Weekend Fun for Westchester Kids: Children's Book Festival, The Magic Garden

Here we are in mid-October, when Halloween is just around the corner and fall fun peaks. In addition to all the big Halloween events recurring throughout the month (add Scared By the Sound to that list, which starts this weekend), there are also numerous local festivals celebrating autumn and other fun events for Westchester and Hudson Valley families. 

Though it’s hard to pass up all the Halloween fun, there are a bunch of compelling events this weekend that don’t involve pumpkins or hauntings. One of the big headliners is the return of the Chappaqua Children's Book Festival, where young bibliophiles get the chance to meet authors and illustrators, collect autographs, hear book readings and celebrate beloved literature. Speaking of beloved, Carole and Paula of TV’s The Magic Garden reunite on stage for a live performance to sing about the Story Box and other ‘70s nostalgia. Other performances include Disney’s Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve and, after being named a finalist on America’s Got Talent, Catapult struts their shadow-dancing stuff.

This is just the beginning! Read on for our top weekend picks, visit our Event Calendar for more, and refer to our October Go List for our top choices for the rest of the month!

Weekend Fun: Spooky Fest, Flip Fabrique, Hay Maze, Fall Fairs

Don't get spooked: Many Halloween fests offer special events and days to preserve the thrills without giving your little ones chills.

This weekend check out Spooky Fest at the Center for Science Teaching & Learning, RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns along lighted paths at Old Westbury Gardens, the hay maze at Stew Leonard's, Not So Scary Days at Bayville's Scream Park or Halloween Village at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho.

Weekend Fun: Ragamuffin Parade, Pickle Day, and Major Legos

For New York City kids, October is the month-of-months when it comes to outdoor food and music in equal measure. Head to Randall's Island Park for the annual Harvest Festival, or stuff yourself at Pickle Day on the Lower East Side. As for music, the Moonlights play at Symphony Space, while Madison Square Park's Kids Fest: Stages in the Square offers musical acts all weekend. 

Step Back in Time at NJ's Living History Farms

The Garden State's many wonderful farms are perfect spots for a family-friendly outing any time of year. But a few special farmsteads offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience farm life just as it existed many years ago. These living history farms give visitors the chance to try their hand at chores like bottle-feeding lambs, gathering honey, and harvesting ice. If you're looking for a fun, educational experience for the entire family, hands-on historical farms are a great choice.

For even more outdoor family fun, check out these New Jersey farms and historic villages

Hotel Rooms with Views of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Chances are you're not even thinking about Thanksgiving yet. After all, we still have Halloween to get through! But as anyone in the NYC hotel industry will tell you, families looking to book a hotel where they can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in Midtown Manhattan do so up to a year ahead of time! For a room with a view of Snoopy, Spidey, Hello Kitty, and their other inflatable pals, you've really got to plan in advance.

It's not just NYC tourists who splurge on hotels for the Thanksgiving parade, either. Over the past few years, we've had many New Yorkers write in asking which hotels looked out on the Macy's Parade route (it sure beats watching from the street). While most of these hotels still have availability at the time of this writing, call right away as they'll most likely sell out soon. And if you do get shut out, it's worth checking closer to Thanksgiving since there are sometimes last-minute cancelations.

For a budget-saving alternative, catch a prime viewing spot the night before the parade as the giant balloons are inflated on the Upper West Side.

Weekend Fun: Fall Festivals, Daniel Tiger, Boo at the Zoo

Fall and all of the activity that goes along with it are in full swing! From harvest festivals and farm fun to family-oriented frights, this weekend has it all. Get into the Halloween spirit at Boo at the Zoo at Space Farms in Sussex or at the Amazing Pumpkin Carve in Titusville. Celebrate everything autumn at the over-the-top South Jersey Pumpkin Show Festival in Woodstown, and ditch the tractor and take a pony ride to the pumpkin patch in Flemington.

In the mood for a performance? Kid faves Daniel Tiger, the Cat in the Hat, and more take the stage at various theaters in NJ.

Be sure to check out our Fall Fun Guide for more excitement, and find a complete listing of happenings this weekend and beyond in our Event Calendar

THE GLOW: A Jack O'Lantern Experience Lights Up Fairmount Park

There's nothing that says Halloween like pumpkins- except maybe a carved pumpkin. If you've ever carved your own pumpkin, you know how much work it can be even to follow a simple pattern. Featuring more than 5,000 brightly lit carved pumpkins, THE GLOW certainly doesn't disappoint when it comes to jack-o-lanterns. The larger-than-life pumpkin structures make this event a must-do for Halloween. Read on to find out all you need to know before attending this spectacular event.

Boo at the Zoo: New Thrills and Attractions at the Bronx Zoo's Halloween Event

Fall has arrived in New York City and with it, a fantastic array of seasonal activities that make saying goodbye to summer feel more like a celebration than a somber farewell. And with Halloween just around the corner, one of my family's favorite Halloween-themed outings—the Bronx Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo—is already underway!

For years, we've enjoyed donning our costumes and exploring the zoo, joining the Halloween parade, marveling at the pumpkin carving demos and displays, and, of course, visiting and learning about the majestic resident animals. This year, we're particularly excited to visit as the zoo has revamped its programming with new activities and attractions, including a Haunted Forest geared at older kids, a hayride, and a corn maze. Read on for all the details on returning favorites and new offerings, including price details and best times to visit.

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