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.


Costume Shops

Photo Credit: The Real Chicago

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.



Photo Credit: Electronic Midwest

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.


Bar Crawls

Photo Credit: Chicago Halloween Venues

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.


Parties, Gatherings, and Conventions

Photo Credit: Fitt

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.



Photo Credit: Timeout

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.


Haunted Houses

Photo Credit: Youtube

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.


Scary Movies

Photo Credit: The Indie-pendent

There’s nothing like watching horror movies in October. Ring in Halloween with freaky films at Chicago’s favorite theaters.




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!


Find what really matters in Chicago with the UrbanMatter app!

To download or see reviews from our users, head here.

About Author


  • Trackback: Chicago’s Ultimate Halloween Guide - Chic...
      Posted Sep 24, 2016 6:16 pm 0Likes

      You forgot Halloween Burlesque shows! Plenty of them – but the Kiss Kiss Cabaret’s Peek-a-Boo show runs every Friday and Saturday night at 10pm at Uptown Underground for the month of October!

    Trent Anderson
    Posted Sep 12, 2016 4:52 pm 0Likes

    These pictures are disturbing! NSFW!

    Posted Sep 12, 2016 9:59 pm 0Likes

    You all forgot about:
    Fright Fest, Six Flags…Gurnee IL
    Haunted Massacre, Montgomery IL

    Danielle Szy
    Posted Sep 12, 2016 11:22 pm 0Likes

    This Halloween season, Danielle and Nicholas Szy (SzyMagic) invite you to an intimate evening of mystery and magic.

    ‘Ghosts of the Past’, a one-of-a-kind show presented in 3 acts, will provide thrills and plenty of spine-tingling chills. Inspired by true events, ghost stories, and urban legends, this 90-minute spectacle is certain to be something you will not soon forget!

    Each audience is limited to just 30 guests. Get your tickets now!

    Kaitlyn Mars
    Posted Sep 14, 2016 10:29 am 0Likes

    Lake Hills Haunted House in St. John, IN! About a half hour away from Valparaiso.

    Posted Sep 18, 2016 8:23 am 0Likes

    Roscoe Village also has an awesome Halloween parade, and you get to trick or treat at the stores on Roscoe after!

    Posted Sep 20, 2016 10:03 am 0Likes

    Any more dog friendly events or recommendations?

    Posted Sep 22, 2016 1:16 pm 0Likes

    Bizarre Bucktown walking tour is offering a special Halloween tour that focuses on the area’s darkest history and lore. Adults only.

    Posted Sep 22, 2016 10:18 pm 0Likes

    Then there’s HalloweeM, the annual convention of Chicago Area Mensa. In its 41st year, WeeM hosts a four-day-long party for 400+ smarties. Classes, workshops, two costume parades, field trips, two dances, round-the-clock food and beverages, and more. Details and registration information are available at

    Posted Sep 26, 2016 11:45 am 0Likes

    You forgot the fall festivities at Lincoln Park Zoo!

    Martha Kelly
    Posted Sep 28, 2016 11:12 pm 0Likes

    Check this haunted house out in St. John , Indiana!

    Posted Sep 30, 2016 8:04 pm 0Likes

    Haunted Hills Hospital in Portage,IN the best!

    Posted Oct 20, 2016 7:25 pm 0Likes

    The ONLY Halloween open bar event in town is Kegoween. They have a really funky video too.

    $10 off with promo code chi-cityalert

    Posted Oct 26, 2016 2:29 pm 0Likes

    Silent film NOSFERATU, playing in a dark, neo-gothic church with live pipe organ accompaniment. Halloween Night at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park.

    Kelly Bradley
    Posted Oct 1, 2017 10:48 pm 0Likes

    MASSACRE 24-Hour-Horror-Movie-Marathon Oct. 14 – Patio Theater (6008 W. Irving Park Rd. Chicago)

    Come to The Massacre 24-hour-horror-movie-marathon (Oct. 14, Patio Theater), see CREEPSHOW, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, SLEEPAWAY CAMP (star Felissa Rose in person), LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (director John D. Hancock in Person), NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (90), DRIVE-IN MASSACRE, TERROR TRAIN, 2,000 MANIACS, ALIENS & more! Presale Tickets only $20. Plus Vendors, Free Parking, Free Posters! Event page: Please Share

    Posted Oct 3, 2017 1:33 pm 0Likes

    The 8th annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival THIS WEEKEND October 6-8! The town is lined with scaffolding towering above the streets and attendees attempt to carve and light over 30,000 jack-o-lanterns to break a world record! Tons of fun food and drink vendors, a full carnival for the kids, 3 music stages, costume and pie eating contests and so much more.
    It’s a great event!

    Happy Halloween
    Posted Mar 20, 2018 1:00 pm 0Likes

    Every October, I fall in danger when Halloween comes. But how can I save from that great festival? Just give a perfect solution!!

  • Trackback: 4 Things to Do in Chicago This Weekend

Leave a comment