Child-free people often see Halloween as an excuse to dress in skimpy costumes and binge on sugar. But parents know Halloween is really about the kids. Who can resist this spooky time of year when youngsters yearn to scare and be scared?
In the Magic City, little ones can celebrate Halloween festivities in safe places such as museums, malls, parks, gardens, and concert halls. They can listen to a spooky orchestral performance, visit an educational haunted house, and even trick-or-treat through a vintage car show. Here are the ten best family-friendly Halloween events beginning this weekend and extending through All Hallows’ Eve itself.
Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival. Pumpkins galore in Regatta Park! At the seventh annual Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival, visitors can pose with, decorate, and pick pumpkins all day. Kids can enjoy carnival rides, a kiddie cornstalk maze, fall-themed photo ops, a scarecrow dress-up village, and face painting amidst a whopping 5,000 pumpkins in the patch. Families can also enjoy pumpkin-flavored food and parents can grab an ice cold pumpkin beer in the Pumpkin Food Court. One attendee will be crowned the Pumpkin King (or Queen). 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14 at Regatta Park, 3400 Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove; coconutgrovepumpkinpatch.com. Admission costs $20 for those 2 and older.
Not So Scary Family Halloween Bash. Have you ever wanted to trick-or-treat through the halls of a museum? At the Not So Scary Family Halloween event at the Miami Children’s Museum, kids can ask for candy throughout the museum’s 17 galleries. They’ll also meet and pose with superhero and fairytale characters, decorate mini pumpkins and walk through the museum’s new Pirate Island exhibit. Remember to come in costume and prepare to be not-so-scared. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, October 14 at Miami Children’s Museum, 980 MacArthur Cswy., Miami; 305-373-5437;miamichildrensmuseum.org. Tickets start at $45 via eventbrite.com.
Kiddo-ween Party at the Falls. Sponsored by Kiddos Magazine, the Kiddo-ween Party at the Falls shopping mall has it all: themed activities such as a ghost-and-goblins obstacle course, a scavenger hunt, and a spider arts-and-crafts station. Kids will also get to jump in a bounce house, go trick-or-treating, take photos in a scary faces “boo”-th, and pose with superhero, villain, and zombie characters. If you’re not scared of the dark, you can even explore in a glow in the dark virtual reality room. Pets are also welcome to the event, so don’t forget to dress your furry friend in costume. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, October 20 at the Falls, Center Court, 8888 SW 136th St., Miami. Admission is free via eventbrite.com.
Planet SOS Halloween Haunted House. It’s hard not to scream when you think about the fate of our planet. Space of Mind, a modern schoolhouse, will throw its fifth-annual educational haunted house in Delray Beach. This year, they plan to show how frightening our environmentally wasteful habits can be with images of dead fish littering the beaches, melting Eskimos, and smoggy skies. After seeing the consequences of our impact on the environment, kids can learn about sustainability by going to a clothing upcycling booth, eating sustainably sourced snacks, and looking at sustainable art. Wear your costume and hopefully you’ll be awarded “Most Creatively Reused Materials” or crowned “Best Planet-Saving Hero.” 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, October 26 at Space of Mind Campus, 102 N. Swinton Ave. Delray Beach; ccpdelray.com. Admission is free.
Monster Splash. Flipper and friends are ready to celebrate the spookiest night of the year. At the Miami Seaquarium, kids can watch themed shows like the pirate dolphin show, the superhero show at flipper lagoon, and a “Finding Hemo” sea lion show. Children can also make scarecrows, dance with flipper, and jump on bounce houses. Who says sea creatures can’t celebrate Halloween? 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, October 26, through Sunday, October 28, at Miami Seaquarium, 4400 Rickenbacker Cswy.. Miami; 305-361-5705; miamiseaquarium.com/monstersplash. The event is free with regular park admission, which costs $46.99 for adults and $36.99 for children ages 3-9.
Spooky Science Monster Mash. Mad scientists are the scariest Halloween figures of all, and at the Frost, you’ll be able to witness science at its spookiest. Families can engage in educational STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & design, and Math) activities by participating in bone-chilling science experiments. Kids can also witness underwater pumpkin carving in the museum’s aquarium, encounter creepy animals, and see the newest exhibit about bioluminescence, the generation of light by living things. Are you afraid of the dark? 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, October 27, at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd. Miami; 305-434-9600; frostscience.org. Free with museum admission, which ranges from $17-$29.
Zoo Boo. Zoo animals can join in on the Halloween festivities too. As kids trick-or-treat in costume throughout the park, they can witness tigers prowling through the graveyards in search of treats, elephants bobbing for pumpkins, and the New Guinea singing dogs tearing into Halloween decorations. Actor’s Playhouse will also regale families with numbers from hit movie musicals like La La Land and The Greatest Showman. 10 a.m. Saturday, October 27, to 3 p.m. Sunday, October 28, at Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152 St., Miami; 305-251-0400; zoomiami.org. Free with admission, which costs $23 for adults and $19 for children.
Trunk ’N Treat. Cool cars and candy — what more do you need? At this annual vintage car show, families can trick-or-treat throughout the garden and meet the vehicle owners, who will dress both themselves and their cars in costume for the occasion. You’ll witness sights like a Porsche clad in a Superman cape and a Ferrari with a skeleton dangling off its bumper. At the end of the day, you can see the cars parade out of the garden and leave you in their dust. 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, October 28, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Coral Gables; 305-667-1651;fairchildgarden.org. Tickets costs $25 for adults and $12 for children 6 and up.
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Spooky Symphony. The spookiest part of a scary movie is often the musical score. At Spooky Symphony, the musicians of the Alhambra Orchestra and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony will dress up and perform scores from Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. They’ll also entertain with scary classical favorites like Mozart’s Don Giovanni overture and Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov. Just don’t close your eyes. 4 p.m. Sunday, October 28, at Miami-Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami; 305-547-5414; miamidadecountyauditorium.org. Admission is free.
Spooktacular Safe Streets. Letting your children go trick-or-treating throughout the streets can be the scariest part of Halloween for parents. But at Spooktacular Safe Streets, sponsored by Miami Kids Magazine and the City of South Miami, parents can rest assured their kids will be supervised and safe and sound. In addition to trick-or-treating, kids can enter a costume contest, play games, paint pumpkins, and have free food and drinks. Come one, come all to this safe Halloween block party. 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 31, at SW 72nd Ave. from US-1 to 57th Avenue, South Miami; eventbrite.com. Admission is free.