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.
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.