Around Town looks at four fun fall festivals that that families can take advantage of right now.
Boo! at the Zoo
There is only one weekend left, Oct. 26-27, to go to Brookfield Zoo’s annual Halloween festival in 2019. Running Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. it features pumpkin carving demonstrations, hay rides, trick-or-treat stations (kids should bring their own bags), animal Zoo Chats, a “Crazed Maize” corn maze, a Pumpkin Smasher and a Creepy (sorta) Carousel. Visitors are encouraged to participate in the cCstume Parade that starts at 1 p.m. by the Discovery Center and ghoulishly move to music at a 1:30 p.m. Costume Dance Pary.
General zoo admission is $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Children 2 and under are free. Parking is $14. (Additional fees apply to some Boo! at the Zoo activities.) For further information, visit CZS.org/Boo or call (708) 688-8000.
Didier Farms Pumpkinfest
After going once to Didier Farms for its maze, hayride, pumpkin carving tools and food, it is likely to be penned in (not penciled) from that year on even when youngsters reach high school age. Located on Aptakisic Road west of Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire, Didier Farms, a family-owned business since 1912, supplies some grocery stores plus has its own farm market. But when October comes, the place becomes pumpkin central for families loading wagons with over-grown gourds (squash if you are going to eat it instead of turning it into a jack-o-lantern) and youngsters eager to wander the maze or take a hayride. Pumpkinfest goes now through Oct. 31.
Didier Farms is at 16678 W. Aptakisic Rd., Lincolnshire, IL 60069. Phone (847) 634-3291.
Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival
Now thru oct. 30
There is so much going on at Tom’s Farm Market Fall Festival that families should plan to spend a couple of hours there. “There” is a ride out northwest of Chicago to Huntley, IL. Don’t leave before picking up one of the market’s excellent pies or some donuts to take in the car for the trip back home. But first take a free wagon ride to the pumpkin patch to pick your pumpkin. Then, visit the six-acre corn maze. Youngsters will like the Pumpkin express Barrel Ride, the Pedal Tractor Track or maybe the Climbing Spider Web. There is also PlayLand, and the Giant Pumpkin Jumper plus face painting and a petting zoo.
Going on now through Oct. 30, hours Monday through Friday are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with admission of $7 children, $5 adults and age 2 and younger and weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays with adults and children at $10 each. Visitors can make and take a scarecrow home for $22. Tom’s Farm Market is at 10214 Algonquin Rd., Huntley, IL, (847) 669-3421.
Richardson Adventure Farm
Every fall Richardson Farm develops a giant-sized maze to wander that fits with current events or characters. For 2019 the maze honors the moon landing. There are different tracks to take through the maze so times can range from a quick 10 to 20 minutes or the longer 60 to 90 minutes. But leave time for the giant slide, wagon or train ride, the animatronic Chicken Show, a ride on the vintage carousel and a climb up a 50 foot observation tower or watch the pig races and try the paintball shooting gallery. If you don’t have a pumpkin yet, pick your own. They cost 45 cents a pound.
The Richardson Adventure Farm is open now through Nov. 3, 2019 on Thursday through Sundays. Hours are: Thursday 3-10 p.m.;, Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. Admission can range from $14 to $19 depending on age, day of the week (Lower rates are on Wednesdays) and activity. RichardsonFarm is at 909 English Prairie Rd near Spring Grove, IL Visit RichardsonAdventureFarm or call (815) 675-9729.
This year get into the Halloween spirit with an unusual parade and event downtown Chicago Saturday, Oct. 20. Follow up tasty treats the following Saturday, Oct. 27 and Wednesday Oct. 31 at Navy Pier.
First, get thyself and friends down to State Street between Lake and Van Buren Streets between 6 and 8 p.m. for “Arts in the Dark” to see floats, dancers, lantern carriers and a weird assortment of performers parade by. The fun procession is co hosted by the Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Loop Alliance.
Then , from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. be at the ”Bean” (Cloud Gate Plaza) in Millennial Park for music, circus-style side-show characters, magicians, video projections, fortune tellers and even a kids station for the younger crowd hosted by DCASE. Best stairway into the park is at the east end of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue.
Continue the fun in Maggie Daley Park east of Millennial Park (337 E. Randolph St.). Here, the Chicago Park District is passing out candy and showing the movie “Beetlejuice. For more exercise try Mini Golf at $11 or the Skating Ribbon and Climbing Wall with a $20 package price.
Next Saturday bring a treat bag to Navy Pier, receive a candy passport at Guest Services Desk at the main entrance for list of treat stations and participating businesses from 1 to 5 p.m. Then liten listen to music by different bands in “Sequence Chicago’s free fall/winter performance series.
The Halloween celebration ends at the Pier Oct. 31 with more candy handouts from 3 to 7 p.m. and bands. (Registration for the free Centennial Wheel ride is full)
Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. For more info visit Navy Pier.
Several stage productions gladden the December holiday season and there are romantic comedies perfect for February. But when it comes to October, there’s usually a dearth of plays that chill the soul. Not so, this October with three classics to see.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company is doing Arthur Miller’s 1953 scary in a what-can-happen way when seemingly normal neighbors believe the stories behind the Salem Witch Trials. The play is part of the Steppenwolf for Young Adults series but it really is a play for all generations. Running for only eight public performances from Oct. 4 through Oct. 21, 2017, it’s a chilling reminder of how fake news can spread as if true and the harm it can do. For tickets ($20 general and $15 students) visit Steppenwolf or call (312) 335-1650. Steppenwolf Theatre Company is at 1650 N. Halsted St. Chicago.
First Folio Theatre at the possibly haunted Mayslake Peabody Estate, is doing the world premiere of Joseph Zettelmaier’s ‘The Man-Beast.’ Based on a French legendary werewolf, it’s the third play in his triology of ‘The Gravedigger’ and ‘Dr. Seward’s Dracula.’ The play runs from Oct. 7 through Nov. 5, 2017. Get tickets if you dare see it at First Folio or by calling (630) 986-8067. Located in a Du Page County forest preserve, First Folio is at 31st St. and Rt. 83 in Oak Brook.
‘GHOSTS & zombies’
Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts,” a drams that starts out innocently enough with a woman opening an orphanage as a tribute to her dead husband, becomes a dark comedy in the hands of writer Gustav Tegby. Translated by Chad Eric Bergman, the play takes a strange turn when the woman’s estate hosts ghosts and the un-dead. The play is presented by Akvavit Theatre at the Strawdog Theatre Company now through Oct. 29, 2017. For tickets go to Chicago Nordic. Strawdog Theatre Company is at 1802 W. Berenice, Chicago.