Free Activities

Ultimate Halloween Guide: 24 Best Celebrations in LA for Spooky or Free Fun

If you've already spent on the Halloween costume (and perhaps a second one if you bought too early), and the pumpkin (and perhaps a second one if you bought too early), and the Halloween candy (and perhaps an extra aerobics class, if you bought too early), then you might have reached your limit with spending money on this mother-of-all kids' holidays. That's when it's time to start sniffing out which are the key Halloween activities, and which are the free ones, that keep the mood going at this haunting time of year. The following 24 events are the Halloween parties not to miss—the scream of the crop!

12 Free Places to Play Indoors Around Boston

For families with energetic kids, perhaps the biggest bummer of colder weather is losing the ability to while away entire afternoons at a local playground. Sure, we're blessed with a bevy of spectacular indoor play zones here in Boston, but many charge $10 or more per child for an hour or two of fun. Sometimes, what kids (and exhausted parents) really need is the indoor equivalent of your neighborhood playground—an open, public space where they can pop in, monkey around, and socialize for an hour or two, no reservation or hefty admission required. We've tracked down a few spots in and around town where your kids can play—and you can take a load off—for free. (Note that none of these places allow you to drop kids off, unsupervised; but having some new toys and playmates to entertain them will definitely feel like a break.)

A Dozen Easy Fall Hikes in NJ for Families with Small Children

Hiking with small children can be fun for the whole family, if you choose the right trails, pack enough snacks, and build in some break time for little legs. Autumn in New Jersey may be the ideal time to get the family outdoors for a nature walk or easy hike, when trees are ablaze with fall colors and temperatures are just right.

Read on for our list of short, family-friendly hikes with scenic vistas and shady picnic spots. As for the snacks, try letting kids make their own trail mix before a nature walk: set out some bowls of nuts, pretzel sticks, dried fruits, and chocolate chips or M&Ms, and let the kids fill a plastic baggie with their favorite fuel. Before setting out, make sure everyone dresses in layers and wears comfortable shoes, and don't forget to pack sunscreen, bug spray, and plenty of water.

For more outdoor adventures, check out one of the state's many nature centers, which offer a host of family-friendly activities as well as hiking trails. Happy hiking!

Helpful Tips for Watching the Head of the Charles

The Charles is a magnet for many Boston families, whether it's for a paddle down the river or a perfect fall day hanging out on the Esplanade. And this time of year, when the leaves are turning and the riverfront is at its most beautiful, countless families flock to the Head of the Charles Regatta, one of the world’s most competitive rowing races, when more than ten thousand rowers compete for nearly half a million spectators. Watching the rowers from the riverbank is an annual tradition for many Bostonians—but with the crowds and uncertain seating arrangements, it can be tricky to navigate with kids. After several years of attending the Head of the Charles, I have some helpful hints to keep you and your family warm and happy while you watch the race.

Build an Indoor Obstacle Course for Kids in 7 Easy Steps

When beautiful fall days turn into gray, wintry ones that get dark at 4pm, you need ideas of things to do indoors, including sneaky exercise games for the kids. Or, why not build an obstacle course for your kids? They'll love the challenge of having to complete each task, and you'll love the energy it can burn off and time it will keep them occupied. The best part? You can build this one with things you already have around the house. So read on for our guide to building your own in seven easy steps.

Best Neighborhoods to Trick-or-Treat for Los Angeles Kids

Trick or treat! Los Angeles moved down to fifth place in Zillow's Halloween list of the country's 20 best cities for trick-or-treating—but that's not slowing down anyone around here. The real estate website bases its trick-or-treat ranking on criteria like home value and crime rates. That's good, but what about special effects and Halloween decorations? If one figures in the number of film industry creatives living in a given metropolitan area, LA wins first place by a country mile. Speaking of country miles, if you've walked the distance between houses in the most expensive LA neighborhoods, you know that higher home value does not always translate to better trick-or-treating. What does? Well, keep your Halloween hats on, because we've got a list of some of LA and Orange County's most legendary trick-or-treat neighborhoods. I defy anyone in Philadelphia to beat these!

25 Cool and Free Halloween Programs for Kids in Westchester

If you think Halloween town and library programs are only about storytime and paper pumpkins, think again! Many towns in Westchester offer stand-out events that are frightfully fun—not to mention the parades, parties and more free activities for families who love Halloween. 

Below we’ve listed more than two dozen places with fun Halloween programs. Best of all—they’re all FREE! (And, OK, there are some storytimes and crafts, but we do like those too.) 

Read on for our top picks, and then continue on to our Event Calendar for many more fun October events.

25+ Free Events for New Jersey Kids in October

The best things in life really are free, especially when it comes to family activities. In this new monthly feature, Mommy Poppins NJ presents the best FREE events happening in the upcoming weeks. This month, you can look forward to plenty of free storytimes and festivals, and, of course, a ton of Halloween fun. And speaking of that haunting holiday, check out our list of 30 Free Halloween Events and Parades for NJ Kids for even more ways to celebrate without cracking open your wallet.

Read on for this month's picks, and don't forget to check out our Event Calendar and October GoList for more free and low-cost fall fun.

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