There's a whole 'nother week before Halloween, people, but Chicago can't seem to contain its excitement. If you haven't put the finishing touches on your vandalized Marilyn Monroe statue costume, you're already behind--this weekend Chicago's sporting a host of spooky events to tide you over until the big day.
Boo at the Zoo
Dressing up as an exotic creature this year? Study up and make sure you get all the details right with a visit to Brookfield Zoo's annual BOO! At the Zoo Halloween festival. Take a spin on the haunted carousel, show off your costumes and pumpkin-carving skills, and measure your true fear threshold in a close encounter with a black widow spider.
Where: Brookfield Zoo, 8401 31st St., Brookfield
When: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Price: $13.50 Adults, $9.50 Children 3-11 and Seniors
Navy Pier's Really Big Halloween Party
Navy Pier is always scary for hydrophobics, but for the rest of us they're upping the ante with Navy Pier's Really Big Halloween Party. Catch fireworks Saturday and vie for a spot in the costume contest and watch street performers attempt Harry Houdini's death-defying water chamber escape trick. Kids under 12 in costume can even trick-or-treat the pier.
Where: Navy Pier
When: 12 p.m. - 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. Sunday
Price: $20 for attractions, admission free
Metropolitan Brewing Co.'s Carburetor Rye Bock #58 Release Party
One of Chicago's favorite local breweries, Metropolitan Brewing Co., is introducing its new dark beer with a bang at they're Carburetor Rye Bock #58 Release Party. The Doppelbock brew was aged in a Templeton Rye barrel for seven months, and will be available exclusively at the party for as long as it lasts.
Where: City Provisions, 1818 West Wilson, Chicago
When: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Friday
Terror in the Aisles
If you like your movies with a side of screams, your presence is requested at Terror in the Aisles, this week screening "An American Werewolf In London" with a guest appearance by star David Naughton, "Demons & Dance of the Dead" with director Gregg Bishop in person, and the classic horror comedy "Shaun of the Dead." Bring pocket change for an auction to benefit Vital Bridges, supporting men, women and children impacted by HIV and AIDS.
Where: Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
When: 6 p.m. - 2 a.m. Friday
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest
Chicago suburb Highwood is gunning for the world jack-o-lantern record after a failed attempt last year. Be there to see if they make history at the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest, where they'll try to beat the record set in 2006 by lighting up 32,000 carved pumpkins. Win or lose, live music, pumpkin carving, costume contests and a 5k run will keep the mood festive.
Where: City Hall, 17 Highwood Ave., Highwood
When: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m,
Windy City Rollers Monster Bash
Chicago's favorite women's roller derby team, the Windy City Rollers, are headed to Denver to compete in the national championship--but before they go, they're treating Chicagoans to a bone-crushing bout against the Tampa Derby Darlins. Hit up their pre-Halloween Monster Bash, where they'll be hosting a costume contest sure to bring out at least a handful of roller zombies.
Earlier this month, the Windy City Rollers ass-kicked their way into a national tournament by clinching the division title. Tonight's bout against Tampa Derby Darlins, dubbed Monster Bash, is the last season game before the ladies head to Denver and vie for the national championship.
Where: UIC Pavilion, 525 S. Racine Ave., Chicago
When: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
You may never have had to "earn" a tailgate back in your college days, but now that you (and your metabolism) have graduated, expect a bit more give-and-take if you want to keep your six-pack. Problem solved with the Homecoming 5K, a race along Lake Shore Drive where participants fundraise for their alma mater's alumni associations. Don your most spirited gear and push through to the finish line, where kegs of beer, cheerleaders and a marching band will be waiting.
Where: Montrose and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago
When: 9:30 a.m. race, 11 a.m. post-race party
HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
Were you one of thousands of children who grew up with the stories of Strega Nona? Meet the author, Tomie dePaola, at Anderson's Bookshop, where he'll be signing copies of his new book, Strega Nona's Gift. The newest addition to the Strega Nona collection offers a sweet introduction to Italian holiday customs and is sure to usher in a new generation of dePaola fans.
Where: Anderson’s Bookshop, 123 W. Jefferson Ave., Chicago
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Price: Admission free with purchase of Strega Nona's Gift.