Third Coast’s Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Guide to Halloween Weekend

Maybe you’re an organized sort who’s been constructing costumes, stockpiling candy and making Halloween plans for months now. But maybe you’ve been navigating the choppy seas of seasonal changes and a busy work life and haven’t had time to figure out how to get the most out of your Halloween weekend. Either way, we’ve got you covered, with a host of different ways you can celebrate and have a little extra spooky fun this Halloween weekend. There’s plenty of fall fun out there from now on through Wednesday, and we’ve got a good variety of events aimed to please a variety of ghosts and ghouls.


Dizzy Lizzy of Bim Bam Boom burlesque. Photo: Marielle Shaw

If you like your Halloween scary and sexy… 

STAB Halloween Party at HQ—Headquarters Beercade—Headquarters’ Halloween Bash, set for Saturday night at 8, is packed to the gills with halloween fun—whether that’s its slasher film installations, a costume contest boasting the biggest cash prize in Chicago for whomever takes first, or a full burlesque show by Bim Bam Boom that’ll combine titillating and terrifying in new and interesting ways. The best part is? No cover. Come take some horrifying selfies, play some pinball, see some great burlesque and have some great food and drink—it’s bound to be a good time. While no tickets are required, Headquarters does ask you to RSVP to reserve a slot, something you can do by clicking this link: 


Photo: Jim Watkins. Via Flickr

If you want to do some ghost and move bustin 

The Haunted Hotel at Congress Plaza Hotel and Convention Center—If you ain’t afraid of no ghost (or perhaps, don’t mind getting freaked out for a chance at spotting a real spectre)–then you may want to get yourself to the Haunted Hotel at Congress Plaza. The Congress Hotel is supposedly one of the most haunted places in our fair city, so it’s already the place to be for boos, but there’ll also be a dj, vampire bellmen and booze in the ballroom where you can dance the night away. Good times for you and the ghosts that roam the halls. This is one of the biggest Halloween bashes in the city, and while there’s no tickets left at press date, it looks like some may still open up day of. 

For tickets and info, click this link.



Photo: Marielle Shaw

If you like it 80’s weird… 

The Return of Beetlejuice at The Underground Chicago—It oughta be a good party if Beetlejuice is there. Say his name and make your own appearance at The Underground Chicago for their annual Halloween party that’s sure to be weird and wild, with DJ StoneRokk providing the proper dance vibes. 

Tickets and info here.


Photo: Marielle Shaw

If all you want is to do the Time Warp again… 

Head to The Music Box Theatre with the appropriate amount of hot dogs, water pistols, newspapers, flashlights, etc for midnight showings of the cult favorite Rocky Horror Picture Show including the traditional full cast on stage courtesy Midnight Madness Rocky Horror and prepare yourselves for all the antics that will soon ensue. 

Rocky Horror at The Music Box has midnight shows through Halloween night, with tickets still available for the Halloween show at 11 pm.  


Photo: Marielle Shaw.

If you want to explore, eat and immerse yourself in rich traditions… 

Day of the Dead and Maxwell Street 106th Birthday Celebration at Maxwell Street Market—Maxwell Street is inherently a place steeped in culture and color, but even more so for this weekend’s Maxwell Street Market, which is not only a fete for the market’s 106th birthday, but also a celebration of Day of the Dead. This edition of the market will have the same amazing handmade merch and delicious food you’ll find most times, with the addition of extra music, demonstrations, dancers, pumpkin decorating and more. This is another FREE event that is sure to be an absolute blast so if you hadn’t been in a while or hadn’t been before, Pilsen will be a perfect place to be on Sunday from 10:30 am to 2 pm.  

For more information, click here.


International Museum of Surgical Science, IMSS. Photo: Marielle Shaw

If you’re into spooky candlelit tours of historic (and architecturally interesting) mansions… 

Head on over to the International Museum of Surgical Science for a candlelit tour of the spooky stately manor that houses the medical marvels and macabre objects that make up the tale of the progress of modern medicine. The house is a marvel in itself and gets its moment in the candlelight with this tour. If that’s not enough, Remy Bumppo Theatre will also be hosting a Marathon Reading of Frankenstein on site on 10/31, along with Frankenreads, which you can drop in on with the price of admission to the museum for that day. 

Tickets for this tour are available here 



Photo: Matt Hamilton

If you just want a good scare: There’s of course no shortage of haunted houses you could choose to dive into, whether you’re willing to take a little trek outside city limits or want to find your frightfest without going far. Here’s a few we recommend: 

NORTH: Dungeons of Doom in north suburban Zion, IL went from a semi-scary fairground favorite in Lake County to a full-on frightener’s funhouse. Everything from the spooky location (an old lace factory) to the performers has gotten an upgrade in the past few years, making this a solid place to get your scare on. Whether you take on the full experience, roaming the whole building and getting “Buried Alive” or just take on one section, you’ll get your money’s worth in scares here.

For more information on special events, directions and tickets for Dungeons of Doom click here. 


CITY LIMITS: An interesting haunt to check out lies in the basement of the Chopin Theatre. New for this year, “The Walls of Harrow House” isn’t exactly a traditional haunted house, leaning a little more towards theater “experience” but promises some truly creepy scares regardless. You’ll be let loose to explore the mansion of an influential and spookily reclusive architect and be subject to “cosmic horrors, nightmarish to behold.” Whether its theater roots will serve to overserve the scares or add production value and acting chops to something already scary we’ll leave you to discover.

For tickets and information on this haunt click here. 


SOUTH:  Location makes a great first impression for haunted houses too, and Statesville Haunted Prison certainly has the eeriest of environments to start with. This is sort of the grand poobah of area haunted houses, and people regularly and willingly travel a few hours from home just to have the crap scared out of them. Aside from being enormous though, it’s got accolades from everyone from the Travel Channel to and HauntedHouseChicago.Com to back up the hype.

If you’d like to take a trip to experience the evil within, click here. 


Photo: Marielle Shaw

If you’re less into freakouts and more into Fall: 

We understand, not everyone’s over the moon about Halloween. If you’d rather celebrate the harvest or just want to find somewhere to grab a pumpkin to carve and an apple cider donut to munch, here’s some places to scratch that itch. 

NORTH: Richardson’s Adventure Farm. Though it’s quite a trek, Richardson’s Adventure Farm boasts quite a lot of activities to make the ride worthwhile. For one thing, Richardson’s has the largest corn maze in the world (this year in the form of an Illinois bicentennial tribute), which can leave you truly lost for hours, but they’ve also got acres of “U-Pick” pumpkins, zip lines, hay rides, giant slides, campfires, pig races, fudge, cider, and most anything else you could possibly associate with Autumn.  

For more information on the farm and hours for its corn maze click here: 

CITY LIMITS: Of course there’s a boozy pop-up corn maze in Chicago. Perfect for those who want the feel without the fields, you can become a child of the corn and drunkenly amble through the maize maze at Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up in a vacant lot in Goose Island. They’ve got the maze, the pumpkins and a nighttime lights display as well as the alcoholic beverages to accompany them, and you can take part in the fun all the way through til November 3rd. If you’d like to bring kids, you can do that too, as festivities don’t get all adult-y until 7 pm. 

More information on Jack’s Pumpkin Nights can be found here:


If you’re seeking such adventures in the southern parts of the Chicago area, think about checking out Odyssey Fun Farm in Tinley Park. It’s got a Super Mario themed maze, face painting, pig racing (which is apparently an essential in these parts), a pumpkin patch, petting zoo, hay rides and more, and should fill your fall day with festive favorites. 

Find out more about Odyssey Fun Farm here.

No matter what fun you scare up this weekend we hope you have a spooktacular Halloween!

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Marielle Bokor
Marielle Bokor