Halloween can be a mixed bag (pun intended) for parents and kids. It’s the one time of the year we not only allow but suggest that our kids knock on random doors and take candy from strangers. At the same time, we’re asking them to be afraid of goblins, monsters and ghosts but not so scared that they won’t sleep on Halloween night.
Despite these ambiguities, there are many fun and not-too-scary events for children that make the autumnal celebration memorable and invoke a child’s imagination rather than their terror. Bring a costume and a creative spirit to these events and you’re sure to have a blast.
Blue Ash Pumpkin Jubilee and Halloween Walk in the Woods
The Blue Ash Elementary PTA presents a silly and mildly spooky kids’ Halloween party complete with carnival games and a cake-decorating contest. Costumes are encouraged. proceeds from the event provide funding for school materials. Three tickets for $1. 5-9 p.m. Oct. 22. 9541 Plainfield Rd., Blue Ash, 513-686-1706.
The Halloween Walk in the Woods is an afternoon of tricks and treats for children less than 10 years old. There are games and live entertainment in a fun and totally un-scary setting. Free. Noon-3 p.m. Oct. 23. Blue Ash Nature Park, 4433 Cooper Road, 513-745-8500.
Kings Island’s Howl-O-Fest is the park’s youthful counterpart to the Halloween Haunt (see page __). Make your way through the kiddie rides at Planet Snoopy to the event, which is set up as a Halloween fairgrounds.
Children, costumed or otherwise, can line up for a tractor-pulled hay ride, get lost in a hay bale maze and dance with the Peanuts characters at a kids’ disco. There’s also a petting zoo and a well-lit fairy tale-themed maze and plenty of candy stations where kids can load up on some free fructose. Charlie Brown’s Spooktacular is a spooky sing-a-long with the Peanuts gang.
Admission is $26-$28 with online discounts and free with KI season pass. Parking fee applies. Noon-5:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays through Oct. 31. Guests may explore the rest of the park until closing time. Kings Island, Kings Island Drive, Mason, 513- 754-5700, howlofest.visitkingsisland.com.
The Cincinnati Zoo presents a two-day celebration that includes trick-or-treating and ghostly fun. The event is sponsored by Frisch’s Big Boy and includes a search and rescue for a golden Big Boy statue. The lucky finder gets a $150 prize package.
Zoo animals smash, search for and play with pumpkins, trick-or-treat stations are throughout the park and Phil Dalton offers a magic performance. There’s also a spooky train ride and a beauty shop of horrors. $14 admission; $9 for children and seniors. Free admission for Zoo members. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 23-24. Trick or treating begins at noon. Warm 98’s Monster Mash Bash runs 2:30-4 p.m. Oct. 25.
Check Zoo Web site for the full schedule of Halloween events. Cincinnati Zoo, 3400 Vine St., Avondale, 513-281-4700, www.cincinnatizoo.org/events/ hallzooween.
Parky’s Farm Halloween Nights
The Hamilton County Park District’s magical take on Halloween includes a huge Halloween lights display as seen from a bouncy hayride. Kids will also enjoy a children’s rock concert, an animated talking mirror and the magic of Phil Dalton. The children’s playbarn is transformed into a spooky ghost town and guests can bring their own smores ingredients to roast around the campfire.
Picnic baskets are welcome, and food is available on site for purchase. $6 plus $2 per vehicle; children younger than 2 are free. 6-10 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through Oct. 30. Parky’s Farm in Winton Woods, 10037 Daly Road, Forest Park, 513-728-3551 ext. 371, www.greatparks.org/halloween/home.htm.
Wyoming Howling Pooch Parade and Howl-O-Ween Hoopla
Halloween goes to the dogs (had to be said) at Wyoming’s annual costumed canine event. Dogs and their owners come costumed to compete for prizes. The parade is just one part of the Howl-O-Ween Hoopla, which is a kids’ Halloween party.
Children are invited to decorate and carve a pumpkin, jazz up cookies with icing and sprinkles and participate in a children’s costume contest. There’s also music, a hay bale maze and an inflatable jumpy playground. The event benefits the Wyoming Youth Services Bureau.
Admission and pumpkins are free. Parade begins at 2 p.m. and the Hoopla runs 1-4 p.m. Oct. 24. Wyoming Civic Center, 1 Worthington Ave., Wyoming, 513-821-5200.