Children pondering the October calendar might be impatient thinking of the 30 whole days they have to wait through until Halloween. That’s, like, 50,000 minutes! (Well, 43,200 to be precise.)
The upside is that those minutes are jam-packed with events that celebrate the arrival of Halloween. And Southern California certainly has a bountiful harvest of fun this season.
Zoo Boos and Sea Scares
You can have a Boo At The Zoo (the L.A. Zoo, 5333 Zoo Dr. L.A.; www.lazoo.org) from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 26, including creepy encounters with critters, eerie crafts, a live Halloween show and a chance to see what hippos can do with pumpkins. Admission is $19 adults, $14 ages 2-12. The Big Bear Alpine Zoo (43285 Goldmine Dr., Big Bear; www.bigbearalpinezoo.org) hosts Boo In The Zoo from 1-4 p.m. on Halloween day, when the zoo will be decked out with goblins, pumpkins and a graveyard for afternoon trick-or-treating. Admission: $9 adults, $6 ages 3-10.
Fishy frights surface at several spots in October. The Santa Monica Aquarium’s Fintastic Fishy Fest from 12:30-5 p.m. Oct. 25-26 salutes Halloween and Dia de los Muertos with a weekend of hauntingly fun holiday activities plus a parade at 3 p.m. Oct. 26. Find the fun at 1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica; www.healtthebay.org. Admission is $5, and children 12 and younger get in free with a paying adult. Scarium of the Pacific takes place the same weekend (9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days) at Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach; www.aquariumofpacific.org; $29.95 adults, $14.95 ages 3-11) with a costume contest, magic shows and underwater pumpkin carving. Come visit the L.A. Parent table!
Drop anchor at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (3720 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro; www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org) from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 25 – if you dare. Its Sea Scare evening includes a holiday-themed party zone, a treasure hunt and other ghoulish entertainment. $5 adults, $1 children.
Southern California will feature plenty of places to pick a pumpkin. From 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily throughout October, you can venture out to Underwood Family Farms (3370 Sunset Valley Rd., Moorpark; www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com; $3 weekdays, $15 weekends) for its Fall Harvest Festival, where there’s a fabulous pumpkin field, and each weekend has themed activities. Forneris Farms (15200 Rinaldi Street, Mission Hills; www.fornerisfarms.com) salutes its 100th anniversary during its annual Harvest Festival and Corn Maze, 2-5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. weekends Oct. 4-Nov. 2. Admission is free and attractions – such as the petting zoo, tractor-pulled train rides, corn maze and farm frolic area – cost $4-$8.
Test your navigational skills in the Adventure Corn Maze that’s part of the Pierce College Halloween Harvest Festival (10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-midnight Fri. and Sat. Sept. 26-Nov. 2), where you will also find a petting zoo, pumpkin carving and the Spookley stage show. It’s all at 20800 Victory Blvd., Woodland Hills (www.halloweenharvestFestival.com), and admission is $5 for the festival only; $10 adults, $8 children for the corn maze. Cal Poly Pomona (4102 S. University Dr., Pomona; www.csupomona.edu/~farmstore) hosts its big Pumpkin Festival from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19. You can wind your way through a corn maze, enjoy entertainment, ride horses and visit an insect fair. The admission price of $5 adults, $4 children benefits the College of Agriculture.
Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch has been entertaining L.A. kids since 1986. Stop by its West Hollywood location (702 N. Doheny Blvd.; www.mrbonespumpkinpatch.com) 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends Oct. 3-31 (they close at 1 p.m. Halloween day), pick out a gorgeous gourd and enjoy the pony rides, straw maze and super slides. Bring your dog Oct. 23 for the Pumpkins and Pooches Party (5-8 p.m., $5 per pooch).
Kidspace Children’s Museum’s Pumpkin Festival from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 18-19 will transform neighboring Brookside Park (480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena; www.kidspacemuseum.org) into pumpkin paradise with a costume parade, live performances and other festive attractions. Admission is free, but attractions have a fee. On Oct. 26, Kidspace also has a trick-or-treating Halloween Hunt for $3 per child, registration required.
Descanso Gardens (1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada-Flintridge; www.descansogardens.org) will host its Harvest Festival from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 18 and 19, and will also host RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns from 5:30-10:30 p.m. select evenings Oct. 3 through Nov. 2. On those nights, more than 5,000 uniquely carved pumpkins will populate a 1/3-mile trail within the gardens. RISE ($18-$20 adults, $16-$18 ages 3-17) features themed sections, including one for kids.
Looking for some strange goings-on around the Southland? Spooky Science will materialize at Discovery Science Center (2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana; www.discoverycube.org) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4-Nov. 2. Filled with hands-on activities, this exhibit lets visitors do things like get a close-up look at bugs and experience a 3D harvest maze. $16.95 adults, $12.95 ages 3-14.
Youngsters can party at the Queen Mary (1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach; www.queenmary.com) during the Little Monsters Ball Oct. 31 . This spirited evening of trick-or-treating, a costume contest and family-friendly entertainment lasts from 4-6 p.m. and costs $10 for adults (one child admitted free per paying adult). Long Beach’s Rainbow Lagoon (400-403 Shoreline Village Dr.) is the site of the Zombie Walk. The festival runs from noon-10 p.m. Oct. 24-26, and at Children’s Day on Sunday kids can play games and watch performances (including Zombie Wrestling). Admission is $15 for adults, free for children, and you can learn more at www.zombiewalklb.com.
Heritage Square Museum (3800 Homer St., L.A.; www.heritagesquare.org) looks back to the Victorian Era during Halloween & Mourning Tours from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26. Sunday is a family-oriented day, with vintage games, traditional craft time and kid-friendly “spooky stories.” $20 adults, $8 ages 6-12. History will also be in the air during Grier Musser Museum’s Haunted House Tour, 1-4 p.m. Oct. 26 at 403 S. Bonnie Brae St., L.A.; www.griermussermuseum.org. You can tour the museum, which will be decked out like a Halloween party from years gone by, but you’ll need to make reservations for the 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. tours. The event costs $12 for adults, $6 for kids.
Kids can learn a bit about the environment during STAR Eco Station’s Enchanted Green Hallow’s Eve, noon-4 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26, 10101 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City; www.ecostation.org. There will be green-themed movies, creepy art projects and a fairy tale-inspired maze. Admission: $8 adults, $6 children.
Spooky Fun With Mickey, Snoopy and Shamu
Halloween is a big deal at the big amusement parks. Disneyland started celebrating Sept. 12 with Halloween Time (9 a.m.-11 p.m. through Oct. 31), which adds holiday flavor to various rides and attractions. At Mickey’s Halloween Party (6 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 7 p.m. Fri. Oct. 3-31), kids can trick-or-treat, have photo ops with Disney and Pixar characters, dance to live music and enjoy the Halloween Screams fireworks show. Prices vary. Learn more at www.disneyland.com.
Over at Knott’s Berry Farm (8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park; www.knotts.com), Camp Snoopy transforms into Camp Spooky from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekends Oct. 5-27. This family-friendly alternative to Knott’s Scary Farm features Snoopy’s Costume Party costume parade, Charlie Brown’s Spooktacular stage show, the interactive Monster Factory maze and the Creepy Crawly Critter Cave. Halloween makes a big splash at SeaWorld (500 SeaWorld Dr., San Diego; www.seaworld.com) where Halloween Spooktacular serves up two seasonal performances: Clyde & Seamore’s Spooky Adventure and the Sesame Street show Countdown To Halloween weekends Oct 5-27. $84 adults, $78 ages 3-9.
Brick-Or-Trick returns to Legoland (1 Legoland Dr., Carlsbad; www.legoland.com) 5-9 p.m. Oct. 4, 10-11, 17-18 and 25 with a unique way to celebrate Halloween. Kids can trick-or-treat at 10 Lego-themed treat stations, rock out at three different dance parties, do the Ghost Cruise Scavenger Hunt and enjoy the “Spirits of Halloween” light show and fireworks. Prices vary.
With so much going on during the month before, will your kids have so much fun they forget about Halloween on the 31st? Something makes me think they will remember when Halloween finally arrives.
Michael Berick is Calendar Editor of L.A. Parent.