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13 things to do for Halloween


All Halloween night is coming. So is the annual Art in the Dark Halloween Parade on State Street. For the biggest scares, more than a dozen haunted houses in the Chicago area are already open and doing brisk business; You can find our 2023 guide at: www.chicagotribune.com. Some picks on our list for the rest of the spooky season are on the creepy side, and some not so much.

Now the Museum of American Writers has a daily 15-minute tour that both introduces you to the museum and walks you through the dark and mysterious works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the writers who influenced him and those who were influenced by him.

daily from 3 p.m., through Nov. 6, at the American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan Ave., second floor; americanwritersmuseum.org

The family-friendly event hosted annually by LUMA8 draws thousands of spectators to State Street. Approximately 4,000 parade participants from approximately 90 arts organizations are expected this year. Colorful costumes and masks, works of art, fire and circus arts, dance, acrobatics, theater and puppets will be part of the show. Plus music from 12 marching bands, drums and musical ensembles, including the South Side Jazz Coalition and Lakeside Pride Music Ensembles.

Pre-parade candy distribution at 5 p.m., parade on October 21 on State Street from Lake to Van Buren streets at 6-8 p.m.; more information at artsinthedark.com

It’s been nearly a decade since there’s been any haunted house experience at Navy Pier (Horror was last there in 2014, records show). The newly announced Garden of Decay promises a haunt-style, walk-through experience with a nature theme and story (“a grieving botanist’s desperate quest for resurrection”), as well as audio commentary and art installations. It is open to all ages when it opens in the evening for the first time, and after dark at 19:15 it becomes 18+.

Oct. 13-31, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.; tickets start at $42 Navypier.org

DavJasFran Entertainment, a theater company whose mission is to stage the works of emerging artists, will present a rotating series of short plays. Five plays on the theme of nightmares and “fears that emerge from the subconscious in the darkness of the night” on October 27th. Five plays about witches and the power of evil on October 28. And at noon on October 29, two games and other activities designed for children and families.

Oct. 27-28 at 7:30 p.m. and noon Oct. 29 at Dreamers YOLO, 5419 N. Lincoln Ave.; tickets $20-65 www.davjasfranentertainment.com

Night of 1000 Jack-o'-Lanterns is currently at the Chicago Botanical Garden in Glencoe.

Be dazzled by the artist-carved pumpkins that light your way through the Chicago Botanical Garden, as well as costumed entertainers, live carving demos, and more.

On select dates through Oct. 22, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Chicago Botanical Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe; tickets $19-$23 from 847-835-5440 and chicagobotanic.org

This Adult Night Out experience at the Lincoln Park Zoo includes surprise scares on a haunted trail (you have been warned), DJ music, games, free carousel rides, and singing along to dueling pianos on the Main Mall.

Oct. 26, 6:30 to 10 p.m., Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive; tickets $20-$40 (ages 21+) www.lpzoo.org

You may meet her, one of the dolls "Haunted Dolls 2: Riddles of the Rebellious Spirit," At the Chicago History Museum until November 5.

It’s not a horror movie, it’s the return of the Chicago History Museum’s Halloween attraction. “Haunted Dolls 2: Riddles of the Wandering Spirit” is a scavenger hunt for creepy dolls in the museum. There are 13 locations hiding around, including the “Chicago: Crossroads of America” exhibit. The museum invites you to “use your knowledge of Chicago history to find the dolls and solve riddles.”

through Nov. 5 at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.; It is included in the regular admission fee of $19 and is available by calling 312-642-4600. www.chicagohistory.org

From the improv team behind “Hitch*Cocktails,” a 60-minute interactive show featuring improv horror movies (slasher movies, classic horror, creature feature, paranormal mystery or ghost stories). The audience answers trivia questions and decides who will die a gruesome death. One of several Halloween-themed shows currently at the iO Theater.

Sundays at 7 p.m. through Nov. 5 at iO Theatre, 1501 N. Kingsbury St.; tickets $15 ioimprov.com

Performance by Stefan Goncalvez and José Pablo Castro Cuevas and choreographer Liam Scarlett at the Joffrey Ballet "Frankenstein," At the Lyric Opera House in October.

It’s more of a Halloween event but still appropriate for the occasion. The Joffrey Ballet opens its 68th season with the Chicago premiere of Liam Scarlett’s choreographic interpretation of Mary Shelley’s 19th-century Gothic tale, set to an original score by Lowell Liebermann.

Oct. 12-22, Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Upper Wacker Drive; tickets start at $36 joffrey.org

A costumed tour guide will host your 75-minute night tour of the Chicago River focusing on gangsters, scandal, spirits, and sin. Plus a short speedboat ride on Lake Michigan.

Friday through Sunday in October, tours depart from the dock at Navy Pier at 5 p.m.; Tickets starting at $49.95 at www.cityexperiences.com

Monique Marshaun takes on the role of narrator "wolves" at the Redtwist Theatre.

Playwright Steve Yockey’s dark retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood” is now on stage at the Redtwist Theatre. A young man finds himself isolated in a big city and paranoia sets in, escalating until he violently brings to life the predator he fears. “It’s the mark of a good horror story that it holds a mirror up to the darkest parts of ourselves, or at least makes us wonder what could drive us to such extremes,” Emily McClanathan writes in her book. Tribune review.

Tickets are $30 through Nov. 5 at the Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Blvd. www.redtwisttheatre.org

Is the Auditorium Theater downtown haunted? What are those disembodied whistling sounds at the stage door, those ghosts that appear in the seats at night? Also learn about the architecture of Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler and the 134-year history of the building on 90-minute tours for all ages.

Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays at noon and Thursdays from 6pm through Nov. 22 at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive; tickets start at $18 auditoriumtheatre.org

A reimagining of Lucille Fletcher’s classic psychological thriller about a woman who suffers from insomnia and sees a dead body in the window of an abandoned apartment across the street. Directed by Georgette Verdin and starring Aila Ayilam Peck as Elaine, “It’s a thriller in the vein of Hitchcock,” says Raven Theater artistic director Sarah Slight.

Through Nov. 12, Johnson Stage at the Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St.; tickets $45 www.raventheatre.com



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