MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

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Favorites for fall

Pursuing the hues
With luck, leaf peepers can squeeze seven weeks of color out of fall.
Greatest hits of the Ice Age
In Wisconsin, the best walking trails are gifts from the glaciers.
Ghosts of the Great Lakes
Centuries of tragedy on ship and shore leave haunting memories.
Road trip: Wisconsin's concrete art
Love goofy roadside attractions? Here's where to find them, from Snow White to Sacagawea.
Horror around the corner
Spoiling for a fright? For Halloween, ghouls lurk in strange places.
Wisconsin Dells in fall
For many, the scenery is best when the crowds are gone.
Toasting Oktoberfest
These festive tributes to Bavarian tradition put the oompah into fall.
15 great trails to ride in fall
Here's where to get your fill of flora, fauna and fall colors.

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FastPlans/Halloween in Chicago

Skull at a farmers market.

In Chicago, Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year after Christmas.

The city puts on a big cultural party in and around Millennium Park. Navy Pier has a party over two weekends. And everybody dresses up.

Events to catch: Oct. 20, Arts in the Dark Halloween parade. Oct. 28, Day of the Dead Xicago.

What to do: Go on a ghost tour or "Devil in the White City" tour. Tour Graceland Cemetery

Details: For more, see Halloween in Chicago.

Past fast plans: Fall hikes at Devil's Lake, Fall colors in Door County, The Cornish of Mineral Point, Autumn in the St. Croix Valley, Capital of cheese

This weekend

Halloween at Heritage Hill.

Pumpkin Chuckin Fest in Union Grove, Wis. The festival in this town, just west of Racine, features a pumpkin catapult contest, barbecue cook-off, pie auction, pumpkin-baking contest, children's games and music. Oct. 20–21.

Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza in St. Paul. This all-ages evening spectacle in Hidden Falls Regional Park features larger-than-life puppetry, fire, song, stilting and, after the performance, food and dancing to jazz brass bands. Oct. 20–21.

Southwest Wisconsin Fall Art Tour in southwest Wisconsin. This popular tour includes artists at studios between Mineral Point, Spring Green, Dodgeville and Baraboo. Oct. 19–21.

Oktoberfest in Elkhorn, Wis. This downtown festival near Lake Geneva features wine and beer tasting, music, a car show, arts and crafts and a chili cookoff. Oct. 20.

For more, see our Events Calendar.

15 great fall views

From these overlooks, see rolling waves of color light up the landscape.

The Porcupines' Lake of the Clouds in autumn.

In autumn, the pilgrims head for Holy Hill.

Some want to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin Mary, for whom the basilica was built in 1930. But many others just want to see the amazing view, which includes the Milwaukee skyline and surrounding Kettle Moraine State Forest, dappled with colors.

The basilica was built atop a kame — a mound filled with glacial rubble — that has one of the highest elevations in southeast Wisconsin and the highest in the 120-mile-long kettle moraine, where two lobes of the last glacier collided.

It's one of 15 great overlooks that are easy to reach on a lovely fall day.

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Ghosts on the prowl

Around the region, spirits of past turn out to haunt tourists of today.

The cemetery in Spillville.

It's funny how, wherever there are tourists, there are ghosts.

In Chicago, two ghost tours put titillated tourists on the track of Al Capone and John Dillinger, thrill-killers Leopold and Loeb and serial murderer H.H. Holmes, the Devil in the White City.

There's enough lingering ectoplasm in St. Paul, Milwaukee and Winnipeg to keep guides busy there, too, especially around Halloween.

Even cute little Galena, Ill., has so many ghosts that guides stay busy year-round, telling tourists about beckoning figures and haunted theaters and mysterious taps on shoulders.

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15 great fall drives

Chase the colors through glorious autumn landscapes.

Hilltop view of Hudson.

On a crisp, sunny fall day, we all get the urge to go for a drive.

The countryside is alight with color, and there's a lot going on — art-studio tours, corn mazes, hay rides and harvest festivals in every little town.

And you'll be chasing the colors, of course.

You probably could throw a dart at the map and find a pretty spot, but here are 15 routes that we think are especially beautiful.

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30 classic fall hikes

For autumn scenery, these beautiful trails are the best of the best.

Runners in Carleton's Arboretum.

An autumn Saturday dawns, sunny and mild. It’s a perfect day for hiking — but where?

This time of year, you could walk down the street and see something nice.

But if you're looking for the kind of hike that makes you marvel at nature and feel glad to be alive, you'll probably have to look a little farther afield.

Here are 30 of our favorite fall hikes. A few require a little huffing and puffing, but most are easy strolls. And they all showcase fall at its finest.

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