One thing Angelenos love doing during the winter months is pretending that it’s winter, and the most fun way we do it is by turning parking lots and other open spaces into outdoor skating rinks for the holidays. Whether your family is trying ice skating for the first time, or you've got budding athletes looking for a change of scenery from indoor skating lessons, nothing says Southern California quite like the sight of kids and families in tank tops and mittens figure skating in the sunshine.
Years spent at Nickelodeon prepared Roberta to launch Mommy Poppins' Los Angeles branch. She served as LA Editor for GoCityKids, National Editor for ParentsConnect, and Editor for NickMom. After two years as Mommy Poppins' LA Editor, Roberta became Editor-in-Chief at Mommy Poppins - which works out well for her son, who enjoys his role as Chief Guinea Pig for all things fun in LA and beyond.
Latest posts by Roberta
When Halloween is over, that can only mean one thing: time for Santa. You get a couple of days to donate or cash in all of that Halloween candy before the advent calendars, candy canes, and Hanukkah gelt start arriving. Rip down the Halloween decorations, quick, because some of your neighbors are already prepping their amazing holiday light displays. Yes, November is the sandwich month, and we're not just talking turkey. Read on for our top November things to do in LA, Ventura, and OC. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, too; with so much going on, we'll have to!
Trains in Los Angeles are more or less novelties all year round, which means they hold onto that wonderful Polar-Express mystique far longer for LA kids than for urban kids who take the A train regularly. And for anyone who loves trains, Christmas trains offer the ultimate "old world charm" rail experience. Add an appearance by Santa Claus and a few Christmas trees, and you have a recipe for a memorable holiday experience. Dates are limited, though, so booking ahead is the best way to make sure this train doesn't pass you by. All aboard the Santa Express!
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.
Trick or treat! Los Angeles consistently makes the top 5 cities on Zillow's Halloween list of the country's best spots for trick-or-treating. 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.
We may have grown up cruising the streets unchaperoned eating loosely wrapped candy on Halloween night, but we’d no sooner let our own children do that than bounce around the back of a station wagon without a car seat. And while some of us are fortunate enough to have friendly, festive neighborhoods to walk our Avengers and Elsas through, many parents prefer the safety and self-contained nature of a mall, museum, or other organized trick-or-treat event.
Keep an eye on our events calendar and Halloween Fun Guide for complete listings; some venues hold their Halloween celebrations on the weekend, to maximize the holiday. October 31, of course, is the night for ringing doorbells, but for those who prefer to collect their candy in a confined space, we have more than 25 local options below.
If you want to get your Halloween on without being scared by those haunting Halloween theme park prices, there are lots of free Halloween yard haunts across Los Angeles. Our house loves Halloween so much it's super scary. We reconnect with neighbors hanging ghosts in trees, weaving skeletons into the jasmine, and smearing cobwebs in the shrubbery. Our normally zen rock garden becomes a graveyard, with last year's Halloween costumes for inhabitants. And we feed our macabre creativity by avidly checking out other Halloween addicts' handiwork; we love ghost trains, festivals, pumpkin patches, and 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 spectacles at the big theme parks. For real. We've collected the scream of the crop below.
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 festivals, pumpkin 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!