While many think of Christmas when it comes to kids’ favorite holidays, Halloween is often high on the list. Dressing up as a favorite character, participating in Halloween activities and the encouragement to get candy are just a few of the highlights that make Halloween a highly anticipated holiday for children. Although trick-or-treating can be a fun family activity for around the house, Chicago families have a number of options in the city for family fun. Check out some of the Halloween-themed activities in and around the city, and make sure your Halloween experience is extra special this year.

Downtown Batavia River Walk
4 1/2 W. Wilson St.
Batavia, IL 60510
(630) 761-3528

Date: Oct. 25, 2014

Located in Downtown Batavia, BatFest is a free admission event. Trick-or-treating at the local stores, tractor-pulled hayrides, contests, games, food and much more ensures a jam-packed day with the kids. The third floor of City Hall offers free Halloween-themed short films for viewing, while the pumpkin roll and parade keep the fun going outdoors. Get the kids dressed up in their costumes, and head out to Downtown Batavia’s BatFest for some early Halloween fun.

Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-5440

Date: Oct. 25-26, 2014

Admission ranges from $14 to $22, based on member or non-member status and advanced purchasing. Children under 2 years of age are free of charge, and families are encouraged to come in full costume attire for Halloween-themed fun. The Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America and the Howlin’ Express are all decorated for some great backdrops to your family pictures, while the face-painting in the McGinley Pavilion can only enhance the pictures. More festivities include the Carved Pumpkin Gallery Walk and fortune telling at the Linnaeus Room.

Spooky Zoo Spectacular
Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000

Date: Oct. 25, 2014

Free admission to Lincoln Park Zoo gives you access to Spooky Zoo Spectacular, a Halloween-themed event at the zoo. Candy stations are located throughout the zoo for kids to treat-or-treat, Halloween-themed crafts are made in the Kovler Lion House and Regenstein Center for African Apes and music is played in the Main Mall. The underground viewing area is transformed into a haunted house, with all activities suitable for kids and adults alike. Visitors are encouraged to come dressed in their costumes, and participate in the Lincoln Park Zoo’s tradition of celebrating Halloween with a fun-filled animal experience.

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Halloween Happening
Naperville Riverwalk’s Grand Pavilion
500 W. Jackson Ave.
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 305-5984

Date: Oct. 26, 2014

Located in the Grand Pavilion off Jackson Avenue and West of Centennial Beach, the Halloween Happening event is a free event geared towards children ages 10 and younger. While there are monsters featured in the Halloween Way activity, everything is kept suitable for children of young ages. Fairytale Lane is perfect for those dressed in their princess costumes; King Arthur’s Court ensures a knight’s experience for all the boys; and Adventure Alley offers an interactive experience that will surely be remembered. Halloween Happening proves that not all Halloween activities need to revolve around zombies and ghouls.

Halloween Party at Indian Boundary
Indian Boundary Park
2500 W. Lunt Ave.
Chicago, IL 60645
(773) 764-0338

Date: Oct. 31, 2014

All ages are welcome to attend this free event at Indian Boundary Park. While the park is often thought of as a favorite among Chicago families, the grounds will be transformed to coincide with the Halloween spirit for this event. The extra large wooden playground is often enough of a draw for children, so the added Halloween activities will be sure to put them in good spirits. A costume contest, live performances, games and more will be there. Also, the spooky aspect to the walk-through zoo path will make the event complete.

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Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.