Botanic Garden hosts “Jack-o-Lanterns” now and “Trains, Tricks, Treats, next weekend

Go to the Chicago Botanic Garden for a really unusual night time path walk, this weekend or go next weekend to see the Model Railroad Garden turn ghostly for its seasonal farewell.

Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns

For a different Halloween experience you can still snag a ticket to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Jack-o’-Lantern celebration. That is if you and your kids don’t mind going late. Tickets still available tonight, Oct. 22, from 10 to 11 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 23 from 9:30 to 11 p.m.

Celebrate Halloween this weekend and next at the Chicago Botanic Garden. CBG Photo

Celebrate Halloween this weekend and next at the Chicago Botanic Garden. CBG Photo

More than a thousand pumpkins, all hand-carved as Chicago places, Halloween characters and garden “oh, ohs” (think Willis tower, Dracula and Venus flytrap) plus Day of the Dead-style artwork, will line a festival path. The path also passes Halloween dressed characters and goes through the Model Railroad garden where there are ghostly trains. Goodies can be bought on the Esplanade before taking the path. More food is available at the Fruit and Vegetable Garden.

Best plan is to buy tickets online ahead of time and bring the confirmation with you. The website says “sold out” but a call to the garden revealed that some tickets were still available at this printing. But tickets may be purchased at the Garden’s Information desk if still available.

Tickets are $14 adult members, $16 nonmembers, children ages three to 12 are $12 and $14, free to children age 2 and under. Parking is free to members. Nonmember parking can be bought in advance. Visit Night for 1000 Jack-o’-Lantern for more info.

Trains, Tricks and Treats

Or celebrate Halloween at the Botanic Garden next weekend, Oct. 29-30. The event marks the last chance to visit the Model Railroad Garden this year. Expect more than the usual trains. It will be decked out with spider webs, ghosts and goblins. Look for tiny trick-or-treaters and even bats in the scenery. Families can dress for trick or treat and find treats and treasures along the way.

Adults $ 6, seniors $5, children 3–12 yrs $4 age 2 and under, free. Members get $1 discount. For other information visit Trains. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022. For other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit CBG

Enjoy fall color as a day trip from Chicago

Stroll among paths of gold. Hike where every turn reveals another photo op. See the countryside on an old train or find a new scenic vista. Just go. Get out there where the leaves are still changing color and the weather isn’t too frosty.

Golden paths await at Morton Arboretum. Photo compliments of Morton Arboretum

Golden paths await at Morton Arboretum. Photo compliments of Morton Arboretum

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Join the fun at Bank of America Chicago Marathon

More than 40,000 runners and thousands of supporters will be in Chicago this weekend for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Oct. 9, 2016. So, if you haven’t already made a dinner reservation downtown Chicago Friday or Saturday, consider eating out in the suburbs or waiting until late Sunday. But do join the fun downtown or in Chicago’s neighborhoods along the course. All you have to do is cheer on the runners to their best times or to merely finish the 26 mile 385 yard (42.195 kilometer) race.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Bank of America photo

Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Bank of America photo

If a friend or relative is running in the Chicago Marathon you have likely discussed where to watch and know that you can meet in Butler Field between Columbus Drive and Lake Shore Drive north of Jackson Drive.

However, part of the fun of the race for spectators is to cheer runners with encourage signs, bells and words as they speed by. Bank of America, US Trust and Merrill Lynch have Cheer Zones with items you can use to give runners an extra lift.

The race starts at 7:30 a.m. The following times used here are for when runners pass are estimates.

Bank of America’s Zones are at Mile 13 at Monroe and Jefferson where runners are likely to go past after 8:27 a.m. and Mile 26 at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road near the finish line where runners will pass after 9:30 a.m.

US Trust’s Zone is about the halfway point (Miles 13-14) on Jefferson Street between Monroe and Adams Streets where runners will be seen after 8:28 a.m. Merrill Lynch’s zone is at Mile 16.5 at Halsted Street and Jackson to see runners after 8:47 a.m.

Spectators can also go to the Post-Race Party in Butler Field after 9 a.m. (There is security screening).

Just leave your car at home. Put on your walking/ running shoes or use Chicago’s CTGA system. Crowds will be jamming streets and sidewalks. In addition, some street closures such as Columbus Drive around Grant Park have already happened. Other streets on the course close at 7 a.m. Sunday (race day). Most will reopen by 2:30 p.m.

Maybe the race will inspire you to participate next year.

For other information visit Bank of America Chicago Marathon


Where to see or make a scarecrow

No question that pumpkin faces are fun to draw or carve but pumpkins abound wherever you turn around. However, do you know where you can see or make a scarecrow? Check out these suggestions.

Scarecrows are fun to make and take home. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Scarecrows are fun to make and take home. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Chalet Garden Center Scarecrow Festival

The Chalet, a garden center across from Edens Plaza in north suburban Wilmette does a terrific job of helping folks celebrate fall and the winter holidays. Its shop is filled, literally to the rafters with witches at Halloween and you bump into large snowmen and Santas after Thanksgiving. But to add to the fall fun, it hosts a Scarecrow Festival the first weekend of October. This year, the festival is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2. The Chalet has heads and straw for you to use. Just bring some old clothes and you have a scarecrow to take home. The event is free. The Chalet Garden Center is at 3132 Lake Ave. at Skokie Road, Wilmette, IL 60091. For other information call (847) 256-0561 and visit Chalet.

St. Charles Scarecrow Festival

Scary and funny scarecrows take up residence downtown west suburban St. Charles the second weekend of October. This is the big one, the area’s largest scarecrow festival with more than 100 of those gangly, weird, straw people. The festival activities are all over downtown so there are zones. The scarecrow contest is in the Arcadia Theatre zone on Main Street between 4th and 5th. Walk among them and vote for you favorite. But don’t forget to check out those that are at the businesses in the Jewel Osco Zone on 3rd Street between State and Cedar Streets.. Both zones are on the west side of the Fox River. To make your own scarecrow, cross the bridge to the Baltria Vintage Auto Zone on the east side of the river, north of Main Street. There’s no charge. Tickets at the festival are for rides and food. Hours are Oct.7-8 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For other information call the Greater St. Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 777-4373 and visit Scarecrowfest.

Tom’s Fall Festival

Drive out to the countryside of Huntley, a small town northwest of Chicago between Oct. 1st and Oct. 31 to see yard full of pumpkin families, a market where the aroma is apple and pumpkin pie and the garden center has what you need to make and take a scarecrow. You don’t have to bring any materials but the scarecrow workshop costs $20. There are lots of children’s activities from mazes to explore, animals to pet and bouncy constructions. The activities are pumpkin families activities are $7 children and $5 adults, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and $10 adults and children Saturday, Sunday and Columbus Day. Saturday and Columbus Day hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Sunday is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tom’s is at 10214 Algonquin Road, Huntley, IL 60142. For other information call (847) 669-3421 and visit Toms.

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