Halloween tends to challenge parents with younger children on where to go and what to do to celebrate the season in a safe environment. Most children are too young to visit typical haunted houses, which aim to scare even the bravest of souls. So what to do? Here’s a look at some family-friendly attractions around Illinois that offer fun Halloween experiences for families without the nightmares that can follow some haunted attractions.
Bengston’s Pumpkin Farm – Homer Glen
Bring the entire family to the pumpkin farm for a day of fun. No matter the age, Bengston’s in Homer Glen has something to entertain everyone. While kids 12 and older can check out the animated ghosts and creatures at the Haunted Barn, younger children can take a fun-filled Halloween venture through the Fun Barn. Afterward, everyone can enjoy a hay ride as you hunt for the perfect pumpkin to make this year’s jack-o-lantern. Located about 43 minutes southwest of Chicago, the pumpkin farm offers nearly 20 attractions to enjoy, including a petting zoo and train rides. You can also launch some gourds with the Pumpkin Chucker or enjoy the pig races.
Haunted House at Foster Park – Chicago
Designed for the entire family, the Haunted House at Foster offers fun scares 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31. Sponsored by the Chicago Park District, the haunted house presents a few ghosts and goblins for the little ones to see without giving them nightmares later. Families can also enjoy refreshments during their visit.
Scary Park – Peoria
Located at Peoria’s Wildlife Prairie Park, families are invited to participate in fun events like hayrack rides and animal encounters. Of course, there will be trick-or-treating for the younger ghouls and goblins. Activities aimed at older children will also be offered. Remember to check out the rest of the park beforehand. Held annually for more than three decades, Scary Park is open Friday (5-10 p.m.), Saturday (2-10 p.m.) and Sunday (2-8 p.m.) Oct. 19-21 and 26-28.
Old Timey Halloween – Museum of the Grand Prairie – Mahomet
Combine history with fun as visitors participate in the annual Old Timey Halloween at Museum of the Grand Prairie at the Lake of the Woods Preserve in Mahomet. The free two-hour program starts at 1 p.m. Oct. 26. Kids of all ages can learn about Halloween traditions while creating their own holiday masks and play 19th century games.
Halloween fun – Springfield
Springfield’s streets will be filled with monsters and spirits as the city celebrates Halloween with a variety of activities Oct. 26-28. Zoolie Ghoulie at the Henson Robinson Zoo welcomes young monsters and ghouls to take part in trick-or-treating and explore not-too-scary exhibits and activities Oct. 26-28.
The second annual Halloween Parade kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 27. Featuring floats, costumes and other festive entrants, the parade route starts at the Old State Capitol Plaza.
Celebrate Halloween at the Market helps wrap up the 2018 season of the Farmer Market at the Old State Capitol Plaza. Children 12 and younger are encouraged to wear their favorite costume and enter contests for prizes. There’s also a costume contest for pets.
From a pumpkin farm with all the trimmings to fun events in the state’s capital, Halloween in Illinois provides families with a lot of options for a safe celebration. So, enjoy the treats and don’t worry about the tricks.