I can remember when Halloween was a low-key holiday but those days are long gone. Now we pull out the spooky decorations and enjoy the holiday all month long. Leading up to October 31st, there are many celebratory events in Toronto and the GTA that will get everyone into a spooky frame of mind - some that are scary and some not-so-scary that are perfect for little ones.
UPDATED FOR HALLOWEEN 2018
Here are 20 fun (and scary) Halloween-themed events for families in the Toronto area.
Howling Hootenanny at Black Creek Pioneer Village takes place on the last two weekends of the month. On October 20, 21, 27 and 28 between the hours of 11:00am and 4:30pm, kids are welcome to wear costumes and trick-or-treat throughout the village. Special activities include free pumpkin decorating, a Haunted Maze, an apple sling shot activity, spooky stories and amazing shows.
Camp Spooky at Canada's Wonderland, Saturdays and Sundays September 29 - October 28, is a fun, not-so-scary, daytime event for younger kids. Kids can enjoy Planet Snoopy and Kidzville rides as well as Halloween-themed activities including Spirit Manor (inhabited by friendly characters), Linus' Pumpkin Patch, the Enchanted Garden Maze, Peppermint Patty's Hay Bale Maze, and Pigpen's Foam Pit. It's also another great opportunity to dress up and participate in some trick-or-treating.
Halloween Haunt, on the other hand, is most definitely scary and not intended for children under the age of 13. This is a special ticketed event which takes place after dark on select nights September 29 - October 31 and is best described as terrifying. On the agenda are horrifying haunted mazes, scare zones, and live shows as well as the standard thrill rides and roller coasters. For teens and adults who want to have the daylights scared out of them, Halloween Haunt is the place to be.
Learn to make a jack-o-lantern out of clay at the Gardiner Museum's fun workshop. Hand building takes place on Saturday September 29th and glazing on Saturday October 13th. Fun for both beginner and advanced Halloween artists aged 6-99! Children under 10 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Discount for Gardiner Museum members.
This Halloween the Bata Shoe Museum is hosting a spooktacular weekend of family fun on October 27 and 28th. Kids in costume get in free and can decorate Halloween cookies, make crafts and play ISpy in the galleries.
On October 20, 21, 27, and 28, visitors are welcome to come to the Toronto Zoo dressed up in Halloween costumes for the annual Boo at the Zoo celebration. For Boo at the Zoo weekends kids in costume (ages 12 and under) get FREE admission when accompanied by an adult paying regular admission. One complimentary child admission per adult admission.
As part of Member Appreciation month, members also have the option of registering for Little Creatures of the Night on October 26, 27 and 28, 2018. The members-only program is free for kids aged 18 months to 4 years accompanied by a parent but pre-registration is mandatory as spaces are limited. The educational program teaches kids about animals that rule the forest after dark.
The zoo also has a Bump in the Night program available for both members and non-members to learn about nocturnal creatures. The program will take place on Saturday October 20th and Saturday October 27th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. The program is recommended for ages 5 and up and pre-registration is necessary. The cost of Bump in the Night is $15 for individual members and $20 for individual non-members. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
A sing-along show with puppets and happy hosts, all on a Hallowe'en theme. There will be 11:00 am and 2:00 pm shows on both October 27th and 28th at Wychwood Theatre on Christie Street in Toronto and tickets are available to purchase online. Shows are approximately 45 minutes in length and suitable for all ages.
Visit a Pumpkin Farm
Many of the pumpkin farms in the Greater Toronto Area also have Halloween-themed activities that are perfect for younger kids. One of our favourites is Springridge Farm in Milton, west of Toronto, where the annual Harvest Festival runs from late September through to the weekend before Halloween. Families can enjoy wagon rides, the Fun Farm Yard, a giant corn trail, the spooky Boo Barn and pick out the best pumpkin to carve into a scary Jack-o-Lantern.
Halloween is the perfect time for one of Toronto's spookiest activities. If your idea of fun is listening to spine-tingling tales then Haunted Walks has a walking tour for you. The company which specializes in historical walking tours that explore the city's darker side has several tours which will get you in a spooky Halloween mood. These 90 minute night-time tours are best for families with older school-aged kids and teens. Tours include The Original Haunted Walk of Toronto which departs from the Hockey Hall of Fame on Yonge Street, Ghosts and Spirits of the Distillery which takes place in the historic Distillery District, The Haunted Walk Experience at Black Creek Pioneer Village (select evenings during the Halloween Season) and more.
If you have teens that like to be scared at Halloween then you might want to check out Legends of Horror at Casa Loma. Legends of Horror is an immersive theatrical interpretation of classic horror movies on a 2 kilometre walk through Casa Loma. Children 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult and parental discretion is advised. This is a separately ticketed event not included with general admission to Casa Loma.
Creepy Kortright takes place at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Kleinburg north of Toronto October 26 - 29, 2018, 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Advance tickets are required for this event that is intended for kids aged 10 and under who must be accompanied by an adult. Kids may wear costumes and enjoy spooky Halloween activities such as a haunted maze, a frightening forest walk, scary stories around a campfire, live owls and more.
During Mountsberg's Spooktacular Halloween the Play Barn is magically transformed into a spooky haunted barn for kids to explore. The event also features a skeletons' tea party, a pirate ship, live snake presentations, birds of prey, a pumpkin hay play area, face painting and more. Spooktacular Halloween is free with regular admission fees and everyone who comes in costume receives a free treat. In 2018, the event takes place October 6th - 8th.
During the Halloween Spooktacular at Halton County Radial Railway, visitors can walk through the haunted car barn and travel in old, creaky streetcars along the mainline while enjoying scary snacks and hot apple cider. Costumes are encouraged and reservations are not required for this event which takes place on October 20th and 27th from 6:30 - 10:00pm.
Legoland Discovery Centre Toronto celebrates Halloween all month long with their Brick or Treat event. During the month of October, the centre is decorated for the holiday and special activities are available throughout the day every Saturday and Sunday in October plus Halloween day. All Brick or Treat activities are included in the regular price of admission. Activities include:
- Tricky Tombstone creative build
- Spooky Spider scavenger hunt (you could win a LEGO prize pack!)
- Positively perfect pumpkin trail (you could win a Family Pack of Ultimate Annual Passes!)
- Monstrous MINILAND zombie takeover
- Batty Brainteasers
- Shocking Skeleton minifigures for trading
- Ghoulishly great giveaway
- And more!
At the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, The Great Pumpkin Trail is open to visitors on the evenings of Thursday October 25 and Friday October 26. Visitors will enjoy a walk along the garden and woodland trails in Hendrie Park as hundreds of jack-o-lanterns light the way. The evenings also feature live entertainment, face-painting, and pumpkin-themed activities. The event is time-ticketed and pre-purchased tickets are required.
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site on Pottery Road in Toronto will be hosting two Halloween themed events this season. On Saturday October 20th, there will be a Halloween Mask-Making Workshop for Families and on Sunday October 21st a Halloween Lantern-Making Workshop for Families. Suitable for children age 6 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Treats provided! Reservations/Advance Tickets are required and may be purchased online. Cost: Adults $10; Children $5.00.
Hear chilling tales on a lantern tour of Fort York and its historic surroundings learning about the haunted lighthouse, the bloody Battle of York and other eerie history as you explore nearby military cemeteries. This event is not recommended for children under 8 yrs. Complimentary refreshments are included. Tours will take place October 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27th from 7:30-9:30 pm. Reservations/Advance tickets are required and may be purchased online.
Families with kids that love trains won't want to miss the Family Halloween Train rides offered by York-Durham Heritage Railway. Tickets are available online for the theme train which operates from Uxbridge station and Goodwood on October 21, 27, and 28th as well as November November 2nd and 3rd. The train is specially-decorated for Halloween and the ride features ghosts, ghouls and other entertainment as well as Halloween-themed activities. All children up to the age of 12 dressed in costumes ride for $2 and receive a loot bag at the end of the train ride.
In my own town of Oakville, the annual Tiny Tots on Parade event is one of the most popular for families with pre-schoolers. On October 31st, starting at 10:00 am until noon, children in costume gather in Towne Square for a morning of trick-or-treating at downtown businesses.
Another fun and original Halloween activity for families is the Trek or Treat 5K Run/Walk & Creepy Mile held in Oakville 0n Friday October 26th beginning at 7pm. This isn't your typical race. Hundreds of runners, walkers and their families don their costumes to enjoy the 5KM or family-friendly Creepy Mile events, followed by a haunting evening of Halloween-themed activities and a pizza and hot chocolate party. Participants are also invited to bring a donation of non-perishable food items which will go to the Oakville Fareshare Food Bank. Participants must register online early to avoid disappointment as the numbers are capped and the event does sell out.
If you're looking for something a bit different then consider Evergreen Brick Works 8th Annual Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. This celebration of Latin American culture and food includes a Mexican market, crafts, face painting, live music, and traditional dancing. The free event takes place at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto on October 28th from 10am - 3pm and is a great way to learn about the cultural significance of this day.
Does your family have a favourite Halloween event or activity? Let me know in the comments below and have a Happy (and Spooky) Halloween!!
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