and available to those 18 and older.

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