Hello and welcome cooler weather, just in time for these fabulous fall activities! We’re balancing fall frights, autumn activities and Halloween haunts with some plain old outdoor family fun (bike, hike or sail) for those who need a break from non-stop costumes and pumpkins. And if you want to sit back and be entertained, you can’t go wrong with orphans, an offbeat circus, an elephant & a pig or some princesses & pirates.

The annual Pumpkin Festival will have 100,000 pumpkins; corn maze treasure hunt; petting zoo; and Ag Discovery Lane with exhibits, demonstrations and children's activity zone. The stage area will host pumpkin-themed contests including pie-eating, pumpkin carving and seed spitting. Some activities have a small charge. Pumpkins are $5. Parking is free on campus with shuttles from parking lots to the festival.


The Heart of LA route returns the festival to downtown LA. There are six miles of closed off streets through Boyle Heights, the Arts District, Little Tokyo, Civic Center (right past the Big Draw LA festival in Grand Park), Chinatown and MacArthur Park. Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Downtown. Free. All ages. Event details.

Hollywood & Mid-City

Leapin’ lizards! Annie includes unforgettable songs like “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” plus the eternally optimistic, “Tomorrow.” Your little one will really, really love seeing it live on stage. Fri.-Sun., Various times. Hollywood. $40-$150. Ages 3 & up. Event details.

Franklin Haynes Marionettes: The Princess and the Pirates
Pirates juggling cannon balls, trapeze tricks, and an adventure to save Princess Rachel who is held captive on Skull Island. Come find out if this princess will be saved (or will save herself!). Sun., 3 p.m. Miracle Mile. $7. Ages 1-8. Event details.

San Gabriel Valley

An Autumn Festival at Descanso Gardens
There are costume parades (so come dressed up!), seasonal crafts, a pumpkin carving demonstration, great fall treats from Patina and picture-perfect autumnal scenery to serve as backdrops for Halloween portraits. Sat. & Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. La Cañada. $4-$9. All ages. Event details.

See Ichabod at the Huntington
Get into the spirit of Halloween with a spooky screening of Walt Disney’s animated classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in these spectacular gardens. Pre-show activities and entertainment add to the family fun. Sat., 7 p.m. San Marino. $20. Rated PG. Event details.


A “Make a Mask” Costume Party
Come to the Fowler museum dressed in a favorite costume in celebration of Disguise: Masks and Global African Art. Inspired by the disguises on view, kids create a mask and accessories to express their alter ego. Sun., 1-4 p.m. Westwood. Free. All ages. Event details.

San Fernando Valley

Take A Family Hike
Lope along a leisurely walk with the fam and a ranger on this easy 1-mile loop trail to learn about the local history and plants.  Get spectacular 360 degree views of the mountains and the ocean. Sat., 10 a.m. Calabasas. Free. All ages. Event details.

South Bay

A Sunset Sail
Take a family sail from the LA Harbor and watch the sun set from the deck of a tall ship.  Sit back and relax or learn to hoist the sails and tighten the hatches from the amazing crew. Sat., 5-8 p.m. San Pedro. $30-$60. Ages 5 & up. Event details.

Long Beach

Cirque Zuma Zuma
120 uniquely-talented artists from 16 African nations including acrobats, jugglers, vocalists and comedians, plus the Limbo and Lion dancers make up Cirque Zuma Zuma, which has been described as an African-style Cirque du Soleil. Sat., 8 p.m. Long Beach. $43-$48. All ages. Event details.

Inland Empire

Cal Poly Pumpkin Fest
Find out why this is many family’s favorite Pumpkin Fest; and even if you’ve been before there’s something fresh to discover this year. Like a new Agriculture exhibit with squash tunnels and a hay pyramid, along with contests for pie eating, pumpkin carving, seed spitting and pumpkin costumes. Plus thousands of pumpkins in the patch, a corn maze, petting zoo, horse rides and entertainment. Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.-5p.m. Pomona. $2-4. All ages. Event details.

See Elephant & Piggie On Stage
It’s a two-fer in good for you fun, because this vaudevillian romp that is ripped straight from the pages of Mo Willems’ beloved books will have little ones dancing in their seats and then running to the library to devour these amazing books. Sunday there’s a “pig out” pancake brunch before the show (additional ticket required). Sat. & Sun., 1 & 4 p.m. Rancho Cucamonga. $16-$18. Ages 4 & up. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Furr-ific Fright Fest
Get up close and personal with furry friends this Halloween at the Wildlife Center’s fundraiser.  Proceeds go to a great cause and kids can meet and take pictures with loads of animals at interactive animal stations, take part in festive contests and eat and drink your Halloween fill. Sat., 4-7 p.m. Sylmar. $50-$75. All ages. Event details.

If you’re gearing up for Halloween and looking for the perfect outing for any kid from 1 month to ten years, we’ve found fabulous frights for every age and stage.

—Meghan Rose

photo credits: CicLAvia girl by Umberto Brayj fia Flickr and Pumpkin Baby courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona Pumpkin Festival