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(Ana Krach / Pixabay)

With Halloween and Día de los Muertos fast approaching, state health officials released guidelines Friday to help people safely celebrate common fall traditions, like trick-or-treating and visits to pumpkin patches.

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Tyler Pence of Springfield, Ill., finishes first in the TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Moline, Ill. (Gary L. Krambeck / Quad City Times via AP)

An Illinois man unexpectedly won the Quad Cities Marathon this weekend when the two Kenyan runners who had far outpaced him were disqualified after being diverted off the course by a race volunteer bicyclist.

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Kamau Murray, founder of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation. (WTTW News)

Tennis fans have the opportunity to catch some top professionals this week at the Chicago Tennis Festival. We meet the tournament’s promoter to learn more about his mission to give kids an opportunity to thrive.

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Volunteers can help improve Monty and Rose's habitat at Montrose Beach Dunes on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 25, 2021. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

It is the largest single-day volunteer effort in support of environmental stewardship. Here’s how to get involved in National Public Lands Day at Chicago area parks and preserves.

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A Chicago beach sign warns people against swimming or diving in Lake Michigan. (WTTW News)

Safety officials are reminding Chicagoans that even if it still feels like summer, the lakefront’s beaches are now closed for the season to swimming, with lifeguards no longer present along the shoreline. So far in 2021, 38 people have drowned in Lake Michigan.

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Monarch butterflies roosting in Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. (Courtesy of Ron Kapala)

Large numbers of monarch butterflies are making a pit stop at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie during their annual fall migration. That’s just one of the ways to enjoy and explore nature this weekend.

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Outdoor movie screenings in Millennium Park, 2021. (Courtesy of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)

The 1975 cult classic has just been added to Millennium Park’s outdoor film series. And while it wouldn’t be a proper “Rocky Horror” screening without audience participation, the city has some dos and don’ts when it comes to your DIY props.

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Participants in Chicago Westside Sports play baseball at Columbus Park. (WTTW News)

A group of police officers and community leaders are using their time off to give back to underserved communities by getting young kids to play sports. We head to Columbus Park on the West Side to learn more.  

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Chicago as seen from the International Space Station. The Palos Preserves Urban Night Sky Place is outlined in green. (Courtesy of the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center)

Palos Preserves has been named an Urban Night Sky Place by the International Dark-Sky Association. The site emits nearly 1,000 times less light than downtown Chicago, with four times as many stars visible in the night sky than can be seen in the city.

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This combination of book cover images shows cover art for upcoming releases. (AP Photo)

From wars to plagues to the Sept. 11 attacks, the literary response to historic tragedies has been a process of absorbing trauma — often beginning with poetry and nonfiction and, after months or years, expanding to narrative fiction.

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This view of Jupiter was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft on Feb. 12, 2019, as the spacecraft performed its 17th science pass of Jupiter. (Courtesy of NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS)

Jupiter and Earth are currently about as close as they get to each other. The outer planet is visible from sunset to sunrise and is among the brightest objects in the sky.

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View of Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Park. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

An entry fee proposed by the National Park Service would provide funding for additional visitor amenities at the park and address a maintenance backlog, officials said. Here’s how you can weigh in on the plan.

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A hawk moth. (Ian Lindsay / Pixabay)

If crack-of-dawn birding isn’t your thing, maybe give under-the-cover-of-darkness moth-watching a try this weekend at Indian Ridge Marsh. 

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Teens can learn to build a fire, pitch a tent and work as a team as part of a new Chicago Park District program. (WTTW News)

From starting a fire to pitching a tent, some Chicago teens are learning what it takes to camp in the great outdoors. We visit the Lincoln Park neighborhood to learn more about the program.

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The city’s transportation department has been installing a new grid of bike routes in Belmont Cragin and Hermosa. (WTTW News)

The city’s transportation department has been installing a new grid of bike routes in Belmont Cragin and Hermosa as part of the Chicago Works Capital Plan to modernize infrastructure and improve access to and safety of transportation.

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Water safety advocates want flotation devices like life preserver rings or life buoys made available throughout the lakefront. (WTTW News)

Lake Michigan is one of Chicago’s biggest attractions. And while it’s scenic, it’s also sometimes dangerous. What water safety advocates are proposing to stop people from drowning and dying in the lake.