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October and Halloween in Chicago

Frank Brichetto

October is here, fall is in the air and leaves are changing to those brilliant reds and yellows that pass so quickly into brown.  The air is crisp, nights are cool, even a bit cold, but that won’t stop us. Let’s step outside into the morning sun, let it shine on our faces, and really take in this magical time of year.

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Did you know that one of Chicago’s best trails has been lengthened by over 3 miles to extend further into the city?  The North Branch Trail now extends all the way to Gompers Park, right at Kostner and Foster Avenues, just west of the field house.  This trail goes north, all the way through the Chicago Botanical Gardens, then links to the Green Bay Trail, where you can ride your bike up to Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago!  The new southern extension is a well-engineered, well- built section that includes an underpass and a beautiful bridge.  If we go in the evening, perhaps we’ll see, as I did recently, a beautiful 8 point Whitetail buck and a doe or two grazing along the river edge near Cicero Ave.  Amazing.  We’ll see green lumpy balls in several places.  Hidden beneath the thick green covers are Black Walnuts, another amazing find.  We’ll wind our way through fields and forests, taking in the Autumn colors around us. It’s not a race, so we’ll stop to read up on the efforts to restore fields to their native state, learning about native birds, flowers and the tall grasses that prevailed before civilization arrived, and snap some pics at the “postcard” photo stands that show up every few miles.  Smile and say “CHEESE!”

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On Lambs Farm, 14245 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville, is hosting their Fall on the Farm, “a family friendly event,” on October 7th and 8th.  Parking is free, admission is reasonable, and the kids will love painting pumpkins, having their faces painted, and walking through the farmyard, meeting animals, and riding the “barrel train,” pulled by tractors.  There’s good food, local crafts, and live music, as well as other activities throughout the weekend.  http://www.lambsfarm.org/marquee-events/fall-on-the-farm

October means Halloween, ghost stories, spooky things and costume parties!   One of my favorite places, Kilbourn Park, 3501 N. Kilbourn Ave., is hosting their Halloween Garden Party, Saturday, October 28, 2017 from 3:00pm – 5:00pm, complete with campfire (and s’mores. Yes.), spooky stories, arts and crafts and more.  Kids especially are encouraged to don costumes, and adults are welcome to dress up as well.  Come as your scariest self!  This event is free, but please consider a $5.00 donation. http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/parks/Kilbourn-Park

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Navy Pier, Illinois’ best tourist attraction (and a must-see place for all Chicagoans), is showing a double feature of Halloween movies on October 21st and again on the 28th.  The screening is on the Lake Stage,  Polk Bros. Park, immediately south of the Pier, so bring a blanket and get comfy.  Showings are at 3:00pm and again at 6:00pm, with free treats on the Pier, while supplies last.  https://navypier.com/events/list/

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Speaking of Navy Pier, thrust out so boldly into the waters of Lake Michigan, did you know that we can book ourselves onto the Haunted Halloween Party Cruise and take a long boat ride aboard the Spirit of Chicago, the iconic Lake Michigan vessel?  Costumes are encouraged, but not necessary.  The views are always, always spectacular.  October 28th, boarding starts at 5:30pm for a 6:00pm departure.  https://www.chitownevents.com/events/haunted-halloween-party-cruise-2 Cash bar.

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The cruise returns at 8:00pm, but we’re just getting started.  The Pier’s 18,000 sq. ft. Grand Ballroom is hosting The Haunted Halloween Ball,https://www.chitownevents.com/events/the-nightmare-at-navy-pier-presents-the-haunted-halloween-ball  which will certainly prove to be an unforgettable evening, with hours of many of Chicago excellent and well known DJ’s spinning everything from top 40 hits to House, Hip-hop and dance.  DJ Metro, official DJ of the Chicago Bulls, will bring his own special talents to the party.  Isn’t that great?  We’ll be dancing and moving all night long, since the party continues on until 2:00am.

To put the most delicious icing on this already great cake, there’s a stunning fireworks display coming along at 9:30pm.  We’ll just step outside to catch the view, cool off a bit, and enjoy the show.  It’s free to all and open to the public and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Flash! Bang! Swoosh! Boom! Fireworks are always good, and these promise to be great.

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There are so many more possibilities, we can’t name them all or even begin to consider attending more than a few, but these are enough for now.  More than enough, I think we’ll agree, after that great, but very long party night at Navy Pier.  I will look for you!

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