For kids, the buildup to Halloween can feel excruciating. That means lots of stress for parents, grandparents and caregivers – not to mention teachers.
However, there is good news. October is saturated with spooky, Halloween-related events for families. Many of them free. The bad news is that your kiddos’ costumes might be in tatters by Oct. 31. That’s the price you pay for Halloween fun, so put on your scariest face, and enjoy.
Halloween Spooktacular, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum, 180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda; carrouselmuseum.org. The museum's annual Halloween event features games, crafts, snacks and a visit from “Star Wars” characters. Admission is $6 per person, or $5 for members.
Erie County Fall Festival, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct 13 at Como Lake Park, 2220 Como Lake Blvd., Lancaster; erie.gov/parks. This free event includes trick or treating, a Halloween costume contest, pumpkin painting, magic shows and live entertainment.
BOO-tanical Celebration, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave.; buffalogardens.com. Spooky plants, creepy crafts and Halloween treats make this an annual favorite. Admission is $11 for adults, $10 for seniors, $9 for students age 13 and older, $6 for ages 3 to 12, and free for members and children younger than 2.
Fall Family Flicks: “Goosebumps,” 1:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Harlem Road Community Center, 4255 Harlem Road, Amherst; amherstyouthandrec.org. The Amherst Youth and Recreation Department presents a free screening of this adaptation of the popular book series.
Celebrate Halloween at the Buffalo Zoo, 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 13 and 14 at the Buffalo Zoo, 300 Parkside Ave.; buffalozoo.org. The Zoo offers a rare chance for kids to enjoy evening activities, including candy stations, free carousel rides, and after-hours access to exhibits. Tickets are $15 per person, $10 for members, and free for children 23 months and younger.
Shea’s Free Family Film Series: “Casper,” 2 p.m. Oct. 14 at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre, 646 Main St.; sheas.org. A showing of the 1995 film about a very friendly ghost also features fall-themed activities. The event is free, but visit sheas.org to download tickets.
Hamburg Halloween Fun, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 20 at various locations throughout the Village of Hamburg; hamburgvbac.com. This day-long event features trick or treating at the Farmer’s Market, stories and crafts at the Hamburg Public Library, an apple launch, a scarecrow contest and scavenger hunt.
Halloween Costume Contest, 2 to 3 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Orchard Park Public Library, S-4570 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park; buffalolib.org. See who takes the costume crown at a free event geared toward ages 10 and younger. Call 662-9851 to register.
Halloween Lego Party, 1 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Elma Public Library, 1860 Bowen Road, Elma; buffalolib.org. Free, brick-building fun for ages 6 to 12; costumes are welcome. Call 652-2719 to register.
Delightfully Frightful Halloween, 1 to 2 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Aurora Town Public Library, 550 Main St., East Aurora; buffalolib.org. Stories, games and crafts for kids in kindergarten through third grade. Call 652-4440 to register.
Boys & Girls Club of Elma, Marilla & Wales Trunk or Treat, 3:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Boys & Girls Club of Elma, Marilla & Wales, 2080 Girdle Road, Elma; bgcemw.org. Kids are invited to dress up for this free event.
Spooky Overnight at the Museum, 6 p.m. on Oct. 20 through 9 a.m. on Oct. 21 at the Buffalo Museum of Science, 1020 Humboldt Pkwy.; sciencebuff.org. It’s a rare treat to see the Buffalo Museum of Science after hours. This overnight adventure features a flashlight tour and lots of hands-on excitement. Tickets are $42 per person.
Trunk or Treat, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Audubon Branch, 350 John J. Audubon Pkwy., Amherst; buffalolib.org. Crafts, entertainment, and prizes are the order of the day at this free event in Amherst. Register by Oct. 18 by calling 689-4922.
Buffalo Philharmonic Family Series Presents a Symphonic Spooktacular, 2:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at Kleinhans Music Hall, 3 Symphony Circle; bpo.org. Music from the BPO accompanies a costume parade across the Kleinhans stage. Free activities start at 1:30 p.m.; tickets for the performance range from $14 to $24.
Annual Halloween Bash, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Orchard Park Public Library, S-4570 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park; buffalolib.org. Registration is not required for this free family party featuring games stories, and characters from the Superhero Alliance.
Truck or Treat, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at Larkin Square, Seneca Street; larkinsquare.com. Dozens of food trucks, live music by Mom Said No, and trick or treating.
Nature A’Brewing Family Halloween, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26 at Tifft Nature Preserve, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd.; tifft.org. Make a witches brew with the family. Costumes are encouraged. Tickets are $7 per person; Buffalo Museum of Science members save 10 percent.
Graham Cracker Haunted House, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at Hamburg Public Library, 102 Buffalo St., Hamburg; buffalolib.org. Children 12 and younger can create a haunted house out of graham crackers. Call 649-4415 to register.
Halloween on Hertel, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 27 on Hertel Avenue; hertel-ave.com.Businesses up and down Hertel Avenue will pass out candy to little ones. Plus the North Park Theatre will host free screenings of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) and "Garfield's Halloween Adventure" (noon and 1 p.m.).
Spooky Library Party, 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library Central Branch, 1 Lafayette Square; buffalolib.org. Visit the Central Library for a live animal show, stories, crafts, and trick or treating. Free, but register at buffalolib.org.
Williamsville Youth & Rec Halloween Parade, 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 27 at Island Park, Williamsville; willvill.com. The annual parade through the village starts and ends at Island Park. Fun activities follow.
New York Power Authority Fall Spooktacular, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Niagara Power Vista, 5777 Lewiston Road, Lewiston; nypa.gov/niagarapowervista . This free, popular event will feature giveaways for the first 300 kids, a costume contest, games and hayrides.
Creepy Critters, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 27 at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve, 93 Honorine Drive, Depew; reinsteinwoods.org. Children ages 4 to 8 can learn about bats and owls at Reinstein Woods. Call 683-5959 to register.
Aquarium of Niagara Halloween Happenings, 3 to 6 p.m. Oct. 27, 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 28, at the Aquarium of Niagara, 701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls; aquariumofniagara.org. The two-day event includes a Halloween-themed sea lion show, penguin and seal presentations. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children in costume.
Halloween Spooktacular Party, 1 to 2 p.m. Oct. 28 at Lancaster Library, 5466 Broadway, Lancaster; buffalolib.org. Wear a costume and enjoy pumpkin painting and stories. No registration required.
Explore & More’s Not So Scary Halloween Spooktacular, noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 28 at Explore & More Children's Museum, 300 Gleed Ave., East Aurora; exploreandmore.org. Safe, indoor trick or treating and art projects highlight the event at the popular museum. Admission is $7 for ages 1 and older, and free for members.
Fashion Outlets Boo Bash, 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA, 1900 Military Road, Niagara Falls; fashionoutletsniagara.com. Free trick-or-treating at vendors throughout the mall. Proceeds benefit United Way of Greater Niagara.
Checkers Presents "A Spooky but Silly Halloween Safety Show!," 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Elma Public Library, 1860 Bowen Road, Elma; buffalolib.org. Popular entertainer Checkers does magic and juggling while providing a special Halloween message. Call 652-2719 to register.
2018 Galleria of Treats, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga; waldengalleria.com. The Walden Galleria’s indoor trick or treating event returns for its 24th year. Pre-sale tickets allowing attendees to skip registration are $3 through Oct. 29. Day-of tickets are $2.
Parkside Community Association's Children's Halloween Party, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 96 Jewett Parkway; parksidebuffalo.org. This annual event offers a free alternative to trick or treating.