Get ready for the spookiest, quirkiest, and most exhilarating race of the year - the 11th Annual Forest Park Casket Races! Filled with spine-tingling excitement, this annual event invites you to transform a casket-shaped cart into a mobile masterpiece of macabre creativity. Picture it: a helmet-clad "ghost" braving the afterlife inside the casket while a team of fearless runners sprints along a hair-raising course through downtown Forest Park.
But here's the best part - it's not just about winning; it's about embracing your inner ghoul and reveling in the fun. So, assemble your spooky squad, unleash your inner undertaker, and join us for a race that's to die for!
The Forest Park Casket Races are a delightfully eerie and offbeat annual event in downtown Forest Park, now celebrating its 11th year. Participants create their own "caskets," which are essentially coffin-shaped carts fitted with wheels and adorned in their favorite spooky decor. The race features teams of costumed racers, each involving a helmet-clad "ghost" who takes residence in the casket and a group of runners who push the contraption with all their might along a 585-foot course down the street.
While speed and agility certainly play a role, the Forest Park Casket Races celebrate ingenuity and camaraderie rather than athletic prowess. Prizes are awarded for the fastest racers and the most creatively decorated caskets, ensuring that everyone can be a winner. This unique and spooky competition embraces a light-hearted and playful spirit, recognizing the final finisher with the coveted "dead last" award. The community event provides a fantastic opportunity for friends and neighbors to spend time together, showcase their creative talents, and celebrate Halloween in a truly unforgettable way. Looking to enter?
This year's casket races will take place on Saturday, October 21st, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The schedule of events for the casket races is as follows:
9-9:30 am: Team Check In
9:30 am: Vendor food & fun
9:30-10 am: Teams – Rule & format review
10:30 am: Parade of Caskets
11 am: Races begin (trophies awarded after final heat)
Kids/Pets costume parade between race heats
12:30-2:30 pm: Trick or Treat on Madison Street
The event is held on Beloit Avenue between Madison & Adams in Forest Park (7500 Madison St.)
Click here for directions to 7500 Madison Street.
There are many options for street and garage parking available nearby.
Only 10 miles from Chicago’s downtown, Forest Park is a community that blends small-town charm with urban architecture in western Cook County. Famous for the number of cemeteries in town, Forest Park’s long history with the deceased makes it the perfect location for the annual Casket Races. Its cemeteries draw visitors from around the world to Illinois to connect with Chicago and national – even Hollywood – history. Forest Park Historical Society’s Cemetery Tours can take you to the more infamous gravesites, providing behind-the-scenes stories to give a glimpse into the past.
But Forest Park is so much more than graveyards. There’s a bustling food and entertainment scene. You'll enjoy fantastic dining opportunities, whether it’s a juicy steak at the Golden Steer or duck fat fries at Fatduck Tavern & Grill. The Brown Cow Ice Cream Parlor, housed in a former burlesque theater, has been a local favorite even before US News named it America’s Best Ice Cream.
For shopping and fun, you can’t go wrong along Madison Street. Here, you’ll find everything from Todd & Holland Tea Shop, with teas and accessories from around the world, to antiques and old-timey treasures at Forest Park Emporium or Krenek’s Antiques. And the Ferrara Candy Shop, founded in Forest Park, offers a boutique for buying its famous Lemonhead candy at its factory site.
The Forest Park Casket Races epitomize the spirit of unconventional fun and community bonding. This annual event encourages participants to unleash their inner ghouls and let their creative imaginations run wild. With prizes not only for speed but also for imaginative casket decorations, it's a celebration where creativity takes center stage, and everyone, regardless of athletic ability, can partake in the festivities.
The Forest Park Casket Races are a testament to the community's spirit of togetherness, a showcase of inventive talents, and a wonderfully unique way to embrace the Halloween season. So, meet us for a day of spooky fun at an event that continues to captivate and bring people closer year after year.