Thursday, October 15, 2009

ChiILoween Happenings: The best of Chicagoween and beyond

Let's face it.   We're all busy, and sometimes the sheer number of happenings in Chicago, on a given weekend,  is daunting!   The Park District alone has over 75 Halloween events goin' on in the next few weeks.   There are great resources like GoCityKids and Crazy Kids and ChicagoKids all telling you where to go.

Here at ChiIL Mama, we try to pick a manageable number of the good ones and get more in depth and visual.   Here's a quick little ChiILoween Guide to our personal favs.   Check the Chicago Park District site for your closest local park events, times and see what creepy fun is afoot this year.

Lincoln Park Zoo's Harvest Days already happened on the 3rd & 4th, but there are free and cheap pumpkin patches sprouting up all over Chicagoland.

Lincoln Park Zoo's annual Harvest Fest with free pumpkins from Whole Foods.
Even the baby chicks' habitat was all decked out with fall leaves, pinecones, and dried corn.

Saturday, there's a Park District pumpkin patch in Humboldt Park at 10am, and there's a pumpkin patch at Athletic Field Park, both Saturday and Sunday at 11am.    

We've gone to Athletic Field's Halloween Fest for years.   In the past they've had inflatables like a giant slide and moonbouncer.  They also have a well lit, cheesy, little, no-scare maze in an upstairs room, where silly costumed characters hand out candy around every corner.   It's short and perfect for preschoolers and kids who are easily frightened.

We may see an advanced screening of Astroboy on Saturday at 10am, but barring that, we'll be hittin' the pumpkin patches.  Then we're off to Tales From the Field with Jeff Corwin at 2pm.  And we wouldn't miss The Windy City Rollers All Star Team Vs. Portland's Rose City Rollers, in the last home bout till January, at UIC Pavillion from 7-9pm.

Sunday, we'll be at Lifeline Theatre's Dooby, Dooby, Moo at 11am and a post show book signing with the author Doreen Cronin and Illustrator, Betsey Lewin.

Then there's the 5th annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest in Holstein Park from 2-5pm.

If we're not exhausted, we'll check out the hoopla at CircEsteem at 4730 N. Sheridan.   They're hosting a gym wheel weekend, with competition at 5pm and show at 7pm.  Admission is only $5.00.

Next Weekend:

We plan to hit the pumpkin patch at Unity Park Playlot at 10am.   Then we're heading down to Chicagoween's big, ongoing festivities on Daly Plaza.   Midnight Circus always does a fantastic free circus, and Pyro fire shows are ongoing Oct 23rd,29th, 30th & 31st.   

Here are Du-Jay and Sagezilla with Ivana, alter ego of Julie Greenberg. She's a local Chicago Mom and acrobat extrodinaire, who MCs Midnight Circus every Halloween.

Midnight Circus always recruits awesome, world class musicians, to enhance their ghoulish escapades.   Last year, we were excited to recognize Mars Williams, the excellent sax player of Psychadelic Furs fame.

Saturday the 24th, we'll be there at 11am for the costume contest (Home made and creative costumes are strongly encouraged). Then we'll stay for trick or treating and hayrides starting at 12:30, and Midnight Circus at either 11:30, 12:45 or 2pm.   The Art Institute has free costume making, in their new education center from 10-3:30.

If the weather holds and the kids aren't too tired, we'll stay for a free screening of Gremlins at 6pm.

We won't make it, but Redmoon Theatre is also remounting a one weekend only run of The Hunchback, the 22nd-25th.   We've seen it in the past and highly recommend it!   Even the kids loved it.   This version is site specific, and should be especially stunning in Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel.


Halloween Day:

Of course, there will be lots of neighborhood trick or treating.   A safe alternative is Trunk N Trick from 2-4pm, where kids can pick candy from car trunks, staffed by police.

Not big on the cavity inducing sugar frenzy?   Try Garfield Park Conservatory from 12-3pm, to learn about creatures of the night, like bats, spiders and owls.

Whatever you end up doing, the next few weeks will be bootiful.   Despite the cold rain, coming down today, October is one of the most colorful, wacky, event filled times of the year.   The Windy City is not ready to hibernate, yet.   Winter's coming, but we've got a lotta howling and screaming good times to experience first.

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