The sun is setting earlier, the nights are getting colder, and Halloween is right around the corner. But the celebration doesn’t have to be limited to the big night – there’s plenty of fun happening all month long in the Vancouver region. We’ve collected a round-up of some of the best family-friendly options, from the heart of Vancouver, west along the Sea-to-Sky highway and east to the Fraser Valley. No matter where you are, there’s something close at hand to entertain kids of all ages (and grown-ups, too.)
Here are ten of the best bets for the rest of the month:
Halloween Spoo-ook-tacular at Britannia Mine Museum
Take a tour into the past with a visit to the popular Britannia Mine Museum this month and enjoy the annual Halloween Spoo-ook-tacular if you visit October 19-20 or October 26-27. This special celebration includes a spooky train and tour of the underground mine tunnels, a “Strange Science” show, Cabinet of Curiosities, the new BOOM! exhibition, and a costume photo booth. Kids under five are free.
Fright Nights at Playland
One of the region’s most popular annual events for spooky thrills and chills, Fright Nights at Playland returns this month until October 31, running each night from 7 pm till midnight (or later on select nights). Recommended for adults and kids over 12, the event features 20 rides, eight haunted houses, and other creepy and ghostly attractions. Passes must be purchased for a specific night and pricing varies by date.
Bear Creek Park Pumpkin Express/Scream Train
Head to this popular Surrey playground and park to take a peaceful train ride to a pumpkin patch in the forest during the day – or, for older kids with steely nerves, come back at night for the spooky Scream Train, which includes live actors along the train route for extra thrills. Both versions are on now and run through to the end of the month. Check the website for times and ticket prices. While you’re there, check out the beautiful trails and large playground that make Bear Creek Park a popular destination all year long.
Stanley Park Halloween Ghost Train
Follow Alice down the rabbit hole and right into a nightmare. This year’s Ghost Train theme is Alice in Nightmareland, and features a gothic world of tombs, crypts and catacombs. Enjoy activities in the plaza and the farmyard, including crafts, movies, exhibits from the Stanley Park Ecology Society, and pumpkin patch. Running now until October 31; popular dates sell out fast. Check the website for tickets and special deals on some nights.
Celebrate the Night in Maple Ridge
Hosted by the City of Maple Ridge and local community partners, this is the fourth annual Celebrate the Night Festival and Fireworks. The free event transforms Memorial Peace Park into a Halloween wonderland complete with lights, lanterns, artwork, pumpkins, crafts, games, food trucks and more. The evening wraps up with a fireworks show. This year’s theme is Light and Shadow and will include a special labyrinth created by the Secret Lantern Society. The event runs from 5 to 8 pm on October 27.
Haunted Village at the Burnaby Village Museum
Get spooked with the spirits of the past at the annual Haunted Village at Burnaby Village Museum, running this year October 25 to 28, from 6 to 9 pm. Organizers encourage visitors to come in costume and spend the night exploring the village. Enjoy some Halloween-themed treats, ride the famous Village carousel and do some trick-or-treating. While village admission is free at other times, tickets are required for special events. Prices vary by age; members are free. Tickets include entrance, entertainment and carousel rides.
VanDusen Glow in the Garden
Enjoy a night of unique festive enchantment with a new light show and plenty of magic at the annual VanDusen Glow in the Gardens. Follow the paths through the beautiful gardens and enjoy all the Halloween pumpkins and spooky surprises. Kids can collect stamps along the route and turn them in for a small prize at the “Bootique” inside the visitor centre, and the whole family can enjoy treats, crafts, an expanded event area, and food vendors. This year, Glow runs October 17 to October 27, from 5 to 9 pm. Tickets must be purchased in one of the three time slots, so plan ahead.
Halloween at the Fort Langley National Historic Site
Head to historic Fort Langley for a day of Halloween fun exploring the fort, trick-or-treating, and enjoying crafts, pumpkin bowling, and more. This event is aimed at young families, and kids are encouraged to come in their costumes. Runs on October 27 from 10 am to 5 pm. Meet creepy creatures from West Coast Exotics between 1 pm and 3 pm. (For the older set, check out the Grave Tales event running from October 18 through to November 3 – a little creepier and aimed at youth and adults for a night of spooky stories straight out of the past.)
Fly Over Canada Halloween
Broomelda (Canada’s favourite witch) returns this year for another spooky journey across Canada in this Halloween-themed run of Fly Over Canada, happening October 17 to November 3. Little witches and wizards will graduate from the Haunted Witches Academy, complete with a diploma. Called the “ultimate flying ride” this unique attraction runs for eight minutes plus a pre-show. Kids are encouraged to dress up in costume.
Potter’s House of Horrors
One of the best haunted events in Canada, Potter’s House of Horrors returns this year for another Halloween season, until November 2. The L’il Haunters area is designed for kids 12 and under, with plenty of fun but light on the scares, while two haunted houses – Devil’s Descent and the brand-new Death Valley Motor Inn – are aimed at adults and older kids and teens. Check details for Family Hour in which the main haunted houses tone down the terror with brighter lights, reduced volume on the sounds, and no actors or animatronics. Goblins, ghosts, zombies, and plenty of other spooky characters make Potter’s come to life.
Halloween Fireworks Festival
No time to get to some of the events this month? Don’t worry, there’s a great celebration on Halloween night in the heart of Richmond. Take in music, magic, children’s activities, roving entertainers, an inflatable corn maze, trick-or-treating, fire juggling and more. The evening closes with a fireworks finale. The event, hosted by the city of Richmond, is free and takes place at Minoru Park from 6:30 to 8:45 pm (with fireworks at 8:30 pm). Check out the city’s website for details (and information about other fireworks scheduled around the city.)
And don’t forget to check out our round-up of pumpkin patch and farm tours: many of them run through October and provide great daytime options for festive fun.