33 not-so-scary Halloween events for Pittsburgh kids
Photo above courtesy of Idlewild Park.
Halloween can be intimidating for little ones who love dressing up, but don’t enjoy being frightened. Happily, we’ve found that there’s a softer side to Halloween that allows kids to revel in the holiday with lots of fun events that don’t raise the fear factor. Browse through these not-so-scary Halloween events for Pittsburgh kids to find the best Halloween entertainment for your family.
Don’t miss this favorite among the annual Halloween events for Pittsburgh families: 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 (but not scary) dance party. Lots of seasonal-themed amusement rides will encourage laughs and screams, too. HallowBoo! has begun and it runs weekends through Oct. 29. Admission starts at $29.99 for ages 3 and older.
2. Phantom Fall Fest
Kennywood Park’s Phantom Fall Fest offers all-day park access and up to 30 rides and attractions on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Family-friendly activities are planned throughout the day along with festive autumn decorations and food. Admission starts at $29.99. Note that families depart as the sun goes down and a more frightening, haunted Kennywood welcomes older fear-seeking fans at night.
3. Fun Fore All Trick-or-Treat Trail
Combine trick-or-treat with a Halloween-themed round of mini-golf at Fun Fore All from Sept. 30 through Oct. 31. Kids can show off their costumes and golf skills on the creepy course from noon-9 p.m. daily. All golfers receive a trick-or-treat bag of goodies. Admission is $10 for kids ages 12 and younger, and $12 for adults. Ten percent of admissions benefit Rowan Elementary School PTA. Special fun this year: Visit on Friday, Oct. 20, for “Howl-O-Ween” night where families bring their dogs to the park for mini-golf dressed in costumes. Local vendors will join in the fun and give out treats to kids and dogs.
4. “Sugar Skull!”
“Sugar Skull! A Día de Muertos Musical Adventure” is a touring bilingual/bicultural musical that uses traditional regional music and dance from Mexico. “Sugar Skull” tells the story of 12-year-old Vita Flores, who thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. “Sugar Skull!” takes the Byham Theater stage on Oct. 6 and 7. Tickets are $30.25.
5. Haunted Miniature Railroad
Special, spooky and mysterious features added to the Miniature Railroad and Village at Carnegie Science Center when it reopens on Oct. 7. Eagle eyes will find a werewolf, Bigfoot, a witch, zombies and the Headless Horseman among other Halloween-themed figures. The railroad display is included with Science Center admission.
6. Campfire Ghost Stories
Bring your own chairs and blankets for Stories & Songs with Josh & Gab at several Allegheny County Parks. These free evening events begin at 7 p.m. on the following dates:
- Oct: 7 at Hartwood Acres Amphitheater (A sign language interpreter will be in attendance.)
- Oct. 14 at Boyce Park Four Seasons Activity Center
- Oct. 21 at Deer Lakes Wagman Observatory (Followed by a star party!)
- Oct. 22 at White Oak Park Chestnut Shelter
- Oct. 28 at Harrison Hills Yakaon Shelter (A sign language interpreter will be in attendance.)
7. Fam Jam: Spooky Sonata
Come to the Trust Arts Education Center in costume for this all-ages, family workshop. This Oct. 14 event combines music and movement to create spooky stories. Registration is free.
8. Creatures of the Night
The Audubon Society’s annual Halloween program invites families to come in costume to learn about nocturnal creatures while led along a wooded path by a costumed firefly. Along the way, you’ll meet a great horned owl, flying squirrel and little brown bat. Expect treats, too. Creatures of the Night is scheduled for Oct. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserved, Oct. 20 at Todd Nature Reserve and Buffalo Creek, Oct. 28 at Succop Nature Park. Registration is $10, free for those younger than 2.
9. Monster Mash: Family Halloween Party
Head to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville branch from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 14 and celebrate Halloween with dancing, tricks, treats and spooky fun. No registration is required for Monster Mash.
10. 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. 15. 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.
11. Kids Day at Hundred Acres Manor
The normally too-too-frightening Hundred Acres Manor hosts a lights-on, no-scare tour on Kids Day, planned for Oct. 15. The afternoon event includes hands-on crafts, touch-a-truck, face painting and wagon rides. Advance admission is $12, which includes the shuttle to the haunted house.
Catch the original 1984 “Ghostbusters” on the really, really big screen on Oct.15 at the Rangos Giant Cinema in Carnegie Science Center. Screenings are planned for 5:30 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.
13. Halloween Movies in the Park: “Hocus Pocus”
Is it even Halloween without a viewing “Hocus Pocus”? Allegheny County Parks presents it free on the following dates:
- Oct. 20: Round Hill Park Visitors Center
- Oct. 21: North Park Boathouse Lawn
- Oct. 27: Hartwood Acres Mansion Lawn
- Oct. 28: Settlers Cabin Park Moccasin Shelter
14. 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 Oct. 20-22. Come in costume for Trick-or-Trolley on Oct. 28 and 29. Tickets are $14 for kids, $15 for their grownups.
15. Punkin Chunkin
Watch pumpkins being launched across the field at Hartwood Acres with a full-sized trebuchet on Oct. 21. The family day of fun includes crafts, games, face painting, balloon art and sword fighting. Free, no registration required.
16. Track and Treat
This annual Citiparks event on Oct. 21 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.
17. Trunk-or-Treat Car Cruise
Allegheny County Parks continues its Halloween programming at Trunk or Treat Car Cruises. Kids can wear their Halloween costumes to trick-or-treat for candy from car cruisers. Trunk-or-treat is planned for Oct. 21 at South Park Pool Parking Lot and Oct. 22 at Hartwood Acres Park Amphitheater. These events are free with no registration required.
18. Pumpkin Party
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Carrick branch is throwing a Pumpkin Party from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 21. Stop by the library for Halloween-themed crafts, candy, spooky books, scary movies and more! Halloween costumes are encouraged. Free.
19. Halloween Spook-Tacular
Gates open at 3 p.m. for the Dependable Drive-In’s annual Halloween Spook-Tacular on Oct. 21. Costumed kids can trunk-or-treat from 4:30-6 p.m. Winners will be drawn for prizes at 6:30 p.m., followed by showtime at 7 p.m. The movie lineup has not yet been finalized. Check Dependable’s Facebook page for schedule updates. Admission is $9 for ages 12 and older, $3 for ages 5-11, free for those younger than 5.
20. “Hocus Pocus”
There it goes again! View a screening of the ever-popular movie at Rangos Giant Cinema in the Carnegie Science Center on Oct. 21. Tickets are $12.
The National Aviary presents Halloween fun for costumed kids on Oct. 21 and 22. Kids can expect to create an Owl-O-Ween craft, march in a Halloween parade and have a meet-and-greet with owls. Included in aviary admission.
22. Zoo Boo
Head to the Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium for daytime trick-or-treating on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29. Show off your costumes in the Halloween parade and compete for prizes. Check out the zoo animals who will be enjoying Halloween treats of their own. Zoo Boo activities are included in zoo admission.
23. Haunted Hat Tea and Tour
24. Sensory-Friendly Trick or Treat
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History offers a sensory-supportive Halloween trick-or-treat. Museum galleries will have reduced audio and visual elements, as well as calm spaces with support materials. Expect a story time around a faux campfire, meet a scaley live animal ambassador and trick-or-treat through the museum at this all-ages and all-abilities event on Oct. 27. Registration is $16.
25. 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. 28 will interact with celebrity characters, dance, play games and enjoy treats. The Haunted River Cruises run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 29 through Oct. 29. The guided tours point out 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.
October’s episode of Super Science Saturday returns to the seasonal favorite Booseum on Oct. 28. Costumes are encouraged for a nature-themed Halloween celebration with seasonal activities, a scavenger hunt and goodie bags of prizes. Registration is free with museum admission.
27. Pumpkin Palooza
Kelly Strayhorn Theater presents an East Liberty Halloween Adventure from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 28. Come in costume or come-as-you-are for an afternoon of treats, crafts and activities in the lobby. Then, head to the theater for family-friendly performances by K-Theater Dance Complex, Alumni Theater Company, Obama Marching Band and the Afro-American Music Institute’s Jazz Lab. Tickets are “pay what moves you,” from $0-$25.
28. Halloween Hunt
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland celebrates Halloween from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 28 with a trick-or-treat-inspired scavenger hunt throughout the library. Make a spooky craft while you’re there. Free.
29. Ghosts, Games & Goodies
Join the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh crew from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the West End or the Mt. Washington branch for food, crafts and activities. Costumes are encouraged. Free.
30. Candyland Adventure
This immersive event invites participants to explore a life-sized Candyland game board, complete with vibrant pathways, interactive game stations and sweet surprises around every corner. Costumes are highly encouraged. The party runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Oct. 28. Free.
31. Trunk or Treat
Movement Mortgage is hosting a Trunk or Treat from noon-4 p.m. on Oct. 29 behind the professional building at 110 Fort Couch Road in the South Hills.
32. Haunted Library Escape Room
The ghosts of the past can’t rest in peace without your help. Can you find the lost love letter and solve the mystery in time? Team up with your friends to solve a series of puzzles at the Haunted Library Escape Room from 1:30-5 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland.
33. Pumpkin Smash
Expect a smashing time following Halloween, too. Shenot’s Farm Pumpkin Smash on Nov. 4 and 5 invites guests to bring their jack-o-lanterns to the farm where they can roll them and wreck them on the farm.
34. Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival
The Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival returns to the Strip District on Oct. 21 and 22. Expect pumpkin carving, a pumpkin pie eating contest, the Monster Pumpkin Plunge, glass-blowing demonstrations and craft activities. Admission is free.