Central Illinois during fall is the perfect storm of seasonal bliss. Crisp days, strong sunshine, and did we mention a bevy of family fun events? We have rounded up the best fall activities in Springfield, IL including a haunted zoo, a jack-o-lantern spectacular, and even a parade. Get out your calendars and mark them down, you’re not going to want to miss out!
Carve for the Carillon
Calling all pumpkin carvers! There are 2000 pumpkins ready for the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular and they all need to be carved! This is your chance to discover your inner artist and stock up on your pumpkin seeds for late night noshing. Come and help scoop and carve in preparation for the event the following week. Everyone in the community is invited. Just bring your favorite scooping and carving tools. You supply the creativity and they will supply the pumpkins!
Saturday & Sunday October 2nd – October 3rd, 2019
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon 1740 W. Fayette Ave Springfield, IL
In its 15th year, the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular was inspired by an event with the same name in Rhode Island – featuring the talents of professional artists only. Springfield’s event differs in that everyone is invited — from students, individuals, families and artists — from the community to participate and carve their own pumpkin.
This event features more than 2,000 illuminated hand-carved jack-o-lanterns displayed around the Carillon and the Washington Park Botanical Garden. There will be special Carillon music, wonderous lighting and sound effects, a unique Tree of Lights, and all kinds of tasty bites. With thousands in attendance this event is one of Springfield’s crown jewels of the season.
Friday & Saturday October 18th – October 19th, 2019
6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Cost: Adults $7; Children 4-11 $5; Children 3 & under Free
Location: Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon 1740 W. Fayette Ave Springfield, IL 62704
Zoolie Ghoulie at the Zoo
During one weekend of the year as the sun sets and evening arrives the Zoo is transformed into a haunted Halloween haven. You’ll find trick or treating and an assortment of not too scary, family-friendly activities. Another perfect opportunity to don your favorite Halloween costume and fill your candy bucket!
Friday to Sunday October 25th to October 27th, 2019
Friday: 5 pm – 8 pm; Saturday -Sunday: 1 pm – 5 pm
Cost: The price of admission
Location: Henson Robinson Zoo 1100 E. Lake Shore Dr Springfield, IL 62640
Halloween at the Market
It’s tradition that the last Farmers Market of the season go out with a bang, or in this case with a Boo! The annual Halloween at the Market, has lots of kids activities and a great costume contest. Not just for kids, there’s also a category for the whole family and your dog! You really can’t beat this fun, fall activity!
Saturday, October 26th, 2019
9:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: Downtown Springfield 411 E. Adams St Springfield, IL 62701
What’s more spooky and festive for Halloween than a nighttime parade? The Parent Place is hosting its 3rd Annual Halloween Parade in downtown Springfield on 5th and 6th Streets. Line up on the streets and bring your candy pail to collect your goodies as floats, costumed children, and other special Halloween guests parade the streets! There’s even a contest for best parade float — which one will it be? Watch for festive floats and entries in this lighted evening parade!
Saturday, October 26th, 2019
Location: Downtown Springfield 1 Old State Capitol Plaza Springfield, IL
Looking for more fun Fall things to do? Great! We have also rounded up some activities in Bloomington, IL and Champaign, IL!