Saturday, October 30, 2010

ChiILoween II: Thurs/Fri Recap and The Best of Halloween Weekend

Thursday we were off to a great Halloween weekend start with a school Fall Festival.   For our readers around the world, here's what Halloween traditions look like in Chicago.

Friday was teacher training day, so we got a timely 3 day weekend.   We devoured free IHOP scary face pancakes and enjoyed The Chicago International Children's film festival.   The Moomins in 3D from Finland was a highlight.   Then we got to meet the star of El Tux who flew in from L.A. for the fest.

Rated 4.9 out of 5.0
- 7 min - Jul 12, 2009 - Uploaded by Serpaco1

2007 HBO/NYLIFF Short Film Winner - Written & Directed by Paco Farias A charming tale about a teen who is given a very special tuxedo 

We've blogged about the 27th annual Chicago International Childrens Film Festival quite a bit during the past month.   There's still time to give your little monsters THE WORLD.   With over 200 films from 40 countries, this is a fabulous resource and a fest well worth making time for amid all the Halloween hoopla.   Check out their web site for handy age suggestion guides that range from movies for toddlers to teens.   We'll review our favorites later in the week, but catch 'em while you can.

Friday night we got our costumes on and rocked out ChiILoween style with the 7th annual Logan Square kids parade.   Then we checked out the free haunted police station at the 14th precinct.   Man cops can be scary.   Not for the faint of heart.   Both of our kids freaked out and closed their eyes through the whole thing and even the tween girls behind us were screaming their heads off and clutching onto my fleece--and we'd never met them.    Sagezilla had to be carried through with her head buried in her Dad's neck!    It's fabulous free fun for bigger kids and those not easily wigged out, but keep the littles at home!   

The Chicago International Children's Film Festival takes place from Oct 22nd through Oct 31st this year and presents the finest in international film for children and their families.

Films are screening conveniently at locations throughout Chicago: Facets Cinema in Lincoln Park; Regal Cinemas City North Stadium 14; Bank of America Cinema; University of Chicago's DOC Films (Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall); Illinois Institute of Technology (Hermann Hall, McCormick Auditorium); Center on Halsted (Hoover-Leppen Theatre); and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

The Festival provides Chicagoans with the opportunity to see the best in world cinema made for a younger audience.  This year, the Festival is featuring the largest number of films in its history, with 270 films from more than 40 countries, including 90 world premieres. "This year the Festival received a record number of entries, and the quality and diversity of the films exceeded all expectations," explained Ann Vikstrom, Programming Director of the Festival.  "We are thrilled to present works representing the best in international children's films as Chicago premieres.  The Festival is a wonderful way for children to learn about other cultures, experience diverse viewpoints, and discover the art of cinema from around the globe," said Nancy Goldenberg, Director of Children's Programs.

This year, more than 100 film directors, producers, and other industry professionals will attend the Festival. While here, they will teach workshops, attend screenings and host Q & A sessions after their films.

The Chicago International Children's Film Festival is the largest and oldest film festival for children in North America.  It is the only children's film festival in the world to be designated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Award qualifying festival.

Admission to the Festival is $6 for children; $9 for adults. Festival schedule and ticket information is available by calling (773) 281-9075 or online at

Saturday:  We highly recommend going to The Nature Museum at 1:00pm to see Light of the River and meet the director.

Director Tetsuo Hirakawa

Meet animated film director Tetsuo Hirakawa!
This year we will be honored by the presence of noted animated film director Tetsuo Hirakawa, who will speak to audiences after the presentation of his animated film, Light of the River.

Light of the River
Light of the River
Saturday, October 30, 1:00pm
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 North Cannon Drive

Light of the River (Chicago premiere) is a lovely animated film about a unique family of rats which sets out on a long journey to find a safe place to call home. Forced out of their peaceful riverbank by construction, the country rat family encounters many challenges - and kindnesses from new city animal friends.  Told through gorgeous animation, Light of the River celebrates the splendor of untouched nature, the freedom of embracing new challenges, and the joy of discovering kindred spirits.

Light of the River was first broadcast in Japan in June of 2009, as part of the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) environmental campaign "Save the Future." It is the directorial debut of Tetsuo Hirakawa, a former member of the Tokyo animation studio Madhouse, who previously did key animation and in-between animation for productions including The Animatrix (2006), Atashin'chi (2006), The Place Promised in Our Early Days (2006),Crayon Shin-chan: Sanpun Pokkiri Daishingeki (2006), One Piece: Omatsuri Danshaku To Himitsu No Shima (2006), Crayon Shin-chan: Densetsu Wo Yobu Odore! Amigo! (2006), The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), Summer Days with Coo (2007), Nodame Cantabile (2006), and Detroit Metal City (2008).  

NANOWRIMO  And so it begins again.....   This will by my 4th Nanowrimo in a row, Du-Jay's 3rd, and Sagezilla's 2nd.    The crazy, hard challenge is to write an entire 50,000 word novel between  November 1st and 30th!    The youth version just requires an age appropriate, but still challenging, word count and suggestions by age are on the site.

It's loads of fun, with participants around the world, an active on line site, and numerous local write ins and meet ups.    I'll still be running win a disc Wednesday and popping in with updates, but the blogging and freelance writing will take a back seat for the month.   As a busy writer and Mom to two young kids, it's the only way my novel writing ever moves forward.   The kids' needs always take precidence, then by the time food, dishes, laundry and everything else get done, my poor novels are starved for a few minutes of my time.    Once a year they get the lion's share of my divided attention.

I'm working on a mystery series and the 4th book will be particularly fun, as it's set in Sweden.    No more secrets or plot spoilers.   I'm hoping to edit, and shop around all 4 finished novels later this year.    I've always wanted to be JK Rowling or Corneila Funke "when I grow up".    So nanowrimo here we come.   Saturday's kick off party is at Dave and Busters on Clark Street in Chicago from 12-2.    Non Nano friends and family are welcome, too, but RSVPs are required.   Check in on the Nanowrimo Site for more info.    If you are participating in the Chicago area, be sure to visit the forums, and choose Chicago as your region and local group.


1.  Frankenplaza downtown

Crowd watching flame juggler performing

Franken Plaza (Daley Plaza)

This Halloween, Daley Plaza becomes Franken Plaza for three days, October 29-31, with special performances, a Monster Bash - complete with prize give-aways, hayrides and trick-or-treating!

Lucky number 13 strikes again! Thirteen performers from Chicago's very own Midnight Circus perform at the 13th annual Chicagoween celebration. Watch as Midnight Circus defies gravity and amazes audiences of all ages with heart-stopping feats of acrobatics & spooktacular theatrics!

On Saturday, October 30th, don’t miss the Monster Bash complete with a costume contest and treats. Visitors to Daley Plaza are witness to its transformation into Franken Plaza where both kids and adults can take part in arts & crafts and see performances that will thrill.

Jeanne Sparrow and Melissa Forman of WCIU will be our costume showcase and contest emcees for the Franken Plaza Monster Bash.  The showcase and contest will take place from 11am to 1pm. It's all FREE.

Hallowed Halls

Photo of 2 children in Halloween costumesThe Chicago Cultural Center is transformed into a spooky, magical destination for Halloween fun.

Come in costume and join Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop for family-friendly hands-on activities, drama workshops and games.  Enjoy a special performance of Child’s Play Touring Theatre’s One Monster after Another, plus giveaways and more.

Activities recommended for children ages 6-12. Pre-registration is not required. All young participants must be accompanied by an adult.

Mask and Costume-making
10 am – 12:30 pm

Add the finishing touch to your Halloween costume with help from Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop.

Drama Workshops and Theater Games
10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Create your own scary story, bring a favorite Halloween tale to life, and participate in fun and spooky theater games with teachers from Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop.

Performance: One Monster after Another
12:30 – 1:15 pm

Join Child's Play Touring Theatre in this rockin' rendezvous with witches, monsters, ghosts and ghouls. All the thrills and chills of Halloween night are combined with music, mystery, dance and song-- a truly rollicking ride to sweep you along!

4.  Merchants Trick or Treat in Andersonville, Lincoln Square, (Saturday the 30th) Damen Ave. (Halloween, the 31st)

5.   SATURDAY Busy Beaver Button Company all ages party--bands and buttons--what could be better?   $5 for everyone.   Kids welcome.   Make your own glow in the dark buttons with this Logan Square favorite.   These guys rock!!

Put on your glow-in-the-dark buttons and make your way to the all ages, Halloween rock show on Saturday in Chicago!
The party moved to Pancho’s located at 2200 N. California in Logan Square.  Come at 7PM for bands Pink Torpedo, Loose Dudes, andWhite Mystery as well as your favorite button-making cast.
Of course you’ll have your choice of glow-in-the-dark buttons brought to you by yours truly.  Click here for the Facebook Event!

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