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Family-friendly Halloween & Harvest Fun in Philly and the 'Burbs

Boo factor:  not-so-spooky;  elementary-age eerie; 

 batten down the hatches!

Halloween Festivals

The annual PumpkinFest, Oct. 5 at Franklin Square in Philadelphia, serves up a smorgasbord of Halloween happenings for little ones, including pumpkin and face painting, Spooky Philly Mini Golf and a costume parade. 

(Daytime)  (after dark) 
The Riverbend Environmental Education Center in Gladwyne and its lead sponsor, the Philadelphia Eagles, present Shiverfest 2013 on Oct. 12, a family event that gets incrementally eerier as the clock ticks the hours away. See blood-chilling reptiles, decorate pumpkins, ride ponies, stroll the Trick or Treat Trail and walk (or run!) the Haunted Trail.

Boo at the Zoo at (where else?) the Philadelphia Zoo invites guests big and small to join in the masquerade party and trick-or-treat on the weekends of Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27

From Oct. 5-20, 30 stuffed fellows along Scarecrow Walk greet visitors to the Morris Arboretum at the University of Pennsylvania in Philly. The arboretum’s Fall Festival, Oct. 5-6, kicks things off with a Lego pumpkin build. 


Pennypacker Mills in Schwenksville sponsors the All Hallow’s Eve Fall Fest on Oct. 19, a night of free pumpkin painting, kids’ games and hayrides. 

Kids will exercise their legs and brains at the annual Halloween Festival at the Glencairn Museum in Bryn Athyn on Oct. 27, as they conjure up clues within the exhibit galleries in a Harry Potter–themed scavenger hunt. If they come in costume they’ll receive a prize.

Hoppin' Hayrides

Travel to the colonial past at Worcester’s Peter Wentz Farmstead for the annual Laerenswaert Series: Fall Harvest on Oct. 12. Tour the grounds and see how chores were performed during a typical 17th-century autumn harvest. 

Pumpkinland at Linvilla Orchards in Media sends out daily hayrides through Nov. 3. Activities include mazes, costume parades and a Jack-o’-lantern exhibit.

Weekends through Nov. 3, Arasapha Farm in Glen Mills, PA hosts Harvest Hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a trip augmented by a bounty of events from corn cannon–shooting to navigating the five-acre corn maze. 

Pumpkin Days Celebrations on Oct. 19-20 at the Tyler Arboretum in Media hosts some good old-fashioned harvesting. Pick your favorite pumpkin on the hay wagon tour, then explore the grounds. 


Hikes & a Healthier Halloween

Who needs candy? Fitness and fun do mix at the Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse’s Healthy Halloween on Oct. 26. Kids can play pumpkin ring toss, make a Halloween mask and march in the costume parade. 

Though re-enactors at the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation in Newtown Square dress in traditional garb, kids can don their modern costumes to trick-or-treat around the estate for Halloween on the Farm on Oct. 26

During Halloween Hikes and Hayrides at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia on Oct. 25-26, saunter through woods aglow with jack-o’-lanterns, hop on a hayride, then warm up by the campfire. The center encourages hikers to reserve their space in advance.  

Halloween Crafts

Children can dress as their favorite plaything for a Halloween Stuffed Animal Sleepover, a seasonal storytime at the Tredyffrin Public Library in Strafford, Oct. 28 at 10:30am. Leave your child’s stuffie overnight, then pick it up the next day, along with pictures of the toy getting into all sorts of mayhem within the library shelves.  

Have a Halloween hoot during Make Stuff at Night Owl: Trick or Treat at the Museum at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Oct. 30. Kids can create their own wearable art, then trick-or-treat through the exhibits by flashlight. 

Groovin' Like a Goblin

Kids can dress in costume all month at the Saturday-morning Peanut Butter and Jams concerts at World Café Live in Philly, where Baby Loves Disco spins tunes. Make sure to return on Halloween Day itself to sing along at a Peanut Butter and Jams Halloween Concert with award-winning kids’ music star Charlie Hope.

Enjoy a outdoor kindie concert by Alex & the Kaleidoscope Band at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philly on Oct. 20 from 1-3pm, a less-creepy daylight hour for a graveyard haunt-and-hoot. Have the kids come in costume and bring your own blanket, lawn chair and picnic. Light snacks and goodies will be served.

Spooky Fun

On Oct. 30, join the Spooky Things event at Norristown Farm Park in East Norriton. Kids will learn about creatures of the night and make an appropriately spine-tingling craft. 

Discover the secrets hidden in the shadows of America’s most historic city at Signers GardenVisitors will enjoy a ghost tour of Philadelphia by candlelight. This hair-raising nighttime event runs through Nov. 3

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