Happy Friday: Welcome to National Nut Day. We feel so seen.

  • Today's weather: Cool and cloudy with a high of 55 and low of 46.

Today's newsletter is 850 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Halloween tries to get back to normal

In 2020, Justin set up a candy chute to keep kids safe and socially distant. This year, he's keeping his candy chute. It took too much work to do for just one year. Photo: Justin Kaufmann/Axios

The state of Illinois has released recommendations on how to safely celebrate Halloween.

Why it matters: Last year, the city restricted hours and set up new guidelines for the annual candy-gathering holiday. For 2021, the Illinois Department of Health recommends:

  • Trick-or-treating in small groups.
  • Avoiding door-to-door visits for candy. The state suggests parents set up in parking lots or throw "costume parades."
  • Remembering a costume mask is not a safe substitute for a real mask.

The big picture: Chicagoans got extremely creative to avoid direct contact and maintain social distancing in 2020. Will households continue to maintain distance this year since the majority of trick-or-treaters are unvaccinated?

📬 Share your opinion by taking our Halloween survey. We're looking for thoughts on things like the best neighborhood for candy, your measures and a gut-check on how old is too old to trick-or-treat. Look for the results next week!

2. Environmentalists fight for Bell Bowl Prairie

Photo by Joni Denker. Courtesy of the Natural Land Institute.

Environmental advocates are racing to try and save the Bell Bowl Prairie, a rare swath of Illinois prairie scheduled for destruction as part of the Chicago Rockford International Airport expansion. 

Why it matters: It's part of just .0001% of prairie land remaining in the state.

  • It supports a fragile ecosystem of endangered plant and animal life, including the black-billed cuckoo, the large-flowered penstemon and an important pollinator called the rusty patched bumblebee.
  • Construction was halted when the bumblebee was spotted on the land this summer but is set to resume on Nov. 1.

The latest: Prairie advocate and Natural Land Institute executive director Kerry Leigh urged airport authorities to consider environmental mitigations such as permeable road surfaces to retain storm water in the area.

What they're saying: Prairie supporters floated an alternate concept Tuesday to redesign the path of the airport road to reduce wildlife destruction. But so far, Leigh tells Axios they have heard "nothing back."

  • "We assume airport officials will not respond," Leigh said. "And it makes me sad that they do not understand the value of what's here."

The other side: Airport officials tell Axios they completed all of the environmental assessments required to build on the land and are working to relocate endangered plants, including the large-flowered beardtongue, prairie dandelion, prickly pear, aromatic aster and others.

3. Tips and hot links

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

👮‍♀️ Mayor Lightfoot tells police cadets that she won't "defund the police." (Sun-Times)

🧅 A nationwide salmonella outbreak has sickened over 30 Illinoisans. The culprit? Onions. (NBCChicago)

🚗 Illinois has a new goal for carbon emissions — one million electric cars on the road by 2030. (WBEZ)

Historian Timuel Black's funeral will be livestreamed today. It's a private ceremony, but Mayor Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle are expected to speak. (Block Club Chicago)

🏈 Northwestern heads to Ann Arbor to play #6 Michigan tomorrow. And now there's a trophy. Go purple! (Detroit Free Press)

4. Bite club: Mindy's butternut squash and gouda tart

Butternut squash and gouda tart from Mindy's Bakery. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

👋 Monica here: For more than a year I have been drooling over chef Mindy Segal's pastries on the Mindy's Bakery Instagram, sold only on weekend mornings from the bakery's takeout window.

Last Saturday morning I finally got my crap together and made it over there to find an intimidating line that stretched down the block.

  • I was running late so thought I'd have to leave but, to my astonishment, the line moved so efficiently that I got to the front in maybe seven minutes.
  • Why don't high quality and high speed meet like this more often?

Best bite: The roasted butternut squash and aged gouda tart ($9) blends earthy, fall flavors with rich gooey cheese and a touch of balsamic to heavenly effect.

5. Secret Spots: Bathrooms

The bathroom in the Michigan Avenue Starbucks. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the city has a severe lack of municipally-maintained public bathrooms.

  • That got us thinking about all the sweet public restroom spots we have squirreled away in our brains over several decades of life in Chicago.

We can't give them all away, but here are our top public bathrooms for downtown holiday visits:

👋 Monica here. Back in the early '80s, as a high school visitor to Oak Street Beach, I had a secret bathroom spot. I'd sometimes sneak into the luxurious loos off the Palm Court tea room in the Drake Hotel to get changed.

  • Today I'd scold my kids for pulling that stunt and direct them to the perfectly serviceable city-run johns in the Oak Street Beach underpass.

📬 Where are your best public bathroom spots downtown? Respond to this email.

6. Axios Office Hours: Free pizza

We are very excited to hang with you tonight. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Join us tonight for Axios Office Hours at The Hideout. We are welcoming a special guest: Steve Dolinsky, who just released his Ultimate Guide to Chicago Pizza.

🍕 Come for an Axios taste test! We'll have top Chicago pizzas for sampling from 4-6pm and then vote on which style is the true Chicago pizza style. Come hang out, eat pizza and share your thoughts on what we should be covering in our newsletter!

Our picks:

💻 Monica doesn't really like Halloween and is wondering how she can get out of dressing up for the Axios all-staff Zoom meeting on Monday.

👻 Justin is looking forward to the return of the annual Halloween parade in Logan Square on Sunday.