Los Angeles

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!

Free Admission for Kids at Southern California's Biggest Family Attractions

We can all agree that childhood goes too fast, and there are so many things that if we blink we miss: the first walk around the block, a goodbye kiss at school, getting in free at Disneyland. Those first two you can't put a price on, but that last one? That's worth about $80-$100. In other words, it's really worth keeping track of when the freebies go away. If you're working your way down our LA Kids' Bucket List, you should probably coordinate with the cut-off ages below; some of the museums you can catch on their free admission days, but several other attractions below really drive home the bittersweet point that you're only young once.

Best Home Haunts, Haunted Houses, and Spooky Tours for Halloween in LA

Our house loves Halloween—no, really loves Halloween. We reconnect with neighbors as we hang ghosts in trees, weave skeletons into the jasmine, drape pumpkin lights along the fence, and smear cobwebs all over the shrubbery. Our normally zen rock garden becomes a graveyard, and last year's Halloween costumes become its inhabitants.

One way we feed our macabre creativity is by avidly checking out other Halloween addicts' handiwork; we love the ghost trains, festivals, and pumpkin patches—we even love a good scream at the Queen Mary—but the real beauty of living in the film capital of the world is that private haunted houses frequently rival the spectacle of the big theme park spooks. Seriously. We've collected the scream of the crop below.

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Kidspace Pumpkins, Reyes Adobe, Fall Fests, Ghosts, & Peanuts

The pumpkins are coming in fast and furious. They're free to see; they're Falling, and good grief they're pumpkins, Charlie Brown! Scare up a little enthusiasm (and perhaps a smidgen of terror) and chugga choo on down to the patch nearest you.

What's cool about LA is that we always have a lot going on. Though the world may be looking orange, here in LA we see the rainbow. We celebrate cultures from around the world and in our own backyard. We look to the stars and the water below; we find the truths in our past and the future. Weekends around here are the real deal. 

So get on board for the dog and pony  (and muppet) show that is an October weekend in LA. And get readyHalloween is only a couple of weeks away!

Keep reading for the many colors of weekend in LA....

Farewell to Boney Island: A Favorite Halloween Attraction Gives up the Ghost

Some sad news came out of a much loved street corner in Sherman Oaks yesterday: Boney Island is no more.

We have been visiting—and raving about—Boney Island for years. It is, or was, a home haunt that could only happen in the Entertainment Capital, particularly since it took place on the lawn of the Emmy Award-winning animation producer of The Simpsons. No one does Halloween better than Hollywood on its day off, and this suburban lawn filled with skeletons performing everything from levitation to mind reading to phosphorescent water shows is a SoCal legend. Not satisfied with bringing my own kid every year, I've visited this wonderful example of Halloween creativity with just about every kid I know, and it has never failed to delight. Its closure is a sad day.

10 Haunted Things To Do this Week

Halloween is no longer a one-night event—for our kids it's a month-long celebration. That expansion has a wonderful side effect: namely stuff to do literally every day of the week. And we're not just talking shopping for costumes; any day can include some thrilling annual outing. Boo at the Zoo, the Irvine Park Pumpkin Train, and the Underwood Farms Fall Festival all repeat daily until the big night.

Halloween Ghost Trains and other Spooky Rides for LA Kids

So you've already been to the pumpkin patches, and you're ready to take Halloween to the next level; you're ready, in fact, to put it in motion. Well, we know several deadly ways to take this haunt on the road before it's time to trick-or-treat, with everything from an old-fashioned train ride through fields of pumpkins, to a spooky tour through the bowels of a haunted ship, or even a scream-filled hay ride through fields of zombies. Whatever Halloween means to your family, you can make it a ride at one (or more) of these vehicular annual haunts. After all, the family that hunts down armies of zombies together stays together.

This Weekend's Fun for LA Kids: Ghosts, Pumpkins, Trains, and Mark in the Park

So it's October, and every body knows it. We're fairly cool with saying it's the month of thrills and chills and princess costumes, and yet... All Halloween all the time?  Could it be a tad... dare we say. premature? No one wants to be a party pooper, (and no one wants to tell a 3 year old in a tiara no), so we try to have it both ways. That pumpkin patch?  It's for the harvest. The costume exchange? Same thing.  And the haunted house, too. (Just go with it.)

We can look at the moon, too,  because it's an astronomical phenomenon and a cultural tradition, and not at all associated with seasonal spooks.  And who doesn't go to the movies, year round, regardless of the season?  Sometimes movies are just scary.  And we go to the zoo, and ride trains, and it's all just every day, so-what-if-there's-a-pumpkin kind of stuff.

In fact, there are several honest-to-goodness, could happen any time but just happens to be now,  "oh, is it October? Who knew?" events this weekend, some really good ones too. Some are even about the harvest....or are they?

Run, don't walk, to see what spookalicious treats we have in store for you for this weekend...

What Happened to Columbus Day? And What's Indigenous Peoples Day?

If, like many Angelenos, you were once a resident of another state—or even if you can remember to way back before 2009—you may be experiencing your annual attack of Columbus Day confusion. Is there school on Monday? Is it a holiday? Should you be picking something to do from the Mommy Poppins events calendar? And what about Indigenous Peoples Day—is that a thing? Go ahead and check your school district’s calendar if it makes you feel better, but we can end the mystery for you right here: yes, this year your kids have school on Monday.

Halloween Festivals and Theme Park Haunts LA Kids Can't Do Without

I have a mama friend who refers to this time of year as the High Holidays, and she ain't talking Yom Kippur. She's also not wrong; there really is no higher holiday on the kid calendar than Halloween. And Southland families can enjoy a long slow build to All Hallows' Eve with more spooky celebrations, haunted happenings, and evil events per capita than any other urban area. Little ghouls and goblins have their pick of pumpkin patches, haunted houses, corn mazes, and ghost trains—but wait; there's more! SoCal theme parks get all creepy at this time of year, too, and the annual festivals below scream Halloween like nobody's business.

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