Wicker Park's Boo-Palooza alive with hundreds of volunteers and thousands of people and dogs


Twice the footprint as last year, Boo-Palooza entertained thousands*


Pumpkin patch preparation took days. Final prep started early in the morning. Advisory Coun. Pres. Tim Kolecke (c) checks results

Everything from a midway of games, a maze, needle in the straw, pumpkin patch, dunking for apples, chess, puzzles, food train, children’s cooking, puppets, dancers and other performers to a kids costume parade and a dog costume parade brought Wicker Park alive with at least a couple thousand costumed, and not, Halloween revelers of all ages at Boo-Palooza 2012.


Creativity was at work in the maze

Forty-five organizations and 120 volunteers from Build On, Missio Dei Chicago, Mosaic Church Chicago, Roberto Clemente Community Academy, Urban Encounter, Wicker Park Advisory Council, Wicker Park Garden Club, Josephinum Academy set up and ran the event. Mosaic Church Chicago, Missio Dei Chicago, and Roberto Clemente volunteers worked to get the event set up between 8 and 10 a.m.


Susan Fontana and husband Ian bring life to the beloved, friendly spider

Designed, created and produced by the community, there were two new features in


Doug Wood (r), Advisory Coucil Program Dir. and Event Mgr., and Richard Tilley, Advisory Council Treas., discuss the day's plans

Boo-Palooza 2012. The Build On volunteers from Phoenix Military Academy did an excellent job of decorating the maze and volunteers from Missio Dei Chicago took charge of the games midway.


Denise Browning "caught-up" in early morning maze

The big spider perched on hay bales was once again a picture haven for many while others used the pumpkin patch, needle in a straw stack, the maze and the decorated fountain as backdrops for costumed families and dog owners to snap memorable shots. Tons of goodies were handed out amid the overwhelming number of activities.


Solar Family was a costume prize winner


Two Costume Parades with prizes for the best costumes created much interest as they circled the fountain area.


Judges Joe Moreno and Joanna Taylor

Five judges awarded five prizes in the Children’s Parade, which stepped off at 11a.m. led by dancers/choreographers Beth McNeil and Elizabeth Albright. The judges were 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno, 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, Maria Dmyterko Stone (Friends of the Parks), Joanna Taylor (The Nicholson School), and Sylvia Ramos (A.N. Pritzker Elementary School).


Judges Scott Waguespack and Maria Dmyterko


Sylvia Ramos

The prizes were donated by Psychobaby, Children’s Dentistry of Bucktown & Wicker Park, Cat & Mouse Game Store, The Kids’ Table, and Building Blocks Toy Store.

Paige Ormond (Doggie Style Pet Shop) and Adam Housley (Wicker Park Dog Park Committee) oversaw The Haunted Parade of Hounds and led the audience in voting for the top three dog costumes. The winners received a prize from Doggie Style Pet Shop. In addition, Doggie Style Pet Shop & Stella and Chewy's ran a Dog Game Area and manned a table where they distributed free samples and coupons.


MadHatters illustrate stories

Performances and Arts

Audiences enjoyed special performances by Magic Boat Puppet Theater, The Nicholson School Actors, performing dramatic works at various locations around the park, and The Junior League of Chicago’s Mad Hatters, who performed their engaging show that encouraged reading. Many children learned a special Halloween dance from Dance to Evolve .


Phoenix students helping with midway games


The face painting tent was continually turning out newly painted creations thanks to volunteers from Phoenix Military Academy, Roberto Clemente Academy, Mosaic Church, and Josephinum Academy. 


Annie decorates her pumpkin

One of the most popular features was the pumpkin and gourd patch where children choose the ‘best one’ and then took it to the decorating area. Easel Art Studio, Junior League of Chicago Do it in A Day, and other volunteers worked with the children to decorate their specially chosen treasure. Christy Webber Landscapes and Christy Webber Farm & Garden Center partially funded 200 pumpkins, straw, and corn stalks; Iron Creek Organic Farm donated 100 gourds.


Sisters in the Pumpkin Patch

Other Activities
Ghost Bingo, in the Field House, was another popular event for all ages where many winners received great prizes.


HealthTrain intrigues kids' tastebuds*

Numerous activity sites and tables were devoted to healthy living, children’s cooking, creative fun games, and craft making. The Kid’s Table, Junior League of Chicago Kids in the Kitchen, Feast Restaurant + Bar & The Goddess and Grocer. taught children how to cook and creative fun meals. The Junior League of Chicago’s Health Train’s exercise and learning area was a big hit and provided all sorts of activities for families.


Chess was a game offering*


Straw bales were a magnet for kids*

Cat & Mouse Game Store, Psychobaby, Building Blocks Toy Store, Purple Monkey Playroom, and Chess Wizards presented areas to play, create and learn. At the Psychobaby tables children created bird feeders from pine cones. In addition people enjoyed visiting tables presented by Friends of the Parks, Children’s Dentistry of Bucktown & Wicker Park, A.N. Pritzker Elementary School, The Nicholson School, Maternal Child Health Advocacy Council, Wicker Park Committee, Wicker Park Garden Club, Wicker Park Advisory Council, and Missio Dei Chicago. These tables provided even more activities, games, and offered helpful information to families.


This Halloweener raced through the popular maze*

Following the outside activities, the Chicago Park District screened the Haunted In-Door Drive-In Movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest at 2 p.m.

Wicker Park Advisory Council, Wicker Park Garden Club, and Mosaic Church Chicago produced Boo-Palooza in collaboration with the Chicago Park District and with support from WPB SSA#33.


*Photos by Doug Wood including face painting
Remainder of photos by Elaine Coorens



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