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Ghosts and goblins, unite!

Today's Parent / October 2013

Looking for a little spooky family fun? Every corner of the GTA will deliver this Halloween

PumpkinFest at Downey ’s Farm Market, September 28 to October 31
Pick the best pumpkin you can find – Downey’s has thousands upon thousands – and turn it into your neighbourhood’s most impressive jack-o’-lantern. Halloween costumes are welcomed, as Downey’s Farm Market goes all out for the festivities with a kid-friendly Boo Barn, tunes from The Stylamanders and spooky scenes to scarify patrons on wagon trail rides. Weekdays, $7; weekends and holidays, $14; family pass (two adults, three children), $64. 13682 Heart Lake Rd., Caledon. 905-838-2990; downeysfarm.com

Camp Spooky at Canada’s Wonderland, Saturdays and Sundays in October
Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the whole Peanuts gang at Canada’s Wonderland’s Camp Spooky. While the park’s scream-worthy Halloween Haunt is for older kids, Camp Spooky – running from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., every weekend in October – is perfect for the under 12 crowd, offering children’s rides, a treasure hunt, three mazes, live entertainment and a daily Halloween costume parade. Just head over to the park’s Kidzville and Planet Snoopy areas – Camp Spooky is included with regular park admission. Adults, $47; kids, $35. 9580 Jane St., Vaughan. 905-832-8131; canadaswonderland.com

Howling Hootenanny at Black Creek Pioneer Village, October 19 to 20 and 26 to 27
If your little monsters think they’ve got Halloween down, how about a trip back in time? Discover traditions and superstitions from the 19th century with a stroll through the haunted maze (there’s a smaller, tamer version for little ones), a performance from a fire-eating magician and a turn at the apple slingshots. Seasonal foods, a creature show, a Spooktacular Spelling Boo, pumpkin decorating and trick-or-treating around the village round out the celebrations. 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adults, $15; kids, $11; kids four and younger get in free. 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, 416-736-1733; blackcreek.ca

Halloween Howl at the Toronto Botanical Garden, October 26

Take a trip to the Toronto Botanical Garden for a not-so-scary afternoon of fun. An array of Halloween activities including scavenger hunts, tasty treats and a look at some creepy critters will delight little monsters ages two to eight. Costumes are encouraged – consider it a trial run before the big night. Children must be accompanied by an adult and pre-registration is required. 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. $10 for the public; $7 for members. 777 Lawrence Ave. E., 416-397-1341; torontobotanicalgarden.ca

Halloween at the Royal Ontario Museum, October 26
Included in your admission to the ROM (which is already packed with mummies, dinosaurs and other sufficiently scary things to see) is the museum’s ghost tour, featuring the wandering spirit of founder Charles Trick Currelly; a “Scary or Not” scavenger hunt through the many exhibits of artifacts; and a craft corner where kids can make bat-inspired creations fit for the museum’s famed bat cave. Activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adults, $16; kids four to 14, $15; kids three and younger get in free. 100 Queen’s Park, 416-586-8000; rom.on.ca

Medieval Cupcake and Cookie Decorating at Casa Loma, October 26 to 27
Calling all creative kids! Little knights, princesses and pirates (that’s right, wear your costume) will be clamouring for this delicious workshop at Casa Loma. Top pastry chefs and dessert decorators from Le Dolci teach kids to decorate a Halloween castle “cake” made of candy, sprinkles, icing and other sugary treats. Meanwhile, keep a keen eye open for ghosts and spirits – legend has it Casa Loma’s haunted. Adults, $29; kids, $20 (which includes castle admission).
1 Austin Terrace, 416-923-1171; casaloma.org

Second Annual Toronto West Halloween Fest, October 27
Presented by Scotiabank and in support of St. Joseph’s Health Centre, this family-friendly community event includes an in-costume fun run, a parade down Bloor Street and an old-fashioned Halloween party. Thousands are expected to enjoy the live entertainment, dancing, magicians, photo booth and flash mob dance – with prizes for best individual and team costumes as well as for top fundraiser. Proceeds support the popular west-end walk-in Just for Kids Clinic as well as other needs at St. Joseph’s. Party tickets are $175 per person or free for families who raise $500 or more. Pre-registration is required for fun run. For details, call 416-530-6486 x4053 or visit torontowesthalloweenfest.ca