Halloween lovers take note: there are lots of fun activities beyond trick-or-treating going on in the GTA this October.
One of the best things about getting kids out and about beyond the neighbourhood is the chance to show off their sweet, self-expressive and inventive costumes. From haunted houses to spooky star gazing to pumpkin carving, there’s something for ghouls and goblins of all ages this year.
1. Halloween Hoot and Boo Barn at Riverdale Farm
Kids ages 3 to 10 will have a scream locating the pumpkin patch via the haunted barn at Riverdale Farm. They can purchase a pumpkin and carve it on site too.
When: Oct. 25 and 26, 9:30 am–3:30 pm
Where: Riverdale Farm, 201 Winchester St.
Cost: Free; organizers request a non-perishable food item for the local food bank.
2. Screemers at the CNE
Tweens and teens can be blasé about Halloween outings, but this one will scare the living daylights out of them. Screemers takes place on the grounds of the Exhibition Place and features haunted houses, monsters, a Maniac Maze, a slasher wax museum, and many other terrifying activities to enjoy.
When: Oct. 10–Nov. 1, 7–11 pm
Where: 10 Dufferin St., Exhibition Place
Cost: $25 (discounts available)
3. Halloween Star Party
The night before Halloween, visit the Ontario Science Centre for its family-friendly Halloween Star Party. This outdoor event that will feature stargazing (weather permitting) and spooky science experiments. (Note: the Science Centre itself is not open at this time.)
When: Oct. 30, 7:30–10 pm
Where: Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Rd.
Cost: Free (parking $10)
4. Boo at the Zoo
Get those costumes on and head to the Toronto Zoo for Boo at the Zoo. There’s a costume parade for all kids to take part in at 11:40 am and and 2:40 pm. Other fun entertainment includes a Play-Doh Play Centre to sculpt scary masterpieces, and My Little Pony, who will be available for meet-and-greets. Up to two dressed-to-impress kids under 12 get in free.
Where: Toronto Zoo, 2000 Meadowvale Rd.
When: Oct. 25 and 26, 11 am–3 pm
Cost: $28 adults, $18 kids ages 3–12, kids under 3 free
5. Camp Spooky at Canada’s Wonderland
Rides are open at Canada’s Wonderland on Saturdays and Sundays from now until November 1, and so is Camp Spooky, geared at school-aged kids. This self-described “not-so-scary Halloween camp” has a trick-or-treat area, costume parades to join in, a small-kid-appropriate maze, and a Charlie Brown trick-or-treat show.
When: weekends through Nov. 1, 10 am to 5 pm
Where: Canada’s Wonderland, 9580 Jane St., Vaughan
Cost: $25 and up
6. Toronto West Halloween Fest
Support St. Joseph’s Health Centre at this free costume parade, street festival, and concert with Jully Black in Bloor West Village. The fundraising parade is a 1.2 km stroll culminating in a concert, so be sure to wear your walking shoes and boo-tastic Halloween costumes.
When: Oct. 26
Where: Bloor St. W., from Armandale to Runnymede
7. Boo at the Barns
If you’re looking for a family-friendly evening event because you’re busy with lessons and errands on the Saturday before Halloween, look no further than Boo at the Barns. On October 25th, make your way to Wychwood Barns between 5pm and 10pm and have your family’s photo taken professionally, or enjoy some eats, get your palm read or check out the haunted house.
When: Oct. 25, 5 pm–10 pm
Where: Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St.
8. Howling Hootenanny
Drop by Black Creek Pioneer Village, not just for the excellent blast from the past, but also for a fantastic Halloween party. There will be live music, a scarecrow mini-maze for little kids and a proper maze for older children, plus airbrush tattoos and a creepy creature show.
When: Oct. 25 and 26, 11 am–4:30 pm
Where: Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy.
Cost: Adults $15, kids $11
9. Kreepy Kortright at the Kortright Centre for Conservation
There is something memorable (and appropriately scary) about visiting a deeply, darkly wooded area around Halloween, like the Kortright Centre for Conservation. Advance tickets, $12 for adults, $6 for kids, are required for this event on October 24th and 25th that will feature a haunted maze, a spooktacular forest walk, a bonfire and live owls.
When: Oct. 24 and 25, 6–9 pm
Where: Kortright Centre for Conservation, 9550 Pine Valley Dr., Woodbridge
Cost: $12 adults, $6 kids, $30 family
10. Halloween Howl at the Toronto Botanical Garden
Halloween is a great opportunity to venture to the Toronto Botanical Garden, a volunteer-based gardening education and information centre in the Lawrence and Leslie area. On the Sunday afternoon before Halloween, families are invited to the Halloween Howl, an event that will include a spooky scavenger hunt, treats, and creepy critters.
When: Oct. 26, 1–3 pm
Where: Toronto Botanical Garden, 777 Lawrence Ave.
Looking for more hauntingly good Halloween events?
Here are four more family-friendly Halloween activities in Toronto:
IMAGE: JENNY SPADAFORA/FLICKR CC
Helen Racanelli is a Help! We’ve Got Kids contributing writer. You can follow Helen on Twitter @helenrac.