Recreation opportunities abound in our region! Here are a few of the best our area has to offer.
Autumn Drive 2013
Oct. 18-20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fall festival with antiques, produce, arts and crafts along Garden Valley/River/Route 176 and Franklinville roads in rural Woodstock and Marengo. autumndrive.net.
Terror on the Railroad Haunted Event
Oct. 18-26, Fri-Sat. 7-11 p.m. A thrilling haunted Halloween Train experience. Visitors must be at least age 13 and in good health. Special Fare Event; no passes honored. Illinois Railway Museum (IRM), 7000 Olson Road, Union, (815) 244-7245, irm.org.
Trail of History
Oct. 19-20, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Living history re-enactment from 1670-1850, with interpreters from across the country portraying settler life and demonstrating the interrelationship between nature, man and cultural development. Family activities, demonstrations, food, entertainment. Entry fee. Glacial Park, Ringwood, mccdistrict.org.
Basement of the Dead
Oct. 19-Nov. 2, see website for days/times. Voted No. 1 Haunted House 2012 by Haunted House Chicago. Two all-new attractions. 42 W. New York St., Aurora, (630) 896-2466, 42fear.com.
Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour
Oct. 19-31, dusk-10 p.m. for best view. Admire ghoulish yard displays and spooky homes of some of St. Charles’ finest home haunters. Some displays may not be appropriate for all ages. Respect homeowners’ rights and property. St. Charles area homes. Info: (630) 513-6200. Downloadable map available Oct. 18 at stcparks.org.
Oct. 19-27, Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Festive decorations, carousel, train and hay rides, pumpkin patch. Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora, (630) 892-1550, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
Fall Fox Valley Antiques Show
Oct. 19-20, Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m. More than 55 dealers from 14 states with authentic antiques. $8. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits & charities. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (815) 838-0606, csada.com.
22nd Annual Chicago Railroadiana Show & Sale
Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Vendors, displays, working trains, collectibles. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, (847) 934-4000, chicagorrshow.com.
All Hallow’s Eve: A Night of Fear
Oct. 18-19, 6:30-10 p.m. This one-of-a-kind experience brings some of the scariest literature of the past, present and future to life in a haunted happening you won’t forget. Not recommended for kids under 8 years old. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville, (630) 420-6010, napersettlement.museum.org.
1st Annual Pumpkin/Halloween Fest
Oct. 19-20, Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. to 6 p.m. Pumpkin patch, hayride, pony rides, a petting zoo, spooky sweet shop, live music, food. At 8 p.m. Halloween movie, s’mores and hot dogs by a bonfire, a Zombie Spook Walk. $11/ages 3 and under free. Vasa Park, Route 31, South Elgin, (847) 254-0621.
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival
Oct. 23-27, events daily. Annual event for more than 50 years, with thousands of decorated pumpkins, crafts show, house walk, carnival, 10K race, food vendors, parade on Sunday. Downtown Sycamore & various locations, sycamorepumpkinfestival.com.
Murder in the Mansion
Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m. A Roaring ’20s murder mystery at the McCormick Museum at Cantigny. Every participant has a role to play. Cocktails, dinner. Registration req. Cantigny, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, (630) 260-8159, cantigny.org.
Dearly Departed: Tragedy at the Ice House
Oct. 25-26, 6-8 p.m. Guests will enjoy a 45-minute presentation through the Colonel Palmer House as historians reveal a tragic story based on real-life circumstances. Colonel Palmer House, 660 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake, (815) 455-1151, cl-hs.org.
Amenti Haunted House
Oct. 25-27, 30-Nov. 2, 7-11 p.m. More than 20 different scenes on six levels; one of the most talked about events in the area. Egyptian Theatre, 135 2nd St., DeKalb, amenti.info.
Oct. 26, 10 a.m. Annual Halloween-themed family event attracting more than 2,500 ghouls. Downtown Trick-or-Treating, Mothers’ Club Parade, pumpkin roll, contests, BatArt and games. Free. Batavia Riverwalk, Downtown Batavia, (630) 879-5235, downtownbatavia.com.
Antique & Collectible Toy & Doll Show
Oct. 27, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 600 vendors with every toy imaginable: pre- and post-war, die-cast, games, action figures, holiday heirlooms, pedal cars and other riding toys, more. Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, kanecountyfair.com.
Cantigny’s 5K Run/Walk
Nov. 2, 9 a.m. 10th annual Veteran’s Day charitable run with all proceeds donated to Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans. Limited to the first 900 runners and walkers. Cantigny, Wheaton, (630) 260-8167.
Kane County Flea Market
Nov. 2-3, 30-Dec. 1, Sat. noon-5 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monthly flea market, “The Best in the Midwest or Anywhere.” Up to 1,000 dealers display and sell antiques, collectibles & Fancy Junque. Food served all day. Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 South Randall Road, St. Charles, 630-377-2252, kanecountyfleamarket.com.
Toy Solider Show
Nov. 3, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Toy soldier enthusiasts display collections of small-scale soldiers and armaments. Items will be for sale and painting techniques will be demonstrated. Cantigny, Wheaton, cantigny.org
Glidden Homestead Patent Day Celebration
Nov. 3, noon-3 p.m. On the site where barbed wire was invented, visit historic barn, see blacksmithing demonstrations. Purchase tickets for Barbed Wire Sites bus tour, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.; reservations recommended. 921 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, (815) 756-7904, gliddenhomestead.org.
Chicago Pet Show
Nov. 9-10, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Meet local veterinary experts, nutritionists and breed rescue experts. Pets welcome on flat lead, with proof of rabies shot. Fun events. $7. Info: chicagopetshow.com. Event: Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, kanecountyfair.com.
Artist’s Show & Sale/Sunday Brunch
Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m-2 p.m. Browse archival-quality, open & limited-edition prints and originals of photography, watercolors, mixed-media and unique pencil artwork displayed for sale by three local artists who will be on hand for questions and art signings, all while dining amidst the beautiful & historic surroundings of Oscar Swan Inn. $20 in advance/$25 at door. Oscar Swan Country Inn, 1800 W. State St., Geneva, (630) 232-0173, oscarswan.com.
Chicagoland Antique Advertising, Slot Machine & Juke Box Show
Nov. 16-17, 9:30 a.m. More than 300 booths with jukeboxes, pinball machines, arcade games, slot machines, neon signs, Coke machines and signs, circus and carnival items, antique gas pumps, gumball machines, more. Info: (815) 353-1593, chicagolandshow.com. Event: Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles.
Annual Holiday Open House
Nov. 17, noon-4 p.m. Historical barn tours, blacksmithing demonstrations, a musical performance and refreshments. Spend the afternoon at the Homestead on the last open day of the season. Glidden Homestead, DeKalb, gliddenhomestead.org.
Nouveau Wine Celebration
Nov. 21, 10 a.m. Day-long preview celebration of the Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery grape harvest. Nouveau wine, hors d’oeuvres and fun. 477 S. 3rd St., Dodson Place, Geneva, (630) 232-9463, galenacellars.com.
Winter Lights Holiday Walk & Tree Lighting
Nov. 22, 5-8 p.m. Carolers, artwork and holiday crafts, light refreshments, warm cocoa and Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost join Santa and the mayor to light Aurora’s official holiday tree. Pierce Center, 20 E. Downer Pl., Aurora, aurora-il.org.
34th Christmas in the Country Craft Show
Nov. 23, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Formerly called Bazaar. More than 60 juried artisans with handmade crafts; parish bake sale including Oplatek, candy sale, food court, raffles. $1. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Hall, 1023 McHenry Ave., Crystal Lake, (815) 455-1233, stelizabethannseton.org.
Christmas on the Fox
Nov. 24-25, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Juried show of more than 70 exhibitors with quality, handmade art and crafts – no commercial/manufactured items. Info: (815) 772-3279, artoftheheartlandinc.com. Event: Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, kanecountyfair.com.
Festival of Lights Parade
Nov. 29, 7 p.m. Decorated floats, marchers, music and Santa’s arrival. More than 50 parade entries and thousands of spectators attend this lighted nighttime parade. Downtown Crystal Lake, downtowncl.org.
Aurora Festival of Lights
Nov. 23-Dec. 26, Sun.-Th. 5-9 p.m., F-Sat. to 10 p.m. A winter wonderland of animated displays, lighted tunnels, a forest full of lights and more. Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Dr., Aurora, (630) 256-3730, aurorafestivaloflights.com.
Dec. 6, 6 p.m. Santa Lucia and her attendants arrive by horse-drawn carriage to offer Swedish cookies to visitors. Santa makes his appearance to light the Great Tree on the courthouse lawn and officially opens his Gingerbread House at 6:30 p.m. Holiday shopping and dining, chestnuts roasting, strolling carolers, freshly made candy canes and hot cider. Downtown Geneva, (630) 232-6060.
Geneva House Tour
Dec. 6-7, Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. to 4 p.m. Five distinctive homes decorated for the holidays will open their doors to visitors for self-guided tours. A traditional tea at the Congregational Church in Geneva, and a keepsake decorating and entertaining ideas booklet are also included. $30. Info/Tickets: Geneva Chamber of Commerce, (630) 232-6060, genevachamber.com.
Holiday Open House
Dec. 6-8, see website for times. Experience the Ellwood Mansion decorated for the season, with guides stationed at 12 locations to share information about the home. Ellwood House Museum, 509 N. 1st St., DeKalb, (815) 756-4609, ellwoodhouse.org.
Polar Express Train
Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 1-5 p.m. Holiday music plays and lights glitter on the “Polar Express” train as a storyteller reads The Polar Express and Santa visits. Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora, (630) 892-1550, foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
IRM Happy Holiday Railway
Dec. 7-8, 14-15, noon-6 p.m. Embark on a magical train ride and visit with Santa Claus and his elves at the Toy Workshop. Children on Santa’s “Good” list will recieve a gift. Special Fare Event; no passes honored. Museum/buildings not open on these days. Illinois Railway Museum, 7000 Olson Road, Union, (815) 244-7245, irm.org.
LEGO Train Show
Dec. 14-15, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. A holiday tradition, it’s the Northern Illinois LEGO Train Club’s largest annual show. Free with parking fee. Visitors Center, Cantigny, Wheaton, cantigny.org.