Last revised: January 1, 2024
By: Adam Burns
There is currently only one location in Illinois that offers a Halloween-themed, the obscure Silver Creek & Stephenson Railroad which is operated by the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club. It is located in the small town of Freeport. More information about this attraction may be found further below.
Halloween is a time of excitement and joy for families across the state of Illinois. With a rich history, diverse landscapes, and an abundance of creativity, Illinois offers an array of family-friendly Halloween attractions that are sure to delight visitors of all ages.
If you are looking for more than just a train ride for Halloween, below are some of the best destinations in Illinois, where families can indulge in thrilling experiences, explore haunted houses, and partake in festive activities while creating lasting memories together.
Six Flags Great America Fright Fest (Gurnee)
Located in Gurnee, Six Flags Great America transforms into a spooky wonderland during the Halloween season. The park's annual Fright Fest offers a variety of family-friendly attractions, including haunted houses, scare zones, live entertainment, and thrilling rides suitable for all ages. Little ones can enjoy trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, and a whimsical parade featuring their favorite Looney Tunes characters.
Pumpkin Festival at Siegel's Cottonwood Farm (Crest Hill)
Siegel's Cottonwood Farm in Crest Hill is a family-owned farm that comes alive during Halloween. The Pumpkin Festival offers an enchanting experience with a vast selection of pumpkins, a challenging corn maze, hayrides, petting zoos, and interactive games. Families can enjoy picking their own pumpkins, navigating through the corn maze, and indulging in delicious seasonal treats like caramel apples and hot apple cider.
Boo at the Zoo (Brookfield Zoo)
Brookfield Zoo's Boo at the Zoo is a spooktacular event for animal-loving families. This festive celebration includes a costume parade, trick-or-treating, and themed Halloween activities throughout the zoo. Families can explore the exhibits, watch special animal presentations, and enjoy Halloween-themed crafts and games. Boo at the Zoo provides a unique blend of education and entertainment in a safe and family-friendly environment.
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival (Highwood)
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival is a one-of-a-kind event that attracts families from all over Illinois. Located in Highwood, this festival aims to break the Guinness World Record for the most pumpkins carved and lit at once. Alongside the pumpkin extravaganza, visitors can enjoy hayrides, a pumpkin parade, carnival rides, live entertainment, and a petting zoo. The festival also features a pumpkin pie-eating contest and a costume parade, making it an ideal destination for Halloween enthusiasts.
Richardson Adventure Farm (Spring Grove)
Richardson Adventure Farm offers a thrilling Halloween experience suitable for families seeking adventure. Known for its expansive corn maze, this farm in Spring Grove also hosts a variety of Halloween-themed activities. Families can explore the maze by day or brave it at night under the moonlight. Other attractions include a giant slide, wagon rides, pumpkin picking, and a challenging zip line course. Richardson Adventure Farm provides an action-packed Halloween adventure for the whole family.
Illinois is brimming with family-friendly Halloween attractions that offer a delightful mix of spooky thrills, festive activities, and memorable experiences. From theme parks and farms to zoos and festivals, the state caters to families of all sizes and interests.
These attractions not only provide a safe environment for children but also foster a sense of wonder and excitement during the Halloween season. So, gather your loved ones, put on your costumes, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the best family-friendly Halloween destinations Illinois has to offer.
(Freeport): Often forgotten, the tiny Silver Creek & Stephenson Railroad offers a gem of a train ride using a restored 2-truck Heisler steam locomotive for excursions. The railroad is operated by the local Stephenson County Antique Engine Club.
Located just south of downtown Freeport, Illinois the railroad uses roughly 1-mile of ex-Milwaukee Road right-of-way (for a 2-mile round trip) which had to be completely rebuilt in the mid-1980s. Arguably the trip's highlight is crossing the small trestle over Yellow Creek.
One of their specials in October is the "Train Of Terror" where spooky scenes await travelers trackside. The ride is geared towards the entire family. The trips are held four times on the select dates below at 6 pm, 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm.