Preschoolers

Cool Pumpkin Displays, Celebrations, and Decorating Events in NJ

Are your kids already preparing for Halloween, with visions of candy, costumes, and pumpkins dancing in their heads? Kick off the festive fall season at one of the many wonderful pumpkin-themed events happening around NJ, from elaborate pumpkin exhibits and carving competitions to good old-fashioned pumpkin picking and decorating fun.

Read on for our top picks, plus a bonus event that’s worth a drive across the state line. You can find even more even seasonal events in our Fall Fun Guide

Ultimate Halloween Guide for NYC Kids: Parades, Costumes, More

For New York City kids, Halloween doesn't just take place on October 31. The entire month is filled with a terrifying number of costume parades, pumpkin festivals, and plenty of FREE Halloween happenings leading up to the big night of trick-or-treating. You think getting your kid to choose a costume is hard? Trying to figure out which celebrations to hit is enough to make you run screaming into the night, which is why we've rounded up the absolute best ways to get into the spirit of the season.

You'll find top picks for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and several fun family day trips to the nearby Hudson Valley and New Jersey. As always, we included only our favorite events, and many are FREE or inexpensive. To make sure your brood is truly prepared, we've also included info on where to get children's costumes and professional makeup done in NYC. Booyah!

Weekday Picks: Corn Mazes, Apple Festival, and the Beginning of Halloween Fun: September 25- 29

These beautiful warm days throw a wrench into the fall wardrobe plans, but no bother, it won't last long. Now that school is back in session, we're settling into our school routines and with homework and swim practice, there are only so many hours in the day for fun. We've made a plan for the week ahead and hope to see you at some of the following activities, whether on a non-scary pumpkin adventure, finding our way through a corn maze, or checking out a life-sized beaver lodge.

If you've got apple picking on your mind, the weekdays  can be a great time to beat the crowds. Check our guide to find the perfect place for your next picking adventure (always double check the picking conditions/hours before heading out).

Be sure to find all things Halloween and Fall in our guide and click over to our frequently updated Event Calendar for even more suggestions. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to be sure you're never out of the loop.

Slingshot a Pumpkin, Dive into a Corn Pit, and Get Lost in a Corn Maze at Benedict's Home and Garden

Ever use a four-foot slingshot to launch a pumpkin at a target? No? How about dive head first into a pit of corn? Well, let us point you in the direction of Benedict’s Home and Garden in Monroe. And, while we're talking Fairfield County pumpkins and corn pits, check out our fall fun guide and subscribe our newsletter so you won't miss corn maze, apple orchard, or harvest festival this season. 

Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free In Houston - 2017

Eating out with your children can be tricky. Whether they nitpick their food or they are picky eaters in general, it can be a crapshoot whether they eat at all. However, there are some Houston restaurants that at least make things easier for your wallet. Here's a roundup of what restaurants offer free kids' meals with the purchase of an adult entree sorted by the days of the week the deals are offered. Happy eating!

Halloween and Fall Foliage Train Rides for New Jersey Kids

Halloween and hayrides go hand in hand, but if you really want to up your game this year, take a trip on a Halloween train! If you have a junior conductor in your family, don't miss out on one of these four seasonal NJ railway adventures. From spooky to scenic, these rides offer a unique bit of fall fun for the whole family: passengers can take a seat in a vintage caboose, travel through gorgeous fall foliage, visit a pumpkin patch, and even trick-or-treat onboard. After the ride, round out the day with autumn activities like corn mazes, crafts, and a costume party.

Check out our NJ Fall Fun Guide for even more seasonal family fun around the state.

Corn Mazes and Haunted Mazes for LA and Orange County Kids

As kids are mostly settled into the new school year, and local orchards are open for apple picking, the next sign of autumn is the corn maze.

Corn mazes are created by a tractor in a growing field of corn—usually following a fairly intricate design. For large mazes, GPS is often used to create a picture that can be seen from the air. A mature corn maze is a true adventure, with walls of corn that are taller than most adults; children (and adults) can for sure lose their way! Most operators recommend kids be at least 5-8 years old before going in alone; use your judgment, of course. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for comfort (sneakers are best), as corn mazes involve walking on uneven ground and broken cornstalks. And if you head into the maze at dusk, be sure to bring a flashlight!

40 Fun Things to Do This Fall in Connecticut

Once all of the back to school frenzy is behind us it's time to take a breath and savor CT's autumn glory. Making leaf piles to jump in, finding that perfect pumpkin, going on fall hikes, driving through "leaf showers", going apple picking, getting lost in corn mazes, going to Fall Festivals and carnivals, and let's not forget Halloween! So much Northeastern autumn fun can be  too much to handle sometimes! Here's a fall list based upon our ever popular 120 Things to Do with Kids in Connecticut Before They Grow Up. It's filled with great places to visit and fun things to do all over the state this fall. Enjoy every second of it before the trees go into dormancy and the snowy blankets return. 

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.

Shopkins Live Review: The Shoppies Shop It Up Onstage

The Shopkins gang took to the stage this September in their very first live show, Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Based on Moose Toys' popular line of tiny, collectible grocery store items—and the animated series on YouTube—the show features life-size versions of characters like Lippy Lips (a tube of lipstick) and Kooky Cookie (a chocolate chip cookie).

The show, which I caught in New Jersey with two preschool-age kids (and a theater full of mostly girls ages 4-8, decked out in Shopkins gear), was a full assault of rainbow colors, upbeat singing, and coordinated dance moves. It’s campy, silly, and pure fun for little fans of the figurines.

Read on for our full review of this children’s theater show, which continues its North American tour into 2018, hitting more than 75 cities and metro areas, including Tarrytown, New York (September 26), two more New Jersey theaters (September 27-28), Westbury, New York (October 1), Houston (October 20), and Hollywood, California (November 18).

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