Our Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

October 16, 2017

Halloween book cover collage

Fall is here, and what is a better way to celebrate its arrival than with a good book? My kids and I love to go to the library and pick out some great Halloween children's books to read together, and fall is definitely one of our favorite times of year.

Here are some of our favorites that we've enjoyed over the years. All of these books should be available at public libraries throughot Marin. You can look to see if your local library has these titles available at marinlibrary.org.

Get Spooked this Halloween at a Haunted House in Marin!

October 16, 2017

Haunted house Marin

Everyone loves to get scared at Halloween—even if it's just a little scared—and the perfect place to get some thrills and chills this October is at a family-friendly haunted house. Here's our rundown of haunted houses here in Marin this Halloween season. All are suitable for the entire family, unless otherwise noted.

Keep in mind that some haunted houses have different versions for different audiences at different times, and some kids' tolerance for the spooky and scrary can vary.

Novato Horsemen Haunted House

600 Bugeia Lane, Novato
October 20 & 21, 27 & 28, 7–10 pm

Bring the kids out for a night of scare and fun at the Novato Horseman Haunted House in Novato. Admission is $5 per person. For more info, visit their website.

Tam Valley Haunted House

Tam Valley Community Center, Mill Valley
Friday–Sunday, October 20–22

The theme for TCSD's annual Tam Valley Haunted House is "Summon the Reaper". The Haunted House has three different tours: 3:30–4:30 pm: Not Scary, for children under 8 with all the lights on and a fun tour of the different areas; 5-6:30 pm: Scary, for children over 9; closed 6:30–7:30 pm to feed the volunteer monsters then back open 7:30–9 pm for a truly horrifying experience. Cost: $6 per person. Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.

Halloween Craft: Recycled Glass Pumpkin Votives

October 15, 2017

Halloween pumpkin votives recycled craft

This easy craft project is so much fun to make, and the finished product looks fantastic, especially when lit with a flickering LED candle. Best of all, you can make them using materials from your recycling bin! These Halloween pumpkin votives are simple to make, and are a perfect craft project for all ages, with parental supervision, of course. My daughter and I created the pair of jack-o-lanterns lanterns shown here.

This project is a little messy, so make sure you have a good work area that's easy to clean up. You can also create variations on this craft: use white tissue to make ghost lanterns, and green to make monsters.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for October 13, 14 & 15

October 14, 2017

Tolay Fall Festival

Due to the current wildfires in the North Bay many events have been cancelled this weekend, including the Tolay Fall Festival, the Marin Waldorf School Children's Faire, the Mountain School Apple Faire, the Cornerstone Harvest Pumpkin Patch Festival, Weekend Along the Farm Trails, and the Kunde Giant Pumpkin Festival. Other events may be cancelled; check with the organizer before attending.

Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties are open—see our list here.

Friday, October 13

  • Mill Valley Film Festival
    Various Locations
    Friday–Sunday, various times

    The 40th annual Mill Valley Film Festival features a variety of fantastic family films from around the world. Location: various theaters within Marin. For a complete listing of films, visit their website here.
  • Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch
    Santa Rosa
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am

    Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch offers eight acres of pumpkins, a huge seven-acre corn maze, kiddy corn mazes, hay and sunflower mazes, jack-o-lantern tether ball, tire swings, a 10-bale-high hay pyramid, a huge jumpy pillow, pedal trike races, a corn play box, a petting zoo, face painting, and more. Location: 5157 Stony Point Road (at Rohnert Park Expressway). For more info, visit their website.
  • The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also offers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Activities are free and so is the parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their website.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Nicasio
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Kids activities: jumpy houses, inflatable slide, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, farm animals to visit, a climbing wall, and face painting. Some of these attractions have an admission fee, and some are available only on weekends and select days. Shaded seating area with picnic tables, so you can relax and take in the scenery, listen to some great live music, and even eat lunch. If you arrive hungry, Big Jim's BBQ is on hand on weekends. Tim Cain performs on Sunday from 11 am to noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio. Read our review here. For more info, visit their website.

Free Activities for Families Affected by the North Bay Fires

October 14, 2017

California Academy of SciencesThe California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate park is offering free admission to families affected by the North Bay fires through this Sunday.

Many of our readers live in Sonoma County, and we're heartbroken at the destruction from the fires raging there right now. With many Sonoma and Napa families evacuated from their homes, and many families in Marin hosting them (we're one of them!), everyone is by now looking for something to take their minds off the sad situation. Many local museums, indoor play areas, and other attractions are offering free admission for those affected by the fires so families can get out of the smoke and enjoy themselves, recharge, and relax for a while.

Here's a list of places offering free admission to those affected by the North Bay fires. Listings with an asterisk (*) denote indoor spaces where you can get out of the smoke. Most require eligible visitors to check in at the admission desk when visiting. Follow the links in the titles for more information.

"Bringing it Home" with Ana Homayoun at Mount Tamalpais School

October 13, 2017

Mt. Tamalpais School

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from Mount Tamalpais School in Mill Valley.

Mount Tamalpais School in Mill Valley presents Bringing It Home, a Parent Education Speaker Series event with Ana Homayoun, A Conversation about Social Media Wellness: How to Help Children and Adults Thrive in an Unbalanced Digital World. Ana's talk is open to the public. We invite you to join us on Thursday, October 19 from 7–8:30 pm on our campus in Summit Hall.

Halloween Craft Project: Paper Jack-O-Lanterns

October 12, 2017

Pumpkin paper lanterns Kids always love to make fun decorative crafts, especially at Halloween, when they can help make the house or classroom extra spooky. These easy-to-make paper jack-o-lanterns are a Halloween-time take on the traditional paper lantern craft project, and are simple enough that almost anyone in the family can make them. Make a bunch with different face designs and hang them around the house.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Orange and green construction paper (we used 12 x 18" sheets, but letter size will work, too)
  • Black markers, paint, or construction paper

Not-So-Scary Halloween Fun for Toddlers and Preschoolers

October 10, 2017

Tolay Fall Festival

Halloween with really little kids is kind of a mixed bag. On one hand, they usually love the costumes and the candy. On the other, the spooky parts of the holiday can sometimes be scary and older kids can be intimidating. We've chosen eight fun and not-too-spooky Halloween events from across the Bay Area that are perfect for little ones. You can find even more family fun for this fall in our Halloween event guide, too.

Note that the annual Tolay Fall Festival has been cancelled due to the Sonoma wildfire emergency.

Run with the Family This Thanksgiving at the Marin Turkey Trot

October 10, 2017

Instead of just eating until you're stuffed this Thanksgiving, do something healthy to kick off the day and help support local charities at the Annual Marin Turkey Trot. Taking place on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23, 2017), the Turkey Trot features fun races for the entire family, including the Youth 1-mile for ages 5 and up, Turkey Trot 5K, and the Pilgrim 10K. All races start and finish at the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus at 1800 Ignacio Boulevard in Novato.

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