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October 2019

October 2019 - October 31, 2019

Diverse circus

October 2 – Nov. 3, 2019

Univer Soul Circus includes Caribbean dancers, Chinese acrobats, African clowns, and extreme motorsports in a heated tent in Washington Park.

Ticket deal $19 to $27

Flower bulb festival

October 4 – 6, 2019

Find 250 varieties of bulbs, gourmet foods, beer, wine, cider, gardening demonstrations, live music, and kids’ activities at the Fall Bulb Festival at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Free except parking.

Celtic festival

October 5, 2019

Celebrate Ireland, Wales, and Scotland at Northwest Celtic Fest, with dancing and music on two stages, a Celtic marketplace, food vendors, craft beer, Irish Wolfhound dogs, and kids’ activities at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. Free including parking.

Ghost tour

October 5 – 26, 2019

Take a 1.5-hour spooky stroll through downtown as your guide talks about the graveyard under Lincoln Park and Chicago’s love affair with gangsters, guns, crime, and murder on the Haunted History & Ghost Tour, beginning outside The Oriental Theatre.

Wine & dessert walk

October 6, 2019

A ticket to Lakeview East Wine & Sweets Stroll includes a glass, wine samples, and sweet bites in 12 neighborhood shops for age 21+.

Beer tasting in the garden

October 10, 2019

Sample seasonally selected beers and then purchase them by the bottle, with light food for sale at Autumn Brews at Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe for age 21+.

Chicago Marathon

October 11 – 13, 2019

The free Chicago Marathon Health & Fitness Expo is Friday and Saturday at McCormick Place. The Chicago Marathon begins and ends Sunday in Grant Park, with a post-race party in Butler Field.

Bacon and beer

October 12, 2019

 (2 p.m., VIP 1 p.m.)

Enjoy bacon-inspired tastes from local restaurants, craft beer, music, and interactive games at Bacon and Beer Classic at Soldier Field.

Ticket deal $59 to $95

Halloween at Brookfield Zoo

October 12-13, 19-20, and 26-27, 2019

Boo at the Zoo has candy stations, kids’ crafts, a hayride, a corn maze, animal chats, a 1 p.m. costume parade, and hourly pumpkin smashing at the Brookfield Zoo.

Columbus Day Parade

October 14, 2019

The Columbus Day Parade of 150 floats, bands, and marching units celebrates the voyage of Christopher Columbus to America and Italian-American culture on State Street (from Wacker to Van Buren). Free.

German Oktoberfest

October 18, 2019

 (7:30 to 11:59 p.m.)

German American Cultural Center promises authentic German food and drinks at its Stammtisch Open Haus Oktoberfest, with “plenty of yodeling, dancing, and pretzel eating” on floor 5 of Dank Haus. Donation. (Also Saturday & Sunday with shorter hours, no food.)

Chocolate & wine

October 18 – 19, 2019

Chocolate, Wine & Spirits Expo promises 50 vendors displaying products for you to sample and purchase, wine and spirits tasting, and chef demonstrations at Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium. Held in March and Oct.

Ticket deal $18

Halloween parade

October 19, 2019

Arts in the Dark is a Halloween parade of artistic creatures on State Street (from Lake Street to Van Buren). Spectators cannot have face masks, backpacks, or lawn chairs. Afterwards, attend parties at Millennium Park and Maggie Daley Park. Free.

Tasting at the arboretum

October 19, 2019

Sample hard cider and seasonal beers from 45 local breweries and cideries while listening to live music at the Cider and Ale Festival at Morton Arboretum for age 21+. You are welcome to bring a lawn chair.

Bloody mary festival

October 20, 2019

A ticket to Bloody Mary Fest gets you samples of competing bloody mary entries (plus beer and mimosas), two full-sized drinks, brunch bites, lawn games, and an artisan market at Theater on the Lake for age 21+.

Adult zoo night

October 24, 2019

 (6:30 to 10 p.m.)

Leave the kids at home and head to Adults Night Out at Lincoln Park Zoo to experience unique animal chats and live entertainment. You must be age 18+ to attend, and age 21+ for the cash bars.

Halloween carnival

October 25, 2019

 (6 to 9 p.m.)

Kids will enjoy crafts, inflatables, trick or treating, a costume contest, a haunted train ride, carnival games, and entertainment at Halloween Boonanza in Schaumburg.

Halloween cruise

October 25 – 31, 2019

Cruise with DJ music and a cash bar for age 21+.

Ticket deal $15

Halloween party – Congress Plaza

October 26, 2019

 (9 p.m.)

Haunted Halloween Ball turns the giant ballroom in the Congress Plaza Hotel into an abandoned hotel run by zombies, with entertainment, a costume contest, and DJ dance music for age 21+.

Halloween party – Navy Pier

October 26, 2019

 (8 p.m.)

Join 3,000 revelers at The Nightmare at Navy Pier, with DJ dance music and cash bars at Navy Pier for age 21+.

Halloween party – opera house

October 26, 2019

Halloween Masquerade includes live music, dancing, an open bar, and appetizers at the Civic Opera House. Wear either a costume or formal attire with a mask.

Halloween at Lincoln Park Zoo

October 26, 2019

Kids can wear costumes, trick-or-treat, hear music, make crafts, and visit the corn maze and haunted house during Spooky Zoo at Lincoln Park Zoo. Free.

Halloween parade

October 31, 2019

Register and wear a costume to join the Northalsted Halloween Parade followed by a costume contest, or watch from the sidewalk on Halsted Street (from Belmont Avenue to Brompton Avenue). Free.