Fall vibes in the suburbs can be contagious. The seasonal porch decor, local festivals, and influx of pumpkin patch photos across social media can make even summer’s biggest fans wear all the plaid, order a pumpkin spice latte and appreciate the full essence of autumn. Join in on the harvest fest season fun, by adding these family, adult-only and pet activities to your fall must-do list.
Boo! At the Zoo, Brookfield Zoo (weekends through October 28). Arrive in costume for a not-so-scary Halloween event for the whole family. Bring a bag to trick-or-treat at the candy stations throughout the zoo, watch a professional pumpkin carver at work, take a haunted hayride, try your hand at a Halloween craft, participate in the costume parade, and more!
Pumpkin Flotilla Fest (October 21). Lit, creatively carved gourds are set afloat in the Lake Ellyn Park, at dusk. Prior to the float, enjoy live music, pumpkin carving demonstration, kids activities and even embark on a canoe ride on the lake.
Fall Color Festival, Morton Arboretum (Month of October). The month-long autumn celebration showcases the beauty of fall at the Arboretum. Explore the hundreds of thousands of trees’ vivid colors, by hiking, biking or driving. Create family memories in the Children’s Garden, or enjoy fall-themed events on select weekends.
Cider and Ale Festival, Morton Arboretum (October 20). Hire a babysitter for this adults-only festival. Enjoy live music and crisp autumn air, while sipping hard cider and seasonal beers from more than 45 local breweries and cideries.
DuPage Children’s Museum Fall Festival (October 27). Dress the kids in costume for a special Halloween celebration. Little ones can enjoy live music, a special touch-a-tractor event, and spend the day building, discovering, thinking, playing and more.
Evanston Oktoberfest (October 14). Spend an afternoon beer tasting, savoring local bites and listening to live music. The 14th annual fest will serve more than 40 styles of craft beer from favorite local and regional breweries.
Northwestern Football (through November 24). Don’t let fall pass you by without taking in a local football game. Visit Ryan Field to cheer on the Wildcats and enjoy a Big10 game, close to home.
Spooky Pooch Parade, Chicago Botanic Garden (October 20). A special event for pet owners, for two hours only, dogs are allowed in the Chicago Botanic Garden for their very own puppy parade. Adorably costumed pups march the parade route to celebrate Halloween — and spectating is free!
Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, Chicago Botanic Garden (October 24-28). More than 1,000 hand-carved, LED lit pumpkins will be staged along a festive pathway, to light up the night. Purchase a cider to enjoy as you walk the path and take in the entertaining characters, live pumpkin carvings and view the ghostly trains in the Model Railroad Garden.
Goebbert’s Fall Festival (through October 31). Spend a quintessential fall day of family fun at Goebbert’s Pumpkin Farm. Pick out a pumpkin, enjoy the animals, watch a pig race, and indulge in some apple cider donuts.
Haunted House and Not So Scary Haunted House (October 28). A 100-year tradition, the Winnetka Community House is an old pro at creating spooky fun. Prepare to get scared in the classic maze, or if you have little ones in tow, opt for the Not So Scary Haunted House, to take part in the fun with the lights on and no ghouls jumping out!