The scariest time of the year is approaching. While many look forward to a fun scare or even a serious scare, folks with little ones may be on the lookout for a few less shocking Halloween shenanigans. Don’t be afraid (no, really, don’t be afraid); Norfolk has a great range of kid-friendly Halloween events and activities. From glass pumpkins and haunted cookie houses to costume fun for fur babies, here are some fun and family-friendly Halloween activities in Norfolk.
Chrysler Art Museum
Beginning in September and throughout spooky season, the Chrysler Museum hosts its popular pumpkinpalooza, a chance for creatives to create their own glass pumpkin. Entrants aged 5 and up can choose from a range of colors to make their item unique. With the help of an instructor, pumpkin makers will apply colored crushed glass to molten clear glass on a long metal tube. The objects are then inflated with an air device. A curly stem is the finishing touch to bring these ornamental gourds to life. (Saturdays Sept. 17 to Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Don’t want to make your own? The Chrysler large glass pumpkin gives people the chance to harvest a fall collectible from Glass Studio’s outdoor pumpkin patch and bring it home to decorate in true fall fashion. Each pumpkin is unique with a range of shapes, patterns and colors available. (Saturday, October 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
On the eve of Halloween, Chrysler Museum artwork comes to life during Halloween at Chrysler. This family-friendly afternoon of crafts, games and fun gives attendees the chance to explore the galleries to find all the artwork before it comes back to the walls. Costumes are encouraged. (Sunday Oct. 30 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.)
Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG)
The Garden’s Little Sprout Explorers is a weekly nature education program for children aged 3-6, and during the month of October there are several spooky themed programs to look forward to. themes like All About Bats, critters, pumpkin festival and spooky STEM will get kids into the Halloween spirit while having fun learning new things about nature. (Mondays in October from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
Can’t do on a Monday? NBG offers many other nature-themed Halloween activities. Ghoul and Goblin Gardens (Wednesday, October 26, 10-11 a.m.) is an event that lets participants ages 3 and up design their own spooky Halloween house for the friendly ghouls and goblins in their backyard. Later that day, the 13 Halloween Plants (Wednesday, October 26, 1-3 p.m.) is a horticultural Trick or Treat aimed at discussing the spooky and fantastical members of the plant kingdom and their Halloween stories. Come back the next day to scary carnivores (Thursday, October 27 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.) to discover the mysterious and fascinating world of carnivorous plants and how to take care of them at home.
Does your family like to build gingerbread houses for the holidays? No need to wait; kids can get crafty while building Haunted cookie houses using graham crackers, candies and other spooky treats. This activity is recommended for children 3 years and older with the participation of the caregiver. (Friday, Oct. 28 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.)
Maker’s Craft Brewery
By partnering with Compact Canine Rescue, Maker’s is organizing a Howl O Ween Festival Saturday, October 8 from 2 to 6 p.m. Bring your four-legged family members all dressed up to enter them in a Halloween costume contest for dogs. There will be music, beer, a seasonal craft sale and more.
Masquerade in Ghent
Ghent’s biggest Halloween street party and costume contest is back and brings a terribly fun and amusing time. There will be a costume contest, parade and monster mash with live music by The Heart Stompers. In addition, there will be activities for children, as well as refreshments and drinks for adults. You and your family can enter several categories in the costume contest, including Best Pet Costume, Best Child (5-12 years old), Best Baby (4 years and under), Best Family, or Best group and even the best face mask. (Friday October 28 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
A classic bingo game takes a spooky twist at Slover Library. Dress the little ones in costumes and head to Slover’s Library Boo! Bingo Halloween Trick or Treat Carnival featuring a fun game of Bingo with prizes. Then head to Slover’s children’s book section for a slew of Halloween-themed books you can read together. (Saturday October 29 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.)
A beloved tradition for the whole family, Boo from the zoo offers a full day of fall fun at the Virginia Zoo. All ages can enjoy enriching pumpkins with animals, animal ambassador pop-ups at ZooLive! Stage, pumpkin picking, costume contest with prizes and interactive activities, including a scavenger hunt and Frankenstein’s dance floor. (Saturday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)