Irvington

Tree Lighting Celebrations to Kick Off the Holidays in Westchester

The holiday season is upon us, and what better way to herald its arrival than with a grand (or cozy) holiday tree lighting? You don't have to head to Rockefeller Center to enjoy that holiday magic. Many events in Westchester have live music, toasty refreshments, a visit from Santa himself and—in some cases—some extra bells and whistles.

We’ve rounded up several tree lighting festivities, starting as early as this weekend(!) and ranging from grand celebrations to cozier small-town affairs. 

Looking for more seasonal fun? Check out our November GoList and be sure to browse our Event Calendar. Don't forget to sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date on our latest info.

10 Westchester Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving

There are two types of families when it comes to eating at a restaurant on Thanksgiving: Those who swear by it and those who are simply confounded. We know families in each category and can relate with both. For those of you who want the deliciousness of a Thanksgiving dinner served with a side of ultra-convenience, we’ve gathered a list of Westchester restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner for families. 

Many of these spots require reservations, so don’t delay! Heading into the city for the parade? We have a list for that too.

For more family-friendly restaurants, be sure to sign up for our newsletters

25 Cool and Free Halloween Programs for Kids in Westchester

If you think Halloween town and library programs are only about storytime and paper pumpkins, think again! Many towns in Westchester offer stand-out events that are frightfully fun—not to mention the parades, parties and more free activities for families who love Halloween. 

Below we’ve listed more than two dozen places with fun Halloween programs. Best of all—they’re all FREE! (And, OK, there are some storytimes and crafts, but we do like those too.) 

Read on for our top picks, and then continue on to our Event Calendar for many more fun October events.

(Do) Fence Me In: 6 Great Playgrounds for Toddlers in Westchester

There are lots of great parks and playgrounds in Westchester, no matter which city or town you live in. But finding a playground that’s suitable for the under-5 set can sometimes be a challenge: You want them to be safe—and they want to try that giant, twisty slide with a group of wild 7-year-olds on it.

No need to worry. Turns out there are a number of toddler-friendly playgrounds throughout the area, with plenty to do to keep them occupied and having fun. We've rounded up a few of our favorites.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook.

Best Places for Frozen Yogurt with Kids in Lower Westchester

Summer is here, as is the burning desire to cool down with an ice-cold frozen treat. We previously rounded up some of our favorite ice cream parlors in Westchester, and now we're turning to frozen yogurt. But what adults crave in a frozen-yogurt shop isn’t necessarily what kids want (gummy worms on top of cabernet-pomegranate twist?).

Choosing where to go for fro-yo is fraught with numerous options—partly because there are often new shops opening and others closing (Eastchester lost Nuts About Yogurt, while Pure Bliss recently closed in Pelham and Larchmont). Sure, there are many national chains to choose from, but our interest lies more in the local operations. To help guide our readers, my family made the ultimate sacrifice in visiting a bunch of fro-yo shops in Lower Westchester—strictly for our readers’ benefit, of course. A few calories later, we’ve whittled these down to a choice few and have offered the inside scoop.

Read on for the skinny on fro-yo! Be sure to sign up for our newsletters and follow us on Facebook to stay in the know about all things kid-related in Westchester.

Hanukkah Fun and Celebrations for Kids in Westchester and Putnam

Followers of the Jewish calendar know that our holidays seem to float from year to year. This winter, in an unusual and somewhat convenient twist of fate, the Jewish Festival of Lights runs December 24, 2016, to January 1, 2017, dovetailing with both Christmas and New Year's Day. No matter how you spell it—Chanukah, Chanuka, Hanukka, Hanukkah—this month spells fun with holiday celebrations throughout Westchester.

We’ve collected some of the most family-friendly activities occurring in Westchester and Putnam counties. For more fun outings this month, be sure to check out our Holiday Fun Guide and Event Calendar, and don't forget to follow us on Facebook

Hudson Valley's Best Halloween Celebrations for Kids

This post is being updated for 2017.

The Hudson Valley is the setting for many a scary Halloween happening—parents be warned! There's traditional fall fun like pumpkin pickingfall festivals, and corn mazes, but the area celebrates Halloween in a big way with attractions for all ages (and all levels of bravery). Even if you don't live in the Hudson Valley, these are totally worth the schlep and blowing the kids' bedtimes—at least once.

While the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze is perhaps the top Halloween event in the area, there are other cool happenings just next door: the haunted attraction Horseman’s Hollow, a live retelling of Irving's Legend, and the little-kid-friendly Legend Behind the Legend. Head a little further north to Somers to check out the Halloween Train Show at Lasdon Park, and put the Wappingers Falls and Nyack parades on your calendar. 

Our best advice: Start planning now. Nearly all require advance tickets and most sell out. 

Don't forget to sign up for our newsletters to stay updated on all things Halloween-related.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parties in Westchester and Rockland

Many fans of Harry Potter are eagerly anticipating the long-awaited release of the new series installment—Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—scheduled to launch at midnight on July 31. To help usher in this momentous occasion, some bookstores and libraries are rolling out the red carpet with festive celebrations. We’ve rounded up a bunch happening in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley to help you get your Harry glow on. (While exact details haven’t been announced, we’re holding out hope for exploding bon-bons or fizzing whizzbees.)

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual aficionado, you’ll find both midnight events and others by day. So don your robe, grab your phoenix feather wand and get ready to Apparate to the nearest venue!

To stay up to date with the latest activities, be sure to sign up for our newsletter

Best Allergen-Friendly Bakeries in Westchester

While the words gluten-free, nut-free, vegan and dairy-free and have long been associated with below-average offerings, this list proves safe-for-everyone snacks don't have to be tasteless. Whether it’s you, your little ones or last-minute house guests, feel free to indulge in allergen-conscious treats from these dietary-restriction-friendly bakers. After all, the simple pleasure of a baked cookie or cupcake should be enjoyed by everyone.

Here are six Westchester bakeries that will cater to your allergies and food preferences, doctor-recommended or not. Check out our Restaurant Guide for more kid-friendly places to eat, and sign up for our FREE newsletters to stay up to date for all things family-friendly in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley. 

Free Holiday Craft Workshops for Kids in Westchester

One of the greatest hallmarks of the holiday season is the personal touch we can create. This month, a number of workshops are being offered throughout Westchester that help children create their own handmade treasures—all of which are FREE (as an added gift!).

Read on for some nifty ways for kids and their grown-ups to get crafty this holiday season. And be sure to check our December GoList and our Event Calendar for even more ways to enjoy the holidays with kids!

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