Boo-Palooza celebrants in Wicker Park numbered close to 3,000


The mere presence of Dracula caused the winds to howl

Organized by the Wicker Park Advisory Council (WPAC), a cast of more than 400 volunteers, from in and out of the neighborhood and state, under the direction of Doug Wood, WPAC program coordinator. They put up and took down environments and a long list of activities in the park on a chilly, windy day. 


This Spider-person was ecstatic with the Pumpkin Patch


A pirate chases a fire chief in the hay stacks

A pumpkin patch had 500 pumpkins from which children selected one then decorated it. Bales of straw (80 throughout the activities) and stacks of cornstalks brought harvest time to several areas of Wicker Park. The bright orange maze replete with cobwebs, skeletons, spiders and lots of other little and big pieces was another consumer of pre- and post-event time and talent. The obvious fun of the participants, however, made it fun for everyone. 


Determined to get the apple, this young man kept bobbing

The hay stack area was of favorite of the younger crowd.

Apple bobbing for people and tennis ball bobbing for dogs, needle in the hay stacks, an arcade of games as well as face painting were part of the annual activities. 


One of the many table activities

Table after table (65 of them) were manned by volunteers from toy stores, dental offices, community organizations, schools, religious organizations and businesses. Each had a different activity from games about food nutrition to pumpkin painting, game playing, science wonders and popcorn eating. 


Alderman Moreno talks with Steve Jensen who was representing Alderman Waguespack

Proco "Joe" Moreno, 1st Ward Alderman, was on hand for part of the event while his staff members were manning a table throughout. While 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack were out of town, they both were represented by staff. 


"Kids" of all ages posed by the spider

With plenty of photo options by the giant inflatable spider, there was a large inflated cat that attracted many a phone-camera photographer too. 


This volunteer was "wrapped up" in her "job."

Both parades, one for kids and one for dogs, were sources of much fun for all. So many pictures so little space…they will be reported on in separate stories. 


Brother Rabbit and Tyler Culligan are with Brother Bear and Jake Moore

The Magic Boat Puppet Show began the festivities before the official opening of "Boo" at 10 a.m. and the Junior League of Chicago's Mad Hatters came in to work their magic before the parades began. 


The Chicago Junior League's MadHatters always mesmerizes a crowd

Denise Browning, Susan Fontana, Adam Housley, John Shirk, Tim Kolecke, Tyler Culligan, Jaciob Moore, Scott Venable and Aaron Cauble along with Wood put in many hours before this event to say nothing of the time to put everything up and take it down. For these latter two things many groups and individuals participated. 

Volunteers were treated to food and refreshments thanks to efforts and the work of Denise Browning and Edith and Natalie Konieczko. 


Carly of Carly's Hoops was demonstrating her goldfish pose

A full list of sponsors and participants are on the WPAC website. Special thanks is also given to the Chicago Park District; Claribel Rodriguez, who just experienced her first Boo-Palooza as Park Supervisor; and the rest of the Wicker Park Staff for their assistance before, during and after the event. 


It's a wrap for another year


What went had to be completely taken down and cleaned up

Community gardens across the City will receive parts of the 80 pales of straw thanks to Christy Webber Landscapes, who will make the distribution. 

While the savable decorations are tucked away for another year, the WPAC hopes your Boo-Palooza memories will be treasured all year long. 

Next year, they hope, you will join them in the planning and doing. 


More stories will be coming for the Boo-Palooza Kids and Dog Parades with lots of pictures.  

Next In Wicker Park

The next opportunity to be involved in a Wicker Park community event is on Nov. 16. There will be two events in the Park:

  • 9th Annual Fountain Decorating Social is when the community gets together to decorate Wicker Park's Gurgoyle Fountain and urns with lights, greens, dried flowers and grasses from the gardens. Activities begin at 8 a.m. and culminate with the Fountain lighting at 4 p.m.

    While the event is free, people are asked to bring holiday finger food to share. Please RSVP 


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