Have an Artsy Halloween With These 7 Events and Installations

Photo courtesy of Navy Pier/Pier Pumpkin Lights

This week, get in the Halloween spirit with artsy events like a museum cocktail party, a cosplay ball, an art house horror double feature, and a “haunted house” like no other (hint: it’s about colonialism).

Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum

Pier Pumpkin Lights at Navy Pier
Catch the tail end of this immersive pop-up dedicated to pumpkins as art. At dusk, the lakefront is aglow with light displays made out of pumpkins—think: jack-o’-lantern towers, complexly carved specimens, and lots of skeletons. It all makes for a perfect backdrop for a photo in your Halloween costume.
Details: October 28–November 2

History Happy Hour at Chicago History Museum
For a very Chicago Halloween, check out this behind-the-scenes experience at the museum, which will highlight some of the spookiest stories associated with its collection. Listen to local ghost stories and explore rare archival material with dark connections while sipping cocktails.
Details: October 29

Cosplay Ball at Revolution Tap Room
The singular VGA gallery—the city’s only gallery dedicated to video game art—hosts this evening of spooky fun, with all proceeds going to support its exhibitions and programming. Dress up as your favorite video game character and enter the costume contest; a $25 ticket grants you a complimentary beer and hors d’oeuvres.
Details: October 31

“Colonialism Undead” at Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
Here’s a haunted house unlike any other. This art installation will take you through four rooms that trace the history of colonialism in Puerto Rico and the lingering trauma of crises like the U.S. government’s response to Hurricane Maria. There won’t be any monsters jumping out at you, but prepare to confront ghosts of terrible white men.
Details: October 31

Jessica Harper and Stefania Cassini in Suspiria. / Public domain image

Bad Femme at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Do you have a soft spot for evil women characters? Check out the museum’s double feature of historic art house horror films: Dario Argento’s Suspiria from 1977 and Andrzej Aulawski’s Possession from 1981, whose protagonists delve into terrific levels of madness. Your hosts are bad femmes themselves, the local horror drag queens Kat Sass and Siichele.
Details: October 31

I Walked With a Zombie at the Block Museum of Art
Travel to a sugarcane plantation in the West Indies in this classic horror film, a loose adaptation of Jane Eyre made wild with a lovesick nurse, voodoo rituals, and, yes, zombies. Shot in 1943, the strange and dark melodrama is a perfect way to spend All Hallows’ Eve.
Details: October 31

Día de los Muertos: Love Never Dies Ball at the National Museum of Mexican Art
As always, there will be plenty of Día de los Muertos–themed events around the city to attend. But this one will celebrate the Mexican Day of the Dead with respect. Put on your most creative cocktail outfit and enjoy an evening of live music and refreshments; proceeds are going toward the museum’s programming.
Details: November 2