RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns: 5,000 Pumpkins Light up the Night

There are many levels of pumpkin carving. There's picking up a pumpkin at the grocery store and stabbing a crooked smile onto it. There's downloading a stencil and spending an afternoon with a $5 carving kit creating Jack Skellington. And then there's taking 5,000 fresh pumpkins per week and turning them into multi-gourd masterpieces never before conceived out of fruit. That last thing? That's Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns.

Halloween enthusiasts on Long Island have long enjoyed this gloriously over the top pumpkin extravaganza, but it is still relatively new to Los Angeles area families, and completely new this season to our readers in New Jersey and Boston. That's a whole lot more families getting to experience the glowing, walk-through exhibit, that brings out the Halloween spirit in visitors of all ages. Read on to find out all about this amazing spectacle and get a Mommy Poppins promo code!

Preschool in the Park? Outdoor and Nature-Themed NYC Classes

Nature provides the perfect classroom for preschool-aged kids. Even New York's little urbanites love to jump in puddles, make mud pies, climb trees, and dig for worms. For parents looking for a classroom that draws its lessons from nature, we've rounded up the city's best preschools, "forest schools," and toddler classes in which kids spend a significant part of each day outdoors or interacting with the natural world. As classes are often held rain or shine, proper outdoor gear is a must, so get some sturdy boots and rain pants and let your kids explore!

For more preschool options, be sure to check out the directory of schools, as well as our New York City Preschool Guide with tips on what to ask during a tour and how to ease the transition for kids (and parents).

Weekend Fun for Philly Kids: Festivals, Culture, History Sept 17-18

A weekend in mid-September traditionally offers Philly families many fall festivals. This year is no different. Our Events Calendar is jam-packed with a variety of great festivals celebrating the arrival of fall.

Throughout the entire weekend, families can view the scarecrows on display at Peddlers' Village's Scarecrow Festival, enjoy live music at Linvilla Orchards' Arts, Crafts, & Music Festival, or taste apple treats at Oasis Family Farm's Apple Festival. Learn about a different culture by experiencing the Delaware Art Museum's Korean Festival and Harvest Celebration or Penn's Landing's Mexican Independence Day Festival. Or dust off your fairy wings for Rockwood Park's Faerie Fest.

After festival fun is through, make sure your kids have cooler weather gear for the season by stopping by one of the many consignment sales being held this weekend. Check out our latest update of Fall Consignment Sales to find a location near you. Have a great weekend!

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: We Are LA, Butterflies, and Coastal Cleanup, Sept 17 - 18

I'm feeling real good about our parenting skills about now. This weekend alone, our kids are cleaning up, not only after themselves, but after the entire beach. They're discovering that having a good time and giving back can be one and the same. They're learning to spread their wings and FLY (as long as they stay within a safely defined area;no point in taking chances).

We're really teaching these kids well. Hoping for a kid who appreciates the arts? We got your free museums right here. Hoping for a kid whose art is in said museums? Kids can work up a few masterpieces in these free workshops. While they're at it, they can learn to bake, fish, and write comics, become a junior ranger, scientist or explorer, or develop the skills to become an Olympic champion. This parenting thing, we've got it in the bag.

All this no doubt has you feeling like you deserve some reward. (No, not donuts. You have to wait 'til next week for that.) Well, the reward you get is a capable, cultured, ready-to-adult miniature version of you. (And donuts on Monday.)

Keep reading for our winningest parenting picks for this weekend...

Weekend Fun for LI Kids: 10 Festivals and Fairs - September 17-18

Fairs are in full swing this mid-September weekend in Long BeachBellmore, Riverhead, Greenlawn, Uniondale, Sayville and Old Westbury. And head out for an entertaining and enriching afternoon at LIU's Pratt Recreational Center in Brookville for LI Fam Fest on Saturday. Plus don't miss the JCC Fall Family Carnival on Sunday.

Get active this weekend with the great events below. Don't see your event listed here? Add it to our events calendar. And if you didn't receive this post in your inbox, sounds like you need to subscribe to our newsletter.

Weekend Fun for Boston Kids, September 17-18: Curious George, Wild Weather, LEGO City

Are you ready to spend the day picking apples or choosing the perfect pumpkin? In addition to farm fun, there are oodles of outdoor activities on the calendar this weekend. Celebrate Trails & Sails on the shore and sea or jump on a swan boat for the last weekend of the season. Speaking of celebrations, everyone's favorite monkey is appearing at not one but two special birthday bashes at the library and in Harvard Square to share his joy at turning 75. How many kids are lucky enough to sing "Happy Birthday" to a monkey?

There's no shortage of indoor fun with weekend, either, with special programs devoted to wild weather, hacking, or designing with LEGO bricks. Finally, a bike ride or outdoor concert are other perfect ways to welcome fall in style.

Also on Mommy Poppins Boston this week:

Enjoy your weekend and don't forget to check out the full events calendar!

70+ Baby Classes Around NJ: Music, Gym, Art, Swim

Parent and child classes can be some of the most wonderful bonding activities during those early years (and months)—plus it's a great excuse to get out of the house! These interactive classes help babies, toddlers, and preschoolers forge new relationships with others, sample a host of playthings, and test out new skills.

In New Jersey, as is the case elsewhere, the class choices seem to multiply every year: music, art, yoga, sports, ballet, world languages, nature, swimming. You are sure to find something that will interest both you and your child. And, don’t expect these sessions to be filled with just moms. Dad, the nanny, grandparents, and all types of caregivers can join in the fun. Some classes offer independent play for toddlers, or even options where both siblings can attend.

Read on for a sampling of the best baby classes around New Jersey offerings. Find even more options in our NJ Classes Guide and Directory of Listings.

Weekend Fun for CT Kids: Hawks, Cider, and a Day of Play, September 17-18

The honeycrisp apples arrived at our farmers' market last week, and it feels like an excellent time to celebrate the fall harvest in Connecticut. On tap this weekend, there's Cider Saturday in New Canaan, the Raspberry Festival in Sherman, and of course, the beloved Guilford Fair.  Saturday looks like an auspicious day for apple picking so check out our guide to Apple and Pumpkin Picking to get some ideas before you set out.

These fall weekends are particularly action packed, and many pumpkin patches and haunted houses are still finalizing their schedules. Make sure that you subscribe to our weekly newsletters and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest so that you won't miss any of the fun! As always, our event calendar is updated with the latest activities, and our top suggestions for fun this weekend are broken out below. Enjoy!

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