Make the most of your costume with trick-or-treating, decorate your own pumpkins, check out more than 1000 jack-o-lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden, stroll through a haunted house or enjoy more than a dozen other Halloween activities in and around Evanston this year.

Saturday, Oct. 20

Zombie Scramble
Join your family and friends as you attempt to complete a 2-mile course through the Ladd Arboretum, Twiggs and Butler Parks without becoming “infected” by roaming zombies. Registration is required.
The goal of the Zombie Scramble is for you and your team members to finish the race with all of your “lives” intact. Your “lives” are represented by flags hanging off of a flag football belt you will wear. Throughout the course, Zombies will be attempting to grab your flag as you attempt to avoid them. If you lose all of your flags you become “infected” and complete the race as an “infected” person.
At Ladd Arboretum, 2024 McCormick Blvd. on Saturday, Oct. 20 all day,

Halloween Movie Fest
Halloween-themed movies will be shown at the main branch of the Evanston Public Library (1703 Orrington Ave.) every weekend in October at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

  • Oct. 20 The Haunted Mansion (4 p.m. start)
  • Oct. 21 Hotel Transylvania
  • Oct. 27 The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Oct. 28 Hocus Pocus

Rags to Witches activity.
Rags to Witches
Don’t miss Ragdale’s third annual costumed, creative spookfest. Guests and little monsters will be spellbound by live performances, hands-on art projects, games, and seasonal tastings throughout Lake Forest’s most imaginative haunted estate. A unique blend of artist-led activities, including:

  • A spellbinding scavenger hunt through the pet cemetery and beyond
  • Spirited performances in the Witches Ring
  • Costume contest with prizes
  • Sweet Shoppe with cider and snacks

New this year is the “After Dark” party for teens and adults from 6 to 8 p.m. Special performances, live music, and eerie visual effects will create the mood for the dead to dance and ghosts to fly.
At Ragdale 1260 N. Green Bay Road, Lake Forest on Saturday, Oct. 20, 3-8 $15-25

Tuesday, Oct. 23

Fall Fest at Gibbs-Morrison
Stop by the Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center to try your hand at carving pumpkins, decorating pumpkins and caramel apples, playing games and more. This event is open to children ages 4 to 11 years old. Admission is free!
At Gibbs-Morrison, corner of Church and Dodge, on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Wednesday-Sunday, Oct. 24-28

Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns
More than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins—some as large as 150 pounds—will light up the night at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The event has timed tickets and parking fees apply.
At Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, Oct. 24-28, 6:30-10:30 p.m. tickets $13-18

Thursday, Oct. 25

Project Pumpkin
Bring your children to trick-or-treat in a controlled and safe environment. NU partners with Evanston and Chicagoland schools to provide transportation, but also welcome families to walk in and enjoy the event. Student volunteers lead kids and families around Norris to collect candy, play games, and interact with dozens of Northwestern student groups who sponsor booths.
At Norris University Center, 1999 Campus Drive, on Thursday, Oct 25, 5-7 p.m. free. Parking lots on campus are unrestricted after 4 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 26

Haunted House
Join us on a frighteningly fun adventure as we stroll through Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center’s Haunted House! There will be arts and crafts activities, face painting, food and other spooktacular activities the whole family can enjoy.
At Fleetwood-Jourdain, 1655 Foster St., on Friday Oct. 26, 7-9 p.m. Admission is free.

Saturday, Oct. 27

Halloween Trick or Treat Stroll
Bring yourself and your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews or neighbors in costume to trick-or-treat at downtown businesses from noon to 3 p.m. and take part in special Halloween-themed activities. After trick or treating, walk to the Holiday Inn at 1501 Sherman Ave. for a Halloween Party from 3 to 5 p.m. with Halloween-themed activities, music and a special candy bar! The event is free!
Downtown Evanston, on Saturday, Oct. 27, 12-5 p.m.

Hallow-teen Pizza Costume Party
Express yourself with a Halloween costume contest, painting and pizza party for ages 10 and up. You will be supplied with everything you need to create your own masterpiece on a take-home stretch canvas. Children age 10-17 must be accompanied by paying adult. BYOB.
At Bottle & Bottega, 1016 Davis St., 6-8 p.m. tickets $30

Bug a Boo
Learn fun facts and amazing adaptations of animals that live right here in Evanston! You’ll meet these characters (costumed volunteers) outside as you travel around the Ladd Arboretum. After your adventure, you’ll enjoy activities and snacks at the Ecology Center. This event is for children ages 2 to 10 years old.
At Evanston Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd. on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Each sessions lasts about 45 minutes. Admission is $5 for residents and $7 for nonresidents.

Sunday, Oct. 28

Family Halloween Costume and Craft Party
Create Halloween-themed crafts, play games and sing songs in an event planned and run by two local teachers, Jamie Chrobak and Donna Oline from School for Little Children. Crafts for kids ages 4-10. A lunch buffet of salad, pizza, mini hot dogs and a special “crafty dessert” will be served. Adults $20 includes lunch and 1 drink ticket. Kids $15 includes lunch and craft project to take home. Each additional child $10 and free for kids 3 and under.
At Firehouse Grill, 750 Chicago Ave., on Sunday, Oct. 28, noon-3 p.m. tickets $10-20

Day of the Dead Celebration
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos with a performance from the Academy of Mexican Dance and Music, Mexican food and beverages available for purchase, art stations to make ofrendas, and a costume parade for all ages! Admission is free.
At Levy Center, 300 Dodge Avenue, on Sunday, Oct. 28 4-6 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 30

Random Acts of Flowers BOO-Quets
Guests will create two fall centerpieces in pumpkins – one to keep and one to be delivered to a local children’s hospital or a home for women with developmental disabilities. Refreshments and appetizers will be provided (BYOB). Costumes are encouraged!
At Random Acts of Flowers Chicago, 2000 Greenleaf St., Suite 5, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 7-9 p.m.  tickets $45                    

Wednesday, Oct. 31

Halloween Time Together
We’ll run and play as usual, but children who come in costume will get in for free. Miss Patti will also bring her face paints! As a special treat, families who buy a punch pass between Oct. 24 and Nov. 2 will receive two free punches. For children from birth to age 4.
At Chandler-Newberger Center, 1028 Central St., on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 9-11 a.m.

Preschool Halloween Party
Wear your costume and enjoy games, prizes, music, refreshments, and non-frightening fun! This event will be held at the Robert Crown Community Center on Wed., Oct. 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is open to children age 5 and under. Admission is $5 per family. Please contact Tiffany at 847-448-8167.
At Robert Crown Community Center, 1701 Main St., on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Trick or Treating
Don’t forget to don your costumes one more time for trick-or-treating in Evanston neighborhoods. Official hours are 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 3

It’s the Great Pumpkin Compost Collection Event
Community members can rescue their Halloween pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns from withering on the front porch or ending up in the landfill by participating in the City’s 3rd annual “It’s the Great Pumpkin Compost” collection event.
The free “drive-up, drop-off” event provides residents without a food and yard waste cart an opportunity to have their pumpkins composted, which saves landfill space and reduces the release of greenhouse gases.
Plain, clean pumpkins of any size will be accepted, as well as pumpkins painted with acrylic paint. Pumpkins contaminated with candle wax, stickers, or decorations of any type will not be accepted. No other organic material may be dropped off.
In the parking lot of the Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave. on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon.

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