Pint-sized ghouls and goblins will have a spine-tingling time at one of these family-friendly Halloween events from coast to coast.
Galey Farms Corn Maze, Market & Railway This working family farm opens in spring to sell its homegrown produce, but it really comes alive in the fall. Their annual Pumpkinfest (October weekends starting October 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) features a kid-friendly ghost town and haunted house, trips on the Crazy Train through animated displays, and spook-free fun like a corn maze, face-painting station, hay rides, games, a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and more. Daring adults (and older kids) will love the Festival Of Fear, which includes all of the kids’ activities plus the main attraction: a 6,000-square-foot Carnevil Haunted House (October 16 to 31, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; $10 per person). There’s also plenty of autumnal harvest fun (August 1 to October 31), with train rides through the property ($7 per child 12 and younger; $10 per adult), a petting zoo with donkeys, goats, sheep and more (free with purchase of a train or corn-maze ticket, or $2 per family) and a playground. Pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic tables.
4150 Blenkinsop Rd., Victoria. 250-477-5713
Haunted Zip at Adrena Line Zipline Adventure Tours Do you think witches are the only creatures that glide through the night on Halloween? Think again! Thrill-seekers who weigh a minimum of 40 lb. and maximum of 275 lb. can zoom without a broom on a haunted zip-line tour. Fly through a flurry of strange and scary creatures, listen to creepy ghost stories and even interact with monsters—if you dare! Want to scale back the scary? Daytime zip-line tours are less spooky and more kid friendly. Tickets go quickly, so be sure to book in advance. October 24 to 26 at 6:30 p.m. Adults, $80; youth, $70.
5128C Sooke Rd., Sooke. 250-642-1933
Halloween Ghost Train in Stanley Park Every October, Stanley Park gets a little sinister. Beginning October 10 and operating through November 1, the park’s covered train takes adventurous families on spooky rides through the woods. Travel past creepy art installations as eerie sounds and creatures (costumed actors) surround you in the dark (weekend-only daytime rides—which are $6 per person—don’t include actors and are recommended for families with small kids). Snacks and drinks are available for purchase at the on-site Railway Cafe concession stand, or opt for the dinner package offered by the nearby Old Spaghetti Factory (it’s rumoured to be haunted!). Park in one of the five lots on the park’s east side and ride a free trolley to the train. Adults, $11; children, youth and seniors, $7; kids two and younger get in free.
Stanley Park, Vancouver. 604-257-8531
Halloween at FlyOver Canada Make like a witch and take flight this Halloween! But forget the broom—take a virtual voyage across the nation with a special ride from FlyOver Canada. This Vancouver-based flight simulation combines a giant dome screen with the latest in cinema technology and effects (you’ll even feel the wind) to give you the sensation of flying freely from the east to the west coast. The entire facility undergoes a spooky makeover for Halloween. Book ahead to secure your spot, and opt for a Fastlane fee of $2 to ensure your time slot (otherwise, it’s a first-come, first-served basis). While there’s no age minimum, kids must be at least 102 cm (or 40 inches) tall to get on the ride. October 10 to November 2 from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. Adults $20; youth 12 and older and seniors, $18; kids, $15.
201-999 Canada Place, Vancouver. 604-620-8455
Haunted Atlas Coal Mine 2014 For most of the year, this coal-mining museum just east of Drumheller is a family-friendly attraction. But peculiar spirits and kooky creatures take over this national historical site at Halloween, making it a destination fit for the brave. Big Boo ($15 per person; October 18 and 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.), a terrifying tour of the coal mine, is suitable only for older kids, as it is certifiably scary. Up for the challenge? Make sure to bring your flashlight! The mine offers a variety of tours during their regular schedule—one even takes you underground! Families with kids younger than nine are invited to Little Boo ($5 per person), a subdued and better-lit tour that takes place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on October 19 and 26—a great option for families who want a Halloween thrill without the nightmares.
110 Century Dr., East Coulee. 403-822-2220
Ghouls’ Night Out! at Heritage Park Historical Village Get ready for an evening of Halloween games, crafts and more at Canada’s largest historical museum. Girls and boys ages three to nine can join the Skyscrapers Flying Academy for a broom-flying lesson, visit the toy shop of horrors and warm up with a cup of tea with the Mad Hatter himself. Find out what your future holds at the fortune teller’s station and then hear tricky tales from Halloweens past at the Witches Retirement Home. October 23 to 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. General admission, $11; kids three to 12, $7; kids younger than two get in free.
1900 Heritage Dr. S.W., Calgary. 403-268-8500
Haunted Pumpkin Festival at Prairie Gardens Alberta Since its debut in 1956, more than one million guests have visited this farm and its annual festival, which boasts over 50-plus activities for the whole family. The fun includes train rides around the farm, a scarecrow-making workshop, haunted house, pumpkin bowling, duck races and hay mazes. Plus, there’s more on the weekend: hourly puppet shows, a pumpkin cannon ($4), balloon animals by Phileas Flash and pumpkin-drumming circles. Reserve a picnic table site ($15 for three hours) and purchase food (burgers and roasted potatoes, chili, caramel apples and pumpkin pie) at one of four concessions and shops. September 27 to October 26. General admission, $13; a family of four, $46 (plus $12 for each additional member); children younger than two get in free.
56311 Lily Lake Rd., Bon Accord. 780-921-2272
Boo Town at the Saskatchewan Western Development Museum This museum’s 1910-era boomtown is transformed into Boo Town this Halloween. Come in costume and get ready for an evening of fun at the Halloween haunt. Kids can participate in crafts and games, solve mysteries, listen to ghost stories and even sample food fit for a witch. October 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Adults, $10; seniors, $9; students, $7; kids six to 12, $4; kids five and younger get in free.
2610 Lorne Ave., Saskatoon. 306-931-1910
Phantoms of the Orchestra at Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra Music lovers, beware: Rumour has it that phantoms have taken over the Orchestra. These trouble-making ghosties return to wreak musical havoc on the symphony every Halloween. Watch as the maestro, along with his scared assistant, must work their magic to control an orchestra full of ghouls—and lead them in concert. With music inspired by Dukas’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (you might recognize it from Disney’s Fantasia), the show is part of the Symphony’s 2014-2015 Concerts for Kids series and is the perfect mix of freaky and family-friendly. Be sure to get there early to check out the instruments in the lobby before the show. October 26 at 2 p.m. Adults $28; kids 12 and younger, $14; or subscribe to the concert series (adults, $102; kids 12 and younger, $40).
555 Main St., Winnipeg. 204-949-3999
Halloween Haunt at Selkirk Marine Museum Drop your anchors at this nautical history museum to explore the S.S. Keenora (a passenger and freight steamship built in 1897), but beware of the spooks around every corner. Children younger than 10 (and those who don’t enjoy costumed characters) can climb aboard the M.S. Lady Canadian, a fish freighter from 1944 that’s decked out in Halloween decor. The event offers plenty of crafting opportunities, puzzles and games for kids, and there’s “ice scream” and other treats available for purchase on-site. October 17 to 19 and October 23 to 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. General admission, $7; kids five to 14, $4; kids four and younger, $1.
490 Eveline St., Selkirk. 204-482-7761
Halloween Haunted Weekend at Mew Lake Pack up the kids and head into the wild this Halloween for a weekend of camping in Algonquin Park. The fearsome festivities begin on Friday night with an owl prowl, where families can get a “who’s who” of different owl species in the area. Head over to the visitor’s centre on Saturday to get a close-up look at animal skeletons, then dress up your campsite (and yourselves!) and get carving to compete in the competitions for spookiest site, best costume and jack-o-lantern. Trick-or-treat around the campground, join the park naturalists for a wolf howl and get cozy around the campfire for roasted wieners and marshmallows. You should make reservations as the sites often book up in advance. October 24 to 25. $43 to $49 per site, per night (up to six people and one vehicle per campsite; additional vehicles, $12).
Mew Lake Campground, Algonquin Park. 705-633-5572
Camper Halloween at Bronte Creek Kick off this creepy camping weekend with a frightful Friday night campfire. On Saturday there’s a campsite decorating contest and trick-or-treating around the grounds (bring your costumes!), as well as a spooky evening hike where you’ll learn about bats, owls, coyotes and other creatures of the night. To participate in this event you must be registered campers of Bronte Creek Provincial Park (book your campsite at ontarioparks.com), and must call ahead to sign up for the program. October 17 to 19 or October 24 to 26. $45 per night per site, per vehicle, ($12 for additional vehicles).
1219 Burloak Dr., Oakville. 905-827-6911
York-Durham Heritage Railway All aboard the Halloween express! Built in the 1860s, this tourist railway train travels between Stouffville and Uxbridge decked out in spooky style. Kids can have their faces painted and enjoy music throughout the cars. Snacks are available for purchase during the ride, plus kids receive a free loot bag of goodies at the end of the trip. October 18, 19, 25, 26. Adults, $18; students and seniors, $16; costumed kids younger than 13 get in free.
19 Railway St., Uxbridge. 905-852-3696
Cannamore Orchard Spooky Wagon Ride While this family farm is known for its fresh produce, you-pick berries, apples and pumpkins, it’s the extra-spooky wagon rides that make it famous. Parents, beware: While the wagon ride is a family attraction, it is not for the faint of heart and is recommended for kids older than 10. For families with younger kids, there’s plenty of spook-less harvest fun, including indoor and outdoor mazes, friendly barn animals and more. October 4 to October 30 (ride dates and times vary, so check online or call ahead). General admission, $16 to $20; kids younger than two get in free.
1480 County Road 32, Cannamore. 613-448-3633
Pumpkinland at Whittamore’s Farm Have you ever seen pumpkins fly? Visit Pumpkinland on weekends from mid-September until Halloween for a pumpkin-cannon show! There are tons of other harvest- and Halloween-themed activities to enjoy, from spooky forest wagon rides and bouncy castles to spiderweb scaling and corn-maze navigating and more. Food is available for purchase, or enjoy snacks from home in the farm’s designated picnic area.September 13 to October 31. General admission, $8 to $12; family of four, $44; unlimited season pass, $35; kids two and younger get in free.
8100 Steeles Ave. E., Markham. 905-294-3275
PumpkinFest at Downey’s Farm Market Halloween is a month-long event at this family farm. Weekday activities include wagon rides, a corn maze (collect clues to discover hidden stations), pony rides, tricycle and pedal cart tracks and more. Visit on the weekend for even more fun, like face-painting, a DIY scarecrow workshop, puppet and magic shows and bouncy castles. No outside food is permitted, but there are plenty of homemade goodies, preserves, produce and other treats available for purchase. September 27 to October 31. General admission, $7 to $14; kids younger than two get in free.
13682 Heart Lake Rd., Caledon. 905-838-2990
Howling Hootenanny at Black Creek Pioneer Village Dress up your ghosts and ghouls for a day of Halloween fun at this historic village. Put your aim to the test with the apple slingshot, get a tattoo (don’t worry—they’re washable!), decorate a pumpkin and go trick-or-treating through the township. Brave the haunted maze or help your little ones through the scarecrow-guarded mini maze (both take place during the day, keeping the fear-factor to a minimum.) October 18, 19, 25, 26 from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adults, $15; seniors and students, $14; kids five to 14, $11; kids four and younger get in free.
1000 Murray Ross Pkwy., Toronto. 416-736-1733
Halloween at Aquarium du Québec Ahoy, matey! Put yer costume on and get all hands on deck for a torch-lit tour of the aquarium. This kid-friendly indoor-outdoor event is pirate-themed and features inflatable games, a maze for kids, face-painting and more. Costumed characters await at every corner of the tour, ready to surprise the kids. October 17, 18, 24, 25 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Adults, $6 to $11; children, $4 to $7; families, $29; kids younger than three and annual passport PLUS holders get in free.
1675 avenue des Hôtels, Québec. 418-659-5264
Village Fantôme de Cantley There’s something for everyone at Quebec’s largest Halloween event. This haunt, now in its 22nd year, promises plenty of themed booths (think superheroes, princesses and more), games, concession treats, fabulous photo ops, haunted houses and more. Toddlers will love the “Royaume des petits” (Small Kingdom), which focuses more on the magic of Halloween than the horror, with volunteers in colourful costumes, friendly Halloween characters and, of course, plenty of goodies to gobble up (open October 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). Thrill-seeking big kids can visit the “Vallée de l’horreur” (Valley of Horror) on Friday and Saturday nights, when spine-chilling creatures and horrifying haunters go lurking. Live music and entertainment also take place on the big stage through the weekend. October 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and October 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (for young kids) and 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. (for the older crowd).
448 chemin du Mont-Cascades, Cantley.
The Great Pumpkin Ball at the Montreal Botanical Gardens and Insectarium Every October, more than 800 decorated pumpkins and gourds spring up in the botanical gardens, just in time for Halloween. Watch as Pépo the pumpkin tells the story of how the iconic Halloween crop came to be and meet the (friendly) witch in town named Esmerelda, her cat Abracadabra, and Gontran, her broom. Young kids will love the Little Monsters Courtyard, where they can climb structures, play Halloween-themed games and more. October 3 to 31. Adults, $11 to $19; seniors, $10 to $18; students, $8 to $14; kids five to 17, $6 to $10; family (two adults and up to three kids), $28 to $53; kids younger than five get in free.
4101 rue Sherbrooke Est, Montreal. 514-872-1400
Scaredy-Cats at Magnetic Hill Zoo Put on your costume and get ready for a boo! at the zoo this Halloween. The fear factor ranges from mildly spooky to very scary, so there’s something for all ages and levels of bravery. Kids can get their faces painted, play games, jump on inflatable bouncers and visit the zoo’s animals. Food is available for purchase at the on-site canteen. October 18, 19, 25, 26. Zoo open from 9 a.m., and rides from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adults, $10; seniors and students, $9, kids four to 11, $8; family pass (two kids, two adults), $32; kids three and younger get in free.
125 Magic Mountain Rd., Moncton. 506-877-7718
Dare To Be Scared ghost tour at Halifax Citadel National Historical Site Do you believe in ghosts? Rumour has it this historic British fort is haunted, so you’ll need a lamp in hand as the tour winds deep into the site’s chambers, set to ghastly tales and chilling legends that are not for the weak-kneed. Though this 70-minute tour is not exclusive to the haunted holiday (it runs from July 11 until October 31), it’s a great way to scare up some Halloween excitement. Due to the creepy nature of this event, the tour is not for kids younger than six. Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. July 11 to October 31, plus additional tours in September and October. Adults, $12; youth six to 16, $8; family pass (two adults and two youth), $35. Cash only.
5425 Sackville St., Halifax. 902-426-1990
Culture Summerside’s Historic Ghostwalk Experience the creepy side of Summerside with a guided ghost tour through the town’s historic district. Visitors will be led on foot by volunteers to 10 Halloween vignettes, each bringing to life true tales of the area. Tours depart from the MacNaught History Centre & Archives every 10 minutes. October 23 from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.
75 Spring St., Summerside. 902-432-1332
A version of this article appeared in our October 2014 issue with the headline "All the best: Thrilling Halloween events," pp.115-20.
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