Things to do around Chicago: Pumpkins, world music and a haunted house on the first weekend of fall

Your calendar makes it official, Saturday is the first day of autumn. There’s also the opening of Reeling, the Day of the Dead exhibition at the National Museum of Mexican Art and dinosaurs in the western ‘burbs.

This free and family-friendly festival celebrating art, music and creativity is celebrating its 10th year. The event will include works by 200 artists across 40 different venues, street paintings, live music and art activations.


Noon-5 p.m. Sept. 23 at various locations in Beverly and Morgan Park; free, more information at

Celebrate the start of fall at this outdoor experience that spans two acres. There’s a corn maze, carnival games, axe throwing, fortune tellers, gem mining, food and drinks and more than 10,000 pumpkins.


Sept. 21 to Nov. 5 at 1265 West Le Moyne, tickets at

Ten life-sized animatronic dinosaurs will roam west suburban Wheaton in a free outdoor exhibit presented by Imagine Exhibitions and Innovator. Plus a full calendar of related dino activities.

Through Oct. 8 along Front Street in downtown Wheaton; more information at

The things-going-bump-in-the-night season has begun, with a number of Chicago-area haunted houses opening this weekend — including the atmospheric Old Joliet Haunted Prison by Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group. Plus escape rooms and Zombie Laser Tag.

Sept. 23 to Nov. 4 at 401 Woodruff Road, Joliet; tickets $19.99 to $89.99 at

Cheikh Ibra Fam of Senegal performs Saturday at Avondale Music Hall as part of World Music Festival Chicago.

Spread out over 10 days, this festival will bring 34 bands from 22 countries to the city. Attendees will get to listen to world music and its subgenres from countries like Brazil, South Korea and Senegal. The event starts this weekend with shows at Martyrs’ (3855 N. Lincoln Ave.), Avondale Music Hall (3336 N. Milwaukee Ave.) and Sleeping Village (3734 W. Belmont Ave.).

Sept. 22-Oct. 1 at various venues; free, more information at

Listen to live music, enjoy food trucks and play games at this event before designing your own lantern with messages of love, dreams and remembrance. As the sun starts to set, attendees will launch their lanterns into the water in a moment of reflection. Lanterns are collected afterward for reuse and recycling.


4-8 p.m. Sept. 23 at Humboldt Park, 1400 N. Humboldt Drive; tickets start at $46 at

The 37th annual Day of the Dead exhibition opens with a reception 6 p.m. Friday at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. “Día de Muertos, Living Presence” includes installations by 18 local artists, along with work by dozens more and, according to the museum, is especially in remembrance of those who died in the February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Through Dec. 10 at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Main Gallery, 1852 W. 19th St.; free admission,

The 41st Chicago LGBTQ+ film fest, the second-oldest such festival in the U.S., has opened with screenings all over town.

Through Oct. 8 at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 N. Clark St.; Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave.; and Chicago Filmmakers, 1326 W. Hollywood Ave. Tickets $12-$15; pick-five passes are $55; pick-10 passes are $100. Some films available for online screening. More information at 773-293-1447 and

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