6 Scare-Free Haunts for Timid Tots

‘Tis the time of year for tricks and treats, but those of us with tiny tots are smart to stick strictly to treats!  Spooks and scares that are fun for big kids can leave little ones with nightmares.  Happily, there are plenty of Halloween themed events in LA that combine a huge heaping of Halloween fun without a hint of fright for little ghouls and boys. And rest easy, those sweet dreams won’t be interrupted (well, any more than usual!).

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photo credit: yelp user Tina D.

Fillmore and Western Railway Pumpkin Liner
All aboard the Pumpkin Liner! Lil’ conductors will love to visit Fillmore and Western Railway for a ride on one of their historic steam engines. Riding the train is half the fun as you venture through scenic farmland. For adults, be sure to check out the snack bar, which sells a great selection of pumpkin ales. Your destination is a one of kind fall festival complete with games, corn mazes, barbecue, arts, crafts, baked goods, and pumpkin patch fun. No scares in sight!  Call ahead for reservations; many departures sell out quickly.

When: Every weekend in October
Departures: 10:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Cost: Adults: $20, Youth (ages 4-12): $12, Child (ages 2-3): $10, Under 2: Free
Location: Fillmore & Western Railway at 364 Main Street in Fillmore
Online: fwry.com

aquarium pacific

photo credit: Mustafa Sayed via Creative Commons

Halloween Family Sleepover at the Aquarium of the Pacific
Have a spooktacular evening at the Aquarium of the Pacific with creepy critters, pumpkin painting, and a fun flashlight tour. Included in your sleepover will be a pizza dinner, light snack, animal interactions, cereal breakfast, and more. Family friendly costumes welcome.  The only scare here is for littles afraid of the dark – the creepy factor comes solely from cool creatures that live deep in the ocean.

When: Friday, October 24 from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning
Cost: $70 non-members ($60 for members)
Ages: 5 & up (adult chaperone required)
Location: Aquarium of the Pacific at 100 Aquarium Way in Long Beach
Online: aquariumofpacific.org

pierce pumpkin

photo credit: Ruby T. via yelp

Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College

When: Open daily through November 2 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $5 admission, with $2 tickets for activities (each activity requires from 1-5 tickets).
Location: Pierce College at 20800 Victory Blvd. in Woodland Hills
Online: halloweenharvestfestival.com

boney island
Boney Island
This fun, creative, interactive and animated house display has become a neighborhood tradition for years. Ask around – there are families who’ve been coming to Boney Island since their kids were crawling and now those same kids are running from one lawn attraction to the next. Follow your ghost host with the most, Seymour Bones, as he introduces the wonders of Boney Island. Climb the haunted tree house, see a skeleton try his luck at shadow puppetry, bust a move along side dancing spiders and more.

Created by former special effect artists and Hollywood producers, this is just the right amount of spooky for little trick or treaters. Oh, and it’s totally free.

Dates: October 18 & 19 and October 22 through Halloween night
Times: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays
Cost: Free
Location: 4602 Morse Ave. in Sherman Oaks
Online: boneyisland.com

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photo credit: Meghan Rose

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at Riley Farms
Things are getting a little old fashioned down at Rileys Farm where Washington Irving’s famous Halloween tale comes to life for the pint-sized crowd. Enjoy wholesome activities like apple-bobbing, pie-eating contests, pumpkin seed spitting, dancing, country music, and more.  Admission includes a colonial style dinner. And for the adults fine wines, ales, and hard ciders are available for an additional cost. After dinner, enjoy a three-act play about the legend of the Headless Horseman, who’s said to ride by later that night. For the smallest tots, skip the play to ensure sweet dreams.  (Everyone can spend the day here apple picking, though!)

When: Fridays from 7 p.m. -10 p.m. and Saturdays from 6 p.m. -9 p.m. through October 25.
Cost:  Fridays: Adults are $32.95, kids 3-12 are $27.95. Saturdays: Adults are $34.95, kids are 3-12 $29.95
Location: Rileys Farm at 12261 S. Oak Glen Road in Oak Glen
Online: rileysfarm.com

Strathearn Park Ghost Tour
History and Halloween could go hand in hand. The Strathearn Historical Park & Museum presents their annual Halloween Ghost Tour where the souls of the departed return to tell tales of Simi Valley history. There are no haunted houses with monsters here, just actors performing in an outdoor tour of the historical buildings in the area. All of the material in the tour is appropriate for even timid trick or treaters, so you don’t need to worry about scaring the little ones. Starting every fifteen minutes, the hour-and-a-half walking tours offer limited seating at a few stops and is stroller accessible. But, leave the flashlights and cameras at home so as not to disrupt the actors or disturb the spooky atmosphere.

When: Oct. 10- 26 on Fridays-Sundays.  Check the website for hours.
Cost: $8-$10 (Kids under 5 are free). Free parking is available along Strathearn Place.
Location: 137 Strathearn Place in Simi Valley
Online: simihistory.com/Ghost.htm

Where do you get your baby thrills and chills with your littlest ones? Got some suggestions for great kid-friendly haunts in Los Angeles? Share it in a comment below.

-Christina Fiedler