Your buddies refuse to spend another Halloween getting hit on by Darth Vader at a packed, beer-soaked bar. We understand; there comes a time when only a house party will do, so do your darnedest to throw the craziest pumpkin bash this side of Lake Eerie by trekking to these spots for some ghoulish goods.
Deck out at Lost Eras
First things first: You need a costume. Lost Eras, Chicago's largest costume shop/flea market/curio store, has two overstuffed floors of wild clothing, antique furniture, stage props and a hodge-podge of miscellaneous wares. No estate sale can match this place when it comes to aimless browsing. Need a lamp shaped like a Smith and Wesson pistol circa 1890? It's got it. What about that motorized belt contraption that was a weight-loss craze in the '50s? Ditto. Or, need a ham radio for your Ken Burns theme party? Lost Eras has ten. But if you can't take three solid days to glean the racks, you might want to plan out your getup in advance and ask for guidance from the helpful staff. Those folks, somewhat miraculously, know the location of every fat suit, bunny head and pill-box hat in the store. Costumes with all the trimmings are available for rent or sale. Two-day rentals average $50-$60, depending on how extravagant you want to get. If you can't get to Lost Eras, try one of these other costume shops.
Bob for the best at Garden Patch Farms and Orchard
It doesn't take much more than a rousing round of apple bobbing to really get a party going. But why pick through the grocery bin for your fruit when you can travel a scant 45 minutes and pluck 'em straight from the tree (and make clucking sounds at a pen full of chickens while you're at it)? At Garden Patch Farms, located in the southwest suburb of Homer Glen, you can spend a day taking brisk strolls through the trees, gorging yourself on over 60 varieties of ripe autumn apples. October is the month for sweet Fujis, Braeburns and Suncrisps—and tart Granny Smiths if you're of the baking inclination. By the time you've sampled every variety, you'll readily let that Zombie Spice Girl cut in front of you to plunge face-first in the tub. Still feeling picky? Try one of these harvesting spots
Other party-supply haunts to explore:
Don't forget the pumpkin pie. Emily Smith and her father, Vernon, provide the traditional autumn dessert, as well as signature seasonal treats like savory mushroom scones, at this tucked-away shop.
Let's be honest: A good percentage of us treat Halloween as an excuse to wear clothing that would otherwise land us in handcuffs (wink, wink). If Lost Eras is more G-rated than you had in mind, head to Boystown and pick up those vinyl britches or skyscraper stilettos you've been dreaming of.
West Lakeview Liquors
If you forget to whip up a batch of witches brew, have no fear; the folks at this neighborhood liquor shop stock all the booze you'll need. Expect a good selection of seasonal suds, shelves lined with affordable wines and a storefront decorated with fall-friendly dried cornstalks to boot.
Looking for more ways to celebrate the season? We've got you covered with scarily accurate info on:
Creepy Chicago Tours