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Go Ask Mom

Weekend Plans: State Fair, Halloween fun

Posted October 23, 2013

Gourmet candy apples at the NC State Fair.

It’s another very busy weekend with the N.C. State Fair and all manner of pumpkin patches and haunted houses as we gear up for Halloween. Check our Halloween and Fall Fun Guide for more about those activities (and keep reading for a few of the highlights). Check WRAL.com’s Out & About calendar for even more weekend activities.

If you’re headed to the State Fair, be sure to read WRAL.com’s State Fair blog. Also, read my earlier posts on the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s fair tent, more about child ID tags that you can get at information booths and science activities on Saturday at the Marbles and UNC-TV tent.

And here’s the rest of your weekend family fun!

MomsRising and Kids Voting Durham will hold an early voting party and parade from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, starting at the Durham Main Library at 300 N. Roxboro St. The parade ends at an early voting location where registered Durham voters can cast their vote. This is a great way to get kids involved in the election process. Read MomsRising’s earlier post for more information. It’s free.

If you’re looking for a fun day with your girlfriends, the Junior League of Raleigh’s A Shopping Spree is Thursday through Saturday at the Raleigh Convention Center. Shop for cute gear and more and get an early start on Christmas shopping. General admission is $10 for a four-day pass. Kids under five are free.

Noah’s Landing in Coats will host some special Halloween activities this Saturday and Sunday. Skip the usual guided tours at this zoo, featuring all sorts of animals, and enjoy trick or treating and games. Kids are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes. Hours are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $8 per person. Coats is about 45 minutes from Raleigh.

Marbles Kids Museum will host its Kooky Spooky Halloween Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday. Play after hours at the downtown Raleigh museum and enjoy other Halloween fun. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 on Saturday (cheaper for members).

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences hosts its Natural History Halloween from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. There are no rubber snakes and plastic spiders here. Get up close and personal with the real things. The day includes educational stations with live animals including snakes, spiders and lizards. Kids 12 and under can participate in the annual costume contest with categories such as “Creepy and Crawly,” “One of a Kind,” Fantastically Fictional,” “I Belong in a Museum,” and “Creatures of the Night.” You must enter by 3 p.m. for the contest. There also will be Halloween-themed games and craft. It's free.

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center will show its popular Scare-olina Skies starting this weekend. There are two versions. One is for adults and older teens. That’s scheduled for 8 p.m., Saturday, and Oct. 30. A family-friendly version for ages 5 and up is 2:30 p.m., Saturday, and 3:30 p.m., Sunday. The show explores the dark legends behind the constellations. Tickets are $6 for kids and seniors and $7.25 adults. And don’t forget its Science Live! presentations.

The Haunted Mordecai Free Festival is 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, at the park near downtown Raleigh. There’s food, music, games and crafts on the lawn, along with costume contests for ages 3 and under, 4 to 6, 7 to 12 and 13 to 16. The contests start at 6 p.m. Paranormal investigation group NSPIR will be there to talk about their findings about the historic house. The night also includes the Haunted Mordecai Lantern Tours from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tours are $5 (and it’s best to buy your tickets in advance). Actors from Burning Coal Theater will guide you through the house. (I wouldn't recommend the guided tours for younger kids).

Creepy Crabtree takes over Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday. The free event focuses on bats, snakes and spiders. Make Halloween decorations, go on a scavenger hunt and more. Costumes welcome.

Chapel Hill parks will host Haunted H.A.C. at Homestead Aquatic Center for Orange County families from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday. Come in costume for this free event, which includes a trunk-or-treat, spooky games, ghost stories and a swim and dive-in movie (be sure to bring a swimsuit). The movie, the PG-rated Coraline, starts at 8 p.m.

Darkside Haunted Estates, a very scary haunted house not too far from Zebulon, has a low scare for kids afternoon on Saturday. It’s 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. Admission is $5 for adults and free for kids. The event includes a behind the scenes tour of the haunted house, trick or treating on the trail, face painting, glitter tattoos and a costume contest. The site makes it very clear that there will be no scares.

We have some festivals:

The 11th annual Day in Downtown Fuquay-Varina is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. It’s an arts and crafts festival with other activities including a “kids kourt” with crafts, inflatables and more.

HollyFest in Holly Springs is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at Sugg Farm Park (a new location for the annual event). The park is at 2401 Grigsby Ave. Arts, crafts, inflatables, pumpkin carving contest, more.

The Bicycle Film Festival at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham will host a bike rodeo for kids on Saturday. Read my earlier post for details.

A Fall Festival starts at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. Kidzu Children’s Museum will be on hand with some fall fun. There will be beekeeping and apple cider pressing demonstrations, along with pumpkin painting (while supplies last). It’s free.

And Cary is packed with all sorts of events - a scary movie series (including the PG-rated Hotel Transylvania on Friday) at Koka Booth Amphitheatre; a pumpkin patch with carving stations, pumpkin lighting and screenings of Halloween cartoons; a Downtown Harvest Festival; family-friendly Tricks and Treats Halloween Bash; and a haunted twilight tour. Click here for details on each of the events and the full schedule (most of it is on Saturday).

Businesses in downtown Apex will be open for trick or treating from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. 

Morrisville will host a Spooktacular Trail Walk from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, for kids under age 10. It continues from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for ages 10 and up. It’s at Morrisville Community Park.

New Hope Valley Railway’s Track or Treat Halloween Express continues with departures at 4 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m., Saturday. The earlier rides, when the sun is still up, are best for younger kids. Tickets are $10. And it’s best to get those in advance. The ride takes you through southwestern Wake County in an open air train.

And last, but not least, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham will host one of its regular free family days from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday. Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and a gallery hunt. The Moolian Persian Pop Band will perform at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Activities are designed for kids ages 3 to 12 and their adults.

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