Happy Halloween! Graham and I had a spooktacular date night at Chicago Botanic Garden on Sunday. It was a bit past our old folk bedtime, but we managed to find tickets for the sold-out Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns on the last day of the event. We would have preferred to attend the earlier time slots, but we were only able to find 8:45 p.m. tickets available. We were still pumped to plan our first night out together in weeks.
We arrived at exactly 8:45 and quickly realized we should have planned to get there earlier to allow time for parking. When you buy the tickets ($28 for two), you get an email suggesting arriving 30 minutes before your time slot. A line of cars snaked out of the parking lot onto the main street, but luckily Google maps had directed us to come from the opposite direction, so we were able to turn into the parking lot and make our way through the members-only car line easily. We had paid for advance parking, which means we could bypass the other line. The woman in the parking booth didn’t even look at our parking receipt, which made me wonder if we should have even bothered paying! Parking still took a bit of time, though. We made our way through the garden entrance to the event waiting area to find another long line. I was a bit surprised that even with ticket time slots we waited until about 9:15 to get in, but once we were able to begin the walk, any annoyance was forgiven.
Each section of the walk has pumpkins carved to fit a certain theme, including music legends, Chicago sports, and Halloween classics. I was in awe of the talent of these carvers from the start!
The Solar System:
They had other Chicago sports pumpkins but I only really care about the Cubs, duh. Also Michael Jordan.
|We were thrilled to see our name on a pumpkin. 🙂|
At various tents you could observe as carvers created their masterpieces and you could ask about the process. You can and should stop by for a hot cider, chocolate or coffee and a dessert. (We got the apple cider doughnuts bites. Yum!) My hot chocolate actually made the pregnancy symptoms I was having go away, and the treats made the chilly walk more enjoyable! By the way, those beverages can also be spiked if you prefer/are not expecting. Or you can just get beer, wine, water or soda.
You also walk through a Wonderland Express section with countless trains. Kids would love it, as did we! We saw a miniature version of Wrigley Field that we very much enjoyed. Entertainers such as a man on stilts also greeted us as we walked around the garden.
|The ivy inside the mini Wrigley Field was out of control!|
We were done with the entire walk through the jack-o’-lanterns at 10:40 p.m. and appeared to be among the last people out. It was a nice way to beat the Sunday Scaries before another workweek!
Have you been to the Chicago Botanic Garden? What are your Halloween plans? Which pumpkin is your favorite?