Spooky Halloween Events in the Windy City

When it comes to Halloween this season, Chicago has it covered– ghostly pub tours, a chance to walk the streets where the city’s first serial killer (or at least the first we know about) once roamed, re-enactments of Victorian era seances, and a chance to explore the city with noted author. podcaster, and host of Mysterious Chicago Tours Adam Selzer at the Lincoln Park Zoo. These are just a few of the many spooky events happening in Chicago this Halloween season.

Ever read Devil in the White City, the bestselling book by Erik Larson about H.H. Holmes? Now walk in his footsteps with Chicago Ghost Tours with Free Tours by Foot (Adults-only tour departs 3×4 times per week at 6:00 p.m.; check scheduling and pay as you will), a two hour, 1-mile walking tour takes guests through downtown Chicago. Fittingly it begins when the sun is setting, the perfect time to hear some of the most gruesome and creepy Chicago stories about the Everleigh Club, the 1900’s Red Light district, and about downtown prison breaks.

For Those Who Dare: Other Spooky Opportunities Abound.

Consider these:

Chicago Ghost Tour Pub Crawl by Nightly Spirits (Attendees must be 21+; tickets start at $30 per person; purchase of alcohol not included or required).

 The Nightly Spirits Lincoln Park Haunted Pub Tour explores some of the most haunted pubs, alleys, and buildings. Stand a few feet away from where Dillinger met his end, catch a whiff of flowers as the unseen lavender lady passes by, enjoy a drink in an antique store where each item has a story of its own, and get a true glimpse of the prohibition lifestyle. Start your tour at the haunted Lincoln Station Bar while your costumed guide creeps you out with stories of murdered gangsters, local lore, and old owners that won’t vacate the nearby buildings!

Then take the 2.5-hour walking journey exploring the Lincoln Park area to meet the spirits that haunt the locals at  favorite local haunts! The tour encompases up to 3 haunted bars*–and that’s a good thing as you’ll need plenty of liquid courage (available for purchase) to face the ghostly residents of the Windy City.

Ghost Tours at the Auditorium Theatre (Tours through November 22, Sundays, Mondays & Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m., Thursdays at 6:00 p.m.; tickets start at $15 per person).

Step into the spooky world of the supernatural this October and November for this special Halloween edition of the Auditorium Theatre’s National Landmark Backstage Tours. In addition to learning about the unique architecture and history of this storied Chicago building, tours will also discover the haunted, goosebumps-inducing past. Watch your step, a 134-year-old building is bound to have a few ghosts, including a persistent disembodied whistling in the stage door alley, specters that appear and disappear in the seats at night, the ghost of a man whose funeral was held on the Auditorium’s stage, and more. The Auditorium Theatre, designed by famed architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, opened on December 9, 1889, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975. ‘Spirited’ Thursday evening tours also include access to a cash bar.  The spooky- but not scary- tour is appropriate for all ages. Come in costume on October 29 for a special Halloween ghost tour that includes candy for kids of all ages.

Haunted History Tours at Lincoln Park Zoo (Tours run Tuesdays and Wednesdays through October at 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., $35 per person, must be 16+).

Join Adam Selzer, author, podcaster, and host of Mysterious Chicago Tours, for spine-tingling walkabouts that dig into the zoo’s cemetery roots and locations from throughout its allegedly haunted history.

Jane Addams Hull-House Museum Evening Ghost Tours (Select tours on Fridays October 20 and 27, at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; $10 per person, recommended for ages 16+).

From its inception, the Hull-House Settlement was a center of urban legends and supernatural stories, as Chicago’s neighborhoods kept whispers alive about its supposed unearthly inhabitants. Today, Hull-House is a favorite stop on Chicago ghost tours and it is often hailed as one of the most haunted places in the country.

While they are spooky and fun, these stories stem from important conversations about religious beliefs and social norms, as well as the collective consciousness of the Hull-House neighborhood. For many, Chicago was a place of great hardship, plagued by a history of tragic events that left countless ghost stories in their wake, including those of Hull-House’s infamous Devil Baby and resident Lady in White. Guests will be led through the house by a Museum Educator and will have the opportunity to learn all about Hull-House’s haunted history. 

Night of 1,000 Jack-o-Lanterns at Chicago Botanic Garden (October 18–22  6:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.; tickets start at $19/$21 per adult, $13/$15 per child (age 3-12).

Monstrous vibes meet crisp fall evenings at Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns, where artist-carved pumpkins light your way through the Garden after dark. You’ll find costumed entertainers and live carving demos along our paved path, as well as seasonal light fare and drinks for purchase. 

Northalsted Halloween Parade (October 31, 2023; 6:30 p.m. -10:00 p.m. FREE to attend).


Join the vibrant and lively Halloween parade in Northalsted, complete with creative costumes and lively participants. The free parade is a spectacle of sights, frights & spooky mayhem concluding with an Awards Show, live performance & dance party. Gear up with Northalsted’s series of Halloween events throughout the month of October including Parade after parties and contests, the Lakeview Halloween Pup Crawl, Trick or Treat, and more.

The Séance Experience at Chicago’s Congress Plaza Hotel (Saturdays through October 28; tickets start at $25 per person).

The Séance Experience is coming to Chicago and will be conducting their popular live re-creations of authentic Victorian Era dark Séances at the Congress Plaza Hotel, said by many to be the most haunted place in city and one of the most haunted hotels in America! Noted sightings at the historic hotel include the likes of former hotel residents: Al Capone, Teddy Roosevelt and Harry Houdini among others. The séances are slated at the historic downtown Chicago hotel in an area not usually opened to the public. Authentically re-created exactly as conducted in the 1800’s, séances are scheduled inside an actual room built in 1893 using antique séance artifacts also dating from the 1800’s.

For more Chicago events, visit Choose Chicago.

Haunted Lighthouses: Scary Tales of the Great Lakes

Michigan is home to more lighthouses than any other state and about 40 of those are rumored to be haunted by the spirits of former keepers, mariners and others with ties to these historic beacons.

Inside the pages of Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses, long-time researcher, writer and promoter of all things Michigan, Dianna Stampfler, shares stories of those who dedicated their lives — and afterlives — to protecting the Great Lakes’ shoreline. Her second book, Death & Lighthouse on the Great Lakes, Stampfler delves into the historic true crime cold case files that have baffled lighthouse lovers for as many as two centuries.

Throughout the fall season, Stampfler will be speaking at libraries around the state, sharing her lively and upbeat presentation about these lights. Copies of her books will be available for purchase and signing at every program.

Sun, Oct 9, 2022
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses
Elk Rapids District Library, Elk Rapids, MI
Tue, Oct 11, 2022
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses
Rauchholz Memorial Library, Hemlock, MI
Wed, Oct 12, 2022
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses
Northville District Library, Northville, MI
Wed, Oct 19, 2022
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses
Reese Unity District Library, Reese, MI
Thu, Oct 20, 2022
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses
Otsego District Library, Otsego, MI
Sun, Oct 23, 2022
3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses
Sanilac County Historic Village & Museum, Port Sanilac, MI
Wed, Nov 2, 2022
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Death & Lighthouses on the Great Lakes
St. Clair County Library – Main Branch, Port Huron, MI

For the complete schedule of upcoming events (including other topics beyond lighthouses), visit the Promote Michigan Speaker’s Bureau online.

About Michigan’s Haunted Lighthouses

Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state, with more than 120 dotting its expansive Great Lakes shoreline. Many of these lighthouses lay claim to haunted happenings. Former keepers like the cigar-smoking Captain Townshend at Seul Choix Point and prankster John Herman at Waugoshance Shoal near Mackinaw City maintain their watch long after death ended their duties. At White River Light Station in Whitehall, Sarah Robinson still keeps a clean and tidy house, and a mysterious young girl at the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse seeks out other children and female companions. Countless spirits remain between Whitefish Point and Point Iroquois in an area well known for its many tragic shipwrecks.

About Death & Lighthouses on the Great Lakes

Losing one’s life while tending to a Great Lakes lighthouse — or any navigational beacon anywhere in the world for that matter — sadly wasn’t such an unusual occurrence. The likelihood of drowning while at sea or becoming injured while on the job ultimately leading to death were somewhat common back in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Death by murder, suicide or other unnatural and tragic causes, while rare, are not unheard of. In fact, more than dozen lighthouse keepers around the Great Lakes met their maker at the hands of others – by fire, poisoning, bludgeoning and other unknown means. A handful of these keepers, either because of depression or sheer loneliness, took their own lives. A few we may never know the true story, as the deaths now 100 or more years ago, weren’t subjected to the forensic scrutiny that such crimes are given today.

In the pages of Death & Lighthouses of the Great Lakes: A History of Misfortune & Murder, you’ll find an amalgamation of true crime details, media coverage and historical research which brings the stories to life…despite the deaths of those featured.

Stampfler has been professionally writing and broadcasting since high school. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English with emphasis in Community Journalism and Communications with emphasis in radio broadcasting from Western Michigan University. She is a member of the Midwest Travel Journalists Association, Historical Society of Michigan, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, Great Lakes Maritime Museum, Association for Great Lake Maritime History, Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, Michigan Maritime Museum, Friends of Pilot & Plum Island Lighthouse, National Museum of the Great Lakes and West Michigan Tourist Association.

Michael Koryta’s So Cold the River is Now a Movie

The historic West Baden Springs Resort is the setting of Michael Koryta’s mystery-thriller “So Cold the River,” one of my favorite novels written by one of my favorite authors.

From Michael Koryta’s website:

It started with a beautiful woman and a challenge. As a gift for her husband, Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to make a documentary about her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose past is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job even though there are few clues to the man’s past–just the name of his hometown and an antique water bottle he’s kept his entire life.

In Bradford’s hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary history–a glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents, athletes, and mobsters once mingled, and hot springs whose miraculous mineral water cured everything from insomnia to malaria. Neglected for years, the resort has been restored to its former grandeur just in time for Eric’s stay.

Just hours after his arrival, Eric experiences a frighteningly vivid vision. As the days pass, the frequency and intensity of his hallucinations increase and draw Eric deeper into the town’s dark history. He discovers that something besides the hotel has been restored–a long-forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to regain its lost glory. Brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, So Cold the River is a tale of irresistible suspense with a racing, unstoppable current.

Listen to author Michael Koryta talk about West Baden Springs Resort.

To watch the movie visit

About West Baden Springs Resort and French Lick Springs Resort

French Lick Springs Resort

There was a time when West Baden Springs Resort was called the Eighth Wonder of the World and it is easy to see why.

At the beginning of the 1900s, the elite hotel was a Mecca for gamblers coming to Orange County for fun and glamour.

According to the Indiana Historical Society, a stay at West Baden Springs Hotel in the 1920s cost twice as much as an overnight at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

French Lick Springs Resort

At one time 14 trains a day serviced West Baden and French Lick Resort just down the road, bringing in both celebrities and everyday people. Al Capone, John Dillinger, the Marx Brothers, Lana Turner, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope all visited.

But once gambling was banned, West Baden fell into disrepair and the hotel emptied and languished.

Now it has been fully restored to its full majesty,.

West Baden, with its formal gardens, statuary, fountain and gazebo, reflects the turn of the last century elegance it was once known for.

Built in less than a year, the hotel was famed for its free standing dome. It was the world’s largest and that record would hold for another 60 years until the Houston Astrodome was built. But there’s no Astroturf here.

The rotunda, with its 200 feet of mosaic floor tiles (original to the hotel which was built in 1902) is breathtakingly magnificent.

The large expanse is filled with an immense Rookwood tile fireplace said to be worth over a million dollars, potted palms and Victorian era furniture. In the center of the 100-foot-high dome is a pendant chandelier which reflects prisms of light creating, at night when the dome is darkened, a light show extraordinaire.

Dining options include the upscale Sinclair’s, ice cream, snacks and specialty coffees at Xanadu and wonderful rotunda seating at Ballards, the perfect place for a glass of wine and a lighter meal.

There’s a stable for guided trail rides through the rolling hills, golf courses, an indoor and outdoor pool, a luxurious spa, restaurants, ice cream parlor and shops. A free shuttle runs every 15 minutes between the casino at French Lick Springs Resort and West Baden. French Lick Winery is just down the road for tastings as is Big Splash Adventure. Board the French Lick Scenic Railway and travel through the beautiful countryside.

Further down the road, visit Patoka Lake, the second largest manmade lake in the state.

The following recipes are courtesy of French Lick Springs Resort

Lobster Mac and Cheese

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp White Pepper
  • 1 tsp Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ lb. Cooked Lobster Meat

 Bread Crumb Ingredients

  • 6 slices finely diced white
  • 3 Tbsp Chives (minced)
  • 3 Tbsp Parsley (chopped)

In a sauce pot, bring heavy cream to boil. Slowly incorporate cheese until melted. Add remaining ingredients, simmer for 10 minutes.  Mix hot sauce with the cooked macaroni and pour into a baking dish.  Top with bread crumb mixture, bake at 350° for 15 minutes, Broil for 2 to 3 minutes to brown crumb topping.

White Chocolate Crème Brulee 

Makes 6 oz servings (7 total)

  • 1 qt Heavy Cream                     
  • 1 Cup Sugar                                     
  • 6 oz White Chocolate              
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract                    
  • 7 Egg Yolks                               

Simmer heavy cream, turn off heat. Add rest of ingredients except yolks, stir until smooth.

Slowly add yolks to combine. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and chill.

Once cool, coat top of creme brulee with 1 tblspn of sugar in the raw.  Brulee sugar with torch until caramelized. Garnish with fresh berries and serve.