Unfortunately, we have seen the COVID-19 outbreak put a damper on many of this summers’ activities and festivals. Cities are likely to also cancel large-scale autumn festivals in many western Chicago suburbs. Yet, many park districts seem to be taking a strategic approach to ensure that their communities are not entirely out of fun outdoors this fall. One such suburb is Downers Grove. Here are five fun activities for everyone to enjoy this fall in this western suburb of Chicago.

1. Full Moon Campfire Hike

Tree canonpy in a full moonLonging for an outdoor social event where you can meet new friends and safely maintain social distancing? Check out Downers Grove’s Full Moon Campfire on the evening of October 3rd at 6:30 pm, organized by the village’s park district. This event, as the name suggests, will include a campfire followed by a guided tour through the woods to find the best views of the full moon. Your guide will discuss the phases of the moon along with their meanings and importance to hunters and ancients people. It is just $6 per person.

2. Scarecrow Contest

Scarecrow contest entryAs the leaves begin to turn, try starting off the 2020 fall season with some group comradery and a bit of competition. Lyman Woods in Downers Grove will be hosting a scarecrow contest on October 5th. The park district has opened the event to all organizations and groups including corporate, civic groups and families. There is a $10 entry fee and prizes will be awarded for category winners. All contest entries will be on display for visitors to see throughout October and November in Layman Woods. Interested? Enter your application by October 4th.

3. Organic Edible Gardening

Row of heirloom potato onionsThere’s no better time than now to start thinking about a healthier and more cost-effective approach to your family’s nutrition. On October 10th at 9:30 am, get into organics with this instructional event held by the Downers Grove Park District. Rather you’re thinking of starting from scratch, or improving your already existing garden, this event’s valuable information will take you to the next level. Learn growing techniques, planning, canning, pickling, drying and more. With a fee of $16 per family, the event aims to be fun for everyone ages 5 and up. As expected, all participants will need to follow COVID-19 social distancing and mask requirements during the activity. There will be some free giveaways to help participants get started with their own gardens at home. This may include seedlings, recipes, and other useful resources.

4. Campfire Cooking ClassVegetables cooking in campfire

The brisk autumn air of Chicago’s western suburbs makes for a great time to enjoy an evening campfire with friends and families. Each month, one of our favorite things to do in Downers Grove is the Campfire Cooking Class. Participants learn everything from how to properly prepare a fire, gather ingredients and finally learn how to cook various delicacies over an open fire. The event is open to all ages, however children must be accompanied by an adult. The next class will be held on October 17th at 5:30 pm, with a registration fee of $10 per person. Be sure to register beforehand to ensure there are enough ingredients and cooking materials to go around.

5. Wild Night Out – For Adults

Finally, here’s something just for adults. Downers Grove Park District recently started a monthly adults only program for those seeking to meet new people and enjoy an evening without little ones. On October 9th, Lyman Woods will be hosting a Wild Night Out for those 18 and above. The event will include an evening of social activities, outdoor games, a campfire, food and a night-time hike through the forest preserve using night vision to observe and learn about nocturnal wildlife. Both singles and couples are welcome. This event can be enjoyed at $12 per person. Register online here.

For more information on events in Downers Grove, check out their main event page.


“Stars over a campfire light with a full moon in RMNP” by Dave Dugdale is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
“squashhead” by imcallahan is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
“Harvesting Heirloom Potato Onions” by Chiot’s Run is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
“Campfire cooking” by jennifrog is licensed under CC BY 2.0