Halloween is finally here! Before I start on the usual weekend family fun post, just wanted to plug a few posts that I think will have some answers to questions that many of you have.
- When should you trick or treat? Probably Sunday. But about half a dozen or so communities have moved it to Saturday. Click here to find out if you live in one. And if you're looking for some candy from the governor, the Executive Mansion in downtown Raleigh will be open for trick-or-treaters from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
- Where or when are all the haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, church trunk or treats, fall festivals, Halloween spooktaculars, boo bashes, mall trick-or-treating hours and the like? On the Halloween and fall fun guide.
- Looking for Halloween events for teens? Check this post.
Some events to highlight:
The Halloween Express rides again through southwestern Wake County on the New Hope Valley Railway this Saturday. Advanced purchase is required for these spooky hour-long rides, that aren't terribly scary. According to the website, tickets are sold out online. But, as of Wednesday afternoon, Tom's Train Station in the Raleigh/Cary area has lots of tickets for all four departure times, which start at 4 p.m. and go to 7:45 p.m. You'll just need to go to the store at The Shops at South Hills, 1239 Buck Jones Rd. to buy them. Cash or check only. Tickets are $9. And I'm told that these tickets are going fast. It will sell out this weekend as it did last weekend. And as always, check New Hope Valley's website for more details about the ride before you go.
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' Natural History Halloween is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The free event features live animals such as snakes and spiders and crafts. There's a costume contest for kids 12 and under, Halloween games and more. Lunch, drinks and home-baked goodies will be on sale to support the museum's Junior Curators.
Haunted Mordecai at Mordecai Historic Park near downtown Raleigh is this Saturday and includes three activities. Unfortuantely, the haunted trolley tours are sold out. But, as of Wednesday afternoon, there are still tickets available for the Mordecai House lantern tours, which run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5. And you should buy them now if you want to go. I'm told they are getting close to sold out. You don't need a ticket to go to Mordecai's free festival, which also runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. There will be food, music, games and crafts on the lawn. A kids' costume contest starts at 6 p.m. I went a couple of years ago. It's lots of fun. Check the website for more information, including how to buy tickets.
Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will screen it's annual favorite this weekend: Scare-olina Skies. This is a version of the "Carolina Skies" planetarium show that explores the dark legends behind the constellations. The show is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and is appropriate for older teens and adults. A milder family version will run at 3:30 p.m. Saturday and is best for kids ages 5 and up. Tickets are $7.25 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3 to 12. And a note: Morehead will be closed on Sunday. Its parking lot is used as a staging area during the Halloween festivities on Franklin Street (which, I'll add for newcomers, are typically not the most family-friendly of activities).
The N.C. Symphony will perform some Halloween Magic on Saturday at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The 11 a.m. show is sold out. But, as of Wednesday, there were still tickets available for the 4 p.m. show. A magician will perform "mysterious and astounding illusions" as the symphony places classics such as Dukas's The Sorcerer's Apprentice, along with popular pieces such as music from Harry Potter. Wear your costume to join the Halloween parade. Check in by a half hour before each concert to enter the costume contest. And get there early for the Instrument Zoo where kids can try out musical instruments. Some downtown Raleigh merchants on Fayetteville Street will be handing out candy from noon to 5 p.m. as well. Tickets start at $15. Check the website for details and to buy tickets. And there's a special admission deal with Marbles Kids Museum this weekend if you present your ticket stub. Marbles is planning Halloween events all weekend.
The Raleigh Monster Dash starts at 1 p.m. Sunday at Cameron Village in Raleigh. The event features 1 mile, 5 K and 100-yard dashes, along with a family festival. Dress up in your costume to win a prize. The event supports the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation.
Durham's annual Hallow-Eno is from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at West Point Park, 5101 N. Roxboro Rd. You'll find hayrides, campfire stories, entertainment and treats. This event is a long-running favorite for families in the area. Call 919-471-1623 (option 1) for more information.
It's time for HollyFest 2010. The annual Holly Springs festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Womble Park across from 301 Stinson Ave. The free community celebration includes arts and crafts, entertainment, the HollyFest 5K and inflatables and rides for the kids. There are also costume and pumpkin carving contests, a costume parade and a petting zoo.
Downtown Hillsborough will be full of activity this Friday with a haunted hallways, costume contest, Halloween Spooktacular and more. Check Historic Hillsborough's calendar for more information.
Some free stuff ... The Garner and Wake Forest Polar Ice House locations will offer free skating admission when you wear a costume. The deal is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 7:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Garner location. It starts at 7:45 p.m. Friday at the Wake Forest location, which also will feature the annual Halloween Exhibition showcasing top local skaters skating to spooky music. It's free to watch. The Halloween Exhibition begins at 5:30 pm. and runs to 7 p.m. Friday. The Cary location also will host the Halloween Exhibition from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Saturday. Check Polar Ice House's website for more.
And Faye, the WRAL Smart Shopper noted earlier this week that IHOP will be giving away free scary face pancakes to kids 12 and under from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.
And for those of you looking for something other than Halloween ...
Duke Gardens' Arts in the Garden series will present Opera Express' "The Billy Goats Gruff" at 11 a.m. Saturday. Opera Express is Opera Carolina's educational touring company. You'll see an operatic version of the classic tale, which uses the goats' plight with the mean troll to explore how to handle bullies. Best for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. Tickets are $10 and $6 for kids under 16. The performance is at the Doris Duke Center at Duke Gardens, 420 Anderson St.
The N.C. Art Museum in Raleigh will screen the Shirley Temple movie "Bright Eyes" at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $5 ($3.50 for students). This is the movie where she sings "The Good Ship Lollipop."
And the 52nd annual Cary Band Day is Saturday. A parade through downtown Cary starts at 10 a.m. Check the event's website for recommendations on where to stake your claim to see the parade. And you can watch the bands compete starting around 11:45 a.m. at Cary High School. Tickets to the field show are $7 for ages 11 to 64, $3 for ages 65 and up, and free for ages 10 and under.
Have a safe and happy Halloween!