Talk of The Town: October 2023


It’s time to embrace the crisp air and golden hues of autumn! This month, we’re focusing on all things fall—from the season’s irresistible flavors to a bit of Halloween history and some fun fall things to do in and around town.

And if the changing of the seasons has you contemplating a change of residence, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help make your real estate dreams come true.

Fall Fun in the Windy City

Summer may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean the end of festival season! Here are some happenings around town where you can immerse yourself in the sights, traditions, sounds and flavors of fall.

Naperville Oktoberfest | Oct 6–7
Enjoy traditional German cuisine and beer, lawn games for the whole family, and a full lineup of music from Oompah and polka to pop, country and hip hop. $20 for adults and $15 for youth. Naper Settlement, 523 S Webster St, Naperville

Lincoln Park Wine Fest | Oct 6–8
Celebrate the vendage (grape harvest) in Jonquil Park—transformed into an open-air market with wine and food pavilions. General Admission starts at $35 and includes a tasting of 12 fine wines. 1001 W Wrightwood Ave, Chicago

Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade | Oct 21
This free, family-friendly event promises a dazzling spectacle of amazing puppets, creative floats, music, and dance. From 6–8PM on State Street, moving south from Lake to Van Buren.

Night of 1,000 Jack -o’-Lanterns | Oct 11–15 & 18–22
A captivating display of artist-carved pumpkins light your way through the Chicago Botanic Garden after dark. Enjoy costumed entertainers, carving demos and seasonal light fare and drinks for purchase. $19 members/$21 nonmembers. 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe

Unmasking the History of Halloween

The origins of Halloween date back 2,000 years to Samhain, a Celtic festival marking the end of the harvest season. Believing that ancestral spirits could cross over during this time, celebrants donned frightening disguises of animal skins and heads to scare off these ghosts.

By the 11th century, Samhain was reframed as a Christian celebration and came to be known as All Hallows Eve, the day before All Saints Day (November 1). Although now church-sanctioned, many of the folk aspects of the ancient Celtic festival continued—costumes included!

Before evolving into the family-friendly party outfits we know today, Halloween costumes through the early 1900’s were truly frightening and ghoulish. Things began to change in the 1920’s and by the end of WWII, stores were selling costumes based on pop culture icons like Mickey Mouse, Popeye and Little Orphan Annie.

Trick-or-Treating traces its roots to souling, a medieval English tradition when people would visit the homes of wealthy families and receive pastries known as soul cakes in exchange for prayers. In Scotland and Ireland, the tradition evolved as guising: Dressed in costume, young people would call on their neighbors, and rather than offering a prayer, they would sing a song, recite a poem or perform some other “trick” in exchange for a treat – typically fruit, nuts or coins.

To learn the origins of Jack-O-Lanterns, we have to travel back to rural Ireland in the early 1600’s where, according to legend, a fellow named Stingy Jack tricked the Devil not once, but several times. Eventually unable to trick the Devil again, Jack was forced to wander the Earth for eternity with just a burning coal to light his way. Placing the ember in a carved-out turnip and roaming the Irish fens ever since, locals began calling this ghostly figure Jack-of-the-Lantern and then, more simply, Jack O’Lantern.

As the legend spread, people started to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes and placing them in windows to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering spirits. When Irish and Scottish immigrants arrived in America, they soon discovered that indigenous pumpkins were perfect for carving into Jack-O-Lanterns.

Pumpkin Spice Is Turning 20

It’s been 20 years since Starbucks first tested their Pumpkin Spice Latte. Since then, pumpkin spice has become a harbinger of fall—now found everywhere from Oreo cookies to beer and breakfast cereals. But the flavor’s popularity has also spawned a vocal group of detractors. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, here are other fall flavors to savor!
Apples are the quintessential fruit of fall and nothing offers the cozy comfort of Apple Cinnamon treats. Warm up with a mug of hot spiced cider, grab a fresh apple cider donut from a local bakery or top off your apple pie with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream!

Founded in San Francisco nearly 100 years ago, Torani Syrups come in a wide variety of flavors, and offer an easy way to flavor your cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Besides Pumpkin Spice, their top-sellers for fall include Bourbon Carmel, Toasted Marshmallow, Butter Pecan, Shortbread and Butter Rum.

With maple trees adorned in autumnal hues, Maple Syrup is another perfect fall flavor. Beyond pancakes and French toast, try a maple glaze over grilled root vegetables or replace the simple syrup in your favorite Old Fashioned cocktail recipe with maple syrup for seasonal twist!


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