Five Not-So-Scary Halloween Happenings in the Midwest
Halloween for kids in the Midwest By Maribeth Pjosek-Durkin
Pirate’s Revenge Haunted House at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis (Courtesy The Children's Museum of Indianapolis)
Kids love Halloween, but eerie houses and creepy creatures aren’t for everyone. Parents with young kids need not worry. There are plenty of kid-friendly Halloween happenings all over the Midwestern region that are all fun and no fright.
Meet some kindly critters on a moonlight forest stroll, board a ghostly pirate ship or venture into an enchanted forest. Here are some favorite, not-so-scary outings sure to please every kid in your family in the Midwest.
Critters in the Moonlight
Don’t let the name scare you. In October, Critters in the Moonlight is hosted by Hartwick Pines Logging Museum in Grayling, Michigan. Dress your kiddies in their favorite costumes and bring them out for an evening hike. Guides lead families down a well-lit, paved path lined with jack-o-lanterns to meet various “critters” (volunteers who dress up in animal costumes and talk to kids about animals and nature). TIP: Best for children 5 and under. One day only, October 10 from 5pm to 8:15 pm. The event is free, but a Recreation Passport is required to enter Michigan State Parks. A one day pass is $9.
Where to Stay: Days Inn Grayling
Halloween at the Arb
October 31 is a great day to be a kid at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. All children under 17 are free! (Non-member adults 17 and older still pay admission.) Come early for Boo Breakfast (reservations required) and stay to enjoy Halloween at the Arb, a not-so-spooky family-friendly celebration. Kids 10 and under will delight in the Trick or Tree party in The Children’s Garden. Play nature-inspired games, plant tree seeds and paint pumpkins (pumpkins are $3.50 each). Challenge older kids to follow the nature-focused clues on the Creepy Crawl Scavenger Hunt. TIP: The Children’s Garden has several rustic play areas, including a pond and treehouses, so pack play clothes and a towel. Halloween at the Arb is only on October 31 from 7am to sunset. Trick or Tree is offered every weekend in October.
Where to Stay: Country Inn & Suites Naperville
Pirate’s Revenge Haunted House
Join Captain Crossbones and search for lost treasure at Pirate’s Revenge, a family-friendly haunted house at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana. Navigate the winding maze to find a ghostly pirate ship and battle a sea monster. Lights-On Hours are “friendly” for children who scare easily or don’t like the dark. The well-lit maze lets kids have fun without the fright. For older kids and tweens, Defenders Frightening Hours turns the lights down for a spookier experience. TIP: For a weekend getaway, consider the Family Fun Package. It includes admission to the Children’s Museum, Indianapolis Zoo and one-night hotel stay. Pirate’s Revenge is open October 10 through 31, tickets are $8 in addition to museum admission.
Where to Stay: Holiday Inn Express Indianapolis South
A Brothers Grimm Halloween
Brothers Grimm Halloween at Heritage Hill State Historical Park, in Green Bay, Wisconsin is a kid-friendly night of trick or treating, stories and more based on four popular Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales. Each of the four areas of the park bring either Cinderella, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin or Puss in Boots to life. Trick-or-Treat your way through the park. Go hunting for Cinderella’s pumpkin, Snow White’s apple, and other magical fairy tale items and characters on the Scavenger Hunt. Venture into an Enchanted Forest where friendly trees smile and glowing lights guide your way. Take a moment to relax and hear fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm themselves. TIP: End the night with s’mores around a campfire. S’mores kits are $1 each. Admission is $7, children 3 and under are free. Event is open from 4pm – 8pm on October 17 and 24, only.
Where to stay: Residence Inn Green Bay
ZooBoo Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Trick or treating goes wild with ZooBoo at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This non-scary Halloween family festival has costumes, candy and dancing galore! Let kids trick-or-treat along the ZooBoo path and mingle with over 200 live – and very friendly – costumed characters. Stop along the way to play games and create some not-so-spooky crafts. Kids like to dance? You’re in luck, a DJ will be spinning some festive tunes too. TIP: The event is best for kids 8 and under. Go before 6pm to avoid crowds and long lines. Buy tickets in advance. ZooBoo is open from 4:30pm to 7:30pm on October 17, 18, 24 and 25. Tickets are $6 in advance and $7 at the gate.
Where to Stay: Homewood Suites Saint Paul
Maribeth Pjosek-Durkin contributed this to MiniTime.com.