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The spookiest Halloween parties and events in Chicago

Show off your Halloween costume, hit the dance floor and embrace the spirit of the season at these event and parties

arts in the dark 2018, halloween parade
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

The most frightening part of Halloween in Chicago might be the decisions you'll have to make about how to spend the week surrounding the spooky holiday. Do you show off your costume at a parade, spend an evening in a ballroom at a Chicago hotel or head to a dance party at one of Chicago's best nightclubs? There are so many Chicago Halloween parties and events to choose from that you could probably wear a different costume to each one (which may require a trip to a Halloween store). Embrace the spirit(s) of the season at the best Chicago Halloween parties, events and parades.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Halloween in Chicago

Halloween parties and events

Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up
Photograph: Courtesy Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up
Things to do, Festivals

Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up

icon-location-pin 1265 W Le Moyne St, River West/West Town

Returning to a two-acre plot of land just west of Goose Island, Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up saves you a trip to the suburbs by bringing a corn maze, thousands of pumpkins and an array of carnival games to the city. This year's edition of the outdoor event features a larger corn maze that contains a hidden bar, a "gypsy caravan," axe-throwing and plenty of photo backdrops and props (think tractors, trucks and piles of pumpkins) for you to take advantage of. Plus, the pop-up will also host events throughout its four-week run, including a pumpkin walk, a beer and cider festival and a sweet corn festival.

Jack o lantern
Photograph: David Menidrey on Unsplash
Things to do, Exhibitions

Pier Pumpkin Lights

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville

You'll find nearly 1,000 glowing pumpkins spread across Navy Pier at the attraction's month-long Pier Pumpkin Lights event. Stop by Polk Bros Park to visit the Juggernaut of Jack-O-Lanterns installation then head to the pier to take in five more pop-up experiences, all of which will be illuminated after dusk each evening. Navy Pier restaurants such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Tiny Tavern and Snow Dragon Shavery will be offering food and drink specials throughout the month of October, and Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze will transform into a haunted maze on select weekends. Plus, you can bring the kids to trick-or-treat at Navy Pier on October 26, 27 and 31.

Replay Lincoln Park It pop-up
Photograph: Courtesy Replay Lincoln Park
Nightlife, Pop-ups and food events

It Halloween Pop-up

icon-location-pin Replay Lincoln Park, Lake View

Replay Lincoln Park celebrates the spookiest month of the year with an appropriately terrifying tribute to one of Stephen King's most beloved novels and the movie adaptations it spawned. Visitors will be transported to the town of Derry, Maine, where a red balloon signals the presence of Pennywise the Clown. The It-inspired pop-up includes recreations of the abandoned house on Neibolt Street, an ’80s hangout stocked with tube TVs, a funhouse as well as scary, not scary and very scary doors. Stick around to sample themed cocktails and attend events, such as trivia, costumes contests and a Derry Afternoon Day Party. Anyone with an overwhelming fear of clowns should stay far away from this pop-up.

Headquarters In River North
Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas
Nightlife, Pop-ups and food events

Nightmare Before Halloween: A Tim Burton Experience

icon-location-pin Headquarters Beercade River North, River North

Headquarters celebrates Halloween with a pop-up devoted to one of the spookiest directors of all time. Visitors can explore installations inspired by some of Tim Burton's most memorable films, including a Beetlejuice graveyard, sculpted shrubs from Edward Scissorhands and a barber's chair like the one used in Sweeney Todd. Grab an Ox Blood or Kill it Now! cocktail from the bar (served in a covenient pouch) or bite into a boozy caramel apple. Keep an eye out for special events throughout the pop-up's run, including a steamy Burt-lesque show on October 24.

Photograph: Courtesy Gallagher Way
Things to do, Festivals

Pumpkin Party at Gallagher Way

icon-location-pin Gallagher Way, Wrigleyville

Bring the kids to Gallagher Way for an early Halloween celebration in Wrigleyville, where costumed attendees can trick-or-treat around the park and participate in a variety of activities. You'll be able to listen to tunes supplied by the Old Town School of Folk Music, create a clay Halloween character with the help of Kid Create Studio and snag treats from Garrett Popcorn or Fannie May. Stick around to catch an outdoor screening of Hocus Pocus on Gallagher Way's video screen, beginning at 5:30pm.

Photograph: Courtesy Hopewell Brewing
Things to do, Quirky events

Hopewell Halloween Party: Enter the Void

icon-location-pin Hopewell Brewing Co., Logan Square

Logan Square's Hopewell Brewing gets extra spooky at this Halloween party, which sports a celestial theme and an out-of-this-world balloon installation. Guests can look forward to lots of beer, performances from magician Luis Carreon and food from Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits and Dönermen.

Photograph: Alana Harris on Unsplash
Things to do

Illumination Halloween party

icon-location-pin Revel Fulton Market, West Loop

The annual Illumination Halloween party is just as bright as it sounds, with 1,200 lights, interactive installations and a laser show. Attendees will enjoy treats from Happy Camper, Elis’ Cheesecake and Stan’s Donuts, as well as plenty of beverages. More importantly, the event raises money for research of a rare genetic condition called retinal vasculopathy with cerebral leukodystrophy (RVCL).

Photograph: Fox and Harrison Photography
Things to do, Late openings

Lyric Halloween Masquerade

icon-location-pin Civic Opera House | Chicago, IL, Loop

Spend a haunted evening in the Civic Opera House at the Lyric Halloween Masquerade, which raises money to support emerging operatic talent. Attendees are encouraged to arrive dressed in a mask and formal attire (or their favorite Halloween costume) for a party that includes cocktails, beer, bites from local restaurants and a live DJ.

Halloween trick or treat
Photograph: Conner Baker on Unsplash
Kids, Festivals

Spooky Zoo

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park Zoo | Chicago, IL, Lincoln Park

This fun and free alternative to trick-or-treating attracts more than 25,000 kiddos and their families to the zoo each year. The event features Ferris wheel rides, a corn maze, animal-enrichment activities, live entertainment and a pumpkin carver. Come in costume and prepare to have a ghoulish good time! 

Halloween events in Chicago: Haunted Hotel Halloween Ball is at the Hilton Chicago on October 26, 2013.
Photograph: Chandler West
Nightlife, Nightlife

Haunted Halloween Ball

icon-location-pin Congress Plaza Hotel, Loop

The Congress Plaza Hotel hosts its annual Haunted Halloween Ball, inviting costumed attendees to spend a night dancing and celebrating in a building that some claim is haunted. Guests will be able to mingle with spirits and the not-yet-deceased in the hotel's ballrooms, which sport spooky decorations, zombie cocktail servers, go-go dancers and vampire bellmen. You'll have access to multiple cash bars, great views of the city's skyline and the chance to enter a costume contest and compete for $2,000 in cash and prizes.

Logan Square Halloween Parade
Photograph: Zach Long
Things to do, Festivals

Logan Square Halloween Parade

icon-location-pin Illinois Centennial Monument, Logan Square

Logan Square's annual Halloween procession brings out costumed kids and adults from all around the neighborhood for a festive celebration. The parade begins at the Illinois Centennial Monument and marches south on Kedzie Boulevard to Fullerton Avenue before looping back to Lula Cafe for hot cider and cookies. As usual, punk rock marching band Mucca Pazza will be leading the festivities and providing the spooky soundtrack.

Photograph: Erik Kommer
Nightlife, Alternative nightlife


icon-location-pin Smart Bar, Wrigleyville

In the city that served as the birthplace of house music, the weekly Queen! party carries on the genre's inclusive and subversive spirit. Tucked away in Smart Bar's subterranean confines, residents Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini and Garrett David spin deep grooves while drag performers strut across the foggy dance floor. In celebration of Halloween, the event puts Brooklyn DJ Kim Ann Foxman and French selector Jennifer Cardini behind the decks for an evening of dancing hosted by Lucy Stoole, JoJo Baby, Nico, Laila McQueen and Tenderoni.

Photograph: Courtesy The Darling
Restaurants, American creative

Alice's Wonderland of Horrors

icon-location-pin The Darling, West Loop

Whimsical restaurant, cocktail bar and flower shop the Darling embraces its spooky side during Halloween, hosting a theatrical dining (and drinking) experience that draws inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. Injecting the atmosphere of a haunted house with its usual dinner theater offerings, the Darling will feature eerie performances during its dinner service from Wednesday, October 30th through Saturday, November 2nd. Each ticket includes a complimentary welcome cocktail and entertainment throughout the evening—an a la carte dinner menu will also be available.

Courtesy Criterion Pictures USA
Movies, Horror

Bad Femme: Halloween Double Feature

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville

In celebration of Halloween, the Museum of Contemporary Art screens a double feature devoted to evil women characters, hosted by Chicago drag queens Kat Sass and Siichele. First, you'll see Dario Argento’s Suspiria (1977), which follows a ballet student who begins training at a German dance academy with dangerous supernatural secrets. Next, you'll see Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession (1981), a cult-classic about an international spy going through a divorce from his mysterious wife.

northalsted halloween parade, 2017
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Things to do, Festivals

Northalsted Halloween Parade

icon-location-pin Belmont Ave and Halsted St, Lake View

Wanna see some of the best Halloween costumes in the city? Head to Boystown, where a procession of dedicated cosplayers show of their creations at this annual processions. You'll find drag queens, kids, parents and pets marching in the Northalsted Halloween Parade, which typically features impressive group costumes and a group of dancers performing all the moves of Michael Jackson's "Thriller." While the public is welcome to line the streets, you'll need to register online (or between 6:30 and 7pm on the day of the event) in order to march the route, which begins at Halsted Street and Belmont Avenue, making its way north to Brompton Ave.

Auditorium Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy Viator
Music, Classical and opera

Disney in Concert: Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas

icon-location-pin Auditorium Theatre, Loop

Hear “This is Halloween!” performed on the holiday it honors when the Chicago Philharmonic tackles Danny Elfman's classic score at this special Disney in Concert engagement. The orchestra will dress up and play along to a screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton's spooky stop-motion mash-up of Halloween and Christmas tropes. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early (and in costume) to enjoy trick-or-treating, activities and a costume contest in the theater's lobby.