Brace yourselves, kids of Chicago (and pace yourselves, Chicago parents): Not only does Columbus Day weekend bring a veritable seasonal onslaught of festive fall fun, there's also an invasion of beloved kids' characters on the calendar.
Whatever your preschooler's into, chances are their hero will be in town: There's Sesame Street Live at the Rosemont, Peppa Pig Live at the Chicago Theater, and Daniel Tiger at the Garfield Park Conservatory, plus The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Elephant and Piggie continue their extended stays. Meanwhile, older kids who love the Indiana Jones films can dig into a film festival celebrating the mild-mannered archaeologist.
With the approach of Halloween, it's a good time for (kid-friendly) ghost stories told around a campfire at the Chicago Campfire Festival in the Park. Your pet can also test-drive a costume at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Spooky Pooch Parade. There are illuminated pumpkins to peep at Navy Pier, Goose Island, and Lisle's Sensory Playground, pop-up pumpkin patches to explore at the Cosley Zoo, Skinner Park, Bell Park, and Hale Park, and even glass pumpkins to admire at the Morton Arboretum, in addition to a cute Scarecrow Trail. Over 100 handmade scarecrows will be on display at this weekend's St. Charles Scarecrow Festival, or if you're looking to build your own, visit Long Grove's DIY Scarecrow Day.
On Monday, there's the big parade, of course, as well as Indigenous People's Day programs at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian. The Theater on the Lake is also hosting a FREE day-long drama workshop and festival, or girls can take part in a full day of free activities just for them at Merrimac Park's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun event. Plus, Monday is a free-for-Illinois-residents day at the Adler Planetarium.
And that's just the start of a long list of fall fun happenings this weekend. Good thing there's an extra day—you'll need it. Looking for more things to do with kids? Don't miss our ever-expanding event calendar and our roundup of Free Things to Do This Fall with Chicago Kids.