It’s October. I’ve seen a few trees starting to turn, the pumpkin patches are open…we are in full fall vibe mode here in C-U. I am here for all of it: everything pumpkin/apple/maple/spice, fire pits and fireplaces, sweater weather, scary movies and haunted houses/walks/forests, and costumes. This will be the last month where we can count on having plenty of outdoor experiences, before we descend into darker, colder days. I have a few suggestions for tapping into all the autumnal and/or spooky goodness this month.
October is a great time to visit the drive in. Sunset is earlier, so you aren’t getting home at midnight, there are fall treats at the concession stand, and they show Halloween-y movies for all kinds of tastes. See slasher classics like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, the new Halloween Ends, or the family friendly Hotel Transylvania. Each weekend they have costume contests and photo ops, and sometimes even weird and creepy characters wandering around and staring at you silently while you watch the movie. Find the schedule and ticket details at their website.
Nothing gives fall vibes like flannel, so grab yours before heading out to Centennial Park on October 14th and/or 15th for Flannel Fest. The main attraction is a group called Lumberjack Enterprises, which apparently sends professional lumberjacks out to events such as these to cut wood in front of people in an entertaining sort of way? If that isn’t your thing, there will also be a hot pepper eating contest — something that has some serious entertainment potential. There will be local brews, live music, kids activities, and even a farmers market at Prairie Farm. If you are a person with some solid facial hair, you can enter a mustache and beard contest.
PechaKucha Night CU Volume 32
PechaKucha is a concept developed by architects in Toyko in 2003, with the philosophy “talk less, show more,” as a way for designers to present their work in a concise and engaging sort of way. C-U Design Organization (CUDO) has been hosting a C-U version for several years now, and is preparing for Volume 32: Spooky Stories on October 28th. The event has expanded well beyond architecture and design, and is open to anyone from the community who wants to share something they are passionate about. In fact, it’s not too late for you to sign up if you are so inclined. You have until October 11th. If you’d rather just watch, you can plan on showing up to Broadway Food Hall by 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.) on the 28th, to hear spine-tingling tales from your fellow C-U citizens.
A few years back, we got a little behind the scenes look at the popular Baldwin Asylum haunted attraction. If you feel like your heart can take it (they literally have a warning posted on their website), try to make the trip out to Rantoul this year, which will be the final year of the attraction after 10 years of operation. It is open weekends through November 4th and 5th — you can check available times and grab your tickets online.
Try a new trail
SP writer Mara has been putting in the hard work trying out trails all over East Central Illinois the past several months, and fall is a fantastic time to follow her suggestions. The air is crisp and the leaves are turning, and it’s really the most beautiful time to check out some of our area’s forest preserves, parks, and nature trails. Mara is also great about noting where you might reward yourself with some good food or drink after you accomplish your hike.