Halloween in the Southwest
By Sarah Vernetti
Haunted Harvest nights at Springs Reserve (Courtesy Springs Preserve)
October is a beautiful time for a family vacation to the American Southwest. This is when the summer heat finally subsides and many towns celebrate the season with special Halloween events and fall festivals. Grab your kids’ costumes, pack your bags and consider checking out these inexpensive, family-friendly activities throughout the region.
Although Las Vegas isn’t always considered the most kid-friendly destination, there are a surprising number of family activities available to travelers. Visit the popular Springs Preserve for their 2015 Haunted Harvest festival, held on Oct. 16-18, 23-25, and 30-31 from 5-9 p.m. You’ll find a hay maze, trick-or-treat stations, crafts, games, and a petting zoo. Springs Preserve is located at 333 S. Valley View Blvd. For details, visit springspreserve.org.
The Great Pumpkin Festival at the Desert Botanical Garden (Courtesy Desert Botanical Garden )
Each year, Phoenix is home to The Great Pumpkin Festival, held at the picturesque Desert Botanical Garden. Here, you and your family can take a hayride, pick a pumpkin, find your way through a hay maze, make a new furry friend at the petting zoo, or listen to live music. The event takes place Oct. 23-25, 2015. The Desert Botanical Garden is located at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway in Phoenix. For more information, visit www.dbg.org/events/great-pumpkin-festival.
Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley
Howl-o-ween at the Living Desert (Courtesy The Living Desert)
Families traveling with kids will want to check out the Howl-o-ween celebration in the town of Palm Desert at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Enjoy crafts, a monster maze, pumpkin decorating, interactive animal encounters, and more. While you’re in the area, set aside a day to explore Palm Springs and the other desert towns located in the Coachella Valley. The Living Desert is located at 47900 Portola Ave. in Palm Desert, CA. Howl-o-ween is held on Oct. 24, 25, and 31, 2015. To learn more about the Living Desert, visit livingdesert.org.
Celebraciones de la Gente at the Museum of Northern Arizona (Courtesy Museum of Northern Arizona )
If you visit Flagstaff in late October, consider a trip to the Museum of Northern Arizona for the annual Celebraciones de la Gente, held on October 24-25, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. At the event, you’ll find Dia de los Muertos altars, mariachi music, fine art, kid-friendly craft activities, and dance performances. After you’ve enjoyed the festivities, be sure to explore the museum. The exhibits highlight a wide array of topics, from Hopi and Navajo culture to geology. The Museum of Northern Arizona is located at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road. For more information, visit musnaz.org.
Best known as the home of the Hoover Dam, Boulder City makes a great side trip from Las Vegas. In addition to the historic dam, the town also offers travelers the chance to visit the State Railroad Museum and Nevada Southern Railway. Children visiting on October 24-25, 2015 receive a free train ride if they arrive in costume. The 35-minute train journey takes families through a desert landscape aboard a Nevada Southern Railway train. The museum is located at 601 Yucca St. For more information, visit nevadasouthern.com.
Sarah Vernetti contributed this to MiniTime. When she isn’t writing about travel and the family-friendly side of Las Vegas, she’s busy crafting short stories and flash fiction.