Adults might like guts and gore for Halloween, but for little kids, it can be too much. If you have a little one and are wanting to avoid tears and genuine screams of terror, check out our top five picks for Halloween attractions for kids. Each of these attractions offers tame, perfect for kids costumes and events. No, you won't get to see any bloody zombies, but then again, neither will your small, still very impressionable, "I'm gonna need therapy big time!", child. Some attractions have rules about costumes; in general, avoid anything that completely covers the face, anything that's hard to walk in (no giant clown shoes, please), no weapons (yes, even plastic ones are prohibited), and no blow-up toys, balloons or anything else that might unexpectedly go "pop."
For suggestions on DIY costumes for kids, see Homemade Halloween No-Sew Costumes are the Greatest Costumes Ever.
5. "Siege of the Skeletons" The Health Museum, 1515 Hermann Dr. thehealthmuseum.org/skeletons, 713-521-1515 Free to $8
Taking our No. 5 spot is the Health Museum fifth annual "Siege of the Skeletons," an art project that exhibits contributions from across the Houston community. This year's theme for the papier-mâché skeleton display is "Super Skeletons," a very broad topic that allows for skeletons to be superheroes, super scary or super silly, so there's quite a variety this time around. Visitors can vote for the skeleton to be awarded the Visitor's Choice Award. Judges select winners from each of the school levels, as well as from the open category. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through November 3. Admission is free on Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m.
4. Pumpkin Carving and Mask Making Workshop Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, 2402 Munger St. orangeshow.org, 713-926-6368 Free
For a family-oriented Halloween, visit the Orange Show Center's annual Pumpkin Carving and Mask Making Workshop with Carter Ernst. As the name suggests, guests will learn how to carve pumpkins and make masks, with guidance from artist Carter Ernst. Older kids can work on their own, but parents should be prepared to help smaller children. Supplies are free, but limited, so come early and feel free to bring your own materials as well as your own pumpkin. The event will take place from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. on October 26.
3. Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo Houston Zoo, 6200 Golf Course Dr. houstonzoo.org, 713-533-6713 $10 to $14
Snagging our No. 3 spot is Zoo Boo at the Houston Zoo. Children can dress up in their favorite costumes and show them off in the Costume Parade, paint a jack-o-lantern at the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treat at candy booths and enjoy music from a children's DJ. Special attractions include the Tatzoo Parlor, where kids can get a temporary tattoo, the Monster Mural, where they can paint to their heart's content, the Candy Cave, where they can feast their eyes (but no other body parts) on larger-than life pieces of candy, the game stations at the Festival of Fun, and the Monster Mash-querade, where children can sing and dance around the Reflection Pool before joining in for the costume parade. Also included this year are the Zoo Boo Mystery Boxes, into which brave zoo visitors can place a hand while trying to guess what the box contains. Visit Zoo Boo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through October 27. All Zoo Boo activities are included with paid zoo admission.
2. Scream on the Green Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney discoverygreen.com, 713-400-7336 Free
Checking in at No. 2 on our list is Scream on the Green, Discovery Green's sixth annual citywide costume contest, family and pet-friendly party. There are great prizes for the costume contest winners including IKEA Houston gift cards, free tickets to the Ice at Discovery Green or the Houston Grand Opera. Activities include Scary-oke, Mad Science, Living Statues, entertainment from a DJ, caricature artists, fortunetellers, and face-painting. There's also a screening of Frankenweenie . As with Boo at the Zoo, Scream on the Green is held outdoors, so dress accordingly. Picnics are welcome, but no glass containers, please. 6 to 10 p.m.
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1. Monster's Museum of Houston and Moe's Monster Mash Bash Children's Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz cmhouston.org, 713-522-1138 Free to $9
Halloween takes over the Children's Museum of Houston when it becomes the Monster's Museum of Houston. There are plenty of activities daily, including trick-or-treating, crafts, games, exploring the "lives" of "monsters" (think the kind that eat cookies, not the kind that eat brains). Everything comes together for Moe's Monster Mash Bash with music by an "undead DJ," more trick-or-treating, a costume parade and more on October 31. Costumes are encouraged. Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursdays (free admission after 5 p.m.) and noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays. On Halloween, hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Abby Downing-Beaver contributed to this post.