Tweens & Teens

Houston's Spookiest Haunted Houses and Attractions for Halloween

While Houston offers several Halloween-themed events and attractions safe for the littlest trick-or-treater, like the Zoo Boo or Scream on the Green, those of you with older children may want something a little stronger in the scare department. We've rounded up a list of Houston area haunted houses that are not for the faint of heart - most of these destinations have age requirements of 12 and up. If you're feeling daring, take a trip to one of these haunted horrors, and don't forget to scream at least a little softer than your pre-teen.

Spirit's Promise: A Horse Farm and Rescue on LI's East End

It's My Little Pony turned real life at Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue and Rehabilitation, a facility for abused, neglected or unwanted farm animals. It offers animals a renewed lease on life while providing a rewarding and educational destination for visitors. 

Want to get up close and personal with other animals? Peruse our list of animal farms and petting zoos on Long Island. Looking for more East End fun? Check out our guide to the Hamptons and North Fork.

Cooking with Kids in and Around Boston: Classes, Camps, and Parties

Whether our kids are adventurous eaters or too timid to try anything beyond boxed mac ’n’ cheese, teaching them about food prep, healthy eating, and nutrition is one of the more important things we as parents can do for their well being. Cooking together at home is one way to do this, but there are also plenty of opportunities for “instructive” fun through kids’ cooking classes and workshops.

One of the appealing aspects of kids’ cooking instruction is that it quite often takes the form of a single-class workshop or two- to three-session program. So, even if your children have regular sports team commitments or semester-long dance or music classes, they can still satisfy their inner foodies without missing a goal or a beat. Plus, many kids’ cooking classes are offered during those long school vacations or summer breaks—just the thing to keep kids engaged and entertained. Cooking workshops also make fun birthday parties - kids learn something, have fun, and are well fed. And (maybe best of all!), no mess for the parents. (More cooking party ideas here.)

We’ve rounded up five places that offer kids’ cooking classes and workshops in and around Boston. Get ready for your kids to cook up something great!

Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical Is Perfect for Times Like These

You know how, as a parent, you can explain a concept dozens of times, but until a kid sees it for themselves, they don't really get it? When the topic of discrimination comes up (if it hasn't already), don't bother trying to define it. Just take your children to Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical.

The bright set, costumes, and hair/makeup (blue skin! purple skin! rainbow hair!), as well as the characters' electric personalities will draw kids in immediately, while the 55-minute performance takes a complicated topic and puts it through a kid-friendly lens—without dumbing it down or simplifying it too much.

Read on for our full review, or check out our NYC Theater Guide for more family shows playing now.

Weekend Fun for Houston Kids: Pumpkins, Trolls, Stargazing, Sept 23-24

Friday is officially the first day of Fall, but we know in Houston we'll have the summer-like weather for a few more weeks, so let's make the most out of it with many fall adventures all over town. Start planning your next photo opportunity at a nearby pumpkin patch, schedule your next hay ride with the kids, or a visit to a farm corn maze with the entire family. Plan ahead with this list of fall festivals with your family and friends. 

Also on Mommy Poppins this week:

Meanwhile, our September GoList is winding down but still offers oodles of fun, and our Fall Fun Guide is only gaining speed. Make sure to see our event calendar for things to do on any particular day of the month —there's no shortage of fun things to do this Fall! 

Did you know can also submit your own events? And to have posts like this delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

It's time to check out what's going on this weekend: 

Weekend Fun: Harvest Fairs, Waterfalls, and a Celebration of Nature

Summer weather is scheduled to make a comeback this weekend, with unseasonable temperatures expected to climb back into the mid-80s Saturday and Sunday. The warm sunny weekend is perfect for checking out Connecticut's largest annual agricultural fair. There's more outdoor fun to be had at the Fair Weather Acres Fall Festival and in Newington at the annual Waterfall Fest. Head to Trumbull for a celebration of crisp fall apples, or just relax and spend some time learning about that most peaceful of critters, the monarch butterfly. As always, we recommend calling ahead in the event of rain to make sure outdoor events are still on.

We hope you'll follow Mommy Poppins Connecticut on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribe to our newsletters to stay in touch. Have a great weekend!

See NYC's Only Corn Maze and More Fall Fun at this Queens Farm

There aren't many better ways to get the family excited for the fall in NYC than taking the kids for a tour through a three-acre corn maze in the middle of Queens and letting their imaginations run wild. The Queens County Farm Museum's Amazing Maize Maze opens for the season September 23, and it's just one of the quintessential fall activities happening at this New York City institution.

The Amazing Maize Maze is the only corn maze in the city. My family and I have conquered lots of these mazes and can happily say that the one at the Queens County Farm Museum is just as much fun as its country counterparts. We made it through in just about one hour—even with a pair of 8-year-olds leading the way. That left us plenty of time to enjoy other farm fun. We've got some tips for how to make the most of your visit to the farm and the corn maze. But no, we aren't giving you the route. You'll still need to figure that out yourself!

Where to Find Halloween Costumes on a Budget in Fairfield County

Not to panic you, but if you don't start planning your kids' Halloween costumes pretty soon, you know they are going to spend this Halloween as a hobo, like I did most years. My kids always seem to know exactly what they want to be for Halloween -- IN JUNE. But then they completely forget by the time I ask them again in September. And I know better than to wander the aisles of expensive seasonal costume stores with them, trying to explain to an 8-year-old what a "Sexy Trash Monster Costume" is.

After years of experience in costume building, conjuring, finagling, trading, repairing, and trussing, below is my shopping guide for kids Halloween costumes on a budget. Once you get the kids decked out, be sure to make good use of the costumes by pouring over our awesome Connecticut Guide to Halloween

25 Things To Do around Thousand Oaks with Kids

Thousand Oaks, named (and incorporated) in the 1960s to honor the many majestic oaks in the area, may be the perfect SoCal suburb; it can feel as far from city or as close to city as you like. If you have little ones and live in Thousand Oaks, you probably know some of the must-see spots on our list below—but have you visited them all? So much to do! And when you've exhausted your options and are ready to travel elsewhere in the Southland or beyond, take a peek at one of our many city lists. From Culver City to Pasadena, Redondo Beach to Hollywood, Marina Del Rey to Burbank our lists have got you covered. We'll even guide you through Anaheim on your way in and out of Disneyland. But today, the rolling hills and cultural allure of Thousand Oaks.

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