You know what's reaaaaallly scary? All the press releases we had to read to bring you the best restaurants-dressing-up-for-Halloween and such stories. But here are our picks... and we don't mean the kind you dig in graveyards with, oooooh-woooo-wooooooooh okay we'll stop now.
• It was the mansion of a family (the McCormacks) who invented something called a Reaper. It was, even scarier, the Kungsholm Puppet Theater. Yeah, puppets. And for a million years it's been a steakhouse fit for a phantom of the opera. So we can't think of anywhere better to dress itself up as a haunted house than Lawry's The Prime Rib, because they probably don't even have to call Rent-a-Ghost to staff the place. (They claim a redheaded ghost has actually been seen over the years. Funny, we would have guessed blue-haired...) Anyway, they're hosting two costumed-server dinners, Saturday and Monday at 5 p.m., followed by a tour of the mansion with a haunted theme at 6:30. The prix fixe menu is $51 and "features spook-inspired dishes including the infamous Bloody Eyeball Shooter and Ghoul’s Goulash in a Puff Pastry, Blood Orange Intermezzo and “Special Cut” of 8 oz. Roasted Prime Ribs of Beef." Call (312) 787-5000 and ask for the Halloween package.
• The Dana Hotel & Spa is chic, not gothic, but here's what sold us: they're not only dressing up the lobby, they're dressing up the elevators. Maybe we've just seen the trailer for The Shining too many times, but that creeps us out. They've got a couple of parties Friday and Saturday night in the Skyline Lounge, which we're sure will be all kinds of scary.
• Likewise, give Sunda points for cheerfully embracing the incongruity of not only doing a glitzy Asian spot up in Halloween gear, but of making Halloween about... dim sum? (Not that we haven't considered handing out char siu bao instead of Snickers.) It's called Dim Sum in the Dark and $8.88 gets you an assortment to snack on Saturday night before moving on to other nocturnal activities.
• Three chances to win $100 for best costume, that's the main draw of the Chicago Avenue Bar Crawl which starts at Roots Handmade Pizza at 10 p.m. on Saturday, moves to High Dive at 11:30 p.m., and continues to Cleo's at 12:30 a.m. Whatever scary things happen after that are your business.
• And to end with something a little more kid-friendly, D'Noche Latin American Kitchen & Bar will have a costume competition Friday and Saturday, with the winner chosen by fans of D'Noche's Facebook page, and kids in costume will eat free on Monday (with purchase of an adult entree) from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.