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October 15, 2006

Halloween Tips, part 3: Events for the wee ones

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Thanks to those of you who shared your favorite DC-area Halloween events/activities appropriate for the toddler and preschool crowd. Here's a compilation of your tips:

Boo at the Zoo, at the National Zoo in NW DC (already sold out, but some on the DC Urban Moms listserv are selling their extra tickets, if you're in the market...)

Apple-picking at Homestead Farm in Poolesville, Maryland - It isn't too far of a drive (and the drive is beautiful!), and they have apples, pumpkins, squash, etc., as well as sheep, turkeys, chickens, and roosters for the kids to visit. They are also very reasonable in price.

Driving up Skyline Dr.

Cox Farms and Burke Nursery, both in VA

Butler's Orchard Pumpkin Festival in Maryland - really fun and very child-focused

The Ranvensworth-Bristow Civic Association in Annadale has a great (and FREE) Halloween parade for children -- families gather along the route and pass out candy to the children. They even have some pets dress up! It's held on the Saturday before Halloween at 4 p.m. on the corner of Erie and Newcastle Sts.

Rock Creek Park's Nature Center in DC has a costume party on October 29 at 2:00.

Croyden Creek Nature Center in Rockville, MD has Croyden Creep events with an animal show, graveyard tour (totally not scary), climbing wall, drive-in movie with a kid friendly movie (last year it was "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"). Last year they had a little "bat cave" and talked about and showed a bat. Everything is free, except for the movie (I think).

Burke Lake Halloween train ride is great. We also go to Boo at the Zoo every year.

Halloween Fashion Show at Babies R Us in Falls Church.

DelRay Halloween Parade in Alexandria - It's usually held the Sunday before Halloween on Mt. Vernon Avenue at 2 p.m. There are awards for best costumes.

We love Cox Farm for preschool through elementary-age children. They have mazes of baled hay, rope swings, gigantic slides, farm animals, fresh applesauce and grilled hamburgers, and on the weekend they have terrific folk-rock performers on an open air stage. You can also take a tractor-drawn hayride through a ridiculously silly haunted field (painted cartoonish signs) and get a small pumpkin from the patch.

Brookside Gardens in Maryland has a pumpkin patch for toddlers - Sign up early!

Belvedere Plantation in Fredricksburg seems to be the favorite for taking children to a real pumpkin patch for parents that live in Woodbridge, VA.

Greenbelt, MD has an annual costume contest and parade at the Roosevelt Center. This year it's October 27 at 4 p.m. (registration starts earlier). Costume contest is for ages 18 mos. through sixth-graders.

There is a vendor who sells his fresh farm produce in Tenleytown Saturday and Sunday. Last year he sold pumpkins. So far, I've only seen gourds this year.

There is a patch in Upper Marboro that had assorted pumpkinsn and corn last year. It is way laid back and a lot of fun.

The Leesburg Animal Park has a great pumpkin patch with a petting zoo, puppet show, hay rides and a host of slides and other activities that promote a family fun-filled afternoon. There is an admission fee of $10 per person on the weekends and holidays. It is less during the week. Leesburg Animal Park, 19270 James Monroe Hwy., Leesburg, VA 20175.

Turtle Park in NW DC (the AU Park neighborhood) has a great costumed kids' Halloween festival each year, with a costume parade and a children's musician or performer. This year I believe it's the morning of Saturday, October 28, starting at 10:00.

Burke Nursery's "pumpkin playground" is the "closest in" one we go to -- it's really great for small children as they have few "big slides" like the pumpkin patch at Cox Farms. But the Cox Farms one is great now that my oldest is in elementary school.

There's a pumpkin patch near the Blockbuster Merchants Starbucks on Rolling Rd.

In Alexandria, we love the annual pumpkin patch on the grounds of Immanuel-on-the-Hill Episcopal Church, near the intersection of Quaker & Seminary Ln. The pumpkins are brought in from a Navajo farm in New Mexico, and there are also some great seasonal soups and baked goods for sale. They have an annual children's Halloween costume parade through the patch each year - This year it's on Sunday, October 22 at 12:30 p.m., and all are welcome. You don't have to be a church member.

In Arlington on October 28 at 4 p.m., Westover Baby-Toddler Halloween Parade. Starts at intersection of Kennebec and N. 11th St, at the pavilion. Mr. Don will perform.

Cox Farm is a drive but it is the BEST!! We go every year. Take a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

Cox is great, but it has crowds on the weekends. Go during the week, when it first opens.

My own sideposts:

I just learned about a fun and free Halloween party for the little ones at Jonah's Treehouse in DC on October 27... more details coming soon in a blog post of its own!

And as I've mentioned previously, my best tip is this: For many more great Halloween events appropriate for children ranging from toddlers through school-age, be sure to check out the fabulous Our Kids seasonal event list, which covers the District, ALL of suburban Maryland, and ALL of the NoVa suburbs.

Posted by Sarah at 8:32 PM.