Halloween is so close you can practically taste the sugar from Friday. While official trick-or-treating is a few days off, there are plenty of ways to flex those candy collecting muscles this weekend. Check out the sweet stuff we’ve rounded up for a good time this weekend.

By Chantal Lamers

San Francisco

Get Supernatural with Sea Stars at the Academy of Sciences
Get downright creepy at this annual Halloween event. It’s not to miss. Bring the kids in costume to check out the skulls and specimens and to trick-or-treat their way through the museum. Also features dancing, magic, live animal shows, face painting, and a photo booth. Sat. Event details.

It’s Time to go Boo at the San Francisco Zoo
Don your costumes and head out to Boo at the Zoo where kids can explore a not-too-spooky Halloween fest. Participate in a costume parade and contest, trick-or-treat, watch the animals enjoy the Pumpkin Stomp & Chomp and more. Sat.-Sun. Event details.

East Bay

These Halloween Happenings are Scary Fun
Alameda South Shore Center is welcoming little ghosts, goblins and witches to its annual free Halloween Festival on from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 28th, featuring family-friendly trick-or-treating at participating merchants, frightening face painting, and a silly selfie booth. South Shore Center totes will also be available. Costumes are encouraged. And from Friday, October 27 to Sunday, October 29 the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department will host a haunted house at Alameda South Shore Center. Proceeds will benefit the Alameda Recreation and Parks Department teen programs. Haunted house hours are Fri., 5-9 p.m. and Sat.-Sun.., 3-7 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Event details. 

Campout at the Family Sundown Spookfari
Grab your tent, bring your family, and get ready for an eerie overnight experience. Take a Trick-or-treat night tour through the Children’s Zoo. Make Jack-o-Lantern enrichment treats for the animals, and meet live, creepy, crawly animals up close! Before bedtime participate in a petrifying puppet show with Jungle Joe followed by some Ghost S’mores to finish the night. Wake-up in the morning (if you dared to fall asleep) to the sounds of animals and a hot breakfast. Watch the animals enjoy the pumpkins you worked on and stay the rest of the day for our Boo at the Zoo festivities. Sat. Event details. 

South Bay

Dance with the Dead at this Dia de Los Muertos Festival
Celebrate El Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with a full day of live entertainment, cultural demonstrations, and an eclectic mix of artmaking experiences at the San Jose Museum of Art. . Decorate calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls) and engage with your family and community at SJMA. Sat. Event details.

This Train Ride is a Real Treat
Start those little engines for big Halloween fun! That’s right, Thomas the Tank engine and his BFF Percy are visit Roaring Camp Railroad for some major Halloween fun. Throw on your costume and take a train ride then partake in the fun from face painting to temp tattoos, storytelling, toy trains, picking pumpkins and cookie decorating. If that weren’t enough, Thomas will be able to talk to his little fan, too. Sat.-Sun. Event details.


Get into the Spirit at these Day of the Dead Workshops
The gorgeous and colorful Día de los Muertos is approaching. And to get into the spirit of the celebration, Yes Creative Lab is offering some beautiful art projects full of skeletons, hearts, flowers, and sugar skulls. We will have projects for all artful spirits: from kids and pre-teens, to toddlers with their parents. Offerings include mixed media Sugar Skulls finger- and hand-painting project for our littlest artists ages 2-6. Includes a 45-minute class, all materials, and a sweet treat for all participants. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Get Juggling with the Zoppe Family Circus
Come one, come all, and join the Zoppe Italian Family Circus. In one ring, under one big top, families will be awed by a spectacular performances featuring amazing equestrian showmanship, daring acrobatic feats, canine capers and of course the antics of Nino the Clown. This year’s event “Celebrating 175 Years Under the Big Top” will be a great show highlighting the Zoppé family of performers, including some exciting acts that haven’t been seen in America for years. Tosca Zoppé will present her father Alberto’s classic bareback riding act to honor the anniversary. Fri. -Sun. Event details.

North Bay

Take a Spooktacular Cemetery Stroll
Join rangers for a head start on Halloween! Experience this one-of-a kind program that uncovers one of Marin’s most interesting, but little known cemeteries. All treats (and tricks) are free. Dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes and don’t forget to bring a flashlight, and treat bag. There will be hot chocolate and snacks. Sat. Event details

Fetch Your Dog and Howl Over to DOGtoberfest
Strawberry Village will host its 3rdl DOGtoberfest featuring interactive pet related activities and resources for pet lovers and their four-legged family friends. Festivities will include free pet photos, pet sketch artist, animal rescue organizations and adoptions, police K-9 unit and more! There will be a Howl’oween Pet Costume Contest as well as free Center-wide trick or treating for kids and their families. Sat. Event details.

Are you getting tricks or treats? Tell us in the comments below!

–Chantal Lamers