Chicago’s Ultimate Halloween Guide
Endless frights and fun this year in the Windy City
In a big city like Chicago, there are quite a few Halloween events to pick from. Honestly, it’s pretty overwhelming, and even the most adventurous person might not be able to keep up with it all.
There are so many awesome ways to celebrate Halloween that we figured we’d make it easier by running through every event in one easy-to-read breakdown so you don’t miss out on the ones you’re most excited for. We jam-packed any and everything that’s happening for Halloween in the city onto this list so that all your options are in one place. You’re welcome!
Don’t forget, Halloween’s on a Tuesday this year. So make sure your entire weekend and Monday are extra spooky.
Here is Chicago’s Ultimate Halloween 2018 Guide.
Not so fast. Before you hit the party, you need to pick out a costume first! Chicago has plenty of costume shops and some are even open year-round for you early birds.
- Halloween Hallway Costume Stores – These stores might be your best bet for a grab-and-go costume. Check out their website or visit one of their locations in the Loop, South Loop, River North, Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, or Wrigleyville.
- Chicago Costume – This spot is open year-round and offers unique, hard-to-find, and upscale costumes fit for any event.
- Hollywood Mirror – The famous novelty shop in Lakeview has plenty of gag gifts, wigs, and silly accessories for you to build your own costume.
- Fantasy Costumes – This Portage Park megastore has been around for over 50 years and is fully stocked. You need it, they have it.
- Spirit Halloween – If you’re out in the burbs, you’ve probably seen these pop-up around Halloween time. These are great for trendy, grab-and-go costumes.
Why not celebrate Halloween with some monster jams? There are always great acts coming to Chicago and there’s no shortage of them on Halloween weekend (or weekends, depending on how you look at it).
- Freaky Deaky – This year, the premier Midwest Halloween-themed music festival is traveling between Wisconsin and Texas, and returning to Chicago with the best in EDM and hip-hop with Nightmre Before X-Mas on November 3rd at the Aragon Ballroom.
- Nine Inch Nails + The Jesus and Mary Chain – October 25th – 27th at the Aragon Ballroom.
- Ween – Indie favs Ween are back on HalloWEEN itself at, you guessed it, the Argon Ballroom.
- Lily Allen – Lily is throwin’ down on the 31st at the Vic.
- Gramps the Vamp – Head to Schubas on October 31st to see Gramps the Vamp’s 8th annual Halloween show!
- Billie Eilish – The spider kween herself is showin’ up to the Metro on October 28th.
Get weird for Halloween with some good ol’ fashioned day drinking. Here are some of the best bar crawls you can hop into during Halloween weekend.
- 2018 Chicago Halloween Bar Crawl – Hit up favorite haunts in Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and River North and enter the costume contest for a chance to $500 at this classic crawl on October, 27th.
- Wrigleyville Halloween Crawl – Chicago Twenty Something is bringing another fun bar crawl experience to the Wrigleyville neighborhood, including a buffet and costume contests on Saturday, October 27 at 7 pm.
- Halloween DAY Crawl in River North – Crawl around in the daytime in your creepiest costume to River North bars on Saturday, October 27 at 11 am.
- Boos & Brews Halloween Bar Crawl – Complete with a kickoff party and haunted half-game bash, this Chicagoland crawl is sure to get creepy on October 27th.
Balls and Masquerades
If you’re feeling classy and elegant like Dracula, a Halloween ball or masquerade is the event for you. Here’s where you can find them in Chicago.
- Haunted Halloween Ball at Congress Plaza Hotel – Dress your best at this Halloween affair on Saturday, October 27 at 9 pm at one of the city’s most haunted hotels, complete with a B96 DJ.
- Halloween Masquerade at the Lyric Opera House – The Lyric Opera invites young professionals to enjoy dancing and an open bar in costume at this beautiful venue on Saturday, October 27 at 8 pm.
- Nobody Sleeps at the Corpse Cabaret – Don’t miss this costume dance party featuring a DJ, cocktails, and appetizers at the Parkway Ballroom on Saturday, October 27th.
- The Nightmare at Navy Pier Presents: The Haunted Halloween Ball At the Aon Grand Ballroom – Navy Pier’s main ballroom gets decked out on October, 27th.
Parties, Gatherings, and Conventions
Just lookin’ to party? Or are you looking to celebrate in a non-traditional way? Easy enough. Here are some other Halloween-themed shindigs happening around town.
- Boos & Booze Halloween Party – Enjoy a three-hour drink package and costume contest at the Hubbard Inn on Saturday, October 27.
- The Godfrey Haunted Hotel – Explore 20 haunted hotel rooms at this fright night on Saturday, October 27th.
- Haunted Halloween Party Cruise – Go aboard the Spirit of Chicago cruise to enjoy a haunted party with costumes and live DJs on Saturday, October 28\7.
- Chicago Monster Dash – Run to the lakefront on Saturday, October 20 to complete a 5k, 10k, or half marathon race wearing your favorite costume.
- Spooky Zoo Spectacular – This family-friendly Chicago tradition returns to the Lincoln Park Zoo on Saturday, October 27.
- Wickedly Whiting Festival – On October 13, see Whiting, IN (East of Chicago) transformed into a freak show, also featuring live music, costume contests, food and beer vendors, and a family stage.
- “The Horror of the Humanities” Program – See the socially-conscious side of horror at this free avant-garde haunted house, along with a contemporary horror film screening on October 29.
- Day of the Dead Celebration at Maxwell Street Market – Celebrate this Mexican holiday on October 28 with a costume contest, live music, arts and crafts, and pumpkin decorating.
Would you rather sit back and watch a haunted procession? Watch creeps and ghouls glide by in these fun Halloween parades.
- Northalsted Halloween Parade – Don’t miss this creative costume event in Boystown on Wednesday, October 31 at 7:30 pm.
- Arts in the Dark Parade – Gather on Saturday, October 20 from 6 pm – 8 pm for a parade of performances, giant puppets, and decorative displays on Columbus from Balbo to Monroe.
- Spooky Pooch Parade – Bring your costumed furry friend to the Chicago Botanic Garden and follow a fun parade route on Saturday, October 20.
You’re not doing Halloween right if you’re skipping out on going to a haunted house. Many are in the ‘burbs, but they’re worth the trip. Too scared? Too bad. You need to enter these if you dare.
- 13th Floor Haunted House – Melrose Park, IL
- Miasma – Lakeview
- House of Torment – Morton Grove, IL
- Statesville Haunted Prison – Crest Hill, IL
- Dungeon of Doom – Zion, IL
- Midnight Terror – Oak Lawn, IL
- Basement of the Dead – Aurora, IL
- Amhurst Asylum – Valparaiso, IN
- Scream Scene – Skokie, IL
- Heap’s Haunted Corn Maze – Minooka, IL
There’s nothing like watching horror movies in October. Ring in Halloween with freaky films at Chicago’s favorite theaters.
- Music Box Theatre – Music Box of Horrors 2018 Series
- Logan Theatre – It’s all classic horror movies for the entire month of October!
- The Massacre @ The Davis Theater – 24 full hours of horror movie fun on September 29th and 30th!
If you want to keep it traditional, Chicago has some wonderful neighborhoods where you and your family can enjoy a fall breeze while visiting beautifully decorated homes. According to multiple surveys, these are the best ‘hoods for trick-or-treating.
- Roscoe Village
- Hyde Park
- Wicker Park
- Lincoln Park
- Southport Corridor
Anything we missed? Got a tip on a super cool Halloween event that you want everyone to know about? Tell us below!