Ten great non-scary places to take your kids or grandkids for Halloween fun
The calendar says October, which means that it’s time to get into the spirit of Halloween and scare up some fun for your favorite little ghosts and goblins. Whether your fifty-something like me with a child whose age is still in single digits or perhaps you have young grandchildren, you’ll want to check out some of these Halloween attractions that offer fun without fright. Here are ten places that won’t leave anyone with nightmares.
1. Trick or Treat at the AmherstMuseum. October 21-22. Admission charged. This event is perfect for children age 3-10. Trick or treaters, who are encouraged to come in costume, will visit the museum’s historic buildings which are decorated for the season. At each stop they will receive a small toy or treat. Enjoy cider and donuts after you finish your rounds. Pre-registration is necessary as admission is by timed ticket. Amherst Museum, 3755 Tonawanda Creek Road, Amherst 716-689-1440 www.amherstmuseum.org
2. Great Pumpkin Farm. Farm market open daily 10:00 am to dusk, Sept. 24 to Oct. 31. Admission charged for festival weekend activities. This Clarence attraction has one of the largest selections of pumpkins in the area. Each weekend features a different themed festival, including the World Pumpkin weigh-off Oct 1-2. Weekend activities include amusement rides, hayrides, magic shows, a corn maze, a retail shop with seasonal decorations, bakery, and more. Great Pumpkin Farm, 11199 Main Street, Clarence 716-759-8483, www.greatpumpkinfarm.com
3. Pumpkinville Open daily 9 am-7 pm from the 3rd Saturday in September until Oct, 31, free admission, nominal charge for some activities. With a name like Pumpkinville you know what you are going to find here; pumpkins, lots of ‘em. Pumpkinville, which was started in the late 1960’s, is the oldest continually working pumpkin farm in New YorkState. Naturally, you can buy pumpkins here, but one can also enjoy family-friendly activities like a corn maze, farm animals, and pony rides. Their bake shop features made-from-scratch baked goods like pumpkin donuts.
Pumpkinville, 4830 Sugartown Road, Great Valley 716-699-2994, www.pumpkinville.com
4. Pumpkin Fiesta at Becker Farms. Farm market is open daily; Fee charged for weekend activities. Pumpkin Fiesta takes place Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm. One of my favorite places to visit in fall is Becker Farms, which has been family owned and operated for over 100 years. Their annual Pumpkin Fiesta on weekends in September and October features hayrides, pony rides, live entertainment, a corn maze, and more. Their retail shop sells homemade pies, apples, and seasonal decorations. If you come without the kids in tow, sample some of the wines at their winery, Vizcarra Vineyards, which specializes in fruit wines. If you prefer beer over wine, their brewery, Becker Brewing Company, features over a half-dozen beers, which are brewed on-site.
Becker Farms, 3760 Quaker Road, Gasport 716-772-2211, www.beckerfarms.com
5. Holiday Hollow Halloween and Pirate Festival. Open 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday in October, plus Columbus Day. $11 admission age 11+, $10 ages 3-10. This unique attraction will get young and old into the Halloween spirit. Holiday Hollow is an old-English style Halloween themed village which was created by the Walker family almost 20 years ago. Seven live shows, including their signature captain Hook and Mr. Smee show take place at various times throughout the day. Older kids may find the shows a bit corny, but the younger ones love them. A new indoor theater allows the show to go on during inclement weather.
Holiday Hollow Halloween and Pirate Festival, 1410 Main Road, Corfu, 585-762-8160, www.holidayhollow.com
6. Howl-O-Ween Hayrides at the Buffalo Zoo. October 15-16, 22-23, 4:30-7:00 pm. Admission is $6/members, $9/non-members. Visitors to this 15th annual event will enjoy a hayride through the zoo, crafts, games, and refreshments. Be sure to dress the kids in their favorite costume for the costume parade.
Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Avenue, Buffalo, 716-837-3900, for tickets call 716-995-6133, www.buffalozoo.org
7. Halloween Spooktacular at the HerschellCarrouselMuseum. October 21 from 5:30-8:00 pm. $8/child, $2/adult. This family-friendly event includes games, refreshments, a magic show, and even a ride on their vintage 1916 carousel, which was manufactured on this site.
Herschell Carrousel Museum, 180 Thompson Street, North Tonawanda, 716-693-1855, www.carrouselmuseum.org
8. Halloween Happening at the Aquarium of Niagara. October 29 from 4:00-7:00 pm. $5 admission. Enjoy a family-themed event among aquatic animals. Have your child dress up as a sea creature and they’ll get free admission.
Aquarium of Niagara, 701 Whirlpool Street, Niagara Falls, NY, 716-285-3575, www.aquariumofniagara.org
9. Enchanted Forest at Beaver Meadow. October 7-9, 6:30-9:30pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance; tickets will not be sold at the door. Enchanted Forest, which is one of the biggest events at Beaver Meadow, is a family-oriented, nature-based Halloween event. Walk through the forest along the nature trail lined with hundreds of jack o’ lanterns and you’ll meet some of the creatures of the night. A similar event takes place October 7-8 at the JamestownAudubonCenter, www.jamestownaudubon.org
BeaverMeadowNatureCenter, 1610 Welch Road, North Java, 585-457-3228, www.buffaloaudubon.org
10. Arcade and Attica Railroad Halloween Haunted House. October 29-30 at 12:00 and 3:00pm, $14 admission; reservations recommended. Kids can dress up in costume and enjoy a train ride in vintage coaches to the Curriers station, which will be decorated as a haunted house. Cider and donuts will be available for purchase. Fall foliage rides are also scheduled for weekends during October.
Arcade and Attica Railroad, 278 Main Street, Arcade, 585-492-3100, www.arcadeandatticarr.com