The days finally have a real fall crispness to them, the leaves are turning, and front steps are flickering with the glow of carved pumpkins at night. There’s lots of spooky fun to be had, from costume parades to pumpkin festivals, and there's plenty to do for free. Take the kids to a few of these no-cist Halloween activities for families—and save your pennies for goodies to give to trick-or-treaters.
1. Escape to Salem for a Wicked Wednesday full of free Halloween crafts and activities. (10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24/2018)
Wicked Wednesdays Parade. Photo courtesy of Destination Salem
2. Soak up the magic of the nation's Halloween capital at the Haunted Happenings Grand Parade in Salem. (10/4/2018)
3. Make your way through a spooky hay maze at Wilson Farm in Lexington. (10/6-10/31/2018)
4. Get crafty with costume accessories and Halloween decorations.
5. Bring a pumpkin to float and watch as the Frog Pond fills up with glowing pumpkin luminaries. (10/19/2018)
Kids’ Pumpkin Festival at Frog Pond on Boston Commons. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism
6. Trick-or-Treat at The Street in Chestnut Hill with live music, sweets, and activities for kids. (10/20/2018)
7. Expect a visit from Fred the Skeleton and a mini treasure hunt at an author reading of The Treasure of Mad Doc Magee at The Blue Bunny. (10/20/2018)
8. Make a lantern, put on your Halloween costume, and walk around Jamaica Pond at dusk in this annual lantern parade. (10/20/2018 - 10/21/2018)
In costume at the Jamaica Pond Lantern Parade. Photo by MarcoClicks.com
9. Drink some cocoa or cider and take a swing at a pinata at Governor Hutchinson Field's Halloween at the Hutch event, which is free for kids (10/21/2018)
10. Dress up and dance at this Monster Mash Dance Party at MarketStreet Lynnfield. (10/21/2018)
11. How about some monster math? There's Halloween-themed math games at this Counting Festival in Framingham. (10/26/2018)
12. March in an afternoon costume parade at the Copley Branch of the BPL. (10/27/2018)
13. Late on a costume order? Make a Halloween costume using materials you already have at home.
14. Show off your costume in the LEXFun! Annual Halloween Parade and stay for the activities. (10/27/2018)
15. Enter a pumpkin decorating contest, join the costume parade, and trick or treat on a nocturnal trail at Walpole's Bird Park. (10/27/2018)
16. Explore a spooky old house and eat s'mores by the fire at the Old Manse. (10/27/2018)
17. Paint pumpkins and play games at this Halloween garden party. (10/27/2018)
18. Enjoy treats and see a magic show at the West End Community Center. (10/28/2018)
19. Babies and toddlers are encouraged to come to the Newton Free Library in costume and enjoy some spooky tunes while they explore a variety of instruments. (10/31/2018)
20. Introduce your kids to classic monster movies, from Dracula to Frankenstein, running throughout the day at the North End library. (10/31/2018)
21. Trick or treat amid the stacks! Grove Hall Library is offering sweets and ideas for a new read in Dorchester. (10/31/2018)
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Originally published October 2012; updated October 2013, 2014 & 2015, 2016, & 2017