calavera_kid_mexican museum

Kids got the costumes picked out, gussied up, stitched, and glued? We hope so because it’s the weekend before Halloween and we’ve got a whole host of haunted happenings for the costumed crowd. Gather your goblins, ghouls, and witches and brave the haunted woods, or celebrate the Pumpkin King in fairy-tale-style. Silk-screen a skeleton t-shirt or dream and dance with sugar skulls, stroll a spooky cemetery, or maybe just chillax at a hula show. This weekend, your caped crusades are sure to be a treat for the whole family.  Happy Haunting!

San Francisco

Scaregrove 2013
Here’s one more reason to finish the kiddos’ costumes early! This woodland oasis in SF’s boundaries is transformed from a Eucalyptus grove to Scaregrove. This family centric event features carnival rides, a haunted house, games, crafts, live entertainment, and food and drink for sale. Be sure and wear your costume and participate in the costume parade. Fri., 3-9 p.m. San Francisco. $8. All Ages. Event details.

San Francisco’s popular Hawaiian dance troupe, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, presents a one-hour show designed especially for children and families. You’ll watch energetic dances, tap your feet to upbeat music, and learn hula moves from your seat. In the lobby after the show, you can say “aloha” in person to dancers in costume. Sun.,12-1 p.m. San Francisco. $15/person. All Ages. Event details.

Dia de los Muertos at The Mexican Museum
Learn the history behind Mexico’s colorful Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration at The Mexican Museum, where members of Ensamble Ballet de Folklorico will lead kids in workshops crafting calaveras (skull) masks, and make cempazuchitl, paper marigold decorations. Kids will learn about the story behind the Day of the Dead traditions, and enjoy music and dancing. Author of Dem Bones and Day of the Dead, Bob Barner, will give a presentation about his books that includes audience participation. Sun. 12 -3:30 p.m., San Francisco. Free. All Ages. Event details.

East Bay

Jack-o’-Lantern Jamboree at Fairyland
Interested in some extreme-fun? Children’s Fairyland of Oakland’s Jack-o’-Lantern Jamboree is sure to be one of the highlights of the Halloween season. More delight than fright, get those kiddos dressed up and experience unlimited rides, costume parades (yep, there’s more than one!) pirate school, bouncy houses with one house designated for the littlest tots, goody bags and treat stations, costumed fairy tale characters, Storybook Puppet Theater performances,balloons, and oh yeah…jack-o’-lanterns! Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Oakland. $5-$10. All Ages. Event details.

Skeleton Fest Richmond
It’s the perfect way to kick off Halloween and Day of the Dead festivities. Create masks and funny, movable skeletons that capture the spirit of the season, enjoy colorful traditional paper cutting and make sugar skulls or a screen-printed skeleton T-shirt. Be the coolest ghoul in school and come in costume! Sat., 1-3 p.m. Richmond. Free. 3 and up. Event details.


Halloween Puppet Show at Gamble Gardens
Don your costumes and head over to the historic Gamble Gardens in Palo Alto for a puppet show in the Halloween spirit. Hang out on the Carriage House Patio for crafts and nibbles, then parade into the Carriage House for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Though the puppet show is geared toward ages 4-10, at only 30 minutes long it is suitable for younger kids with the wiggles. Fri., 6:30 – 8 p.m. Palo Alto. $10-15. All Ages. Event details

Slither and Squeak at CuriOdyssey
Unmask the science behind Halloween tricks at CuriOdyssey’s Slither and Squeak. Come in costume and get hands-on spooky science: study skulls, experiment with sound, plant your own pumpkin seeds, and write with glowing lasers. Meet some of the creatures-of-the-night: nocturnal animals and other furry residents, including the stars of the new wildlife show”Night and Day.” Kara’s Cupcakes Karavan will be vending sweets at this super spooky, a little ooky, but not scary event (perfect for your curious littlest ones!) Fri., 6-8 p.m. San Mateo. $12-18, free for 2 and under. All Ages. Event details.

Marin County

Graveyard Stroll
Get a head start on Halloween with Marin County Park rangers. Experience a one-of-a kind program that uncovers one of Marin’s most interesting, but little known cemeteries. All treats (and tricks!) are free. Wear warm, layered clothes. Bring a flashlight and treat bag. Sat., 6-7:30 p.m. San Rafael.  Free. All Ages. Event details.

Halloween Carnival and Costume Parade at Marin Country Mart
Celebrate the spookiest day of the year a few days early at the Marin Country Mart Farmers’ Market. Dress up the kids and bring them to the big farmers’ market tent for a Kids Costume Parade from 10:30 to 11:00 with the Superhero Band. The Market will also feature face painting, pony rides, kid’s music by Christopher Smith, and kids’ Halloween crafts by SCRAP, which reuses old materials to encourage creativity and reduce waste. Additional family friendly activities include Bossman and the Superbroke Brass and Tin and Strings Electric Marching Band, which will be making a superhero-costumed musical performance from 11:30 to 2:00. Sat., 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Larkspur. Free. All Ages. Event details

Autistry Cardboard Carnival
Cardboard for a cause! Autristry Studios, a Marin-based nonprofit serving teens and adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental differences, will be holding its second annual Autistry Faire, a carnival-style featuring games, cardboard crafts, a “Little Auto Shop of Horrors,” and  face painting. Plus, a huge, 40-foot-long cardboard racetrack–built by Autistry staff and students–offers 2,000 sq. ft. of space to race remote-controlled cars, live music and belly dancing! Anyone who comes in a costume made of cardboard gets a bonus pack of game tickets. Sun., 12-4 p.m. San Rafael. $20-40. All Ages. Event details.

What spooktacular event is on your family calendar this weekend?

— Amber Guetebier

Photo credit: The Mexican Museum