I’m seriously starting to think Halloween has taken over as the BIG family holiday of the year. Why? Well, just about every joint in town that has anything to do with kids/families is hosting its own Halloween- or fall-related event this weekend. It’s crazy, folks.
Usually I do my What’s Up This Weekend posts by day/time, but for this one, I have to try something different. I’m organizing this massive Roundup o’ Fun by type. Scan the list and see what your family likes, then choose from the zillions of activities. Go nuts!
Animal and Nature Lovers
You can really savor your pumpkin-finding experience with a Pumpkin Patch Tour at Sunrock Farm in Wilder. These two-hour tours are a guided, hands-on farm adventure includes milking a goat, gathering chicken eggs, holding baby chicks, hand-feeding sheep and brushing a horse and cow and a hayride to the pumpkin patch to search for your pumpkin. Plus, free apple cider and cookies on the weekends. Tours will be offered this Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Cost is $10 for a two-hour tour, $7 for a one-hour tour, and children under 1 year are free. Registration is required.
Halloween is the perfect time to get to know some nocturnal creatures. At Highfield Discovery Garden’s Owl-O-Ween, kids can learn about owls, what they eat, how they fly and more. These owl encounters take place at Glenwood Gardens on Friday and Saturday at 10:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and on Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per adult, $4 per child ages 2-12, and free for children under 2.
Explore some of nature’s creepy creatures with the Haunted Forest Evening Program at the William H. Harsha Lake Visitor Center in Batavia. Discover the real story of owls, bats, spiders and other creatures during a short hike on the Deer Ridge Trail. Children need to be accompanied by an adult, and registration is required. This FREE program starts at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Take a Magic Forest Halloween Hike with your kids (ages 3-10) at Caldwell Nature Preserve this weekend. This non-scary Halloween walk goes through a pumpkin-lit trail, meeting costumed characters from nature and history along the way. Cost is $5, and online registration is required. Hikes are happening this Friday and Saturday from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Want to meet animals and learn about wildlife that really isn’t that spooky? Head out to Miami Whitewater Forest Visitor Center for its Spooky Creature Feature, Saturday at 2 p.m. This animal encounter is FREE, but a vehicle permit is required.
Later in the evening on Saturday (7 p.m.), head over to Winton Woods for a Howl at the Moon Hike, where you can listen for creatures who are out and about. And on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Winton Woods, don’t miss the Forest Through the Trees Hike along the Great Oaks Trail. All ages can come and learn to identify common trees using leaves and bark. Both hikes are FREE with vehicle permit.
How spooky and cool would it be to spend the night at the Zoo? The Cincinnati Zoo’s Family Howl-oween Nocturnal Adventure on Saturday (6 p.m. to 9 a.m.) includes tours of buildings, animal encounters, activities, camping and breakfast. The cost is $35, $30 members. This overnight adventure is for parents and children ages 5 and up.
Here’s a great way to burn off those candy calories and enjoy this beautiful weather: a Fall Hike at Sharon Woods, Sunday at 10 a.m. Meet in the Gorge Trail parking lot near Kreis Dam. This naturalist-led hike will follow along the Gorge Trail. Participation is free; vehicle permit is required.
Because dogs should get to enjoy some Halloween fun, stop by MainStrasse Village in Covington for the 9th Annual Dog Costume Pawrade on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. Registration is $5 and this year’s theme is Reality TV Shows. All proceeds benefit the MainStrasse Village Paw Park. Prizes will be awarded for Best Original Costume, Best Store Bought Costume & Best Theme Costume. The event will also have plenty of food, drinks, activities and booths as well as trick or Ttreating at MainStrasse Village businesses and MainStrasse Antiques, etc. on the Promenade.
Not to be outdone, KennelResorts of Milford will have its own dogs-in-costume event on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. HOWLoween Hound Haunt Costume Parade includes games and a costume parade for pets, plus free food and casual conversation for owners. There will be prizes for dogs with funniest, scariest and most creative costumes. Attendees can buy raffle tickets to support Recycled Doggies and League for Animal Welfare. Dog/cat food donations will be accepted. Adoptable dogs will be on-site.
Arts & Culture
Linton Peanut Butter & Jam Sessions begin this Saturday, offering children ages 2-6 and their families a chance to enjoy classical music together. The first concert in the series is “It’s a String Thing,” held at Mt. Washington Presbyterian Church, at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. As a reward for being good listeners, your little ones can look forward to free Graeter’s cookies after the show!
Drop in at the Contemporary Arts Center downtown for its Family Saturday: Opening Celebration! of Erica Bailey’s Telescoping House, the newest addition to the UnMuseum. Come in anytime between 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturday for cake and a creative art project related to this exciting new exhibition. The event is free with CAC admission.
This weekend is your last chance to see the musical How I Became a Pirate at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. Shows are on Saturday at 2 and 5 p.m. Read Amy’s post about How I Became a Pirate for more details.
Bring your budding chemists and movie buffs to the Cincinnati Museum Center for National Chemistry Weekend. On Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be chemistry activities in the Rotunda and Duke Energy Children’s Museum Lobby. Different chemistry demonstrations are scheduled throughout both days in Museum of Natural History & Science as well. This year’s theme, “Behind the Scenes with Chemistry”, celebrates the chemistry of special effects and magic in movies. You can join local chemists as they showcase the difference between what we see in television, movies and literature and the real science behind the “magic” and mystery of special effects, hair/make-up and forensics!
Bookworms & Library Lovers
As usual, libraries are a happening place for families on the weekend. This Saturday, Covedale Branch Library will host a Decorate a Pumpkin craft activity at 11 a.m. The event is free, but registration is required (call 513-369-4460).
Meanwhile, over at Delhi Township Branch Library, a Monster Mash will be going on (also free!), with kids wearing costumes while making crafts and enjoying treats. The Monster Mash is also on Saturday at 11 a.m.
As the official symbol of all things Halloween, bats will take front and center at the Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore on Saturday starting at 4 p.m. At Blue Manatee Goes Batty, Author Mary Kay Carson will be there to sign and discuss her new book, The Bat Scientists. Joining her will be illustrator Christina Wald, whose latest project is Little Red Bat. She’s bringing prizes for bat trivia, so brush up on your bat knowledge. Local conservation and education group ECHOBATS will be here with some live bats to meet and greet. Also on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., Blue Manatee will be talking about the vegetarian vampire bunny Bunnicula, and do some activities based on the book. Ages 5 and up.
Blue Ash Elementary is hosting its annual Haunted Festival on Friday, 5 to 9 p.m. Come in costume, and load up on tickets for carnival games, prizes, food, raffles, a cake decorating contest and silent auction. Proceeds from the event provide funding for school materials and Blue Ash’s School for Scholars, a program that offers after-school learning opportunities to students. Also, look for FFC’s Karen — she’ll be volunteering at the festival!
Ft Wright Elementary in Ft. Wright, KY hosts it’s annual Fall Festival Saturday from 3-7pm. Hosted by the PTA, the event includes lots of fun games, karate demonstrations, festival food, face painting, a pumpkin decorating contest, cake walk, hayrides and more! All proceeds help the school with it’s goal of getting smartboards in every classroom.
At Run Jump n Play in Mason, attendees of BooFest 2010 (Friday from 6 to 9 p.m.) can enjoy the indoor playground, giant inflatables, “glo” golf, all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, face painting, games and activities. Tickets are $12.95 for kids ages 3 and up, $8.95 for children under 2 (babies who can’t walk are free), and $9.95 for adults. Call (513) 701-7529 to make reservations.
TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion in Blue Ash is putting on its Freaky Friday carnival with games, spooky music, prizes and Halloween treats. Costumes are encouraged. The carnival is on Friday (natch) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5, $2 ages 2 and under.
Cheviot‘s Halloween Spooktacular is this Friday and Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. at Harvest Home Park. The fun includes a hayride through Cheviot ($3), haunted barn, costume contest, miniature train ride, games for children, “Howl at the Moon” contest and petting zoo. Concessions will be available, as well as vendors from Lettuce Eat Well Farmer’s Market. Admission is FREE.
Have you heard of the Centennial Barn? Located on the grounds of St. Clare Convent on the border of Hartwell and Wyoming, the Centennial Barn was built in 1898 and renovated in 2010 by the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. Once a working barn, it’s now a space for community and celebration — including a Harvest Festival this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You’ll find live entertainment (including an aerialist working with silks), music, craft and artist booths, petting zoo and hay rides.
On Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Heavenly Hearth will have a FREE Pumpkin Palooza, including a pumpkin decorating contest, face painting, specialty foods and children’s games. Crafters also will be demonstrating and selling crafts at the Withamsville stove and fireplace store.
Faith United Church of Christ on Salem Road is hosting a Fall Fun Festival, with pumpkin painting, parachute games and storytelling. This festival is on Saturday, starting at 11:30 a.m.
At Pumpkin Patch in the Park in Fairfield, families can participate in pumpkin decorating, face painting, kids’ crafts, games and more. That includes hayride to the pumpkin patch to select a pumpkin! Refreshments will be available. This event is Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at William Harbin Park. Cost is $5 for preregistered attendees, $9 for registration at the gate. Call 513-867-5348 to register.
Sing “Happy Birthday” to the CET Kids Club Mascot at KC & Friends’ Ready, Set, Blow! Birthday Bash. The party (Saturday, 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.) at CET’s downtown studios includes food, games, crafts and entertainment by Joel the Singing Librarian. Look for appearances by PBS star Wordgirl and the Superwhy! characters. Halloween costumes are encouraged. This event is free, but registration is requested.
Salem Community Church is putting on the Salem Harvest Festival (wonder if there’ll be any witches?), with games, food, music, crafts, rides and prizes. This free festival is from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Another local church, North Cincinnati Community Church, will have its Family Fall Festival on Saturday from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. You’ll find food, games, hayrides, activities, music, outdoor movie and more.
Looking for a festival that’ll get your heart pumping? Check out the Halloween Party at Town and Country Sports and Health Club in Wilder, Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m.. You’ll definitely need gym shoes for this party, complete with games, rock climbing, aeroball, sports wall games, crafts and pictures. Cost is free for members, or $10 per family for nonmembers.
The festival fun doesn’t end on Saturday! Come Sunday, there are plenty more opportunities — including Halloween Fest at St. Anthony School in Taylor Mill. From 1 to 4 p.m., they’ll have games, prizes, a Wii tournament, hay rides, split-the-pot, food and drinks and a silent auction. A costume contest is at 3 p.m.
Also, Belfast United Methodist Church in Goshen (2297 State Route 131) is hosting a Fall Harvest Fest with games, crafts, cake walk, face painting and pumpkin painting. The fest is Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Fischer Homes is sponsoring a Family Harvest Festival at its Saddletop Ridge at Lexington Run community in Batavia on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. This FREE event includes more than 20 vendors and sponsors, goody bags, a friendly witch and magician, hourly door prizes and free pumpkins. Food will be provided by The Original Pancake House (yummy!) and drinks by Fischer Homes. Donations of a non-perishable food item to benefit YWCA Food Pantry will be appreciated. For more information, call 513-732-0750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also in Batavia, check out the Halloween Boo Bash at Emmanuel United Methodist Church on Sunday starting at 5:30 p.m. This FREE festival includes food, drinks, games, trick or treating, crafts and costume judging, plus a free haunted house for children.
If you live in Springdale, there’s a Halloween Carnival for residents on Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Springdale Community Center. This FREE carnival features costume judging, games, door prizes, treats, crafts, coloring contest sheet and more.
Families in Mason, make sure you hit the Harvest Festival at Corwin Nixon Park on Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. This FREE festival will have games, prizes, hay ride, inflatables, tattoos, entertainment, food, cupcake walk, picture station, raffle, costume parade and pumpkin decorating. Wow! Nonperishable food item collection will benefit Mason Food Pantry.
Foodies and Chefs
Learn recipes and entertaining tips for sleepovers and Halloween parties at the Midwest Culinary Institute at Cincinnati State. The Halloween Snacks and Party Treats cooking class is aimed at beginners and intermediate-level cooks, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $59 ($49 additional siblings) and registration is required.
Over at Whole Foods Market in Mason, kids ages 5 to 12 can whip up spider pretzels at Sprouts in the Kitchen. This FREE workshop starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday; registration is required. Or check out Kids Can Cook Too at the Whole Foods in Norwood — same day and time, free, registration required.
Even pirates need to eat, right? At the Young Chefs Academy in Mason, learn to whip up pirate cuisine at the Ahoyyy Mate! Food Fit for a Pirate workshop (Saturday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.) Ages 5-18 are welcome and encouraged to dress the part. Cost is $40; registration is required.
As if we aren’t consuming enough chocolate already during this time of year, now there’s the Cincinnati Chocolate Festival to celebrate this wondrous food! From noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Mayerson JCC, you can check out more than 24 vendors, celebrity chef demonstrations, children’s activities, contests and raffles and shopping. The festival benefits Isaac M. Wise Temple Sisterhood. Cost is $5; free ages 3 and under.
Just for Tweens
Middle schoolers, grab your sneakers and swimsuits for the JCC Tween Scene, Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Mayerson JCC in Amberly Village. Kids in grades 6 to 8 take over the pool, gym and game room for food, games and more. Wear gym shoes and socks; bring swimsuit and towel. Cost is $15 ($10 members) and registration is required.
Gather ’round for Ghost Stories by the Camp Fire at Totter’s Otterville in Covington, with not-too-scary storytelling around an outdoor fire pit — followed by a marshmallow roast. Storytimes start on Friday at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.
Here’s an interesting twist on the classic haunted house: Morgan’s Spooktacular Haunted River. Guests are escorted through campgrounds reflecting spooky scenes from a town once thriving there called Millgrove. This tour is followed by a hike through the “forest of lost souls” and a raft float trip down the Little Miami River. The outing is recommended for ages 7 and up. Cost is $10, $5 ages 12 and under. Tours will take place this Friday and Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m.
Celebrate the Latin American “Day of the Dead” tradition at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Dia de Los Muertos celebrates and honors family and friends who have died and is a time of celebration and joyful fun. At noon on Saturday, families can create Dia De Los Muertos Paper Banners as decorations. This activity is free with admission: $12, $10 ages 60 and up, $8 ages 6-12.
Are your goblins ready to take on a haunted house? There’s St. William Haunted House and Fall Festival, Friday and Saturday from 7 to 10:30 p.m. (It’s also happening next weekend, too.) Tour a haunted house and haunted hallway, take pictures with a monster, play games, eat food, do crafts, get your face painted, and indulge in candy and other treats. Cost is $6; free parking.
Continuing its terrifying tradition, St. Rita Haunted House will be open this weekend to scare the bejeezus out of whoever dares to enter. For those readers with kids 12 and under, you might prefer the “lights on” children’s matinee this Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10; parking is free.
Your train-loving kiddos will want to stop by the Model Railroad Show, held this weekend at Lakota West High School in West Chester. Look for model trains in all scales, operating layouts and displays, more than 250 dealer tables, a free engine check-up and “How To” classes and hourly door prizes. Admission is $7, free ages 11 and under and scouts in uniform. The show is open Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
One of the area’s prime trick-or-treat events is Blue Ash’s Halloween Walk in the Woods. This award-winning FREE event is filled with Halloween activities for children 10 and under. Your kiddos will love the games, trick or treating fun through the nature park, and entertainment on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.
This is the last weekend for HallZOOween at the Cincinnati Zoo, from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Kids are encouraged to wear costumes. Activities include Trick or Treating around the Zoo (bring your own treat bags), Phil Dalton’s Theater of Illusion, Animal Pumpkin Pandemonium, Frisch’s Pumpkin Patch, giant pumpkin carving demonstrations, Spooktacular train ride and Scare-ousel, and Beauty Shop of Horrors. Free with zoo admission.
Halloween Nights at Parky’s Farm continues this weekend (6 to 10 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday), including non-scary, pirate-themed haunted house, haunted hayrides, synchronized light show to spooky music, 62-foot long blow-up obstacle course, naturalists dressed as Halloween characters and animals with ties to Halloween tales. There’s a campfire for s’mores, snack bar and souvenir booth. Pony rides are available to kids ages 7 and under for $3. Magic of Phil Dalton and Rock Star Cory Kids Rock Show are at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Cost is $6 per person, with children under 2 free.
Snoopy is making an appearance Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at Benton Farms in Walton to see if the Great Pumpkin has arrived! At this 260-acre working family farm, families can pick out pumpkins, enjoy hayrides and discover an educational working farm experience. Cost is $7, free ages 3 and under.
Spending an evening with your son? Now there’s a treat for any mom! Make a date with your lil’ buddy (ages 2 to 10) for the Mother-Son Halloween Dance at Beech Acres Park RecPlex, Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission ($15, $12 residents) includes pizza, refreshments and e-mailed digital photo. Attendees are asked to register in advance.
More trick-or-treating adventure awaits at Spooky Sunday in Edgewood. Assemble at St. Pius for a costume parade to Presidents Park at 3:45 p.m. Costume contest judging will begin on the basketball court after the parade. Prizes will be awarded to four different age groups. Children will receive a trick-or-treat bag while supplies last. Magic show and haunted forest begin at 4:30 p.m. This event is FREE.
Kids in Mt. Healthy shouldn’t be too scared to trick-or-treat at Mount Healthy Haunted Hall, hosted by the Madonna Council Knights of Columbus. At least, not during the “Lights Up” event on Sunday at 6 p.m. This event is geared to young children, and treats are passed out throughout the hall. Admission is $5 for children, free for accompanying adults.
Make a Difference Day is one of the nation’s largest annual days of citizen volunteerism, and it’s this Saturday. Throughout the greater Cincinnati area, families will be pitching in to clean up, help out and improve their communities. Check out this list of local events for a Make a Difference Day and find one in your neck of the woods. It’s a great opportunity for the whole family to give back!
Is this mega post of madness not enough for you to choose from? ‘Cause we got more. Lots more. Just reference Shannan’s earlier post of Fall Events and Activities for Cincinnati Families.