Los Angeles

Things To Do in LA this Weekend: Boo at the Zoo, Children's Book Fest, Mark in the Park

It's beginning to look a lot like pumpkins, everywhere I go. And so it begins! The Harvest. The Corn Mazes. The Patches. We are on a crazed, giddy run to the end of the month.

But don't get spooked! Yes, there are scary things afoot. Yes, you can choose the dark and shadowy path. But you can also choose to welcome the season with laughs (and science!). You can fear the night or you can get in on the fun. Halloween is what you make it, and LA makes it easy to choose family-friendly. Or not.

Public service announcement for purists who wait to celebrate Halloween until, well, Halloween: There's still lots to do! This weekend sees festivals Greek and Southeast Asian, Manhattan Beachian and Encinoish. You can buy a ticket to the 20s, catch a plane, train, or (very small) automobileThe streets of Los Angeles are open wide, and you can make your mark in Grand Park. So go out there and scare up some fun.

Keep reading for our favorite treats for this weekend, no trick!

Free in October: 25 Totally Free Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles this Month

October sees the arrival of spooky season here in Los Angeles, which means you're already committed to spending on costumes and candy. If you don't have a lot of spare cash to spend beyond the trick-or-teating, no problem; there's still plenty of free fun to be had by the whole family. From Halloween happenings to sweater weather shenanigans, you can hit the town without hitting the bank. Here are just a few of the free events happening this month—look for more free fun on our ultimate Halloween event list.

How Obé's At-Home Fitness App Actually Helped Me Start Working Out

After welcoming my second baby, I wouldn't say I was feeling my best... A tough pregnancy had left me seriously out of shape, lifting my newborn and toddler was taking a major toll on my back, and let's just say the baby weight wasn't exactly "falling off." At 4-months-old, my little one was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy, which forced me to clean up my diet (no dairy or soy — yikes!), and it finally started to show on the scale. But when the ban was lifted 6 months later, cheese plates and pints of ice cream seemed like the obvious way to celebrate. It was right around then that I heard from obé, an at-home workout app and fitness program, and I figured it had to be a sign, right? I've never been much of a gym-goer, but their apartment-friendly signature 28-minute workouts required no equipment and looked manageable. I put down the mint chocolate chip and the heating pad and created an account.

Read on to find out how the obé fitness app actually got me working out, and why it seems like it was made for busy parents everywhere. Mommy Poppins readers can also snag their first month for just $1 with the code below.

October GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids Halloween Month

Kids cannot live by Halloween alone—or can they? Just in case, we've included several events on our October GoList that are not about Halloween. Just to mix it up. Of course, if Halloween festivalspumpkin patches, and corn mazes are what you're craving, they're with us all month long in abundance. Ghost trains, too. But with all the activities October has to offer, a little curating is definitely in order. Read on for our top choices of things not to miss in LA, Ventura, and OC this month. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletters, too; with so much going on, we'll have to!

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor: Are Your Kids Ready for this Scary Halloween Haunt?

No parent likes to contemplate it, but the day will come for our kids when trick-or-treating is no more. If your family is as hooked on Halloween as ours is, you'll want to find a way to keep the magic going, even once your baby starts to look really big to other people (particularly people opening their doors at night). Filling this void is the main reason for the many seriously spooky big kid haunts around the Southland—haunts like Universal Horror Nights, Knott's Scary Farm, and Dark Harbor. But how to transition? You can't just hit the brakes on collecting candy with Elsa and suddenly start running from chainsaw wielding zombies.

The first time I visited this haunt, I had a theory that Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary might be the perfect tween transition to a different way of celebrating All Hallows' Eve, and I committed so fully to this theory that I booked our whole family (and some friends) for an overnight on the haunted, haunting ship. And guess what? It worked! Three tweens I know had the time of their lives screaming with the spooks all night at the Queen Mary. The evening was enormous fun, and I think a few things we did to prepare helped stack the deck in favor of success.

Kids Eat Free: 21 LA Restaurants with Free Meal Deals for Families

Kids eat free: three little words that make a restaurant dinner feel possible. Even if we suspect that a box of mac and cheese and a couple of chicken fingers have lured us into buying a $10 margarita, how can we regret that margarita if it comes with a free kids' meal?

We’ve put together a list of restaurants throughout the Los Angeles area that offer free meals for kids at least one night a week (and up to four!). The restaurants vary from local joints to national chains, from the Valleys to the beaches, from Italian to Hawaiian, and from seafood to steakhouses—enough to satisfy picky and non-picky eaters.

Also check out our lists of birthday freebies with more free meals for kids (and adults!), and, of course, some kid-friendly happy hours on the Westside, in Silver Lake and Los Feliz, and in Orange County.

Juneau With Kids: An Insider's Guide to Juneau, Alaska

For many, Juneau may just be a stop on their Alaskan cruise or a layover on their way to other spots in Alaska. For Southeast Alaskans, like my family, Juneau is the “big city," which means that there's more than just a touristy cruise port area to explore in Juneau. There are plenty of things to do in Juneau that will check items off an Alaskan adventure bucket list, as well as more local experiences that give families a taste of real-life in Alaska.

These are my favorite things to do in Juneau, including local spots and top Juneau tours. And if you're heading to Haines during your Alaskan vacation, check out my list of things to do in Haines, Alaska

Kids Free October in San Diego: Deals at the Zoo, Legoland, Seaworld, Etc

The lazy days of summer may be over, but fall is when there's FREE stuff for kids to do in San Diego. So, pack up and head to southern California's favorite tourist destination to take advantage of San Diego Tourism Authority's annual Kids Free promotion.

The citywide campaign kicks off October 1, enticing families to visit San Diego's big-ticket attractions like Legoland, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wildlife Park, and Seaworld. Children can eat, stay, and play for free at more than 100 participating hotels, restaurants, museums, and parks until October 31.

We've selected a dozen offers that we think are particularly good deals; put two or three together, and you've definitely got savings worth traveling for. Scroll down for a link to all 100+ free opportunities for kids in October.

Día de los Muertos: What Other City Has This Many Day of the Dead Celebrations?

Hauntingly close to Halloween, El Día de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead – is a magical holiday that's also a living history lesson, demonstrating the tendency of conquerors to absorb indigenous customs into their own. Christian Europeans arrived in Mexico already fans of All Hallows Eve (modern-day Halloween), only to stumble upon an ancient tradition celebrated by the Aztecs on November 2, with a spookily similar theme. Day of the Dead is a time when the door between worlds is meant to open so that celebrants can honor departed loved ones and hopefully lure them back for a visit.

Things To Do in LA this Weekend: Abbot Kinney, Underwood Farms, Watts Tower

See, this is why I like fall. Our Mondays through Fridays are filled with serious, go-to-school-and-learn-things Important Business. And possibly homework (just for the kids, thank Heavens). But the weekends, man, do they make up for it! For starters: Halloween comes at us with a spooky vengeance this weekend, with world class theme park approved ooking and spooking at Knott's Berry Farm and Legoland, and at that LA original, Underwood Farms. (These join the pumpkin patches and fests that have already gotten an early and/ or supercute start.)

And talk about festivals: this weekend we have festivals that are westside eclectic, aquatic by way of Aztec, and infused with the beat of the drum. We have one that smells like wet dog, and a birthday party for a singing cowboyYou can touch a truck and have victuals with a violaIt's bananas

You might even end the weekend a little smarter than when you started. This weekend's mind expanders include conquering the kingdom, defending the realm, exploring wide open spaces, and learning all the notes. You'll be reading en españ​ol and speaking for the trees. Remember: it's not work if you're doing it for fun!

Keep reading for our most playful weekend picks...

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