North Hollywood / Toluca Lake

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!

15 Parent and Me Swim Classes To Keep LA & OC Babies and Toddlers Afloat

I wasn't born in water like some babies are, but I certainly could have lived in it when I was young. It's no wonder, because kids dig water, and the younger we start them in it, the earlier they build the skills needed to swim confidently and safely. Mommy and Me – or Daddy and Me – classes are a fun and bonding introduction to a lifelong love of swimming. And lucky for us and our tots, there are classes galore all around the Southland. We know some Great Private Swim Classes for LA Kids, but the classes below are all about taking the plunge alongside your wee one. Dive into our extensive list of area Mommy or Daddy and Me classes.

The Country School: The No-Homework School in Valley Village

Oh, those two wonderful words: no homework. The rare days when those words are uttered, children can play outside, and adults can plan satisfying family time. Wouldn't it be great if our kids' schools supported that sort of routine every day? If evenings could be spent reading together, playing games as a family, or even taking advantage of free museum nights instead of hovering over a pile of worksheets due tomorrow?

That’s where The Country School comes in— a progressive, project-based school in Valley Village that prioritizes the whole child and his or her creativity, compassion, and emotional intelligence. The mission of the school is to provide kids from preschool through eighth grade with a warm environment where they can approach learning in their own way. Instead of focusing on pop quizzes and worksheets, kids might be planting trees, making their own movies, creating maps, or learning to play instruments. The idea is that kids should be excited to tell their parents what they did at school that day.

The Acro-Cats: Traveling Kitty Talent Show and Unlikely Cat Adoption Event

We laughed; we cried; it was better than Cats. Well, actually it was cats, and we didn't really cry, but I'll stand by better than Cats—because instead of going home with Memory stuck in my head, I went home with my son intent on training our cat (infinitely preferable). What I'm talking about is The Acro-Cats, an unusual touring show I stumbled upon this weekend that offers a solid hour of feline performances. The show is currently playing at North Hollywood's El Portal Theatre, and in May it moves on to a short run at the Art Theatre of Long Beach. If watching kooky cat ladies convince rescue kitties (and a few other random critters) to perform unlikely tricks sounds like it could give you a chuckle, then read on. It certainly tickled our funny bone.

Wizards and Fools Halloween Magic Show at the NoHo Fringe Festival

North Hollywood is on everyone's maps but not everyone's radar. The just barely Valley neighborhood has been experiencing a Renaissance over the past decade, growing into an arts hub proud of the nickname NoHo. The small theaters of the NoHo Arts District have banded together this year to establish the first ever NoHo Fringe Festival, which takes place throughout the month of October and into November, at a variety of venues. A few of the Fringe productions are family friendly, including one that couples Fringe with Halloween to create the uniquely October offering, Wizards and Fools.

Cooking Schools with Summer Camps for Kids

"Summertime and the livin's easy."  Or, well, at least it can be for kids, especially when they're entertained at camp. We recently pulled together 10 Great Outdoor Summer Camps, Horeseback Riding Camps, and Summer Art Camps for Kids bursting with possibilities for the outdoorsy and artsy crowds. In fact, we're adding more types of camp all the time to our Summer and Vacation Camp Guide. And now we offer a dozen summer cooking camps, for those happy little campers who love to make food. (Note: All camps listed will be providing summer camps in 2012. Some are still finalizing scheduling and pricing details as noted.)

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