The kids are back in school, the trees are brightening their colors, and the air feels crisper--all alerting you that fall is indeed here once again. Besides your annual trip to the farm for the perfect carving pumpkin, here are a few more unique adventures you should consider.
THE SCARECROW TRAIL Walk the Scarecrow Trail amongst the autumn colors at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. It is open daily in October and features scarecrow creations from local Scout troops.Vote for your favorite! Other Arboretum events this fall include a glass pumpkin patch, a cider and ale festival and a Fright in the Forest tram tour. www.mortonarb.org
OKTOBERFEST Crack out those lederhosen and pick up a polka! The weekend of October 2-3, Naper Settlement is putting on an Oktoberfest complete with German beer, food and Oom-Pah music. If German fest isn’t your scene, try their All Hallows Eve on October 16-17 with 12 acres of some of the scariest experiences, characters and horrors. www.napersettlement.org
FRIGHT FEST Weekend nights at Six Flags Great America running September 26 through November 1 turn chilling, with walking zombies and horrific creatures. They have an eerie lineup of haunted houses you could “lose your head” over and thrilling roller coasters you can ride in the dark. Just don’t ride alone; you never know what creature may be sitting next to you! www.sixflags.com/greatamerica
HOT CIDER HUSTLE A fan of hot cider and caramel apples? Well, you’ll have to run for it, or at least walk for it. The Hot Cider Hustle is an 8-mile or 3-mile run/walk through Wheaton’s Danada Forest Preserve on a path surrounded by the fall colors. The event is set this year for the morning of October 31. Enjoy some brisk morning exercise with a special treat after the finish line.www.allcommunityevents.com/hotcocoa/hot_cider_hustle_info.html
HAUNTED HOMETOWNS GHOST TOURS No real Halloween season is complete without stories of ghosts and hauntings, but in your own hometown? Who knew? Take a historic ghost tour through Naperville, Aurora or Elgin where you are the ghost hunter and use real EMF ghost meters on your tour! The expert guides will regale you with well-researched legends and accounts to chill you to the bone. www.hauntedhometowns.com
THE 15-ACRE CORN MAZE Tap into your adventurous spirit and attempt the largest corn maze around at Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Lockport. The maze is designed differently each year and holds 5 miles of paths to choose from. Siegel’s also holds a large pumpkin fest full of activities, including Zombie Sniper paintball, and is also the home of the Statesville Haunted Prison.
BOO AT THE ZOO Little ghosts and goblins of all ages are sure to have a howlin good time October 17-28 at Brookfield Zoo! Their not-so-scary and fun-filled event has something for the entire family to enjoy. Enjoy the the corn maze, "Pumpkin Smasher," costume contest, and more! 10am-4pm. Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Rd., Brookfield. www.czs.org/boo
CANTIGNY FALL FESTIVAL Enjoy a variety of activities including a Fall craft show, music, hayrides and more on October 10 at Cantigny in Wheaton. Stop by Bertie's for a taste of autumn with a cup of hot cider or hot chocolate and something decadent to sink your teeth into. 10am-4pm. www.cantigny.org
UNCLE JED’S SCREAM SHED New for 2015 is Uncle Jed’s Scream Shed! Head to Kuipers for a day filled will fun for the entire family. The orchard offers apple picking and the aroma of fresh apple cider doughnuts, home-baked pies, fudge, pasteurized apple cider and hand-spun caramel apples from The Orchard Shop and Bakery lingers in the air. Taste the new hard ciders at The Bin Tasting Bar! Pumpkin farm activities are in full swing including Pig Races on the weekends. www.kuipersfamilyfarm.com (815) 827-5200, Maple Par14
A HAUNTED HOTEL Lincoln Hotel presented by the Downers Grove Park District. A historic haunt of Downers Grove returns to life this fall - unlock its secrets on Oct 23 and 24. Explore the hotel on a self-guided tour anytime between 7:30-10:30pm for only $8 per person. www.dgparks.org