While the scares on Halloween aren't real, to young children the spooks and monsters can be very real and very scary. So here's a list of not-quite-as-scary and non-scary Halloween activities, haunted houses, and trick-or-treat venues in Minneapolis, St. Paul and around the Twin Cities metro area.
There's trick-or-treating at a zoo, with wild animals, sleeping with dinosaurs and mummies, opportunities to meet real wolves, hold real bones, candlelit walks through the woods, and more...
Most haunted houses designed to scare adults and older children silly, have low-scare daytime events for younger children.
Several Minneapolis parks and rec centers all over the city are hosting family-friendly halloween events on halloween weekend. Most events are free, check with your local park for dates and times.
In Taylor's Falls, a huge corn maze, plus petting zoo, and pumpkins for sale. Visit during the day for the corn maze, or in the evening for the haunted corn maze. Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, plus Thursday on MEA weekend.
Pumpkin picking, apple picking, scarecrow contest, wagon rides, and plenty of fall fun at this farm in Belle Plaine, about 45 minutes southwest of Minneapolis.
Ride on a vintage train to a pumpkin patch, then enjoy games, face painting, and a visit to the haunted depot.
In The Heart of the Beast puppet theater presents Skeletons in the Closet, a Day of the Dead Story. The Day of the Dead remembers loved ones, and the puppet show focuses on the connection with grandparents, which remain strong after death. As well as the puppet shows, workshops on the same day of each show offer children the opportunity to make nichos, boxes to store photos and memories of loved ones.
Several locations in the Three Rivers Parks District are holding events. Get your costume on, and head to one of these family friendly events in parks and woodlands in the west metro. Choose from Halloween fun at the farm, trick or treating in the woods, or old fashioned trick or treating at historic Murphy's Landing, or even a Halloween-themed camping evening. Many events require registration - see their website for schedule and registration.
For older kids, Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America will go dark from 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Ride in the dark, or black light, with fog and other spooky effects.
A family-friendly ticketed event at Como Zoo on several evenings leading up to Halloween. Costumed characters and trick-or-treating all around the zoo. A major fundraiser for the zoo, which usually doesn't charge for admission.
On October 25, the Creatures of the Night events has a guided night hike, games, and activities at Lebanon Hills Park in Apple Valley.