Halloween trick-or-treating returns to Chicago. Here’s everything you need to know

By Alison Martin
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, wear “Rona Destroyer” costumes and pose for a photo at City Hall before the start of a press conference about Halloween in Chicago, Thursday afternoon, Oct. 1, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Ghouls, ghosts, Marvel heroes and Disney princesses will roam Chicago once more on Halloween. After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, trick-or-treating returns to the city in 2021, along with other family-fun events taking place the week before Oct. 31.

City Hall released Tuesday a set of COVID-19 guidelines to keep trick-or-treaters and candy givers safe as well as the schedule for “Halloweek,” an initiative to provide kids and teens with safe and engaging activities during out-of-school time. The Halloweek events will run from Oct. 23 through Oct. 30.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have learned that we can be open and do the things we love while staying safe,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Beginning Oct. 23, we’re offering a weeklong celebration of trick-or-treating and other activities that our children and families can once again enjoy.”

For those looking to stay safe while trick-or-treating, the city recommends:

  • Wearing a mask for anyone unvaccinated and unable to stay socially distant while outdoors.
  • Keeping groups small.
  • Moving together as a group and not stopping to congregate.
  • Staying home if feeling ill.

Candy givers can also do their part to participate safely. According to the city statement, they should:

  • Download the Halloweek toolkit, which provides safety messaging and signage to notify others of participation, at chicagohalloweek.org when available.
  • Leave a light on or place signage in windows to indicate participation.
  • Wear a mask, stay socially distant and use hand sanitizer when passing out candy.
  • Skip passing out candy if feeling sick.

Further advice for anyone heading to a haunted house or other indoor Halloween activities can be found at chicagohalloweek.org.

Halloweek events can be found all over the city. Some of the biggest happenings include:

  • The third annual UPSIDE DOWN Parade in Washington Park from noon to 3 p.m. on Oct. 23.
  • The Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade on State Street from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 30.
  • The community-focused “Halloweek on the Block” pop-ups coming to 11 residential streets throughout the week.
  • The Campfire Horror Movie Series hosted by the Chicago Parks District.

Dates, locations and details of these and other Halloweek activities can be found at chicagohalloweek.org. Businesses can also upload their own Halloweek activities to the city’s website.

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