For as long as I can remember, Halloween was one of my favourite holidays. While maybe no match for Santa Claus, once past a certain age it was, at least, more reliable. Even as an adult I still enjoy the celebration; and watching those with little ones to dress up and let loose on the streets always puts a smile on my face. Fortunately I’m not the only one either.
This October, families with young children will find all kinds of great activities going on in the city. The following are some of my personal favourites. I hope you and your family have a chance to enjoy at least one or two.
STANLEY PARK GHOST TRAIN
Who can resist riding a ghost train through the forest at night? Along with face painting, a haunted house and lots of fun activities for kids, every October, Stanley Park’s infamous miniature train is transformed into the “Ghost Train” to celebrate Halloween. With live action thrills, this 20-minute ride whisks families through a spooky themed forest. For 2016, the theme happens to be -Day of the Dead–which will include impossible-to-resist guests such as a mariachi band of cockroaches and the Lady of Death.
Running from October 8 – 31, 2016. Closed October 10 for Thanksgiving.
With a name like Halloweenie, it’s hard not to have a soft spot for this annual event. This Halloween party takes place at Granville Island’s beloved Kids Market and is geared towards toddlers and young children. Beautifully crafted and well-organized, the Halloweenie party offers arts and crafts, games, and a Balloon Hunt on Halloween day.
October 31 only.
CHILLIWACK CORN MAZE & PUMPKIN PATCH
One of the funnest family-friendly events around, the Chilliwack corn maze and pumpkin patch will delight kids while making their parents feel like kids again. At 12 acres, this gigantic corn maze is designed each year based on a different theme and includes different challenges for kids along the way. Along with a huge pumpkin patch, there are also hay rides, a giant jumping pillow, swings and all kinds of other favourites.
Now to October 31.
Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays and holidays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
VANCOUVER HALLOWEEN PARADE & EXPO
Only in its third year, the Vancouver Halloween Parade & Expo has all the makings of a long-term addition to the city’s colourful Halloween arsenal. With over 1’000 volunteers, the parade is a family-friendly event that features dance, music and lots of fantastical costumes. Focused more on being creative than scary, the parade draws scores of young children and families who come out rain or shine to enjoy the fun.
The Grand Parade: October 16th at 11am.
FRIGHT NIGHTS AT THE PNE
A longstanding Halloween tradition here in Vancouver, the PNE goes all out to celebrate the ghouls and goblins in October. While not for small children, Fright Nights are a favourite of tweens and teens. With fire troupes, scary rides, haunted houses, and a “doll factory” that features all sorts of terrifying ‘house of horrors’ type scares, this is not for the faint of heart. But if a love of horror movies and haunted houses runs in the family, this is the perfect place to experience Halloween together.
Friday, October 9 – Sunday, November 1, 2015