Spooky Zoo Spectacular
Lincoln Park Zoo’s haunted house is back this year with “spooky surprises” around every turn. The kids shouldn’t be too scared, though: It’s just a pinch creepy and appropriate for all ages. Kids can also participate in a fitness activity called “Monstercise” led by Biggest Loser winner Bernie Salazar or enjoy a live performance by hip-hop artist Charizma while trick-or-treating around the zoo. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N Cannon Dr (312-742-2000, lpzoo.org). Oct 20, 11am–2pm; free.
Within the maze of dark rooms at this 16-year-old haunted house in Skokie, you’ll be chased by butchers, chain-saw maniacs and monsters. The haunted house is not recommended for kids under 10, so little ones and older scaredy cats are advised to come out Oct 20 or 27 (noon–2pm) for a special lights-on experience ($3, kids $2). 4701 Oakton St, Skokie (847-674-1500, screamscene.org). Fri, Sat through Oct 20 and Oct 25–28, 7–10pm; $8, Oct 25 $6.
Six Flags’ Fright Fest
In the month leading up to Halloween, the amusement park offers “thrills by day, fright by night,” with ghouls leading daily parades, goose-bump-inducing shows, a designated trick-or-treat trail for kids and a monstrous cast of creatures every weekend. A few new thrills are in store this year, too: a walk through the Wicked Woods, a Dead Line haunted train ride, the Manslaughter Manor haunted house and Fright Club dance area. Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee (847-249-4636, sixflags.com). Fri–Sun, Sept 29–Oct 28. See website for times and ticket prices.
Amhurst Asylum Haunted House
Dare ye enter this old, abandoned asylum, where fictional psychiatrist Dr. Amhurst continues to perform his illegal human experiments? This creepy 23,000-square-foot house of terror has become one of the most popular Halloween attractions in the Midwest. Ages 10 and up only; kids under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. 228 South 500 West, Valparaiso, IN (888-813-4571, amhurstasylum.com). Sept 30, Oct 1, 2, 6–9, 13–16, 20–23, 27–31. Thu, Sun 7–10pm; Fri, Sat 7–11pm. $20.
Fear City Apocalypse/Hades Haunted House
This terrifying haunt is strictly for the 12-and-up set, with two attractions under one roof. In Fear City, about 100 live actors transform into aliens, ghouls and zombies, including the bath-salt variety. Meanwhile in Hades, a “trip to Hell” will be conjured via the seven deadly sins. 8240 N Austin Ave, Morton Grove (224-888-1031, hadeshauntedhouse.net). Fri–Sun, Oct 5–21 and every day between Oct 25–31. 7:30–11pm, Fri and Sat 7:30pm–midnight. One house $25, both houses $35, add $10 for VIP Fast Pass for Fear City.