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.

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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):

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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/

Ottawa Halloween Activities

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! Whether you are looking for a family-friendly Halloween Party, Halloween themed date night fun, or an indoor place to bring the kids’ trick or treating the day of, here are some Halloween activities taking place in Ottawa this month:

The Haunted Walk – Halloween Season
When: Nightly until November 5th
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/ 

A Barnyard Hallowe’en:
When: October 29th to 30th from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
Admission: Included with Museum admission

Tour the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum as a family in your favourite Halloween costume and then participate in making some ghoulish treats, a creepy craft and enjoy some Halloween themed storytelling and games. There will be a costume parade and scavenger hunt for the kids and for an additional fee they can decorate their own pumpkin to bring home. For complete details visit: http://cafmuseum.techno-science.ca/en/whats-on/event-a-barnyard-halloween.php

Saunders Farm – Haunting Season
When: Saturdays and Sundays between now and October 30th
Where: Saunders Farm, Munster, ON
Admission: General Day Admission is $18.58 + HST (kids 2 and under are free); General night admission: $31.86 +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! New this year is The Carnival, which includes a antique Ferris wheel and carousel.

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 or is ideal for a scary date night! For more information visit: http://saundersfarm.com/

Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure
When: October 29, 30 and November 5th
Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, Carp
Admission: General admission: $21.75 + HST

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/

Great Pumpkin Ball
When: October 29th 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Where: St. Brigid's Haunted Castle

A great adult-only Halloween party in support of the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing - National Capital Region, St. Jude Children's Hospital and the Ottawa Food Bank. For more information: http://greatpumpkinball.com/

Trick or Treat with the Mayor
When: October 29th
Where: Ottawa City Hall
Admission: A nonperishable food donation for the Ottawa Food Bank’s Baby Basics Program

This will be the Mayor’s 10th annual Halloween party and is a lot of fun for children. There are always costumed characters walking around greeting guests, as well as free pumpkin decorating, games and other fun activities. For more information: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/mayor-and-city-councillors/mayor-jim-watson/trick-or-treat-mayor

Halloween at Rideau Hall
When: October 31st from 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Rideau Hall Visitor Centre
Admission: Free

On Halloween, Rideau Hall’s visitor centre will be transformed into a haunted dollhouse where toys gather to seek revenge – and of course there will be goodies there too. A fun way to celebrate Halloween! For more information: http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=14806

Nature Nocturne: Scales and Tails
When: October 28th from 8 p.m. to midnight
Where: Canadian Museum of Nature
Admission: $25

The Halloween edition of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Nature Nocturne always makes for a fun date night. This kid-free event is full of music, dancing, and activities. This is a great opportunity to visit the museum in your favourite Halloween costume and without the kids. For more information:  http://nature.ca/en/plan-your-visit/what-see-do/whats/nature-nocturne-october-28

Watson’s Mill Children’s Halloween Party
When: October 29th, 7 to 9:30 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/

Trick or Treat in a mall! 

Carlingwood Mall
When: Saturday October 29th (Free trick or treating for the kids from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at participating stores.). Also: Meet and get a picture with Peppa Pig ($10 per family).* You must purchase your ticket in advance - tickets available from Sunrise Records for sittings from 11-11:50 a.m., 12-12:50 p.m., 1-1:50 p.m. and 2-2:50 p.m.

Hazeldean Mall
When: October 31st from 10 a.m. to 12 noon (free trick or treating throughout the mall)

Place D’Orleans
When: October 31st from 10 a.m. to 12 noon (free trick or treating at participating retailers, as well as artistic face painting)

 

 

Halloween and Day of the Dead

Halloween
Halloween

Is it a coincidence that the pagan-based Halloween falls around the time of Mexico's holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)? History says probably. Our Halloween is likely more closely connected to the Christian feast All Hallow's Eve, and to pagan traditions from Celtic-speaking countries.

That Halloween has become a mainly commercial celebration (a time for children to gorge on treats full of refined sugar and artificial flavours/colours) is rather sad. I'm all for chocolate and candy (hey, I've already broken into our box of mini chocolate bars!), but I'm increasingly interested in ways that we can bring back a more traditional meaning to the day.

Westerners are notoriously fearful of death. Death is always tragic and heartbreaking. We feel at a loss when comforting friends and family - what's the right thing to say? The fact that we're no longer flocking to organized religion for guidance means that many of us feel spiritually deprived or unsure of our beliefs.

This issue hit me smack in the nose the other night when my daughter suddenly began discussing death (why do these conversations always happen right before bedtime?) She got worked up, and wondered what she would do if Mommy and Daddy died. I tried to answer her questions and calm her fears, but I felt inadequate.

Google "how to talk to your kids about death" and you'll come up with thousands of articles. Most of the advice is good - state facts as simply as possible, and don't make stuff up (e.g. "Grandma has gone to sleep.") But rarely do I find articles that frame death in a more positive light.

On Dia de los Muertos, you might see skulls and skeletons, but people are not scared. In fact, they're having fun! They dress in costumes, share food, create representations of skulls and skeletons, and give offerings to their departed loved ones.

Obviously individuals who celebrate Dia de los Muertos still feel sad when family members or friends die. But instead of the usual hush-hush and gloom that surrounds the death, there is instead a celebration of life - and a strong belief that a loved one is in a good place.

So here are a few ideas on how to integrate death and dying into your Halloween celebrations - in a way that kids will understand and enjoy!

  • Check out Pinterest for some great Dia De Los Muertos craft ideas
  • Take your kids to see the movie The Book of Life - set on the Day of the Dead, I'm sure the film will provide a jumping off point for discussions about death
  • If you're a parent interested in having an open and honest discussion about death, join the Death Cafe Ottawa! (next cafe night is November 5th)
  • If your kids are old enough, pay a visit to the grave or memorial of a loved one. Bring bunches of colourful flowers, and ask your kids to make an offering (see the craft ideas above)
  • Before heading out trick or treating on Halloween, prepare a yummy feast (doesn't have to be Mexican food!) Take a moment for each person to say what they cherish about their life - death is also about life after all!

Do you celebrate Dia de las Muertos?