The List: 10 Not-so-spooky Halloween Happenings

Baystateparent Magazine

Haunted Happenings - Salem 

Haunted Happenings in Salem.

This storied seaport hosts the street fairs, performances, and special events for the annual Haunted Happenings series, which runs all month long. From kid-friendly walking tours to museums, sweets and treats, and more, you'll find plenty to thrill the whole family. The main event, the Haunted Happenings Marketplace, brings vendors, mural pop up photo stations, street performers and more to the historic Salem common. You’ll also want to check out the Wicked Labyrinth, an indoor, walk-through show of over 1,000 intricately carved pumpkins. Magic shows, children’s tea parties, and psychic fairs are among the rotating daily offerings. Some events require tickets or reservations. All the fun culminates on Halloween night, where music, performances, special surprises take place throughout downtown. Costumes preferred! Find out more at hauntedhappenings.org

The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show - Stockbridge

The Incredible Naumkeag Pumpkin Show.

Explore the famous gardens at Naumkeag, a gilded-age cottage with lush grounds in the heart of the southern Berkshires. This daily celebration of autumn features over 1,500 jack-o-lanterns, hundreds of mums, pumpkins and countless gourds – most of which were grown right at Naumkeag. The Pumpkin Show in a one-way path through the property. Hot cider and fall treats will be available for sale on-site. Advanced purchase of timed tickets is required, Tickets range from $10-$20 and can be purchased at thetrustees.org

Pumpkintown USA - East Hampton, CT 

Pumpkintown USA

This kid-friendly Halloween village with lots of “non-scary” seasonal fun. Stroll through Pumpkintown Village where over 70 pumpkin people and animals hang out at a church, post office, saloon and more. Guests can also enjoy a drive-though journey through the Pumpkintown Forest in the comfort and safety of your own personal vehicle. On this scenic one-mile drive you’ll see over 30 Pumpkinhead people and their animal companions at home in their woodland dwellings. Reservations required, prices TBA. Find out more at pumpkintown.com.

Roger Williams Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular - Providence, RI

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

See Roger Williams Park Zoo’s pathways transform into a Halloween wonderland. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is open daily through Oct. 31. This outdoor gallery of more than 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns is displayed along the zoo’s beautiful Wetlands Trail. You can even get a bird’s eye view of these glittering gourds from Soaring Eagle Zip Ride. Check online at rwpzoo.org/jols for details on sensory-friendly nights, designed for those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and sensory processing differences and their families, or Family Fun Nights with music and costumed characters. Tickets, which range from $14-$21, are available online only and are for timed entry. 

Frog Pond Pumpkin Float - Boston

Frog Pond Pumpkin Float.

Tricks, treats, experiments, crafts, drinks, and spooky fun are all part of this October tradition in the heart of Boston. The annual Pumpkin Float at the Boston Common Frog Pond features floating pumpkins, luminaries and fun family activities. The free event takes place Friday, Oct. 15. Bring your own carved pumpkin and watch it float in the Frog Pond along with hundreds of other illuminated jack-o-lanterns. Carved and decorated jack-o’-lanterns must be 8-inches in diameter, or smaller, and already hollowed out or they will not float. While the pond fills up with glowing jack-o-lanterns, enjoy music, refreshments and children’s activities from 5-8 p.m. Attendees of all ages are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. 

Boo at the Zoo - New Bedford

Boo at the Zoo.

Now in its 20th year – Boo at the Zoo will satisfy all your fall, Halloween and cool weather cravings. Dress the kids in costume and enjoy campus-wide daytime trick-or-treating and all Buttonwood Park Zoo has to offer. Enjoy a socially-distanced walk-through experience with some twists and turns along the way. The slightly spooky theme includes mazes, a scavenger hunt, free carousel rides, and endless photo opportunities -- including a photo costume contest. Get up-close meet and greets with the Zoo’s Animal Ambassadors, and enjoy festive, fall food like kettle corn and apple cider. Families are encouraged to bring their own “trick or treat” bags. All the fun is on Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 16-31. Have little kids? Check out Baby Boo, geared towards children 5 and under, on Friday, Oct. 29. Tickets ragen from $8-$17, kids under 2 are free. Advance purchase is suggested at bpzoo.org.

Frightful Fridays at Gore Place - Waltham 

Frightful Fridays at Gore Place.

Enjoy spooky stories (but nothing too scary!) at this annual Halloween celebration held Oct. 15, 22 and 29. The 45-minute program, which features five stories told outside in the Century Tent, occurs twice per evening at 6:30 p.m. and again at 7:45 p.m. This program is for adults and children, ages 6 and up. Please, no younger children. Cost is $21 for general admission, $19 for members, and $16 for students 12 and under, and tickets are available at goreplace.org.

Phantoms & Fires - Sturbridge

Phantoms and Fire at Old Sturbridge Village.

Head to Old Sturbridge Village for a slightly spooky nighttime experience. Phantoms and Fire, which runs Oct. 13-31, gives you the chance to explore the outdoor living museum after hours, from 5-8:30 p.m. You’ll find spooky delights from bats and bonfires to cauldrons and candy, from ghosts and guitars. At six different locations throughout the Village, the short stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe come alive, “as told by the characters who have just witnessed them occur,” according to OSV. Kiddos can gather clues throughout the Village and present them on the way out for a bag of treats. Feel free to wear your costume! Cost is $20 for adults and $12 for youth. Pre-registration is required at osv.org

Boo at the Zoo & Zoo Howl - Stoneham/Boston 

Boo at the Zoo.

Children are invited to trick-or-treat among the animals at Stone and Franklin Park Zoos. Stone Zoo in Stoneham hosts Boo at the Zoo Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23-24, and Franklin Park Zoo hosts Zoo Howl the following weekend, Oct. 30-31. At both events, thrills, chills, and animals lurk around every corner on the trick-or-treat trail, while other haunted happenings include mystery animal encounters, costume contests and a scavenger hunt with prizes. Zoo educators will chat about creepy crawly critters, as well as about the importance of purchasing treats made with sustainable palm oil this Halloween. Throughout the day watch many of the animals receive pumpkins. Stop by the Sun-Maid booth on either Sunday to sample some tasty snacks. Guests who bring in an unopened Sun-Maid product to the admission booth will receive a free kid’s daytime admission (one per entry) ticket to the Zoo. Sun-Maid will then donate these products to the Greater Boston Food Bank. Online reservations are required for admission tickets at zoonewengland.org. General admission $20.95/$22.95, kids $13.95/$15.95, children under and members free.

Pumpkin Walk at Choate Park - Medway 

Pumpkin Walk at Choate Park.

The path along the Choate Park pond will be lit with jack-o'-lanterns at the return of the annual pumpkin walk. This fun, festive, family-oriented event at the historic park takes place from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29. Community-carved pumpkins feature diverse designs -- from the typical jack-o’-lantern faces carved by little ones to elaborate patterns by local artists. A concession stand will sell treats and cider at the free event. Those coming to the walk are encouraged to bring a flashlight because it is typically dark during the walk.