Let's Go

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Byline: Kathy Rodeghier

Near

All aboard for Halloween

Book an excursion on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for a ride to Peninsula, Ohio, and a visit to Heritage Farms for a Halloween Experience. The Halloween Express runs Oct. 19, 20, 26 and 27. Activities include a costume contest, scavenger hunt, balloon maker, treats and a pumpkin patch. (368 miles from O'Hare, (800) 468-4070, www.cvsr.com)

Tour Wisconsin artist studios

More than 40 of Wisconsin's best-known studios open their doors in Baraboo, Dodgeville, Mineral Point and Spring Green, Wis., Oct. 18-20, offering visitors a rare opportunity to meet the artists and experience their work. During the Fall Art Tour artisans including potters, sculptors, woodcarvers, photographers, jewelers and painters are on hand giving demonstrations and selling their wares. (168 miles from O'Hare, (608) 987-3787, www.fallarttour.com)

Chuck a 'punkin'

Inventors from across the country will bring their contraptions to a farm near Morton, Ill., Oct. 19 and 20 to compete in hurling a pumpkin the farthest during Punkin Chuckin' 2002. If that weren't enough entertainment, visitors also will find a corn maze, hayrides, crafts and an opportunity to purchase a pumpkin. Dine on steak sandwiches and pumpkin ice cream. (161 miles from O'Hare, (888) 765-6588, www.mortonchamber.org)

Recalling Lewis and Clark

Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Ind., and Waterfront Park in Louisville, Ky., will serve as dual venues for the Lewis and Clark River Festival Oct. 26 and 27. William Clark, whose family lived in the area, met Meriwether Lewis in Louisville, where they recruited men for the Corps of Discovery and launched their expedition in 1803. The festival recalls that era with demonstrations, re-enactors, artisans making items from the period, militia groups, entertainers and foods served during that time. (308 miles from O'Hare, (502) 292-0059, www.fallsoftheohio.org)

Scarecrows welcome you

The scarecrows in Marshall, Mich., are not your ordinary garden variety; rather, they plant bushes, fix roofs and turn cartwheels during the annual Scarecrow Festival. More than 1,000 scarecrows usually can be found around town. Maps to the men and women of straw during this year's festival, running through Oct. 27, can be picked up at The Crow's Nest at 124 W. Michigan Ave. Along with the scarecrows you'll find a corn maze and u-pick pumpkin patch at Bosserd's Family Farm and a Haunted Barn on Friday and Saturday nights as well as on Oct. 31. An Ethnic Food Fest is scheduled Oct. 18, scavenger hunt and cemetery tour on Oct. 19, Pumpkin Glow on Oct. 25 and children's costume parade on Oct. 26. (197 miles from O'Hare, (800) 877-5163, www.scarecrowfestival.com)

Join harvest fun in Wisconsin

You'll find tons of fall activities during Harvest Days Festival Oct. 25-27 in Medford, Wis., including Harvest Days Hike (5K & 10K, Run/Walk and Children's Dash), Blade, Bike & Board Expo, chili cook-off, scavenger hunt, family pumpkin-carving contest, pumpkin dessert contest and Harvest Days Parade. There's trick-or-treating in town after the parade. Check out the fish boil at the Highview Inn. (300 miles from O'Hare, (888) 682-9567)

Tour the Bates mansion

The estate of Frederick Bates provides the setting for Historical Haunting in St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 25 and 26. Enjoy storytelling and live animal shows, take a tour of the Bates mansion and family cemetery and learn all about memorial and burial practices of the early 1800s. Watch a blacksmith and wheat weaver as they demonstrate and explain the superstitions surrounding their crafts. Kids can make an Old World jack-o'-lantern. (300 miles from O'Hare, (800) 916-9680, www.explorestlouis.com)

And far

Patriots or traitors: You decide

Following the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the countryside around Philadelphia became a battleground between those loyal to the crown and those who wanted independence. …