Universal Horror Nights: for Families Who Love Halloween So Much It's Scary

Sooner or later, the Halloween is coming when your kids will hang up the Disney costumes and ask about tickets to Universal Studios' Horror Nights. Braving Universal's big Halloween event is part of growing up Angeleno. The question is will you experience it as a family, or send your kids on a mass teen rite of passage? The passage is happening younger every year; these days the teen packs screaming the night away at Universal start at 13 or so. So... will you drop your middle schooler at Halloween Horror Nights? Or, if yours is a family that likes to scream through scary movies together, will you go together? Knowing what the scene is like can help you decide, and we've got the info to make either plan a screaming success.

15 Great Places to Trick-or-Treat with Westchester Kids

Whether it’s because the homes are too spread out, or they’re lining a busy road, or the neighbors are super cranky, some families just don’t live in neighborhoods that are great for trick-or-treating. There are a few sites out there known for rating the best trick-or-treating in the country, but we’ve done a little of own local research. All kids deserve a safe and candy-filled Halloween, so check out some of these family-friendly areas and events if you need an alternative.

For more Halloween-related fun, visit our Halloween Fun Guide and Event Calendar. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook!    

Thanksgiving Volunteer Options for NYC Kids and Families

Every year around the holidays, readers ask about ways to volunteer with their children in New York City. It's not as easy as you think. Many charitable organizations have age minimums for their projects, and even when you do find family-friendly volunteering opportunities, they often book up weeks in advance.

With Thanksgiving approaching, we want to highlight some great ways NYC kids and their parents can give back to those in need. We're including opportunities for children of all ages so everyone can participate. While kids might not be able to work in a soup kitchen, they can help the homeless, hungry, and elderly in other meaningful ways.

Here are 11 family-friendly ways to put the "giving" in your Thanksgiving.

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.

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