While we don’t want summer to end, as school starts, we begin getting excited about fall events in Chicagoland. Western suburbanites can keep the fun going with these five fun autumn attractions in Downers Grove, IL.
1. Alter Fest 2023
Saturday, September 30, 5 – 10 pm
Alter Brewing Company, 2300 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 213, Downers Grove
Alter Fest is not to be confused with your typical beer fest, although beer is certainly part of the attraction. Advance tickets are $35 per person and includes two beers. If the event doesn’t sell out in advance, you can purchase tickets at the door, but they’ll be $45 each. Besides 30+ Alter Brewing beers to choose from, Jaked will be playing 90s hits. Alter Brewing + Kitchen Oak Brook will be joined by Dan’s Pizza and smashburgers and chicken from Crave Belly for a robust set of food options. One caution is that Alter’s parking lot is the site of the fest, so there won’t be parking on site. They strongly recommend rideshare.
2. The Last Straw
Gregg House Museum, 115 S. Linden Ave., Westmont, IL
Sunday, October 1, 12 – 4 pm
The Garden Club of Downers Grove teams up with Westmont Park District to host The Last Straw, an all ages afternoon of fun activities and scarecrow making. All activities are free except the $10 fee for scarecrow materials and optional panning for gold. Bring items from home (pants and shirt at a minimum) so your scarecrow is unique. All items should be environmentally friendly, although not perishable, and weather resistant. If needed, there will be some extra clothes on site to use. There will also be a bake sale.
Free activities include a hay ride, music, crafts, games, and pumpkin decorating sponsored by the Westmont Chamber of Commerce. No registration needed.
3. Specters and Spirits (the non-alcoholic kind)
October 10, 7 pm
Downers Grove Museum, Wandschneider Park, 831 Maple Ave., Downers Grove, IL
As a keeper of Downers Grove’s historical documents and materials, Downers Grove Museum is thought by some to be haunted. For those 18 and older who want to investigate for themselves, Specters and Spirits returns again this fall. Bring your friends and join paranormal experts and their paranormal detection equipment to search the museum and the Main Street Cemetery for spirits. A ticket ($42 for Downers Grove resident; $63 for non-resident) includes light appetizers and a non-alcoholic beverage.
Purchase tickets on the park district website.
4. Touch a Truck
October 21, 9 am
McCollum Park, 6801 S. Main St., Downers Grove, IL
A completely free all-ages event! At the 50-acre, flagship McCollum Park, October brings an event all little kids love (okay, and us adults too): a Touch a Truck event. Climb in, use the controls and learn all about various types of trucks and tractors, often from the drivers themselves. Go early for the least-crowded experience.
5. Halloween Window Painting and Living Cemetery
Downtown Downers Grove
Of all the fall attractions in Downers Grove, IL, the Halloween festivities take the cake. Event specifics have not been released yet at time of publishing, but a link will likely be placed here when details are ready. But the date is set, and we expect it will be similar to last year. The window painting and Living Cemetery tend to be morning events in the Halloween event lineup.
Halloween window painting along downtown businesses is a long-standing event in Downers Grove, and is sponsored by the Downers Grove Rotary Club and Downers Grove Downtown Management Corp. Bring your own brushes, and get water-based paints in exchange for a donation. Last year, the donation was a canned good for F.I.S.H. pantry.
Downers Grove has a rich and well-preserved history, today thanks to the Downers Grove Historical Society. They present the Living Cemetery with a team of costumed folks portraying a wide variety of people of varying times who are buried in the Main Street Cemetery. Walk the cemetery and visit the presenters for stories on the passed-on individuals and their lives in Downers Grove.
Touch-a-Truck Show by Tomas Del Coro is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Gregg Museum, Westmont, Illinois by Teemu08 is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
Downtown Downers Grove: Cemetery Living Saturday by Daniel X. O’Neil under CC BY 2.0