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Taking the Kids: Celebrating Halloween for an entire month

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights began on September 15 in Orlando and Hollywood and lasts until November 4. (Not recommended for anyone under 13, and maybe not even then.)

HEAD TO A FESTIVAL -- the Cambria Scarecrow Festival, where hundreds of creative scarecrows designed by townies are on display, runs from October 1 to 31. It's quite a spectacle: papier mache scarecrow bikers mount their wheels, the scarecrow nuns put on their habits, and the horror scarecrows are hidden away. In Baltimore, there is the Great Halloween Lantern Parade & Festival on Oct 28, complete with kids' costume contests and pop-up costume yoga.

SAY BOO TO THE ANIMALS. Most zoos and aquariums now have Halloween events, like Wild Zoo Halloween at the Fort Wayne, Indiana Children's Zoo, on selected dates through October, complete with trick-or-treating, a mini maze, and more.

INVITE THE TWEENS AND TEENS to join you at a haunted attraction. There are approximately 1,500 to 2,000 Haunted Attractions in the United States and the Haunted Attraction Association notes that every year new "frights" are added. For example, try the Zombie Zipline and Haunted Treetop Trails at NWI Deep River Aerial Adventure Park in Crown Point, Indiana. In Philadelphia, there's the Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls, a spooky haunted house inside an abandoned prison. Not only are there animatronic creatures, but more than 200 performers participate in six separate attractions on the 11-acre complex.

COMMUNE WITH THE GHOSTS at a haunted hotel -- The Godfrey Hotel Chicago invites costumed guests to travel to the hotel's fifth level on Oct. 28 and check out 20 haunted rooms. (The bravest can book one of them overnight.) For younger families, you can't go wrong at a Great Wolf Lodge (famous for their indoor water parks) for Howl-O- Weenall October with costume parades, trick-or-treat trails, scary-silly Story Times and Monster Bash Dance Parties.

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I've got my witch's hat ready. How about you?


(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow "taking the kids" on, where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments.)



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