While the monsters 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...
In Shafer, about an hour north of the Twin Cities, there's 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.
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.
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.
Anoka claims to be the Halloween Capital of the world. Pumpkin carving contests, costume contents, block parties, parades, and lots of family-friendly fun in more than a week of festivities in this northeastern suburb.
Ride on a vintage train to festival grounds, then enjoy games, fairground rides, face painting, and a visit to the haunted depot. The trains depart from Osceola, WI, travel through the lovely St, Croix valley, to Dresser, WI, and back.
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. There will be a live DJ, costume contest, and glow-in-the dark t-shirt and airbrush tattoos.
A long running tradition at both historic streetcar locations, Excelsior and Lake Harriet. At Lake Harriet, the Ghost Trolley rides on October 18, 19, 25 and 26 are fun and not too scary. The Excelsior trolley runs on October 25 and 26.
On October 27, the Trick'r Trolley runs at both at Lake Harriet and Excelsior. This excursion takes toddlers and younger children for a ride and spooky story, and a treat bag is included. Tickets have to be purchased from Linden Hills bookstore Wild Rumpus for the Lake Harriet trolley, and at the Excelsior Bay Bookstore on Water Street for the Excelsior trolley.
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. Tickets are $6 per person. The event is one of the major fundraisers for the zoo, which usually doesn't charge for admission.
Lots of fall fun at this family-run apple orchard. Hay rides, farm animals, corn maze, pick your own apples, and live entertainment on most fall weekends. On October 19 and 20, it's Paint a Pumpkin weekend. And the following weekend, October 26 and 27, on Halloween weekend, there is family-friendly scary entertainment and trick-or-treating.
Maplewood Nature Center invites children to an animal-themed puppet show to celebrate Halloween. Children can also do a mask-making craft. 10.30am-11.30 am, $5 per family.