Gone are the days of figuring out costume to wear to your friends’ Halloween rager. These days, there’s a more vexing question: what to do with the kids? We’ve got a few fun ideas for this weekend. Whether you’ve got little ones or budding tweens, there should be something on this list to catch your family’s fancy.
Halloween Crypt Tours
This one’s for older kids (King’s Chapel suggests 10+), but it’s pretty cool: a tour of the crypt beneath King’s Chapel, one of Boston’s oldest standing churches, dating back to 1686. There are 21 people buried there and you’ll learn about their lives and the burial customs of the era. We can’t promise you’ll experience a ghost, but we can’t promise you won’t.
Through Oct. 31, King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont St., Boston, $10, mkt.com
Salem’s Haunted Happenings
Everyone knows that of all the towns in Massachusetts, Salem throws the best Halloween party, with hundred of out-of-towners descending on the small seaside city every fall. The events start long before Halloween night—tours, theaters, magic show, séances and much more than we could possibly mention here—check the website for full details.
Through Nov. 4, various locations, Salem, prices vary, hauntedhappenings.org
This one also might not be appropriate for smaller kids, but those who won’t be too scared should get a good education in the classics. Frankenstein’s monster, as played by Boris Karloff, is as iconic as movie monsters get, and also as sympathetic, struggling to understand his new existence, only provoked into rage by the misunderstanding world.
Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m., Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville, $10, somervilletheatre.com
The Franklin Park Zoo Halloween festivities include trick-or-treating along the Zoo trails, plus games, arts and crafts, face painting, a costume contest and other activities. The animals get in on the fun too—they’ll be given their own pumpkins, and judging from a picture on the Zoo’s website, chimps at least find them delicious—humans can keep their lattes.
Oct. 28-29, Franklin Park Zoo, 1 Franklin Park Rd., Boston, $20, zoonewengland.org
Brookline Grown created a “pumpkin patch” for Halloween. Not quite the same thing as a more rural variety, but this week you can come down, choose and carve your own pumpkin, and enjoy a little treat of cider and caramel apples to boot. They’ve got all the tools you’ll need to carve, and to compost all that pumpkin goop.
Oct. 28-31, Green Line Growers, 10 Waldo St., Brookline, free admission, brooklinegrown.com
Halloween Pet Parade
Everyone knows putting clothes on animals is hilarious and adorable, so seeing a bunch of them in Halloween costumes is going to be infinitely more hilarious and adorable. That’s just math. Enter your own pet, or just come and be amused. Or maybe dress up the whole family in some theme—wouldn’t your pug make a great R2D2?
Oct. 28, noon-2 p.m., Fanueil Hall Marketplace, 4 S. Market St., Boston, free, faneuilhallmarketplaceboston.com
Dia de los Muertos Celebration
Considering that it manufactures Mexican-style stone-ground chocolate, it’s no surprise that Somerville’s Taza Chocolate celebrates el Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) instead of Halloween each year, throwing a festival in their parking lot with free hot chocolate and lots of Tex-Mex food, plus beer and cider for the adults, dancing for everyone and a traditional Mexican celebration of remembrance.
Oct. 28, noon-5 p.m., Taza Chocolate Factory, 561 Windsor St., Boston, free, tazachocolate.com
Lawn on D hosts this festival, not strictly Halloween-themed, but more of a goodbye to autumn, and a goodbye to the Lawn’s 2017 season. The events in daylight hours are the more kid-friendly—pumpkin carving, train rides, face painting, a circus workshop, living statues, a magician and juggler—but it continues into the night.
Oct. 28, noon-11 p.m., Lawn on D, 420 D. St., Boston, free, signatureboston.com/lawn-on-d
Beantown Autumn Festival
This annual festival is a new tradition in the South End, dating back to just 2015. Hosted by massALLY, it’s not strictly a Halloween festival, but it’s still a great destination for families with younger kids, who can enjoy carnival rides, inflatables, face painting and pumpkin decorating—and they’ll get free food and free admission to all the rides. How’s that for a treat?
Oct. 29, 12-4pm, Ben Franklin Institute of Technology, 41 Berkeley St., Boston, free, beantownfest.org
The Nightmare Before Christmas w/ the Boston Pops
Millennial parents who loved Tim Burton’s fractured fairy tale as kids will revel in sharing it with their own kids, especially with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops performing Danny Elfman’s entire soundtrack live alongside it. Not a film for everyone, but if it’s for you, you know who you are. Bonus: there will be “gourmet trick-or-treating” at 7 p.m. before the show!
Oct. 30-31, Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, $45-$95, bso.org