Fright Fest at Saunders Farm (The perfect scare for older kids!)

KITC would like to welcome back guest blogger, Stephen Johnson. Stephen Johnson is an Ottawa writer who loves to write about family travel.  During the summer, you will most likely find him and his family at a local fair or festival. During the winter, a beach in Mexico is a likely bet.  


I first started visiting Saunders Farm about fifteen years ago for Halloween. I heard it was the scariest thing to do in Ottawa. They were right. In between the haunted hayride and other attractions, I was scared out of my wits. 

Fast forward to today. We had taken David when he was seven to Saunders Farm during the day for Halloween. It was perfect at the time. David is now eleven so his fear quotient has gone up. He wanted to check out the evening FrightFest festivities. 

We arrived at Saunders Farm and were immediately treated to a scare. Various farm employees were dressed up in their best Halloween gear. The first attraction we saw was the Barn of Terror. This was a test to see if the scare factor was too high for David or not. We walked through the barn and enjoyed various scares and thrills. I probably held my wife’s Sandy hand tighter than David did. 


We then were treated to a parade of witches as they walked to their Coven. David bravely posed for a photo as the witches passed by. 

Fright Fest Sanders Farm Witches

It was still somewhat light outside so not all the hauntings were open. This gave us some time to visit other areas of the farm including the bouncy pad and playground. It brought back a flood of memories as we have been visiting Saunders Farm since David was a baby. 

Corn Maze Saunders Farm

After visiting the bouncy pad, it was finally dark so all the attractions were open. Circus macabre was located close to the bouncy pad. I have always found clowns to be somewhat creepy and circus macabre only reinforced this idea. We had to find our way through a maze while being greeted by various clowns. There were numerous other elements but I don’t way to give away too much. 

One thing that has changed about Fright Fest since I visited fifteen years ago is that there are also busker-style performers. We caught a fire show that added to the ambiance of the evening. 

Busker Fright Night Saunders Farm

It was now time to visit the witches in their coven. We were greeted by a friendly witch who invited us to visit. I doubted her friendly exterior and the cackles coming from inside the coven gave it away. One really cool part was entering a room with a fog machine and a laser display. The effect made one think they were walking through a soupy swamp. Again, I don’t want to give away all the scares but let me just say, look around all the corners.

David, Sandy and I needed a break so we relaxed in the central area. There are multiple food options on-site so no one will go hungry. We also took a family photo in front of a large display of pumpkins. This spot may be one of the most instagrammed in the Ottawa area. 

Fright Fest Saunders Farm

It was now time for the Haunted Hayride. All of the attractions at Saunders Farm are great but the Haunted Hayride is the classic. We boarded the wagon and the tractor was off like a shot. It took a few minutes to get to the main area which only built up the anticipation. We were scared in multiple ways including masked performers and loud noises. The Haunted Hayride was everything I remembered and more. It was fun to share the experience with David and Sandy. 

It was now time to head back to Ottawa. I thought I saw a number of ghouls or goblins along the highway driving back home. It was probably just my imagination or was it?

For more information about all the scary things going on at Saunders Farm, visit www.saundersfarm.com


*Please note, Fright Fest is not intended for younger kids. We thought David was the perfect age at eleven but this may not be for all kids. The fright factor is much more young kid-friendly during the day.*


Full disclosure, Stephen’s tickets were covered by Saunders Farm but all opinions are his own.





Family-Friendly Halloween Activities in Ottawa


We’re so lucky to have museums, farms and malls in the Ottawa region who love to celebrate Halloween as much as our kids do! Here’s this year’s list of Halloween activities for families in Ottawa.

family friendly halloween actitivites in ottawa.png

Trick or Treat with the Mayor
When: Saturday, October 26th from 5 to 8 pm
Where: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West

See what’s brewing in the Spooky Witches Den before visiting all your favourite movie and storybook characters! Be wowed and get up close to some amazing little creatures and characters then decorate your very own mini pumpkin.

The Original Haunted Walk – Halloween Season
When: Nightly until November 3rd
Where: Various locations in Ottawa

Great for older children and adults, The Haunted Walks are best known for their tours and stories of ghosts and haunted places and Halloween is the perfect time to experience one of these walks! From October 4 – November 2 they are featuring a special “ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?” version of their Ghosts & the Gallows tour. For more information: http://hauntedwalk.com/ottawa-tours/ 

Saunders Farm – Haunting Season
When: Saturdays and Sundays between now and October 31st
Where: Saunders Farm, Munster, ON
Admission: General Day Admission is $25 (kids 2 and under are free); General night (Fright Fest) admission starting from $36.

Scarier at night and as a not-as-scary experience during the day, Saunders Farm offers families the ultimate in Halloween thrills and chills!  The Day Haunting Season is fine for kids as the more scarier attractions are closed and the jumping pillows and main play area is open. There is also a pumpkin patch hay ride available for young visitors.

The Fright Fest (Night) at Saunders Farm is good for children ages 12 and up. For more information visit: http://saundersfarm.com/

Acres of Terror
When: Now until October 31st
Where: Cannamore Orchards, 1480 County Road 32, Crysler

In their 27th year, Acres of Terror has four main components: the spooky wagon ride, the house of terror, the spooky village, and the fog maze! Night Dates (7-10pm): Sept. 27-28, Oct. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-30. Day Dates (12-4pm): Oct. 12-13, 19-20, 26-27. Visit https://cannamoreorchard.com/acres-of-terror/ for more information, including pricing.

Toddler Halloween Haunt
When: Thursday, October 31st from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Carp
Admission: By donation for parents, grandparents, or caregivers with kids. Kids under 5 are free.

A perfect Halloween Day activity for young kids. Kids and adults can come dressed up in their favourite costume and discover spooky (and cute) ghosts and monsters throughout the museum to collect treats.

Zombies invade the Bunker

When: October 26th and 27th
Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Carp

This Halloween season, the Diefenbunker will once again partner with The Haunted Walk of Ottawa to present, Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure. Guests will be led on an interactive adventure with the undead, deep inside the labyrinth that is the Cold War Museum. This unique Halloween experience is a perfect combination of storytelling, interactive challenges, unexpected surprises and of course…zombies. Perfect for kids 12+.

Fall Family Fun At Hugli's Blueberry Ranch
When: On now until October 31st
Where: Hugli's Blueberry Ranch, 2139 Greenwood Rd., Pembroke, ON
Weekends: $10.62 + HST (kids & adults) Under 2 is free (includes shows and wagon rides to the pumpkin patch)
Weekdays: $6.64 + HST (kids & adults) Under 2 is free.

Evening activities have been put on hold this year, but there are plenty of family-friendly daytime activities including a tunnel hill slide and pedal carts!

Chillings Estate Halloween Party
When: Sunday, October 20 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Billings Estate National Historic Site
Admission: Cost: $6.75/person, $17.50/family (2 adults + children)

Come dressed in your costume and help Billings put the ‘trick’ in ‘trick-or-treat’ as they explore the whimsical, wily, and sometimes troublesome history of Halloween pranks. Complete fun Halloween activities and challenges to enjoy a delicious treat. Additional vintage treats and coffee will be available for cash purchase. *Please dress for weather conditions; activities will take place both indoors and outdoors.

Halloween Hijinks
When: Sunday, October 27th 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Cumberland Heritage Village
Cost: $19.75 per family (2 adults + children); $7.75 adults; $5.50 seniors, children and students. Children 5 and under are free. Annual memberships are welcome.

Wear your costume and explore the origins of Halloween traditions as you collect some yummy treats along the way. Complete a scavenger hunt inspired by some of the spooky symbols associated with the season, see if you can determine fact or fiction when it comes to Halloween trivia, create your own masquerade mask, explore Halloween in early Hollywood, and more!

Haunted Horaceville
When: Sunday, October 27th from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: Pinhey's Point Historic Site, Dunrobin, ON
Admission: Cost: $10.65 per person (Ages 15 and up)

Bring your friends and gather ‘round for a live storytelling program that will shift your understanding of history from the ordinary to the otherworldly. A lantern-lit tour of the manor house will add to the atmosphere. S’mores and hot apple cider will be served for a seasonal treat. Featuring guest storyteller Marie Bilodeau.  Registration is required. The registration deadline is Wednesday, October 23.

Pumpkinferno
When: Various dates from now until Sunday, October 27th
Where: Upper Canada Village
Admission: from $12 to $18
Visit Upper Canada Village and discover a selection of all-new pumpkin-carved displays as well as fan-favourites! This event is for all ages and includes 7,000 handcrafted pumpkins all lit at night along a kilometre long path in a picturesque 19th-century backdrop.

25th Annual Pumpkin Fest at Proulx Farm

When: September 22nd to October 31st, 2019.
Where: Proulx Family Farm, 1865 O’Toole Rd., Cumberland

The farm is transformed into a giant Halloween playground. Bring a picnic and visit for a ghostly gathering in a country setting. Children love seeing the farm transformed into a giant Halloween playground! Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm and Thanksgiving Monday from 10 am to 5 pm.

Halloween Activities for families


We’re so lucky to have museums, farms and malls in the Ottawa region who love to celebrate Halloween as much as our kids do! Here’s this year’s list of Halloween activities for families in Ottawa.

Halloween Activities for families in Ottawa.png

Trick or Treat with the Mayor
When: Saturday, October 27th from 4 to 7 pm
Where: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West

Costumed characters, dancing and trick or treating with the mayor! is a fun event for kids of all ages. Details of this year’s event have yet to be released (probably due to the upcoming municipal election)

A Barnyard Halloween
When: October 27 and 28, 2018
Where: Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum
Fees: Included with Museum admission

Families are encouraged to come in costume and take part in a costume parade, pumpkin decorating, a candy making demonstration, a science ‘spooktacular,’ tour the spooky barn, and much more!

The Original Haunted Walk – Halloween Season
When: Nightly until November 3rd
Where: Various locations in Ottawa

Great for older children and adults, The Haunted Walks are best known for their tours and stories of ghosts and haunted places and Halloween is the perfect time to experience one of these walks! For more information: http://hauntedwalk.com/ottawa-tours/ 

Saunders Farm – Haunting Season
When: Saturdays and Sundays between September 22nd and October 31st
Where: Saunders Farm, Munster, ON
Admission: General Day Admission is $20.25 + HST (kids 2 and under are free); General night (Fright Fest) admission from $20 +HST

Scarier at night and as a not-as-scary experience during the day, Saunders Farm offers families the ultimate in Halloween thrills and chills!  The Day Haunting Season is fine for kids as the more scarier attractions are closed and the jumping pillows and main play area is open. There is also a pumpkin patch hay ride available for young visitors.

The Fright Fest (Night) at Saunders Farm is good for children ages 12 and up. For more information visit: http://saundersfarm.com/

Acres of Terror
When: Now until October 31st
Where: Cannamore Orchards, 1480 County Road 32, Crysler

Family-friendly during the day, and a lot scarier at night, Cannamore Orchards Halloween fun includes their infamous Spooky Wagon Ride, The Spooky Village, Kid’s Spooky House, The Fog Maze, The House of Terror, and much more!

Toddler Halloween Haunt
When: Tuesday, October 31st from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Carp
Admission: By donation for parents, grandparents, or caregivers with kids. Kids under 5 are free.

A perfect Halloween Day activity for young kids. Kids and adults can come dressed up in their favourite costume and discover spooky (and cute) ghosts and monsters throughout the museum to collect treats.

Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure

If you have children aged 12 years and older, this 60 to 75 minute Halloween-themed tour is sure to be memorable! After 20 years a terrifying secret has been revealed and guests will be led on an interactive adventure to see what it’s all about. This unique underground experience is in conjunction with Haunted Walks. For more information: http://diefenbunker.ca/incident-at-the-bunker-a-zombie-adventure/

Halloween Fun At Hugli's Blueberry Ranch
When: On now until October 28th
Where: Hugli's Blueberry Ranch, 2139 Greenwood Rd., Pembroke, ON
Admission: $13.28+HST for Kids and Adults

A corn maze (which is haunted at night), haunted house, wagon rides, magic shows, and more, this makes for a fun fall drive through the Ottawa Valley and is fun for all ages!

Fairy Tale Frightfest
When: Saturday, October 21 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Billings Estate National Historic Site
Admission: Cost: $6.50/adult, $10.75/pair, $17.25/family

Characters from well known stories will take over Billings Estate! Come dressed in your costume and explore Ottawa-inspired fairy tale realms. Complete fun Halloween activities, or tricks, to enjoy a delicious treat. *Please dress appropriately for weather conditions; activities will take place both indoors and outdoors.

Halloween Hijinks
When: Sunday, October 28th 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Cumberland Heritage Village
Admission: Cost: $19.25 families; $7.50 adults; $5.50 seniors and students. Children under 5 are free. Memberships are welcome.

Before trick-or-treating became the norm, Halloween was the night all the pranksters came out to play. Follow the clues to help Cumberland Museum identify who’s been causing mischief! Wear your costume and enjoy a few yummy treats along the way.

Haunted Horaceville
When: Sunday, October 21 from 7 pm to 9 pm
Where: Pinhey's Point Historic Site, Dunrobin, ON
Admission: Cost: $10.65 per person (Ages 15 and up)

Bring your friends and gather around the fire at Pinhey’s Point for a live storytelling program that will truly take history beyond the ordinary. These ghostly tales will leave you unsettled, a familiar feeling to early settlers during Hallow’een. A lantern-lit tour of the house and grounds will add to the atmosphere and hot apple cider will be served for a seasonal treat.

Watson’s Mill Children’s Halloween Party
When: Saturday, October 27th, 1 t 4 p.m.
Where: Watson’s Mill, Manotick
Admission: Free

A children’s Halloween Party with fun Halloween games and crafts. A great way to see this historic mill and celebrate Halloween!

Pumpkinferno
When: Various dates from now until October 28th
Where: Upper Canada Village
Admission: Adult (13-64) $16.00, Senior (65+)$16.00, Youth (5-12)$12.00, Child (4 or under) FREE

Visit Upper Canada Village and discover a selection of all-new pumpkin-carved displays as well as fan-favourites! This event is for all-ages and includes 7,000 handcrafted pumpkins all lit at night along a kilometer long path in a picturesque 19th-century backdrop.

5 Halloween Books for Young Kids

Halloween doesn’t have to be frightening for young kids. When my daughter was young I remember how afraid she was of going into any store that had larger-than-life Halloween decorations. Luckily, at the age of nine, she now loves Halloween. We recently cleaned out her bookshelf and re-discovered some of her favourite Halloween reads that were a bedtime staple when she was in preschool and kindergarten. So, I thought I would share our love for these 5 Halloween books for young kids (you can click on the title of each book for more information):

5 Halloween Books for Young Kids.png

Clifford's Halloween

By Norman Bridwell

Clifford makes Halloween cute. He’s a classic beloved character and this story humorously shows how Clifford loves Halloween and reminds adults of how excited kids get when it comes to showing off their costumes to their friends.

The Spooky Old Tree

By Stan And Jan Berenstain

What’s Halloween without the Berenstain Bears? This book is about exploring a spooky old tree and is short enough to read out loud without losing your voice, and it's fun to do it in a creepy, scary voice – and for your kids to participate too.

Slinky Malinky

By Lynley Dodd

This book isn’t really a Halloween book, but it’s about a sneaky black cat and is a fun read. My daughter received this book years ago from a friend and refuses to part with it. The story is told in fun rhyme. It’s a simple adventure that captivates young minds – especially at Halloween when black cats may otherwise seem scary.

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever

By Steven Kroll

This book is a classic story about two mice caring for a pumpkin, each without the other's knowledge. The pumpkin ends up growing phenomenally large because of the extra care it receives. It’s a sweet story about how taking care for something can really make a difference – perfect for children who prefer stories that don’t have any ghosts or goblins in them.

Bone Soup

By Cambria Evans

This story may seem scary, but it’s more cute than scary.  It’s a Halloween take on Stone Soup. A cute little skeleton with a very big appetite manages to get all sorts of ghastly ingredients from the ghouls to make a magic "bone soup". His ingredients will have kids laughing and saying “ewwwww!” So, if you have young kids that like to be grossed out – this book is perfect for them.

Do your kids have a favourite Halloween Book? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

Family-friendly Halloween Activities in Ottawa

There is more to Halloween than just trick or treating and Ottawa has a lot of Halloween activities for ghosts and goblins of all ages! 

Family-friendly Halloween Activities in Ottawa

Trick or Treat with the Mayor
When: Saturday, October 28th from 4 to 7 p.m.
Where: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West

Costumed characters, dancing and trick or treating with the mayor! a fun event for kids of all ages. Admission is a donation to Ottawa Food Bank's Baby Basics Program. 

Members Halloween Party - Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum
When: Saturday, October 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Doors open at 9 a.m.)
Where: Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum

Families are encouraged to come in costume and take part in special Members-only activities that includes exclusive access to Meadowview Barn as well as exclusive Halloween crafts and treats to make and take home. There will also be pumpkin decorating and a scavenger hunt. Members must register. 

Barnyard Halloween - Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum
When: October 28, 2017 - October 29, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Where: Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum
Fees: Included with Museum admission

It’s a Barnyard Halloween at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum! You are invited to enjoy special activities including crafts and a parade! Make some ghoulish treats, create a creepy craft, learn all about bats, visit a spooky barn and take part in Halloween games. 

The Haunted Walk – Halloween Season
When: Nightly until November 4th
Where: Various locations in Ottawa

Great for older children and adults, The Haunted Walks are best known for their tours and stories of ghosts and haunted places and Halloween is the perfect time to experience one of these walks! For more information: http://hauntedwalk.com/ottawa-tours/ 

Saunders Farm – Haunting Season
When: Saturdays and Sundays between September 23rd and October 31st
Where: Saunders Farm, Munster, ON
Admission: General Day Admission is $19.50 + HST (kids 2 and under are free); General night (Fright Fest) admission: $32.00 +HST

Scarier at night and as a not-as-scary experience during the day, Saunders Farm offers families the ultimate in Halloween thrills and chills!  The Day Haunting Season is fine for kids as the more scarier attractions are closed and the jumping pillows and main play area is open. There is also a pumpkin patch hay ride available for young visitors.

The Fright Fest (Night) at Saunders Farm is good for children ages 12 and up. For more information visit: http://saundersfarm.com/

Acres of Terror
When: Now until October 31st
Where: Cannamore Orchards, 1480 County Road 32, Crysler

Family-friendly during the day, and a lot scarier at night, Cannamore Orchards Halloween fun includes their infamous Spooky Wagon Ride™, The Spooky Village, Kid’s Spooky House, The Fog Maze, The House of Terror, and much more!

Bunker Buddies Halloween Night
When: Tuesday, October 31st from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Carp
Admission: By donation for parents, grandparents, or caregivers with kids. Kids under 5 are free.

A perfect Halloween Day activity for young kids. Kids and adults can come dressed up in their favourite costume and discover spooky (and cute) ghosts and monsters throughout the museum to collect treats.

Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure

If you have children aged 12 years and older, this 60 to 75 minute Halloween-themed tour is sure to be memorable! After 20 years a terrifying secret has been revealed and guests will be led on an interactive adventure to see what it’s all about. This unique underground experience is in conjunction with Haunted Walks. For more information: http://diefenbunker.ca/incident-at-the-bunker-a-zombie-adventure/

Halloween Fun At Hugli's Blueberry Ranch
When: On now until October 29th
Where: Hugli's Blueberry Ranch, 2139 Greenwood Rd., Pembroke, ON
Admission: $13+HST for Kids and Adults

A corn maze (which is haunted at night), haunted house, wagon rides and more, this makes for a fun fall drive through the Ottawa Valley and is fun for all ages!

Monster Mash Halloween Party
When: Saturday, October 21 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Billings Estate National Historic Site
Admission: Cost: $6.30/adult, $10.45/pair, $16.75/family

Billings Estate invites families to put on their best costumes and get into the Halloween Spirit at their Monster Mash Halloween Party!  There will be face painting, Halloween themed activities, crafts, and of course Halloween treats.

Haunted Historic Village
When: Friday and Saturday nights, from October 6 to October 28. 
Where: Cumberland Heritage Village
Admission: $10.45 per person

Every year Cumberland Historic Village is transformed into a brand new Halloween experience, with Halloween horrors around every corner that will push your fears to the limit. This Halloween Activity is ideal for older children who are not afraid of a nighttime scare or two.

Halloween Hijinks
When: Sunday, October 29, 2017 from 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Cumberland Heritage Village
Admission: $7.30 for adults, $5.25 for students and seniors, Free for children 5 and under, or $18.80 for a family (two adults and children under 18)

Dress up the family and celebrate Halloween at Cumberland Heritage Village by exploring everything the village has to offer including: the potions lab, a 1920s style Halloween crafts, and Halloween treats too!

Halloween at Horaceville
When: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Where: Pinhey's Point Historic Site, Dunrobin, ON
Admission: Cost: $6.30/adult, $10.45/pair, $16.75/family

Visit the scenic Pinhey's Point in Ottawa's far west for family-friendly ghost stories, turnip and pumpkin carving, playing fortune-telling games, and crafts. There will also be 19th century snacks cooked over an open fire using historic recipes.

Watson’s Mill Children’s Halloween Party
When: October 28th, 1 t 4 p.m.
Where: Watson’s Mill, Manotick
Admission: Free

A children’s Halloween Party with fun Halloween games and crafts. A great way to see this historic mill and celebrate Halloween! For more information: http://watsonsmill.com/events-2016/