Not-So-Spooky Halloween Activities for Boston Kids
For little kids, Halloween is usually more about the treats than the tricks. The excitement is in getting dressed up, making decorations, and enjoying sweet treats from neighbors – not gore, creepy stuff, or being scared silly. I guess that usually comes later, although it’s hard for me to imagine a time when my kids will appreciate the more macabre side of Halloween.
For fun, not-so-scary – but maybe slightly spooky – Halloween happenings in and around Boston this month, read on. I’ve rounded up activities for creative types, nature nuts, Curious George fans, and animal lovers who just want the Halloween festivities to be sweet.
Spooky Hayrides at Wilson Farm
The really, truly un-spooky hayrides at Wilson Farm are lots of fun, plus they’re free. The UFO, tractor-eating monster and giant you encounter on the ride are more silly than scary. Prepare to wait in line, especially if you go on a weekend. My kids were perfectly content to wait – they were occupied with giant caramel apples that we got at one of the outside stands at Wilson Farm. You may also want to check out the farm's pumpkin decorating and the Halloween Costume Contest. Note: Hayrides run weather permitting. If the weather seems questionable, call the farm for up-to-date info.
Where: Wilson Farms, 10 Pleasant Street, Lexington, MA 02421
When: October 10 - October 31; Weekends 10:30am-4:30pm, Mondays & Fridays 3pm-4:45pm, Thursdays 12:30pm - 4:45pm, Columbus Day: 10:30am - 4:30pm
Who: Ages 3 and up
How much: Free!
Contact: 781-862-3900 or email@example.com
Boo at the Zoo at Stone Zoo & Zoo Howl at Franklin Park Zoo
Visiting the zoo each October for their Halloween event is as much of a tradition for my family as trick-or-treating. Both Stone Zoo (pictured) and Franklin Park Zoo feature Halloween-themed enrichment for the animals (our favorite part), crafts, a trick-or-treat trail, and a Haunted Maze.
Boo at the Zoo
Where: Stone Zoo, 149 Pond Street, Stoneham, MA 02180
When: October 18-19, 11am – 3pm
Who: All ages
How much: Boo at the Zoo activities included with zoo admission
Contact: 617-541-5466 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Where: Franklin Park Zoo, One Franklin Park Road, Boston, MA 02121
When: October 25-26, 11am – 3pm
Who: All ages
How much: Zoo Howl activities included with zoo admission
Contact: 617-541-5466 or email@example.com
Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins at Boston Nature Center
Who knew there was so much to learn about pumpkins, and so many fun things to do with them? The pumpkin-themed program on October 25th at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center celebrate all things pumpkin. You’ll learn amazing techniques to carve your own pumpkin, discover the history of pumpkins and story behind the Jack-O-Lantern tradition, and participate in pumpkin seed experiments and contests. Pre-registration required.
Where: Boston Nature Center, 500 Walk Hill Street, Mattapan, MA 02126
When: Sat, Oct 25, 2014 from 2pm - 4pm (register a week in advance to ensure a pumpkin of your own)
Who: Suitable for children 5 - 12 years and their adults
How much: Adults free with child, Children $7 members /$9 non-members. Pumpkins are $5, or you may bring your own.
Contact: Call 617-983-8500 to register by phone or register online; for info, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tales of the Night at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary
Drumlin Farm becomes Halloween central during Tales of the Night. Prowl the farm with curious creatures of the night on candlelit paths and view over 100 jack-o-lanterns, creatively carved by volunteers. When the kids start turning into hungry monsters, visit the ghoulish graveyard for witch's brew, hot chocolate, and spooky snacks. Enjoy a haunted hayride through the fields (starting at 7:00pm, last hayride at 8:45pm). Step into a story on the Nursery Rhyme Trail and visit the Creepy Critter Mansion. Dress in costume (if you wish) and bring a flashlight to light your way!
Where: Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773
When: October 23 & 24, 2014 from 6:30pm-9pm
Who: All ages
How much: $11-13
Halloween Happenings at Ipswich River Sanctuary
At sundown, Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary is transformed into a magical forest. During Halloween Happenings, join in on a guided walk along the Halloween trail, home to some interesting creatures that come out just for Halloween. Learn about the creatures of the night and some history and myths that surround this spooky holiday. Children and adults are encouraged to come in costume, but dress warmly! (This is mostly an outdoor event.)
Where: Ipswich River Sanctuary, 87 Perkins Row, Topsfield MA 01983
When: October 24 & 25, 2014 at various times
Who: Ages 4-12
How much: $10 pp
Contact: Call 978-887-9264 to register
Trick or Treat to the Beat at New School of Music
Don your costumes and head to New School of Music in Cambridge for Trick or Treat to the Beat, a musical Halloween celebration. During this open house, you can trick-or-treat in the studios, try an instrument in the petting zoo, and belt out favorite tunes during the family sing-along. (Wouldn't it be awesome to do MJ’s “Thriller”?)
Where: New School of Music, 25 Lowell Street, Cambridge, MA (MBTA: Redline, Harvard Square stop)
When: Sunday, October 26, 2014 from 5– 6:30pm
How much: Free, but donation are appreciated
Contact: 617-492-8105 or email@example.com
Wicked Weekend Workshops at Artbeat
Halloween is a great time to unleash the creative monster within! Every weekend in October, Artbeat will have arts and crafts workshops with spooky themes. The projects are offered at special prices, and the final one – where you can jazz up a big trick-or-treat bag with glow-in-the-dark decorations – is free.
Where: Artbeat, 212A Mass Ave. Arlington, MA 02474
When: Saturdays 10am to 8pm and Sundays 12pm to 6pm through October.
Who: Suitable for adults, teens, youth (8 and older), and children as young as 3 if accompanied by an adult.
How much: $0-15
Pumpkins Aglow at Edaville USA
Pumpkins Aglow at Edaville USA is back! Dress in your favorite Halloween Costume and join the Costume Parade. See Edaville's garden of endless jack-o-lanterns. You can also trick-or-treat at the rides in the park! All park rides and attractions (including Dinoland) are included in admission.
Where: Edaville, 5 Pine Street, Carver, MA 02330
When: 4 pm - 9 pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, October 3-26, 2014
How much: $17-20 (ages 2 and under free)
Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Brick or Treat! Join LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Boston for some spooky fun every weekend in October. Put your building skills to the test with a Spooky Creative Challenge, find the Monster Minifigures in MINILAND with our Monster Mash Scavenger Hunt, and follow the Spooktacular LEGO Pumpkin Trail through the attraction. Wear costumes for Boo Crew Costume Contest; the best dressed of each weekend wins a prize! Buy your tickets online before you go to guarantee entry.
Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Artisan Way and Assembly Row, Somerville, MA
When: Saturdays and Sundays, through October
How much: Included in regular admission to LEGOLAND Discovery Center
Halloween Storytime with Curious George at The World's Only Curious George Store
Curious George is back for Halloween Storytime with candy, costumes, and fun, spooky stories! If you haven’t decided on your costume yet, join in for some quick and easy costume masks. Then share some hugs, take pictures, and enjoy treats (no tricks!) with the one and only Curious George. Everyone is encouraged to dress up. This event is perfect for children ages 2-6, but everyone is welcome. One ticket is required for each child attending.
Regular registration is available for time slots at 9 am, 10 am and 11 am. Registration is required and spaces fill up very quickly. But, there is a super secret extra time slot at 12pm just for Mommy Poppins Boston readers! To register for the noon event, just click here and use the code "mommypoppins" to register. Easy peasy!
Where: The World's Only Curious George Store, 1 JFK. St., Cambridge 02138
When: Friday, October 31, 2014 at 9am, 10am, 11am and 12pm (special time slot just for Mommy Poppins Boston readers)
How much: FREE!
Originally published October 2012; updated October 2013, October 2014