First off, if you didn’t make a reservation for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Night of 1,000 Jack o Lanterns, try for next year. The 2020 event is sold out.
However, there are fun pumpkin patches where families can have fun, pick up the perfect pumpkin and some tools and ideas for carving their own Jack o’ Lantern. No tickets needed to pick a pumpkin or purchase store items. Rides and some events need tickets to observe social distancing.
Humans aren’t the only ones who can dress up for Halloween according to Pasquesi Home and Garden in Lake Bluff. The long-time family-owned business is doing a Howl-o-Ween so dogs get to participate. The event includes photos the shop will take and put online and a goodie bag for pooches. For information visit Pasquesi/howloween. Pasquesi is at 975 North Shore Dr., Lake Bluff, (847) 615-2700.
For teens and adults
See the movie “16 Candles” Oct. 9 at ChiTown Movies or go there later at night for one of Music Box’s horror films. The drive-in movie lot is at 2343 S Throop St, Chicago, IL 60608. If no car, check Row A during ticket purchase and bring chairs for your group. For the schedule, tickets and more information visit Musicboxtheatre/boxofhorrors.
Or get your thrills driving through the zombie and demon-filled alley at the arcade bar in Lincoln Park, 2833 N Sheffield Ave. For tickets and more information visit alleyofdarkness.
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.