30 (not scary) kid-friendly events for Halloween fun in Pittsburgh
Photo by Charles Parker.
Fear not, little ones! Halloween fun in Pittsburgh can be more about joyful silliness than traumatizing terror with this amazing lineup of kid-friendly seasonal events.
Expect social distancing, masks and other safety protocols.
1. VolunTOTS Trick or Treat with Seniors
VolunTOTS operates on the premise that even our littlest kids can do good deeds in the world. The group’s October plans include engaging with seniors in trick-or-treat parades. South Tots head to Friendship Village on Oct. 22 and 23, Central Tots visit Highland Park Care Center on Oct. 22, North Tots stop at Elmcroft Senior Living on Oct. 23 and East Tots share the love at Bethlen Home on Oct. 23. Find details and RSVP on the VolunTOTS Facebook page. Free.
2. Track and Treat
This annual Citiparks event on Oct. 23 combines family fun with a focus on a healthy lifestyle. Bring bicycles or borrow a bike on-site to pedal around the Bud Harris Cycling Track. Track and Treat includes bike safety lessons, a bike decorating station, games and a costume contest. Keep the energy up with refreshments and great eats from food trucks. Free.
3. Pumpkin Festival at Cheeseman Farm
Get into the spirit of the Halloween season with a fresh-air Pumpkin Festival that includes activities like a petting zoo and hay bale jump. Hop on a hayride to the pumpkin field for $5, free for kids ages 2 and younger, and find your perfect pumpkin. The Cheeseman Farm Pumpkin Festival runs weekends through Oct. 30, plus Columbus Day on Oct. 11. Free admission.
4. Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival
Following last year’s drive-thru event on the North Shore, the Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival moved to new digs in the Strip District on Oct. 16 and 17. Monster pumpkin carving returns, along with the pumpkin pie eating contest, Monster Pumpkin Plunge, glass-blowing demonstrations and craft activities. Admission is free.
5. Punkin Chunkin
The annual Punkin Chunkin festival on Oct. 23 at Hartwood Acres is truly a blast! Watch as SHARP Robotics from Sarah Heinz House launches pumpkins across the field with a full-size trebuchet. The day includes loads of free activities like balloon art, hands-on crafts, face painting and Medieval sword fighting lessons. Paid activities like a cornhole tournament and ax-throwing will add to the fun, along with a lineup of food trucks and vendors. Admission is free.
6. Things That Go Bump in the Night
This Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy annual event is intended for kids ages 3 to 9 and their grownups. Register for staggered times between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30. Choose your time and date, sign up for a guided hike with cool fall activities along the way. Each kid gets a pumpkin to take home at the end of the walk. Free.
7. Campfire Ghost Stories
Not-too-spooky stories and songs are part of the fun at this Allegheny County series. Kids and their grownups will gather around a crackling campfire on weekend evenings: Oct. 9 at Boyce Park Four Seasons Lodge, Oct. 10 at Harrison Hills Park Yakaon Shelter, Oct. 16 at White Oak Park Chestnut Shelter and Oct. 17 at Hartwood Acres Stables, where a sign language interpreter take part. For added fun, kids can wear costumes and compete for a prize. Registration is free.
8. Harvest Valley Farms Fall Festival
The Fall Festival at Harvest Valley Farms, running Saturday and Sundays through October, includes live music, chain-saw carving demonstrations, a corn stalk maze and face painting. The working farm welcomes families to visit farm animals, crawl through a straw tunnel and catch a ride to the pumpkin patch. Admission is free.
9. Fall Family Movies in the Park
Two family film favorites that add more silly than thrilly are set to screen this month. Catch “Hocus Pocus” (PG) on Oct. 8 at Harwood Acres Amphitheater and Oct. 9 at South Park Amphitheater. “Nightmare Before Christmas” follows on Oct. 15 at Hartwood and Oct. 16 at South Park. The Hartwood location will operate as a drive-in theater. South Park invites families to bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the movies on the lawn. Free.
10. Ahhh Brains! Learning Party
This zombie-inspired learning party at Assemble on Oct. 22 examines our most fascinating body part. Kids will learn how brains work, build a zombie-style operation game and interact with guest experts. Expect to see some cool and spooky specimens, too. Registration is free.
11. Boo-tanical Bash
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens transports Halloween happenings to your home in the virtual Boo-tanical Bash on Oct. 29. Kids can dress up and show off their costumes in a Zoom parade. A kid-focused spooky storytime, a show-and-tell of creepy creatures and energetic creative movement are part of the fun. Registration is free.
12. Trunk or Treat
Kids can dress up in costume and trick-or-treat between Halloween-decorated cars at Allegheny County Parks’ Trunk or Treat events. The family fun takes place on Oct. 23 at South Park VIP Lot and Oct. 24 at Hartwood Acres Amphitheater. Don’t forget your pumpkin bucket or trick-or-treat bag! Registration is free.
13. Spooky Hike at North Park’s Haunted Blue Mist Road
Blue Mist Road Trail in North Park holds a haunted reputation with tales of paranormal mystery. L.L. Bean hosts these evening guided hikes that are scheduled for Oct. 23, 29 and 30. Equip yourself with a headlamp and flashlight, water, snacks and proper clothing and footwear. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Registration is free.
14. Shenot’s Farm
The pumpkin field is open daily through Oct. 31 at Shenot’s Farm. Catch a weekend hayride to the field for $5 or stroll along the half-mile trail for $2 on weekends, free on weekdays. Stop in the market for fresh-pressed apple cider, home-baked pies and just-picked produce. Be sure to visit the Fudge Room, where chocoholics could experience delirium from 50 flavors of small-batch fudge. While most pumpkin farms end their season on Halloween, kids can wreck and roll their has-been pumpkins with a blast of glee at Shenot’s Pumpkin Smash on the following weekend.
15. Children’s Harvest Festival
Kids can celebrate the season the way they did in the 18th century at Oliver Miller Homestead’s Children’s Harvest Festival on Oct. 17. Colonist kid crafts include butter churning, writing with a quill and making dolls. Compete in a sack race, apple bobbing and other games. Admission is $2.
16. Halloween Mayhem
The fun starts at noon on Oct. 23 for Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s annual Halloween Mayhem. A wild family time offers hands-on crafts, spooky activities, pumpkin carving and Halloween decorating. The afternoon schedule presents a series of inspiring youth-led performances, too. Kids can dress up for a costume parade, games and bopping to groovy beats. Tickets are priced at pay-what-you-wish.
17. ‘Laser Family Halloween’ and ‘Laser Stranger Things’
The laser shows at Carnegie Science Center lean toward a fun fear factor with two new shows in the Buhl Planetarium. “Laser Family Halloween” plays with music and images from favorite films like “Ghostbusters,” “The Addams Family” and “Beetlejuice.” Or visit the upside-down world of “Stranger Things” accompanied by music from the Eighties. Tickets are $8.
18. Kids Days at Hundred Acres Manor
The normally too-too-frightening Hundred Acres Manor hosts a lights-on, no-scare tour on Kids Days, planned for Oct. 10 and 24. The afternoon event includes hands-on crafts, free Dunkin Donut Munchkins, face painting and wagon rides. Advance admission is $8 and includes the shuttle to the haunted house.
19. Legendary Beasts Day Camp
Assemble explores legends from around the world and the beasts associated with them in the Legendary Beasts Day Camp. Along with other activities, kids will create a plaster cast of a beastly footprint. This Oct. 29 event is best for kids in grades 3-5. Registration is $20 with a half-price option, free for Garfield residents.
20. Fun Fore All Trick-or-Treat Trail
Combine trick-or-treat with a Halloween-themed round of mini-golf at Fun Fore All through Oct. 31. Kids can show off their costumes and golf skills on the creepy course from noon-9 p.m. daily. All participants receive a trick-or-treat bag of goodies. Admission is $10 for kids ages 12 and younger, $12 for adults, with 10 percent of all admissions benefitting Rowan Elementary School.
21. Trax Farms Fall Festival
The Fall Festival at Trax Farms has been a family tradition for more than 50 years. Catch a hayride to the pumpkin patch, enjoy live music, a giant corn maze and great food truck eats. Advance tickets are $10, free for ages 2 and younger. Activities like bungee jumping, train rides and the rock-climbing wall cost extra. Fall Festival runs weekends through Oct. 24.
22. Super Science Saturday: Booseum
Celebrate the season with the latest episode of Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Super Science Saturday: Booseum. Kids can dress in costume and wander haunted halls to solve a scavenger hunt, earn trick-or-treat goodies and find spooky specimens. Booseum operates from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 23 and is included in general admission of $11.95 for ages 3-18, $19.95 for grownups. A special sensory-friendly session from 8:30-10 a.m. is priced at $5.95 for kids and $9.95 for grownups.
23. Halloween Story Saturdays
The Oct. 23 edition of Story Saturdays at Carnegie Museum of Art begins with a Halloween-themed reading of “Crafty Chloe: Dress-Up Mess-Up,” written by Kelly Dipucchio and illustrated by Heather Ross. In the story, Chole tries to create the perfect costume, but ends up making a mess and tries to save the day. An art-making activity follows the storytime that’s best for ages 12 and younger. Story Saturdays fun is included with general admission of $11.95 for kids ages 3-18, $19.95 for their grownups.
24. Happy Troll-O-Ween
Phipps Conservatory continues its troll-themed flower shows with Happy Troll-O-Ween, running through Oct. 31. Kids can wear their Halloween costumes and see trolls Fen and Ivy dressed up, too. Visit the Trollskogen troll forest and see Aegir, the water troll, sporting new autumn decorations on his island-like head. Be sure to solve riddles and search for tiny trolls in the miniature display. Timed tickets are $11.95 for kids, $19.95 for their grownups.
25. Pumpkin Patch Trolley
Why ride a wagon to the pumpkin patch when you can zip along on a trolley? The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Pa., offers round trip rides on its historic railroad to collect the pumpkins. After the Pumpkin Patch excursion, kids can decorate their pumpkins in the craft room, where refreshments will be served. The Pumpkin Patch Trolley is in operation on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 24. Tickets are $13 for kids, $14 for their grownups.
26. Fall Fun at Triple B Farms
Triple B Farms offers loads of outdoor activities with its annual Fall Fun. Kids will be challenged by a pair of corn mazes, a climbing rope maze, a tire mountain and two giant slides. Farm animals, a barnyard carnival and a new singing chicken show add to the entertainment. Falls Days operate Wednesdays through Sundays. Admission is $14.
27. Horror Movie Trivia Night
Carnegie Museum of Natural History moves its Horror Movie Trivia Night onsite following last year’s Zoom session. Older kids who are fans of the genre can compete with other scary movie enthusiasts to win a really cool prize: An exclusive tour of the museum’s century-old Alcohol House that’s filled with amphibian and reptile specimens preserved in alcohol. Trivia Night takes place on Oct. 28. Register for the 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. session. Your $15 trivia ticket includes admission to the museum from 3-8 p.m.
Idlewild Park serves up an exciting family-friendly, Halloween-themed celebration with its annual Hallowboo! Kids can trick-or-treat through the Story Book Forest, meet Princess Lily and Daniel Tiger, plus take part in a ghoulish dance party. Lots of seasonal-themed amusement rides will encourage laughs and screams, too. HallowBoo! runs weekends through Oct. 31. Admission is $34.99 for ages 3 and older.
29. Haunted River Cruises and Halloween Fun Cruise
The Gateway Clipper Fleet plays host to Halloween revelry with kid-appeal. Kids on the Halloween Fun Cruise on Oct. 30 will interact with celebrity characters, dancing, games and treats. The Haunted River Cruises, running weekends through Oct. 31, offer guided tours of Pittsburgh’s iconic sites and spooky legends like the Monongahela Monster and the ghost that inhabits the Allegheny County Jail. Cruise tickets are $20 for kids and $32 for grownups.
30. Glass Pumpkin Make-It-Now
Pittsburgh Glass Center artists will lead kids ages 5 and older in blowing a sculpted glass pumpkin in the hot shop. There’s also an option to create a fused glass suncatcher with a seasonal theme. Either immersive activity is a wonderful way to experience and learn about glass art. Both sessions take place on Oct. 15 and 22. Registration for the sculpted pumpkin is $45, $30 for the suncatcher.
For more Halloween fun, check out 13 can’t miss October events for kids.