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A Scary Good Time: Twin Cities Family Halloween Events

As early as July, my kids start thinking about Halloween. They begin plotting and planning their costumes and thinking about what spooktacular events they want to attend. It's not long after the end of the summer, just as soon as the school supplies are stripped from the store shelves, that the giant bags of orange and black foil-covered candies, orange plastic pumpkins smiling toothy grins and rows of plastic Darth Vader masks, furry puppy suits, sparkly, red devil horns, and pointy, black witch hats appear on the empty shelves.

Halloween is a magical time for kids, and with the abundance of scary, silly and safe activities and events throughout the Twin Cities, your family is sure to be entertained and full of candy by October 31st. Whether you like watching wild animals play with pumpkins while treat-or-treating along zoo trails, picking the perfect pumpkin and riding on bales of hay through woods and fields or even taking a spooky ride on an old streetcar, this guide has got you covered with information on these and other Halloween events around the Twin Cities.

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(credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Minnesota Zoo

13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
October 29 and October 30
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Free with Zoo admission - $18, Adults $12, Children

Come see the animals or better yet, come dressed as an animal and go trick-or-treating along non-scary indoor zoo trails. Be sure to watch for the pumpkins in the animal enclosures. Many of the animals get pumpkins for enrichment purposes to play with during this time and some are quite entertaining to watch. There is also live music, crafts and more. And don't forget to go out to the Wells Fargo Farm to find cleverly designed scarecrows on Scarecrow Alley.

Minnesota Streetcar Museum

Como-Harriet Line
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Excelsior Line
Excelsior, MN
October 28 – October 30
Fare: $3 - $7

The two streetcar lines, one near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis and the other near Lake Minnetonka in Excelsior, offer several Halloween outings. These themed rides range from totally tame to spooktacular and boorific. The Halloween decorated period streetcars will take you from point A to point B and back while you get the history of these streetcar lines on the way to pick a pumpkin, hear a scary ghost story told or listen to a Halloween tale read aloud. This is a great family tradition.

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Halloween Fearless 5K

Lake Como
St. Paul, MN
October 29; 5K & 1.5 Mile start time at 9:30; Kids' Runs start time at 10:45
Registration Fees: 5K & 1.5 Mile $25 - $35; Kids' Runs Free or $15 with shirt

Come "Celebrate Courage and Chase Away the Fears." The fear of running and RXExercise, that is. This motivating and fun run at Lake Como is a USATF Certified Course. In addition, to the 5K there is a 1.5 Mile Fun Fitness Walk and a Kids' ¼- and ½-Mile Run too. So, bring out the whole family for some energizing exercise on a cool, crisp fall morning and help "chase away the fear." Costumes are optional ... and fun.

Halloween Events at Three Rivers Park District Locations

Locations throughout the Twin Cities
October 15 – October 29
Cost: $6 -$9

There are a number of Halloween activities at various Three Rivers Park District locations including an old-fashioned trick-or-treat at The Landing, a Big Woods Halloween at Fish Lake and Halloween Farm Fun at Gale Woods Farm. Many of the nature centers and parks offer safe and entertaining educational fun. Check out the website and schedule for the event that best suits your family. The Three Rivers Park Districts activities are always a hoot.

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Anoka Halloween

12 Bridge Square
Anoka, MN 55303
October 13 – October 30

Anoka is the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World." Going back to 1920, it's believed to be the first city in the U.S. to put on a Halloween party to keep kids from pulling Halloween pranks! The tradition continues today with weeks' worth of fun for the family. Kicking off this weekend with a parade and costume contest for the little ones -– you will find everything from a chili cook-off, family movie night and dinner, costume and carving contests, parades, a 5k run and more. Check the website for specific dates and events for howling good time for the whole family.

What sweaters are you looking forward to wearing this season?

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law. You can find Anna at, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.

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