There are many things that we do here in Illinois that out-of-staters may think are weird, but we love our crazy traditions. These yearly attractions and activities are near and dear to our hearts, and we don’t care what anyone else thinks.
Only true Illinoisans really love these 16 things. Keep scrolling to see if they match your traditions.
1. Wearing coats to trick-or-treat
For most of the state, it tends to be too cold to walk around outside on October 31 without a jacket. Unless you planned your outfit to be really warm (say, a bunny suit or a Power Ranger), there's a good chance you're going to have to cover it up.
2. First snow fever
A couple crazy traditions go along with this. First, it is the signal that the holidays are coming. Second, it is the signal that everyone is about to run to the store and buy up all the milk and bread.
3. Buying sweet corn on the side of the road
The best places to find fresh produce in Illinois are near the land from which it came. Farmers across the state set up posts along state roads and other popular roadways in small towns to stir up business and bring delicious food to locals.
4. Eating apple cider donuts
No Illinoisan can resist one of these puppies. It may be one of our crazy traditions, but it just isn't fall until you've had one (or a dozen) of these.
5. Going on hay rides
We don't know what it is about sitting in hay and going along a bumpy path while tuning out the person narrating the trip, but it's a well-loved past time here. The best are the haunted ones full of scary tales.
6. Buying Girl Scout cookies
Each and every year, these delicious sweets are sold outside every grocery store and in every office building. Sure it helps young girls learn business basics and develop leadership skills, but it also means delicious cookies for all.
7. ...and Boy Scout popcorn
No one does it better than these guys. Also sold outside Walmarts across the state, this popular treat is highly anticipated each year. We try to stock up.
8. Bonfire season
Pretty much from late May to October, as long as it's not too windy, it could be a bonfire night. Had a rough day? Just need a reason to party or chill with friends? A bonfire sets the perfect mood.
9. Eating your way through the state/county fair
Whether you go to your local fair or travel far for bigger festivals, one of the main reasons you go is probably for the food. You can get just about anything you want fried, as long as you're willing to wait in line.
This tradition goes way back and spans more than just this state. From high school football to the big leagues, Illinoisans love to grill, drink, and come together before a big game.
11. Swimming in ice water
Each year, lakes around the state have their annual polar plunge. It usually requires a portion of a frozen lake to be cut away so that locals can quickly run into the cold water - and then quickly leave.
12. Cooking out
Summer is the season for BBQs and cook-outs. The smell of grills going permeates every street, and you eat more burgers and brats than is recommended.
13. Storm watching
Not storm chasing. Illinoisans aren't that insane, but we do like to watch lightening and wait for funnel clouds to form. As we live in tornado alley, it's actually kind of about safety, but we try to have fun with it.
14. Visiting Six Flags
For some families, this is a yearly vacation. Whether you love going in the summer or prefer stopping by for holiday fun, there's always a reason to go here.
15. Weekends are for pizza
Our other crazy traditions may seem weirder than this, but pizza is just a must around here. Most popular Friday through Sunday, there's nothing more rewarding at the end of a hard week than a beautiful pie you didn't have to make yourself.
16. Getting a brain freeze at the ice cream social
Whether you enjoy the one at your local church or the community center in the next town, these gatherings are a wonderful opportunity for Illinoisans to meet. Of course, the endless ice cream and toppings doesn't hurt.
What other crazy traditions to do you participate in? Share your favorites with us!