Weekday Picks: Mickey's Halloween Party, Spiders, Lobsters, & a Pumpkin Train

We don't scare easily, until we look up from our busy lives and realize Halloween is just around the corner! All the signs are there, including a few annual events that kick off this week—like Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland. Disney's special event evenings, when kids can trick-or-treat throughout the park, continue through Halloween, but tickets are very limited (so the park does not get overcrowded). Our insider tip: Hit up the treat stations early in the evening, then rent a locker to stow goodies, so you aren't hauling them around the park and onto attractions. We learned this lesson while climbing Tarzan's Treehouse with a treasure trove of treats in our backpacks!

Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch is also up and running for the season. The annual Halloween event features plenty of family-friendly fun, including the Pumpkin Train, haunted house, a hay ride and hay maze, panning for gold, and carnival games. The creepy crawlies are back downtown, too, with the return of the the Natural History Museum's Spider Pavilion. Visitors walk among orb weavers and their intricate webs, which might freak out some folks out, but rest assured the spiders aren't dangerous and prefer to keep to themselves. To know what to expect, read our review.

All that, plus Tuesday is Talk Like a Pirate Day—and Santa Monica Aquarium knows how to celebrate, putting parrots on landlubbers shoulders as they learn how to make rope and get those little ships in little bottles.

Besides these activities, there are plenty more ideas to be found on the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar; and be sure to check out our picks for the month in the September GoList.

Monday, September 18


Halloween fun has already begun in Irvine. Photo courtesy of Irvine Park Railroad

Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin PatchOrange
The Halloween-themed event at Irvine Regional Park features a Pumpkin Train, haunted house, and more. The popular event gets particularly crowded on weekends, so why not plan on doing thus outing on a weekday?

Spider Pavilion – Exposition Park 
Right on schedule, the spiders return to the Natural History Museum. Families are invited to come see the fascinatingly talented creatures in a natural habitat.

See all Monday events

Tuesday, September 19


Exploring is always better for free. Photo courtesy of South Coast Botanic Garden

Free Day at South Coast Botanic GardenPalos Verdes
See what September looks like in the garden, as the South Coast Botanic Garden opens for its free day.

September at One ColoradoPasadena
One Colorado, which hosts fun events for kids throughout September, features a free Bob Baker Marionette show each Tuesday this month.

See all Tuesday events

Wednesday, September 20


It's Halloween time at Disneyland! Photo courtesy of Disney

Mickey's Halloween PartyAnaheim
Disneyland provides a wholesome alternative to spookier holiday activities. Kids can don costumes and collect treats at several stations throughout the park.

Sand Crab SurveySanta Monica
With the summer crowds dwindling, it's a good moment to head down to the beach and dig in. Santa Monica Pier Aquarium enlists kids to help collect sand crabs and learn more about the creatures.

See all Wednesday events

Thursday, September 21


The spiders are open for business every day this week. Photo courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Free Evening at MOCA Downtown Los Angeles
MOCA's Grand Avenue and Geffen Contemporary locations both offer free admission on Thursday evenings.

Legos and Games at the Santa Monica Main Library Santa Monica
The title says it all, and it's a great opportunity for little ones who can't get enough of snapping bricks together.

See all Thursday events

Friday, September 22

Redondo Beach Lobster Festival – Redondo Beach
Redondo Beach celebrates tasty crustaceans with entertainment, paddleboard lessons, a kiddie area, and, of course, lobster meals.

Movie Under the Guns – San Pedro
Families are invited to bring chairs and blankets and enjoy a screening of Power Rangers on the historic Battleship Iowa's fantail.

See all Friday events

Top photo courtesy of Disney

Harry Potter at Home
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A Hamilton Read-Along
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Live from La Brea Tar Pits
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Movies in Your Car - Ventura
Ventura County Fairgrounds - 8:00 PM
Neighborhood Guides
Activity Guides