Halloween, Chicago Style
On nights such as Halloween, Chicago truly comes alive. From the artistic to the surrealistic, the city offers an amazing array of outstanding Halloween activities for visitors and locals. Many of the attractions offered in celebration of the holiday include some unusual touches, from a scooter tour of Chicago destinations with haunted histories to the curated spooky music in the Boneshaker bathrooms. Whatever your level of fright, Chicago has a Halloween event for you.
Segway Haunted Halloween Tour
Wednesday thru Sunday, October 14 thru October 31
Your (appropriately costumed) tour guide will lead you on a two-wheeling nighttime tour of downtown Chicago’s “haunted hotels, houses, ghosts, murders and gruesome disasters.” Our town’s history is definitely not lacking in tragic and macabre events, and your guide will provide narrative at each spot along the way. Tours leave at 6:15 and 9pm (the tour is approximately 2 hours total and riders must be at least 14 years old). Segway novices are welcome.
Trapped in a Room with a Zombie
October 18 – November 13, various times, Fine Arts Building Basement, 408 S. Michigan Ave.
“Room Escape Adventures” are 60-minute team-building exercises with an adventure-flair, and what could be more important during Halloween season than polishing your zombie evasion skills? You will hunt for clues, pool ideas and information, and escape – or not. The pressure is on, because every five minutes the zombie’s chain gets longer. Each Zombie Escape challenge is limited to 12 people; you can buy out the adventure for you and 11 friends or challenge your skills in a different way with 11 strangers.
The Halloween Gathering
October 24, 2pm–8pm, The Chicago “Cultural Mile” (Michigan Avenue from the Chicago River to Roosevelt and eastward to the Museum Campus)
What happens when creative powerhouses like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Field Museum, The Art Institute, “Louder Than a Bomb” silent theater company and more take on Halloween? A magical, inventive, larger-than-life Halloween celebration. This brand new event, with its emphasis on Halloween and the arts, will take place in two parts. From 2pm-5pm, the parks, institutions and attractions of the Cultural Mile will offer family-friendly interactive experiences, free performances and more, including a children’s costume parade in Maggie Dally Park. From 6pm-8pm, a parade of costumed dancers, performance artists, musicians and moving platforms will transform Columbus (from Balbo to Monroe) into a Halloween spectacle.
Halloween on Halstead Parade (Halsted from Belmont to Addison)
October 31, 8pm
March in or just watch this parade through the Boystown neighborhood. To march, put on your most creative costume and register by 6:30pm. This year’s parade theme, “Twisted Circus,” should provide plenty of inspiration. A panel of local celebrity judges will award cash prizes for costumes in the categories Best Pet, Best Group, Most Original, Scariest and Best Drag. When the parade ends, there’s no need to call it a night. You can see in All Saint’s Day (November 1) at one of Halsted Street’s renowned gay bars.
9pm October 31 to 2am November 1, 2120 South Jefferson Street
Known for its large-scale theatrical events, Redmoon’s annual (21+) Halloween costume party is a TimeOut Chicago Critic’s Pick. Each year, this event is a new and original blend of art, multisensory experience and spectacle on a large scale. 2015 attractions will include everything from a “make your own movie” station using Redmoon-created props, to a s’mores garden featuring three foot wide fire cauldrons, to custom Halloween-appropriate soundscapes in the bathrooms, designed by Chicago-based sound artists. General admission tickets are $100 each and include open bar; VIP tickets are $150 and include open bar and access to a special VIP Lounge. Don’t wait too long; this event has a history of selling out.
If you love Halloween, you can find ways to celebrate it all month long in Chicago. Book a stay at The James Chicago and make plans to enjoy the year’s most creative, fantastic and over-the-top holiday.