Halloween is almost here again, and as I wrote last year, the holiday’s parades, haunted houses, pumpkin carvings, fun runs, spooky mazes, and other events span more than a single day. Many of these events are cheap (or free), are geared towards children, and don’t involve the ingestion of mass amounts of candy. In others words, they make for good, wholesome family outings.

The Chicago Parks District has a list of all their Halloween offerings, and About.com has a good general summary of city-wide events (though many of the dates still read “TBD”).

For simplicity’s sake, I’ve once again created a Google map made up of all the North Side Halloween events. Use it to find the upcoming events near where you live. Blue markers are Parks District events, red markers are parades, and yellow markers are all other events.

Please click through to the website for each marker to get the most up-to-date information for each event.


View 2009 Chicago North Side Halloween Events in a larger map

If you know of any North Side events I missed, let me know with a comment or email and I’ll add them.

Movie in the ParkHow time flies! One of my first posts after starting this blog last summer was on Chicago’s annual “Movies in the Parks” program. Now, another summer is here, and that means another season to enjoy great films for free in the friendly setting of Chicago’s public parks.

The film reels start rolling as early as next week with titles like Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar 2, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man on outdoor screens across the city. Visit the Chicago Park District’s Movies in the Parks page to see which films are playing near you.

And if you live in the central Lakeview area, there’s an independent “Movie Night in the Park” event this Sunday at Hawthorne School. They will be showing cartoons followed by Disney’s animated motion picture Bolt.

So pack a picnic, grab a blanket and relax under the stars while enjoying some great movies free of charge.

Photo by BluEyedA73

Our family farm in 1975
My sisters, dad, and me (center right) on our family farm in 1975.

Last weekend marked the beginning of spring in our household. My three boys (all under four years old) spent the last few days digging and playing outside. My oldest has a new specialty, “mud sandwiches” comprised of dirt squeezed between two rocks, and he informed me that he is planning to “grow things” from the dirt that he piled in the back of his toy fire truck. It is such a pleasure to see them discovering their environment.

We recently moved into a new house, and we have a bare patch of soil in our backyard.  I assumed I would call a landscaper and plant some large low maintenance bushes once the ground thaws, but now I have had a change of heart. I want to plant a small garden with my boys so they can enjoy the process of nurturing something and watching it grow.

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Bagpipes on the march

It is almost St. Patrick’s Day, that time of year when Chicago’s Irish heritage is put on display in dazzling, emerald green fashion. If you’re looking to get out and enjoy some of the festivities, consider these options. Note that some of these events are held in advance of March 17th, the official holiday.

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Small Image
The City has created photos of several Chicago locations with tens of thousands of times more clarity than the image above.

I have been an avid photographer since eighth grade, so when I first started selling residential real estate 15 years ago, I jumped right in to the art of architectural photography. Now, I shoot nearly 100 homes per year, and the professional grade digital photo equipment I use has been a fantastic asset to my marketing.

However, I’m not the only one who appreciates the impact our fair city can make when shot with the right gear. The City of Chicago has apparently got its hands on a new tool with the ability to take super-high resolution photos, and the fruits of their labor can be seen on Chicago’s newly launched “Explore Chicago” tourism page in the “gigapan” gallery.

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After a long interlude, I now have another guest post to share from one of my Team members. This post comes from John Costa, our team’s Director of Marketing. While John spends his days spearheading the print and online marketing of our client’s properties, today, he’s offering up some advice on how to make the most of Christmas in Chicago.

The Holidays in Chicago

Lights on palmetto trees. Playing a quick nine holes of golf. Wearing shorts in December. While this was Christmas as usual for me when I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, it didn’t feel truly like the holiday season to a New Jersey native such as me. So, when I moved to Chicago two years ago, I looked forward to enjoying “Northern” Christmases once again.

With so many holiday offerings in the city, I thought it would be helpful to provide a short list of some of the best ways to take in the season in Chicago. Here’s my picks:

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Update: This post is for 2008. For information on 2009 Halloween events on Chicago’s North Side, see here.

Halloween may be a one day event in some parts of the country, but here in Chicago, there’s nearly a month’s worth of parades, haunted houses, pumpkin carvings, fun runs, spooky mazes, and other events dedicated to the holiday. Many of these events are cheap (or free), are geared towards children, and don’t involve the ingestion of mass amounts of candy. In others words, they make for good, wholesome family outings.

The Chicago Parks District has a list of all their Halloween offerings, and About.com has a good general summary of city-wide events.

For simplicity’s sake, however, I had a Google map made up of all the North Side Halloween events. Use it to find the upcoming events near where you live. Blue markers are Parks District events, red markers are parades, and yellow markers are all other events.

Please click through to the website for each marker to get the most up-to-date information for each event.
View Larger Map

Did I miss any great Chicago Halloween events? Let me know with a comment!

In a recent posting, I offered some suggestions on how to cope with stress and the challenges of staying healthy and balanced despite the daily grind. Already, I would like to add to that list!

I cannot think of a nicer way to spend a fall day than to take a relaxing walk at one of my favorite pieces of “Chicago” real estate – a 385-acre plot of landscaped islands in Glencoe, Illinois. I’m talking, of course, about the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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Movies in the Parks

For the 7th year in a row, the Chicago Park District is hosting “Movies in the Parks” – screenings of current and classic movies in more than 170 neighborhood parks throughout the city. The schedule extends well past Labor Day to September 18th.

The showings are all free, and the lineup includes some nice titles including classics like E.T., Willy Wonka and West Side Story, as well as newer films like The Great Debaters, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Hairspray.

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