Looking to make some fun Halloween memories with little ones in tow? Here are some ideas for finding family-friendly fall experiences in Ohio that are more enchanting than scary:
Treats, Not Tricks
The Trail of Treats in Cambridge is the perfect opportunity for kids to wear their Halloween costumes just one more time! More than 50 local businesses line a wooded trail and pass out goodies to little ones, with a Mystery Maze and costumed Ghost Buster characters adding to the fun. October 26 event is free and open to the public.
Near Cleveland, Holden Arboretum’s Goblins in the Garden is sure to delight little ones, with a unique trick-or-treating experience in the midst of the site’s 3,500-acre grounds. Four-legged friends are encouraged to attend and wear costumes, too, as long as they are on leashes. Event is October 5-6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hueston Woods State Park in College Corner, not far from Miami University of Ohio, offers a fun way for families to commemorate fall: Halloween Campouts. As part of these themed weekends, campers can enjoy Halloween treats like games, trick-or-treat offerings, and prizes for best campsite decorations. Event runs September 27-28 and October 4-5.
Cedar Point’s The Great Pumpkin Fest in Sandusky is a favorite for amusement-park-loving families to extend their fun through the fall. There are themed arts and crafts, kid-friendly indoor mazes, Halloween-themed parades, trick or treating with the PEANUTS characters, and more. Runs weekends, September 14 to October 27.
In Columbus, the Ohio History Center’s All Hallows’ Eve is packed with 1890s-style Halloween fun, from bonfires to pumpkin carving to fortune telling – anchored by a live reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (and an appearance from the Headless Horseman) at dusk. Open 5:30-9:30 p.m. October 12 & 19.
In Findlay, don’t miss Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation’s family-themed offerings this fall, including the Pumpkin Train, where attendees can ride to pick out their own pumpkin at the patch; the Halloween Express, a non-scary ride for the whole family; and the Trick or Treat Halloween Train, an alternative to traditional beggar’s night. Events run weekends September 21 to October 20; check website for timing details and tickets.
Movie buffs will love the Hocus Pocus Halloween in Middletown, which boasts everything from a cruise-in car show with truck-or-treat to live music to kid-friendly activities and an arts and crafts vendor alley. The night culminates with an outdoor screening of the movie Hocus Pocus. Event is October 13, 1 p.m. to dusk.
Not Your Average Pumpkin Patches
More than just a pumpkin patch experience, Rockin ‘R Ranch Old West Pumpkin Fest near Cleveland offers something to satisfy all fall loving families – from hay rides and an animal petting farm to a straw mountain and a pumpkin slide. Visitors can also explore the onsite Old West town and catch a Country Kids Show performance. Open weekends noon to 5 p.m., September 28 through October 27.
The EnterTrainment Junction in Cincinnati transforms from a locomotive lover’s dream to a Halloween spot for the whole family during Jack O’Lantern Junction. In addition to the area’s only indoor pumpkin patch, the special offering includes a trick-or-treat maze, a mini animated train display, and more. Event runs September 28 through October 31.
In Athens County, Libby’s Pumpkin Patch is the place for Halloween fun on the farm. Kids of all ages will enjoy trying to find their way out of the corn maze or taking part in the corn bin crawl. Visitors can also see the colorful creatures created from hay bales, play family games and sample delicious pumpkin ice cream. Open weekends noon to 5 p.m., September 28 through October 27.