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Halloween rules at children’s film festival

'ParaNorman' is part Halloween festivities taking place during Chicago International Children's Film Festival Oct. 26 Nov. 4 multiple venues. Catch

"ParaNorman" is part of the Halloween festivities taking place during the Chicago International Children's Film Festival Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 at multiple venues. Catch it Oct. 27 at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport.

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29th Annual Chicago
Children’s Film Festival

♦ Oct. 26-Nov. 4

♦ Facets Multi-Media, 1517 W. Fullerton, and other locations

♦ Admission: $9 for adults, $6 for kids 2 to 16, $35 family pass (covers four people)

♦ (773) 281-9075, ext. 3011;

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Updated: October 26, 2012 11:10AM

There’s nothing tricky about it: The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival has plenty of treats in store this year for filmgoers. Running Oct. 26 to Nov. 4 at seven venues scattered across the city, it’s only natural for the 29th edition of the family-friendly fest to offer a bounty of Halloween-themed flicks. They are among more than 200 films from more than 40 countries that will be screened before the event culminates with the awards ceremony at 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at Facets Multi-Media.

“We have some attendant contests attached to some of these Halloween fun things,” said Ann Vikstrom, CICFF programming director.

Among the Halloween highlights Vikstrom recommended is the “ParaNorman” screenings (10 a.m. Oct. 27, Music Box; 6 p.m. Oct. 28, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts) that feature a discussion of stop-motion animation with Mark Shapiro from LAIKA studios and a grizzliest-zombie costume contest. The film is about an 11-year-old who can speak to the dead, hence the zombie connection.

If you prefer swashbuckling attire, then Vikstrom recommended seeing “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” (11:30 a.m. Oct. 28, Music Box), which includes a question-and-answer session with Loyd Price, supervising animator from Aardman Studios, and a pirate costume and trivia contest.

Young costumed filmgoers can attend “Where the Wild Stories Are” (11 a.m. Oct. 28, Facets; 10 a.m. Nov. 3, Logan Center) dressed as their favorite beast or animal and compete in the wee beasties costume contest.

Other Halloween highlights include “Treats and Tricksters” shorts for kids 5 and older (9:30 a.m. Oct. 27, Facets; 2 p.m. Oct. 28, Logan Center; 9:45 a.m. Oct. 30, Music Box); “Inside Out,” a collection of shorts for kids 9 and older (4 p.m. Oct. 28 or 9:45 a.m. Oct. 31, Logan Center; 11:45 a.m. Oct. 29, Music Box); and “Secrets and Surprises” shorts for kids 13 and older (11:45 a.m. Oct. 31, Logan Center).

Of course, there’s more to CICFF than Halloween. The fest pays tribute to Pixar Studios at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 3 at the Music Box with a screening of shorts and a discussion. Literacy-based offerings include “Tales with Tails” (9:45 a.m. Oct. 31, Music Box), featuring shorts based on books with beasts and a sneak peek at WTTW-Channel 11’s new animated series “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” The Instituto Cervantes will screen two Spanish short programs (“Espanol Para Todos: Traditions,” 9:45 Oct. 29; “Espanol Para Todos: Coming Together,” 11:45 a.m. Oct. 29) and a live-action feature (“The Last Island,” 9:45 a.m. Oct. 30, 9:30 a.m. Nov. 3). There’s also the second annual tribute to French animation — “the super stars of animation” according to Vikstrom — that features two masterpieces: “The Painting” and “Zarafa.” It starts at 3 p.m. Nov. 3 at Facets.

This year filmgoers have the option for expanded workshop opportunities (fees range from $10 to $80). Among the choices: “First Flapper to Final Cut,” “Acting Is Fun,” “Tweens and Toons” and “Stop-Motion Magic with LAIKA Studios.”

“We’re doing over twice as many workshops due to popular demand,” Vikstrom said. “And they are more hands-on.”

Also new this year is the $35 family pass that allows up to four people admission to unlimited screenings.

Screening locations are Facets Multi-Media (1517 W. Fullerton), Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport), Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.), Instituto Cervantes (21 W. Ohio), Patio Theater (6008 W. Irving Park), Center on Halsted/Hoover-Leppen Theatre (3656 N. Halsted, third floor) and the Illinois Institute of Art (180 N. Wabash).


♦ Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit, showcasing the genius of cartoonist Charles Schulz, runs through Feb. 18 at the Museum of Science and Industry. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids 3 to 11 in addition to general admission of $15 for adults and $10 for kids. MSI is at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. Call (773) 684-1414 or visit

♦ Centuries of Progress: American World’s Fairs 1853-1982 opens Oct. 26 and runs through Jan. 6 at the Elmhurst Historical Museum, 120 E. Park Ave. The exhibit showcases artifacts, photos and videos of U.S. World Fairs, including the two held in Chicago. Admission is free. Call (630) 833-1457 or visit elmhurst

♦ Catch Leo, a one-man gravity-defying show starring Tobias Wegner, at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26-27 at the Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive. Tickets are $33 for adults, $20 for kids 12 and younger. Call (847) 622-0300 or visit

Jennifer Burklow is a local free-lance writer.

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