Through October 27
Jack’s Pumpkin Glow
Over 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins and other glowing foliage gets you in the boo mood. Life-sized sculptures, classic Halloween characters, princesses, superheroes, dinosaurs, pirates, musicians, and movie stars line a park trail that you can explore at your leisure. Grab seasonal food and drinks while master carvers go to work live every evening, adding 1000 fresh carvings a week.
Time: Oct. 17-20 & 24-27.
Place: Sensory Garden Playground, 2751 Navistar, Lisle
Cost: Starting at $16.99; info at glowpumpkin.com
October 3-November 21
Chicago Latino Music Festival
This annual festival showcases an expansive range of classical music and celebrates Spanish and Latin American composers, with works often inspired by their Afro-Cuban, tango, flamenco, and other far-reaching roots. Don’t miss KAIA, a Chicago-based all-female string quartet.
Time: Performance times vary.
Place: Venues citywide.
Cost: Ranging from free to $25; info at latinomusicfest.org
Victory Gardens 2019 Chicago Stories Gala
This year’s benefit celebrates trailblazers in the arts. Enjoy two original five-minute plays telling unique Chicago Stories by guest playwrights Chaz Ebert, CEO of Ebert Digital LLC, and Stacy Janiak, managing partner and chief growth officer at Deloitte. Additionally, Victory Gardens Theater stage veteran Justina Machado (Netflix’s “One Day at a Time”) and Tony Award-nominated Phillipa Soo (Broadway’s “Hamilton”) will receive Victory Gardens Theater Impact Awards in recognition of their exceptional contribution to the arts.
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 E. Delaware
Cost: Starting at $500; tickets at victorygardens.org
Great Pink Run
Get moving to find a cure for breast cancer. This inaugural 5K and 10K supports international research collaborations between University of Chicago Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research and researchers at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Dress in your pinkest clothing takeoff on a lakeside course.
Time: 9 a.m.
Place: Diversey Harbor, Diversey & Lake Shore
Cost: $50 adults; $5-$25 kids; info at greatpinkrun.com
Chicago Lights “A Toast to Tutoring”
Raise a glass to the life-changing impact of volunteer tutoring. This evening of fundraising includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a DJ. Proceeds go to Chicago Lights, a nonprofit that for 55 years has provided high-quality tutoring and mentoring for students living in the Near West, Near North, and South Side neighborhoods.
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: Dance Studio, 59 W. Hubbard
Cost: Starting at $75; tickets at chicagolights.org
Chicago International Film Festival
Now in its 55th year and the longest running competitive film festival in North America, this is the ultimate must-do for cinephiles. Featuring more than 150 films from around the world as well as appearances from top directors, producers, actors, designers, and more, it’s a virtually nonstop flow of feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Among this year’s must-see’s: “Knives Out,” a modern-day murder mystery featuring Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, and others.
Time: Showtimes vary.
Place: AMC River East, 322 E. Illinois
Cost: Bundled passes start at $110 for 10 film admissions; info at chicagofilmfestival.com
Be mesmerized by a runway show spotlighting the unique talents of Chicago’s leading floral designers, landscape artists, and students as they create breathtaking garments made entirely from plants, flowers, and natural materials. Proceeds benefit Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance.
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park
Cost: $175; tickets at garfieldpark.org
October 19 & 20
Chicago Architecture Center Open House Chicago
This free public festival gives you behind-the-scenes access to more than 350 buildings across Chicago — many of them hidden gems and architectural treasures. Explore everything from the Chicago Harbor & Lock to Michigan Avenue’s The Sky-Line Club.
Time: Self-guided tours each day.
Place: Venues citywide.
Cost: Free; info at openhousechicago.org
National Kidney Foundation of Illinois’ 34th annual “Gift of Life Gala”
This grand event celebrates and raises money for NKFI’s mission to improve the health of those at risk or affected by kidney disease through free screening programs and community health initiatives in Illinois. Taking a cue from the World’s Fair, it pays homage to “Old Chicago” with themed activities, cocktails, dinner stations, and raffles. NKFI will present CPD Chief Superintendent Eddie Johnson and his son CPD Officer Daniel Johnson with the “Gift of Life Award” in recognition of their contributions to the world of kidney disease. Nearly two years ago, 25-year-old Daniel donated a kidney to his father, Eddie, after he was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, an acute inflammation of the kidney.
Time: 6 p.m.
Place: The Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton
Cost: Starting at $300; tickets at nkfi.org/gala
Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation Annual Fall Benefit Luncheon
Since 1985, LSCRF has raised over $34 million to advance the understanding of breast cancer. Support the cause at this lively lunch featuring Martin Short as guest speaker. Also much anticipated: Purse-Sue the Cure, a purse auction with more than 100 new, collectible, and kids’ handbags up for bid.
Time: 11 a.m.
Place: Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan
Cost: Starting at $300; tickets at lynnsage.org
Lyric Opera of Chicago Halloween Masquerade
Mask to impress at one of the chicest Halloween parties in town. You’ll mingle in the grand foyer over sips and food from local restaurants, live music by DJ Metro, and entertainment by Ryan Opera Center Ensemble. Proceeds support the emerging operatic talent of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center.
Time: 8 p.m.
Place: 20 N. Wacker
Cost: Starting at $150; tickets at lyricopera.org
WNDR Museum’s “A Hero’s Journey”
This untraditional museum experience is unfolding anew with fresh installations that inspire you to create stories in multisensory, interactive areas. The newest feature is a conceptualization of Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces,” a mythology book that evokes a journey of self-discovery.
Time: Open for ticketed self-guided tours daily.
Place: 1130 W. Monroe
Cost: $32; tickets at wndrmuseum.com