Day 13 | Chicago Halloween

This morning started off with meeting Rich for a photo tour. He drove us straight out to Pilsen, a neighbourhood he grew up in. Now a vibrant family neighbourhood with a strong Hispanic community. There were squirrels all over the place being cautiously playful. Some of the buildings are remarkable reflecting a time before the road level was raised with a characteristic walk-up, walk-down configuration. They also have narrow gaps between (gangways they are called). Beautiful and striking murals cover many surfaces. We also popped into a Catholic church which included the beginnings of some all-souls remembrance displays and some amazing stained-glass windows. 

Today is a celebration day for Chicago with the Cubs (baseball team) has qualified for the World Series. There are references everywhere (Cubs gear, W for win flags). The increasing sense of excitement is palpable. 

Taking the El pink line then the brown line to Sedgwick to the Gold Coast / Old Town. Being an Elevated line there is a great opportunity to see where you are and admire the surroundings. Chicago seems to have lots of huge buildings but also open spaces like formal parks and squares. There is also a mix of historic and ultra-modern buildings. Out of the station straight into the historic character homes showed a good number of Halloween displays, potentially demonstrating to the kids that Trick-or-Treating may be available later. 

We noted how incredibly friendly all the locals were everywhere we have been today.  From a simple smile to a chat on the train line.  It is something we could easily get used to.

We crossed into Lincoln Park and there cantered a red fox! An amazing sight for this kind of park in the middle of town. Passers-by were commenting what an amazing sight this is. We saw Abraham's statue and made our way over the walk bridge over Lake Shore Dr to the beach on Lake Michigan. We wandered the shore path south back through some even more impressive homes. Then we found a couple of amazing Halloween displays. Not just a pumpkin but a full arrangement of skeletons, ghosties and even bats and spiders combined with cauldrons, webs and the occasional Cubs sports reference. 

Lunch at Orsos Italian in Old Town was delicious and full of character. In addition to the legions of Chicago’s finest Policemen their walls included best wishes from Elton John. It’s like he’s following us. 

Wandering through the adjacent China Town there were a few trick-or-treat kids out. Down by the Ping Tom Memorial park and the views of the Canal St Lift Bridge on the South Branch of the Chicago River. As the sun was setting the bridge rose to admit a sand barge beneath its twin rail deck. Quite dramatic. We bussed back to Pilsen to pick up the car. We made a quick stop at Mary Bartelme Park for an interestingly framed shot of part of the skyline. Having left our tripods at home this was a fun opportunity to get Rich’s out for a turn. This also included a busy dog park which was fun for a quick pat. 

Nothalsted or North Halsted is an arty creative hub known for the LGBT community and, of course, lively bars and night clubs. We were going to the Northalsted Scream Queen Halloween Parade. As we arrived there was a marshalling of the few hundred actual entries who enter the costumed parade, some with coordinated groups or themes or individually and we joined the several thousand spectators, many also costumed. It was a little embarrassing that we joined the 'uncostumed’ which would have been about half the onlookers. 

Despite the scary requirement of Halloween costumes some of the costumes were gorgeous, all of them were imaginative and many convincing. Notable were the entire cast of Beetlejuice, Trump (reviled) and a whole ‘thriller’ zombie dance crew. After the parade there was a judging at the end and no doubt a large number of after-parties. The atomosphere was fun, inclusive and exciting.  

Past the Soldier Field Stadium towards the CBD for the beautiful night views of the buildings. There was a game on (Bears vs the Minnesota Vikings) and traffic was all ready for the end of the game for the nearly 100 thousand attendees to depart so we quickly had a final photo at the CBD from here.  

Finally Rich delivered us safely back to our hotel, after an action packed adventerous day.  This is one day that will be hard to beat.  Rich was generious, knowlegable, and outstanding as our day's guide. 

Rosie – The Parade!  But basically Chicago.  I love this place.
Angus– the El.  Thank's Rich for de-coding this system for us.