Halloween Planner: Spooky Hikes, "Trick or Tree" Climb, Monster Bash, Pumpkin Art, More

chalkboard_pumpkinWhy are we northwesterners so Halloween-crazy? Is it because as we descend into the deep gloom of our winter, we want the solace that jack-o-lanterns and scaring ourselves provide?

At any rate, there are scores of fun, unexpected ways to celebrate Halloween around the Sound, from climbing a giant oak tree to artist-abetted pumpkin carving workshops. Here are some of our favorites; many won't cost you a dime, especially if you're costumed. (See our seasonal calendar for the complete list.)

Friday, Oct. 26

- See a unique zombie show at Bellevue Youth Theatre (Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m., Sunday, 2 p.m. $5-$12).

- Spook your family at one of these six seriously scary haunted forests and farms (with some family-friendly options as well).

- Make the trek to Eatonville for Northwest Trek's annual Hoot 'n' Howl, a rare chance to witness the nocturnal life of Trek critters (Friday-Saturday, 6-10 p.m., $9-$13).

- Attend one of a dozen super-affordable Halloween festivals and carnivals at local community centers.

Saturday, Oct. 27

- Burn off Halloween treats, by racing in the Pumpkin Push at Seward Park (8 a.m.), the Black Cat Fun Run in Tacoma (6:05 p.m.,Point Defiance), or, on Sunday, Woodland Park Zoo's Pumpkin Dash (Sunday, 9:30 a.m.).

- Have a Halloween blast and benefit Seattle Children's by attending the annual "Monster Bash"; a $13 "fright fee" gets your kiddos pony rides, house-O-haunts, pumpkin decorating, costume contest, a Trophy cupcake, games and much more (3-7 p.m.).

- Head out on a Happy Halloween hike at Seattle's Discovery Park -- put on your costume and discover Halloween animals with parks staff (FREE, 10:30 a.m.)

- Decorate pumpkins at Cafe Flora, with pumpkins donated by awesome Oxbow Farm, plus pumpkin snacks (10 a.m.-2 p.m., FREE).

- Carve pumpkins at Seward Park Environmental & Audubon Center (10 a.m.-3 p.m., FREE), and then hit the fantastic new playground and trails.

- Harness up and climb into the canopy of a giant oak tree in Volunteer Park at this "Trick-or-Tree" event (1-6:30 p.m., $15, register beforehand, ages 6 and up).

Sunday, Oct. 28

zoo-penguin-pumpkin1- Head to Seattle's waterfront for FREE trick or treating (11 a.m.-5 p.m.) and also stop by the Seattle Aquarium to take part in its weekend Halloween extravaganza, including underwater pumpkin carving and spooky activities (Friday-Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., included in admission).

- Watch some serious pumpkin smashing at the Woodland Park Zoo's Pumpkin Bash (Saturday-Sunday, included in admission, 1 kid in costume free per paid adult)!

- Celebrate West Seattle's year-round farmer's market at this joint Halloween/harvest festival, including a kids' costume parade (10 a.m.-2 p.m.).

- Spend the afternoon at IslandWood's Howl-o-ween on Bainbridge Island, for pumpkin critter carving with the imaginative kitchen staff, haunted trail walks, fortune telling and more (1-5 p.m., FREE).

- Take your kids on a Farm Adventure Tour at Oxbow Farm (Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.) and then set them loose at the farm's Living Playground ($5 for tour, other farm fun free).

- Rock out to Recess Monkey and join a marching-band-led costume parade at "Hilloween" on Capitol Hill (1-6 p.m., FREE).

- Celebrate Halloween with an arts twist at Bellevue Arts Museum's BAM-O-WEEN, including a walk through the haunted sculpture garden (11 a.m.-4 p.m., FREE).

- Bring your junior pilots to the Museum of Fright for pumpkin bowling, spooky flight simulators and more (11 a.m.-3 p.m., FREE for kids with costume, $10 for adults)

Monday, Oct. 29

- Decorate cupcakes with the experts at Cupcake Royale in Bellevue (4:30-6 p.m., $5).

- Drop off your best carved pumpkin at Volunteer Park Conservatory to enter its contest and play a role in the Haunted Conservatory on Halloween.

- Pack one of these special Halloween-themed bento lunches in your kid's lunchbox for a spooky surprise.

- Have some hands-on, science-y Halloween fun at KidsQuest Children's Museum (5-8 p.m., $7-$10).

Tuesday, Oct. 30

- Go on a toddler-friendly Halloween hike at Camp Long, a gem of a park in West Seattle (10:30-11:45 a.m., FREE).

- Lamenting the Halloween sugar rush? Make one of these healthy-but-still-tasty treats instead.

- Hunker down at home and make one of these fun (and easy!) Halloween crafts.

Wednesday, Oct. 31

candy_corn_ice_cream_by_we_are_not_martha- Dress your kid as a butterfly and get a free ticket to Pacific Science Center's acclaimed new 3-D IMAX film, The Flight of the Butterflies.

- Celebrate Green Halloween with earth-friendly crafts and activities at Planet Happy toy store (10 a.m.-6 p.m., FREE).

- Enjoy good spooky nature fun at Seattle's Haunted Volunteer Park Conservatory (5-8 p.m., FREE), or in Tacoma, the W.W. Botanical Garden Conservatory (4:30-8 p.m., $4).

- Have a safe, rainproof trick-or-treating experience that's perfect for little ones at the Children's Museum Costume Carnival (4-8 p.m, FREE).

- In Tacoma, take part in the Urban Adventure Monster Mash Bash at the STAR Center, with a haunted playground, spooky stories and more (6-9 p.m., FREE).

- And what about all that candy? Donate it to science (that is, your kids' science experiments), and/or recycle it into one of these amazing leftover treats.

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