After weeks of stifling, record-breaking temperatures, Los Angeles is finally cooling down and getting into a fall state of mind. There’s great events to get the family geared up for Halloween including the YMCA’s Scarecrow Contest at Simon Meadows, spooky story time readings at Village Books, and the not-to-be missed Kidspace Pumpkin Festival. If you’re saving pumpkin gathering for another weekend, there’s a multitude of great options including the Malibu Pie Festival and the fantastic Pier del Sol bash at the Santa Monica Pier. Plus, the Zoppe Circus puts up their big top in Long Beach while there’s farmland to be discovered in the heart of L.A.!

If you have a budding artist in your family, take note that October features the Big Draw LA. With a bunch of different events throughout the city, it’s a great way to keep creative minds busy. This weekend, the Fowler Museum is hosting a series of “pop-up” activities that includes drawing lessons. Check the event calender for more information on the Big Draw LA and upcoming events.

Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Eagle Rock, Downtown)

11th Annual Taking the Reins Family Day BBQ
Round up yer li’l partners for this fun-filled afternoon on a 2.5 acre farm, right smack in the middle of L.A. The BBQ features plenty of activities including good grub, a petting zoo, pumpkin patch, face painting, raffle prizes and live music. Best of all, it’s is for a good cause as the money raised goes directly towards Taking the Reins, a nonprofit organization that teaches middle and high aged girls life skills through equine-based programs. Sun., noon to 3 p.m., Los Angeles, Adults $50, Youth $15, Children under 10 free. Event Details.

The Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum
Nothing says Halloween like creepy crawlers and the Spider Pavilion delivers. Set on the Museum lawn, spider freely spin webs throughout the area. Hit the programming area before or after to learn all about the arachnid. Daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., last ticket sold at 4:30 p.m., Downtown Los Angeles, $3 Adults, $1 Children. Event Details.

Westside (Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, Cheviot Hills, Culver City)

4th Annual Scarecrow Contest
Sunday is the kick-off for the annual scarecrow contest at the YMCA pumpkin patch at Simon Meadow. Get creative with your stick creature, whether you pay homage to a celebrity (Marilyn Monroe scarecrow, perhaps?), favorite creature of keep it old school. Enter any time prior to Fri., Oct. 22. Contest Kickoff, Sun., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Pacific Palisades, Free.  Contest Details.

Story time with Patricia Olsen
Get into the Halloween mood with a reading by Patricia Olsen, author of the Frumpy the Pumpkin Who Missed Halloween. The book follows the fun adventure of why this little pumpkin misses out on the biggest day of the year. Sat., 2 p.m., Pacific Palisades, Free. Event Details.

Santa Monica (Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Malibu)

21st Annual Malibu Pie Festival
Apple, blueberry, lemon, pecan, pumpkin…no matter which flavor, you’ll be sure to find it at this baked food fest. Plenty of fun, games, music and yes, pie. Sat., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Malibu, Free. Event Details.

14th Annual Pier Del Sol Hawaiian Paradise
Hit the Santa Monica Pier for a day of activities galore, with a little aloha action to boot. In addition to access to all the rides and game booths on the pier, there are dancers, hula lessons, live tropical music, tide pooling, and plenty of celebrity and sports figures manning the booths. All the proceeds benefit the Special Olympics of Southern California. Sun., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Santa Monica, General Admission $45 (includes unlimited rides, 8 game tickets and meal coupon). Event Details.

Beach Cities (Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach)

A Salute to North American Aviation
Keep your eye on the sky as the Western Museum of Flight hosts this day celebrating aircraft from WWII and on. Families can tour restored aircraft and classic cars while kids can get hands-on building airplane models. Perfect for the budding aviator in your brood. Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Torrance. Adults $10, Children $4, children under 12 free. Event Details.

Zoppe Family Circus
Forget the lions and tigers, this Old World style one-ring circus features amazing feats by canines and equestrians (many of which are rescue pets) as well as high-flying acrobatics. Nino the clown leads the audience on the adventure which includes plenty of opportunity for viewers to participate. Thurs., 7 p.m., Fri., 8 p.m., Sat. 1 p.m, 4 p.m, and 7 p.m., Sun., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Long Beach, $20-$70. Event Details.

Valley (Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena)

Taste of Encino
Sure, the afternoon is all about munching on local eats and getting to know the community, but there’s plenty for the kiddos, too—bounce houses, a pumpkin patch, rock-climbing wall and more. Mom and Dad can hit the beer and wine pavilion and browse the arts and crafts booths while everyone can dig the live music. A great way to pass the afternoon. Sat., 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Encino, Adults $5, children under 12 free. Event Details.

16th Annual Kidspace Pumpkin Festival
Get into the swing of fall at the Kidspace Museum’s annual pumpkin bash. This two-day fest features loads of local musical acts including the Squeegees, Birdie’s Playhouse, Egg and Hollow Tree as well as those must-have kiddie activities like bounce houses, crafting, petting zoo, pony rides, carnival games and naturally, the pumpkin patch. Sat. and Sun., 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Pasadena, Free. Event Details.

—Lara Burnap