Oh, the horror! More frights abound in Centerstage's Halloween Guide...
Bars & Clubs ~ Pumpkin Pickin ~ Frightening Fare ~ Halloween Costumes
As a kid, Halloween was the pleasure jackpot: I'd scowl at anyone who handed out bubblegum, stay up until midnight (!) watching horror flicks with my folks and undoubtedly end the night with my mouth covered in chocolate.
After a guy dressed as Fred Flinstone puked on my shoes last Halloween, I decided that this year I would hang up my bar routine and get back in touch with my Halloween-loving inner-kid with some hip events that put alcohol on the back burner. With that in mind, here are the top 10 Halloween happenings I'm counting down to this year.
1. Kick it off on Friday the 13th with Splatter Theater
Friday the 13th is just begging to be the kickoff to your Halloween festivities and Annoyance Theater is all too happy to usher in the season with "Splatter Theater." This spoof on slasher films (think crisp white walls and a stomach-turning quantity of blood) is somewhat of a classic, having debuted in 1987. Through Nov 4; 10:31 p.m., $13.
2. Feel like a zombie at the Music Box Massacre
Scary movie marathon—where do I sign up? The 24-hour Music Box Massacre ups the ante even further with appearances by directors Joe Dante and John Hancock, live music, costume contests and vintage movie trailers. The 13-movie line-up includes Friday the 13th Part Two and It Came From Outer Space. Noon-noon Oct 14-15; $24 advance, $29 door. (There's also a five-day film fest at the Portage Theater.)
3. Jump aboard the Seadog Haunted River Tour
Mix scary stories with murky water and you're bound to be clutching your neighbor in no time. With costumed narrators leading the 75-minute river tour, you'll head out onto Lake Michigan and the Chicago River while hearing spooky stories like the Curse of Captain Jack Kaplan. Jump aboard the later departure to guarantee you're sailing after sunset. Oct 6-31, 6:15 and 8:15 p.m., $26.95.
4. Get your heart pumping at the Morton Arboretum
You'll get your fill of crisp autumn air on this hike, filled with falling leaves, pretty scenery...and Frankenstein? Rather than draw a curtain between acts, this theater moves its audience around—meaning you'll hike a total of two miles as Mary Shelly's classic novel unfurls over a string of outdoor locations. Oct 7-9, 14-15, 21-22 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. $15.
5. Go bump in the night at Sleep Inn Naperville
No, it's not just the suburbs that will lend your stay at the Naperville Sleep Inn an other-worldly feel. After check-in, you'll board the Trolley of Terror for a three-hour guided tour of haunted Naperville sites before heading to a cemetery to hunt ghosts with a veteran ghost hunter. Just try to rest in peace after that. Oct 20, 21 and 27, 28, $130 per couple.
6. Freak out outdoors at Peterson Park Trails of Terror
The Peterson Park Trails of Terror has all the promise of a goose-pimply fun time: more than a half-mile of outdoor trails through woodsy Peterson Park (Blair Witch, anyone?) and classic urban legends, including Resurrection Mary, Bloody Mary, Bigfoot and the Two-Striped Telamonia Spider. Oct 26-31, 6-9 p.m. $8.
7. Step aboard and sail the Spooky Seas
Prove your Halloween bravado by camping out near the sharks at the Shedd Aquarium's Spooky Seas sleepover, which starts with Halloween noshes, trick-or-treating (don't worry—the animals won't tell your pals), animal encounters and a costume parade. More family fun than heart-pounding horror...until you try to get to sleep. Oct 27, 6 p.m. $60.
8. Bowl 'em over at 10pin's annual Masquerade Bowl
When's the last time you saw Casper and Dracula go head to head in a bowling bout? Go all-out at this "masquerade bowl," as first place in the costume contest scores a vacation to Aruba. If your get-up hinders your swing, head to the dance floor, watch a scary movie on the 128-foot video wall or snag some Halloween munchies (phlegm brulee, anyone?). Oct 28, 9 p.m., no cover.
9. Rock it out at Double Door's 10th annual Halloween Bash
No sloppy, last-minute costume attempts here. The Double Door's annual bash presents a double-whammy your favorite local bands...in costume as their favorite bands. See Colombian Local Pike as the Rolling Stones, Hush Drops as the Beatles, Blackbox as Hole, the Pinks as the Go-Gos, Dogs of Ness as Pink Floyd and more. Oct 27 and 28, 8 p.m. $12.
10. Join the North Halsted Street Halloween Parade
Think of it as trick-or-treat for grown-ups: March along Halsted from Belmont to Cordelia with a raucous crowd and savor the eye-candy of those dressed to impress in this year's theme, "Disco Gone Evil." The 10th annual parade concludes with pet, drag, adult and group costume contests (expect stiff competition from this seasoned crowd). Oct 31, 7-9 p.m.; free.