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Best Halloween-Themed Shows In Chicago

Halloween shows can be scary or family-friendly. Fortunately, Chicago has a vast entertainment scene with something for all ages when considering where to go for spooky fun or bone-chilling fright. Listed here are five top shows that are different from ordinary theater fare. After all, when late October blows in, there is more than nature's chill in the air. Tip: tickets to these shows tend to sell out early.

"Feud In Ragtime"
Richard H. Driehaus Museum
40 E. Erie St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 482-8933

Date: Oct. 24-25, 2014

Secrets and scandals lead to murder when two high-powered Chicago families feud in the early 1900s. Guests do more than watch, drink and eat as the story plays out over cocktails and during dinner. They can be part of the action. And the setting is just as good as the story.The action takes place amid the marble and Tiffany glass splendor of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum just west of North Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile. Click here for ticket information. Guests may, but are not required to, wear clothes that would fit in with 1915. The age requirement for this show is 21 or older.

Hallowed Haunts
Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 294-3000

Date: Oct. 25, 2014

Hallowed Haunts is a chance to expose youngsters to the moods and feelings that music can create. Good for ages five and older, the event has activities before the concert from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. At 3 p.m., the Civic Orchestra of Chicago fills the hall with a perfect-for-Halloween spooky music. Costumes are encouraged.

"The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari"
Symphony Center
220 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 294-3000

Date: Oct. 31, 2014

Movies don't have to have spoken sound to portray horror and build suspense. "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" is a German silent horror film from 1920 that uses art deco-styled backdrops and almost robotic, dance-like motions. As with silent films, moods and suspense are created by live music. For this event, organist Cameron Carpenter accompanies the film with his original score. Think "Phantom of the Opera" danger-lurks chords. Because the movie does have scary scenes, the age recommendation is 13 and older.

Related: Chicago's Most Haunted Places

2120 S. Jefferson St.
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 850-8440

Date: Oct. 31, 2014

With Redmoon running the show, "Boneshaker" is not merely another adult Halloween-themed event. Internationally known as a not-for-profit theater organization that does spectacles and pageantry in a variety of venues, Redmoon began life in 1990 doing shows such as "Frankenstein" with adult-sized puppets. It continues to use puppets for some productions, but it has evolved under directors Frank Maugeri and Jim Lasko to using whatever is called for to produce unusual and thought-provoking shows and events. For "Boneshaker," guests become part of the spectacle. Participants interact with costumed performers in the Spectacle Hall's haunted house and in an outdoor fire garden. Tickets cover food, drink and help pay for free outdoor events in Chicago neighborhoods. Click here and scroll down for "Boneshaker" tickets. The event attracts the young adult crowd.

"The Gravedigger"
First Folio Theatre
Mayslake Peabody Estate Forest Preserve
1717 W. 31st St.
Oak Brook, IL 60523
(630) 986-8067

Date: Oct. 1-Nov. 2, 2014

The flip of the calendar to October means Frankenstein's monster is likely to appear during the month, one way or another. First Folio Theatre is putting on "The Gravedigger" by Joseph Zettelmaier in the Mayslake Peabody Estate, a mansion that lends itself to scary theater experiences. The setting is Bavaria in the late 1700s. A gravedigger finds a man hiding in a fresh grave in a cemetery. As the two of them set out, they learn of their shared deadly connection. The show is not for young children.

Related: Best Murder Mystery Events In Chicago

Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on

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