Boo to you at the zoo

The Brookfield Zoo’s annual Boo! at the Zoo will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 20 and 21 and 27 and 28.

The spooky fun features a costume parade that begins at 1 p.m. each day at the zoo’s North Gate and makes its way around Roosevelt Fountain before concluding at the East Mall. Afterwards, guests can show off their costumes in the Costume Showcase. Judges will choose first- and second-place winners in four categories: scariest, best animal theme, most original, and best group theme. Prizes will be awarded.

Guests can learn some expert pumpkin-carving tips from professional carver Steve Dahlke, who will use a variety of tools to create masterpieces out of 1,000-pound pumpkins. During his demonstrations, guests will be able to ask questions and pick up carving tips they can try at home.

Ghosts and goblins alike can try to find their way through the 7,000-square-foot Crazed Maize on the West Mall; take a spin on the haunted carousel; or hop on a hayride through the zoo. Families can discover interesting facts about some of the zoo’s animals during special Zoo Chats in Australia House, The Swamp and the Children’s Zoo.

Some of the zoo’s animals are also joining in the Halloween celebration. Guests can watch pumpkins being given to animals including rhinos (Oct. 20), gorillas (Oct. 21), sloth bears (Oct. 27) and African lions (Oct. 28).

In the Children’s Zoo, which will be free during Boo! at the Zoo, youngsters can participate in Halloween-themed activities including “pin the nose on the cat” and “pin the eye on the owl,” and make scarecrows until 3 p.m.

Xtreme BUGS, the exhibit that invaded the zoo this summer, will be sticking around for a creepy-crawly Halloween encore. The exhibit of epic proportions features more than 20 oversize animatronic bugs including a spooky giant Madagascar hissing cockroach.

Admission to Brookfield Zoo is $15 for adults and $10.50 for children 3 to 11 and seniors 65 and older. Boo! at the Zoo activities are free, with the exception of admission to Xtreme Bugs, The Carousel, and the hayride. Parking is $10. For more information visit or call 688-8000.