Arts in the Dark is a magical nighttime Halloween parade that celebrates Chicago's magnificent and diverse cultural community by drawing together world-renowned institutions as well as guilds of aspiring artists in every field.


Some of this year's participants include Lookingglass Theatre who will delight the crowd with characters from their Alice production and will partner with performers from The Actor's Gymnasium, The Art Institute and School of the Art Institute will march in medieval-style armor, Broadway In Chicago will invite their devoted fans to dress up as their favorite Broadway characters, 1871 will have a float modeled after the Chicago Merchandise Mart, and After School Matters will have multiple programs participating including West Town Bikes with decorated cycles and riders, the Mariachi Ensemble, Aztec Dance Chicago and The Art of Drumming.  As dusk arrives, our creative communities will assemble for a powerful procession filled with large spectacle, legions of lanterns, costumes, performances, music, dance, dramatic lighting, moving platforms and more! The parade, traveling north on Columbus from Balbo to Monroe, will be led by 8 "Illuminaries" - some of Chicago’s most influential creative leaders.

The vision to activate Halloween as the "artist's holiday" was created by Mark Kelly, now Commissioner of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and was originally executed by the Chicago Cultural Mile Association.  His vision is now being produced by the same team through a new not for profit, LUMA8 (Light Up My Arts.)  LUMA8 is grateful for the Chicago Cultural Mile's commitment to launching the original parade and for their support of LUMA8's efforts to take the concept to a new level with Arts in the Dark.

This family-friendly event is free and open to the public and is being produced in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District.


About LUMA8

LUMA8 (Light Up My Arts) is an independent not-for-profit dedicated to creating conversations about Chicago that are heard around the world.  This is achieved through unique cultural events and experiences, often using light and scale as tools, and by developing innovative ways to amplify the effect of existing arts initiatives.  It coordinates the work of public agencies, arts organizations and artists to elevate the cultural life of the city, attract visitors, and ultimately generate economic impact.

Sharene Shariatzadeh – President & CEO
Allison Gerlach – Producer
Gwen Klich Mullaney – Marketing Director


Karen Brosnan
Callan Carlson
Brooke Elkins
Caleb Hiltunen
Keaton Michael
Emily Minturn
Sara Prescott
Shannon Rooney
Sharon Lynch Shariatzadeh
Dana Teeter
Marsden Watson
Madeline Webber
Krista Wolter

Special thanks to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago Park District, 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly and his staff, the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Department of Transportation for all of their support. We are also grateful for the assistance of Philip Purevich and the staff at Chicago Festival Association and Commander Neil Sullivan.

Sharene Shariatzadeh – President & CEO, LUMA8
Allison Gerlach – Producer, LUMA8
Gwen Klich Mullaney – Marketing Director, LUMA8
Mark Kelly - Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Tara Vock - Executive Administrative Assistant, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Sue Vopicka - Assistant to Commissioner Mark Kelly, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events


LUMA8 will honor 8 of Chicago’s most influential creative leaders to be recognized as Arts in the Dark Illuminaries. These prominent industry leaders serve as ambassadors for Arts in the Dark as well as Grand Marshals for the parade. We are pleased to announce some of the 2017 Illuminaries - check back mid-October for the full list:

Joe Faust: Actor, will participate in the parade as Jacob Marley from the Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol”.
Rick Kogan: Journalist, Chicago Tribune
Kevin McConkey: Co-Founder & Principal, GRIP Marketing Agency
Myrna Salazar: Executive Director, Chicago Latino Theater Alliance
Tim Samuelson: Historian, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events