Best Holiday Shows for Kids

They’ve been called banal, hackneyed, and schmaltzy. But we can’t help it. We love holiday shows. Check out RedRover’s picks in NYC, Atlanta, Boston, the Hamptons, and San Francisco, enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

New York

NYC Guggenheim Peter and the WolfHow’s this for a holiday recipe: one part Isaac Mizrahi and one part the iconic Guggenheim Museum mixed with a classic tale told through instruments. What do you get? Peter & the Wolf with Isaac Mizrahi (Dec. 13 & 14). Fashion designer Mizrahi narrates and puts his spin on Sergei Prokofiev’s charming story in the Guggenheim’s auditorium.

In their Hanukkah show “Latkes & Applesauce” at Merkin Hall, The Poppy Seed Players play rousing klezmer music and perform a Hanukkah version of A Christmas Carol and the story of Thomas, the Shammus (Dec. 14). Meanwhile, over in the West Village, Dan Zanes brings his Fourth Annual Holiday Sing-Along show to City Winery for kids and anyone who likes to have a rollicking fun time (Dec. 14). Or how about some Menorah Madness with Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights at the Museum of Jewish Heritage (Dec. 14)? Enjoy super fun songs and make some holiday-themed crafts as well.

Throughout the rest of December, catch one of these perennial holiday productions: the breath-taking The Nutcracker at BAM (Dec. 13-21), the always excellent Three Bears Holiday Bash at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre (Dec. 13-30), and the silly Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas at Vital Theatre Company (Dec. 13-Jan. 4).


ATL ACC chorusAdmit it: you really love those standard holiday songs like The Little Drummer Boy and Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer. Hear ’em all at A Special Time of Year Holiday Concert performed by the Alpharetta Community Chorus at Ocee Library (Dec. 13). While your kids may be partial to Frosty the Snowman, Santa actually digs chamber music. At Santa’s Favorite Chamber Music, the Michael C. Carlos Museum welcomes back Old Saint Nick himself to introduce some of his favorite classical works and give treats to good listeners (Dec. 14).

For the rest of the month, stop by and get in the spirit with one of these kid-pleasers: Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus at New Dawn Theater in Duluth (Dec. 13-21); The Nutcracker at the Gwinnett Center (Dec. 13-21); Rudoph, the Red-nosed Reindeer at the Center for Puppetry Arts (Dec. 13-28); and Madeline’s Christmas at Horizon Theatre.


Christmas or Hanukkah? Ben Rudnick & Friends Holiday Extravaganza covers all the bases (Dec. 13). Ben and friends will play everyone’s favorite Christmas and Hanukkah songs, and holiday cheer will fill the air at the Regent Theatre. The New England Philharmonic’s Annual Family Concert brings alive – musically, that is — Chris van Allsburg’s The Polar Express along with other classics (Dec. 14). After the performance, kids can go on stage to try out some of the instruments.

BOS BSO Kids MatineeThroughout December, you and your family can jingle all the way to one these holiday shows: Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity, this song-play touches a special chord in the hearts of all (Dec. 13-21); Holiday Pops Kids Matinee at Symphony Hall, a special family concert that includes a children’s sing-along and post-concert photos with Santa (Dec. 13-24); Christmas Revels where you and the kids can step back in time to Victorian England, filled with familiar carols and lush dances (Dec. 13-28); and Urban Nutcracker, which fuses Tchaikovsky’s classic score with Duke Ellington’s jazz interpretation (Dec. 13-28).

The Hamptons

Throughout the upcoming weekend, you and the family have three chances to see The Nutcracker, presented Hampton Ballet Theatre School (Dec. 12-14). Your kids will love this magical story and seeing younger dancers up on the stage. Next weekend, the Bay Street Theatre puts a fun spin on the classic ballet with Mixed Nuts: A Classic Holiday Nutcracker…with a Twist (Dec. 19-20).

If your kids prefer to rock around the Christmas tree, you’ve got two options. Either check out the Brady Rymer Winter Concert at the Southold High School Auditorium (Dec. 20) or The Vendettas’ Rock n’ Roll Holiday Spectacular at the Bay Street Theatre (Dec. 21).

San Francisco

She’s won every award possible, and now actor Rita Moreno is taking on Peter & the Wolf with the help of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra (Dec. 14). If you’re an all-inclusive type of family, SF Saul Goodman bandcheck out Dream Circle Holiday Concert with Miss Kitty who’ll perform uplifting seasonal songs for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year at the Bay Area Discovery Museum (Dec. 20). For a stripped-down but amped up version of a Hanukkah concert, stop by the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco for Saturdays Unplugged: Hanukkah (Dec. 20). Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band (not that Saul Goodman!) plays Hanukkah favorites in an old school mash-up.

The Children’s Fairyland is a one-stop shop for all types of holiday performances. Take in one of the ongoing holiday puppet shows: King Midas and the Magic Touch and The Nutcracker (both Dec. 13-28).


Make This the Best Holiday Season Ever

‘Tis the season when the calendar is jammed full of super fun holiday festivities like visiting Christmas tree and menorah lightings, designing ornaments and gingerbread houses, and seeing The Nutcracker or a holiday train show. The problem?  How do you navigate and sift through all these events? It’s simple: Just use the RedRover app and make this the best holiday season ever.

How to Use RedRover App to Find Holiday Events

photo 1If you don’t already have the RedRover app, first download it for your iPhone/iPad or Android. After you sign in and select your city, open the menu on the left side and select “Events.” You’ll see a number of categories, such as “All,” “Drop-in Classes,” and “Exhibits.” Tap the “Holiday” category. Immediately, you’ll see a curated listing of the best holiday events going on around the city. Tap an event like Gingerbread Lane at New York Hall of Science, and unleash the fun. You can also use the filter option to select activities based on age and distance from home.

There’s a ton of cool seasonal stuff do, but here’s just a sampling of some of RedRover’s favorite upcoming holiday events:


• Dress your pooch in his/her holiday finery to compete for prizes with celebrity judges or to just show off at the Reindog Parade at Atlanta Botanical Garden;

• Watch Clara and her beloved Nutcracker Prince dance in the holiday classic The Nutcracker at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center;

• Enjoy a season of celebrations during Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s 5th annual Winter Wonderland; and

• Turn back the hands of time at Wren’s Nest Victorian Holiday Party.


BOS Swedish Christmas• Experience Christmas Swedish-style and enjoy Swedish culture, food, and song at Swedish Yuletide;

• Make one-of-a-kind holiday cards at the Holiday Card-Making Party at the Eric Carle Museum of Book Art;

• If your family wants exclusive early entry to ZooLights, a winter wonderland of lights at Franklin Park Zoo, check out Holiday Hot Chocolate with Reindeer; and

• Sing, dance, and move ‘n’ groove with Karen K & the Jitterbugs at Chanukah in the City.

The Hamptons

• Let your child’s imagination run wild at the Gingerbread Workshop at the Children’s Museum of the East End;

• For older kids, stop by the Wreath-making Workshop and use freshly cut evergreens at the Longhouse Reserve; and

• Meet Santa at the Holiday Open House at Shelter Island Historical Society and sample some cookies baked by elves.

New York City

NYC Morgan Winter family day• Enjoy an eclectic selection of yuletide music and warm up to hot chocolate and cider at the Holiday Concert on the High Line;

• Create your own gifts and holiday decorations inspired by Wave Hill’s wintry landscape at Natural Wreaths & Swags;

• Learn all about and experience Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at the Morgan Library’s Winter Family Day; and

• And, of course, can’t forget the majestic Holiday Train Show at NY Botanical Garden, a holiday tradition.

San Francisco

SF Symphony deck the hall• At Tots Winter Carnival, the little ones can play lots of games like the Snowflake Toss, Big Rain Drop Throw, Windy Parachute Games, and Pin the Nose on the Snowman;

• At its annual holiday show, the Children’s Theater Holiday Program at Children’s Fairyland sends a message of love that crosses all religions;

• Sing along to holiday favorites with the San Francisco Symphony at Deck the Hall, a concert tailored just for kids; and

• Be bedazzled at the Eighth Annual Holiday Circle of Lights.  A giant Nutcracker soldier awaits your family’s arrival, and the magical storyland of lights will delight you.


Best Bets for Thanksgiving Weekend

Congratulations! You conquered Thanksgiving. Everyone’s belly is full, and the kids have chased each other around the house a million times. Now your big job is fill up the rest of the weekend. RedRover to the rescue! Check out our best bets for Thanksgiving weekend.

New York City

NYC MMI studioThroughout the weekend, the Museum of the Moving Image invites families to Holiday Tunes (Nov. 29-30). Using its exhibit “What’s Up Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones” as a jumping-off point, families create animated videos inspired by a piece of classical music. If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to the fall, stop by Wave Hill for its Family Art Project: Harvest Time Hangings (Nov. 29-30). Kids will gather and weave together leaves, cones, and pods to make a decorative wall hanging. For all you crafty families, many museums are hosting arts workshops on Nov. 30 like the Jewish Museum’s Drop-in Art Workshop, the Guggenheim’s Open Studio for Families, and the New York Hall of Science’s Little Makers. Wrap up the weekend with some games and music with Very Young People’s Concert at Lincoln Center (Nov. 30). Together your family will discover how music can be fun for everyone.


The play (and ballet) is the thing in Atlanta this weekend. You and the kids can watch either a classic children’s book or a classic children’s toy come alive on the stage. At Ansley Park Playhouse, “Lyle the Crocodile” tells the tale with song and dance about what happens when a crocodile winds up in a family’s bathtub (Nov. 29-30). Meanwhile, the Northeast Atlanta Ballet presents “The Nutcracker” where you can watch Clara and the Nutcracker Prince dance through a magical journey (Nov. 29-30). If you need a break to decompress from the Thanksgiving festivities, drop the kids off at Kids’ Drive-in Movie Night at the Little House of Art where they can watch Arthur Christmas (Nov. 29).


BOS ElskaAre your kids bouncing off the walls yet? No problem. Head over to the Open House at My Gym for a free (yes!) session, and your kids can jump, climb, and burn off all that pumpkin pie energy (Nov. 29). Afterwards, start to get ready for the next big holiday at Boston Tuba Christmas Concert and watch over 150 tuba players serenade the crowd with holiday favorites (Nov. 29). Keep the music going at Play Date: Family Concert with Mister G at Institute of Contemporary Art where Mr. G mixes up bluegrass and bossa nova (Nov. 29). The next day Elska performs her modern pop music for children and families at the Norwood Theatre (Nov. 30).

The Hamptons

The Parrish Art Museum opens its doors to families at its Open Studio for Families throughout the weekend (Nov. 29-30). Go on a family tour and create art projects inspired by the works on view including painting, sculpture, and collage. For younger kiddos, take in the adorable puppet show The Princess, the Frog, and the Pea at Goat on a Boat (Nov. 29). If you can’t wait to dive into the holiday season, check out Parade of Lights & Tree Lighting where kids can watch a parade of decorated fire trucks and witness the annual Christmas tree lighting at Agawam Park (Nov. 29). If your family is anywhere near Montauk, see the Lighting at the Lighthouse at the Montauk Point Lighthouse and watch thousands of lights herald in the holiday season (Nov. 29). Visit the lighthouse the next day for Christmas at the Lighthouse for lots of kid-centric holiday activities like meeting Santa, pony rides, and nibbling on holiday treats.

San Francisco

Children's Creativity Carousel - NightWe know that Thanksgiving just ended, but why not use the weekend as prelude to the next holiday? At the Winter Carousel Lighting at the Children’s Creativity Museum, the Bay Area’s oldest carousel will be illuminated as kids enjoy an evening of free rides, seasonal treats, and family-friendly activities (Nov. 29). Throughout the weekend, there are plenty of live performances for the whole family, such as the “King Midas and the Golden Touch” puppet show at Children’s Fairyland, a musical version of “James and the Giant Peach,” a dance-centric “The Velveteen Rabbit,” and a favorite classic opera La Bohème for Families.


16 Fun Ways to Get Ready for Thanksgiving

Even though Thanksgiving comes late this year, we still can’t believe that it’s less than a week away. Have no fear! We found a ton of fun things for you and the kids to do that will get you in the mood to baste the bird and puree the potatoes. Here are RedRover’s 16 fun ways to get ready for Thanksgiving.

New York

NYC Museum at Eldridge Turkey 01Even before the weekend hits, your kids can make some super cute Thanksgiving decorations at a number of Queens libraries, such as a cornucopia door sign  to welcome your guests (Nov. 21) or a totem pole craft to honor Native Americans for their contribution to Thanksgiving (Nov. 21). After you decorate your home, head over to the Strand Bookstore to see Curious George before he makes his appearance at the Macy’s Day Parade (Nov. 22 & 23).  The mischievous monkey will share some Thanksgiving stories with the kiddos. If your children love mysteries and searching for clues, stop by the Museum at Eldridge Street for its Great Turkey Scavenger Hunt (Nov. 23). Kids will follow a trail of old clues and discover Eldridge’s own special Thanksgiving tale and turkey. The DiMenna Children’s History Museum is going all-out this weekend to gear up for the big day. At the Kids’ Table with Sarah Lohman (Nov. 22), kids can learn about colonial times’ Thanksgiving food and then make their own mini-apple pie. For younger kids, visit the museum for a cozy Thanksgiving storytime (Nov. 23). Kids will hear Balloons Over Broadway, a true story about a parade puppeteer. If you have a family museum membership at DiMenna, your kids are in for a treat! Family members will receive priority access to view the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation (Nov. 26) and can warm up with hot chocolate, treats, and activities at the museum.


Throughout the weekend, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta will be revving up for Thanksgiving during its Meet the Holidays festivities (Nov. 22 & 23). Kids will learn about Thanksgivings of yesteryear, listen to a Thanksgiving story, and make their own “I Am Thankful” tags. Before you write up your Thanksgiving menu, stop by Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market for a chef demo by Brian Jones of Restaurant Eugene and get some scrumptious dish ideas (Nov. 22). A few days before Turkey Day, kids can feast on a bunch of Thanksgiving stories at the Perry Homes Branch Library’s storytime, part of Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system (Nov. 25).


Mass Audubon turkeysCurl up with your kids at a Thanksgiving PJ Storytime at Catching Joy (Nov. 21). Staff will read stories about gratitude to kids, who are encouraged to wear their pajamas, and then make a “thankful” turkey craft. Don’t forget to bring non-perishable food items, which Catching Joy will donate to the Dedham Food Pantry. If your kids are curious about those birds we’ll all be gobbling up, check out Turkey Trot at Mass Audubon (Nov. 23) Kids will search for turkey habitats and then make a special turkey project to brighten your holiday table. To learn more about turkeys and how they eat, stop by Fetch! Eat Like a Bird at Discovery Museums (Nov. 25) where kids will test different bird beaks to discover what it really means to “eat like a bird.”

The Hamptons

While kids’ help in the kitchen is limited as you prepare the big meal, kids can create a festive centerpiece (Nov. 22) for the table at Westhampton Free Library’s arts and crafts session, part of the Suffolk Library system. Ever wonder what’s the difference between a turkey and a chicken? Kids can learn all about our feathered friends at the Long Island Science Center’s Thanksgiving (Nov. 22) and amaze your guests with facts and trivia.

San Francisco

SF Marin Farmers Market PieWhat are you most thankful for? For some kids, it’s trains, and that’s where the Walt Disney Family Museum comes in. Inspired by Walt Disney’s fascination with trains and miniatures, the museum’s Open Studio hosts Miniature Diorama Train: What I’m Thankful For (Nov. 22 & 23) where kids will create a display of what they’re most thankful for within a small diorama. Thanksgiving is not only about giving thanks; it’s also about giving back. Marin Country Mart Farmers Market is asking families to Make a Pie for Charity (Nov. 22). Participants will make a pie onsite with a chef’s help for the St. Vincent De Paul Society of Marin County, which will bake the pie on Thanksgiving Day and serve it in their free dining room.


Top Museum Exhibits for Kids This Holiday Season

As the days get shorter and colder, indoor fun becomes all the more important — especially during the upcoming holiday breaks. Thankfully, a ton of museums are hosting fun and hip exhibits that both parent and kids will love. From the Keith Haring show in San Francisco to the Maurice Sendak exhibit in Atlanta and the “Sesame Street” celebration in New York City, here are RedRover’s top museum exhibit picks for kids this holiday season.

New York

RR MoMA MatisseThe Museum of Modern Art wraps up the year with a major bang with Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. With only scissors and colored paper, Matisse abolished the boundary that separates line and color. Although he’s an old master, young kids love and relate to his colorful paper cut-outs and collages. At Lincoln Center, check out some other old masters – of the puppet persuasion – at Somebody Come and Play: 45 Years of Sesame Street. Kids can get up close to Elmo, Oscar, and Grover, watch show highlights, and even curl up for story time at this exhibit celebrating everyone’s favorite children program. In this age of keyboards and Swype, Drawn to Language at Children’s Museum of the Arts is a welcomed reminder that hand-printed letters and words are an artform. The exhibit brings together paintings, drawings, and collages that all use handwritten words as jumping-off point for art.


One of kids’ (and grown-ups’ too) favorite books Where the Wild Things Are comes alive at Maurice Sendak in His Own Words and Pictures at The Breman Museum. While parents will be fascinated by the story’s preliminary sketches, kids will dig the interactive stations, such as a dress-up area, a mini-slide, and a model of Rosie’s Stoop.


BOS Model Train Bos Mus fine artsHalloween may be over, but monsters – the cute and lovable ones – still live on at the Monster Party exhibit at Boston Children’s Museum. The show highlights paintings and sculpture with a playful monster bent as well as plenty of interactive games. When it comes to anything that has wheels and moves, little kids aren’t the only ones who are fascinated. Sometimes serious museum curators are just as curious. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles at the Museum of Fine Arts celebrates all things vehicular – but in miniature form.

The Hamptons

The East Hampton Historical Society likes to keep things small too in terms of exhibit items. At It’s a Child’s World: Exhibition of Antique Dolls and Toys, you and the kids can experience how Christmas was celebrated in the 19th and early-20th centuries. The fun part is that all the displays are in dollhouse proportions. At Alan Shields: In Motion at the Parrish Art Museum, the artwork is definitely bigger and more interactive. In fact, kids can walk through it. The show’s centerpiece is a massive pole and fabric maze through which kids can wander.

San Francisco

SF Keith Haring deYoungThe Contemporary Jewish Museum shines the light on the work of children’s book illustrator J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. Based on the artist’s three books on the exploits of a professional bird-chasing dog, the show also includes several interactive play areas. Keith Haring also excelled at drawing cartoonish characters, but his creations all had an undercurrent of political urgency.  At the De Young Museum of Fine Arts, Keith Haring: The Political Line focuses both on Haring’s medium and message. While the show may be a bit serious in content, the stick figure art is still fun. (Note: the exhibition contains certain artworks that are adult in nature.)


Best Kids’ Concerts in November

November is packed with a ton of fun live shows targeted toward families. Before the holiday insanity rears its head, make a date with your kids for some jamming fun. From kiddie fave Laurie Berkner in Boston to the Young People’s Concert at Lincoln Center in New York, here’s RedRover’s roundup of the best kids’ concerts in November.

New York

Jewish museum Yellow sneakerMost kids (and adults) nod off at the mere mention of the word “opera,” but The New Victory Theater’s reimagining of Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Nov. 7-9) will make them sit up and take notice. Transplanted to Capetown, the opera is sung in English and backed with kid-friendly instruments like drums and marimbas. At the hallowed Carnegie Hall, kids can get folky at the Elizabeth Mitchell and You Are My Flower show (Nov. 8). With these sweet sounds, peace and love will reign over you and the kids, and, as part of the Carnegie Kids program, the concert is free! If you want to expose your kids to serious music but in a super fun way, check out the Little Orchestra Society’s Tubby the Tuba concert (Nov. 15-16). Your little maestros will hear and see a live orchestra that accompanies a cute flick about Tubby the Tuba’s travails. For older kids who want to learn more about an orchestra, stop by Lincoln Center for Super Sonic Music Box: Melody Transformed (Nov. 15) where the New York Philharmonic will break it down for them. What could be better than a show that includes a banjo-playing band with puppets? Yellow Sneaker will do all that and more at the Jewish Museum as part of its free New Families, New Traditions program.


If you’ve got ants-in-the-pants type of mobile kids, check out Little Raindrop Songs (Nov. 8). During this interactive concert, actors routinely ask the audience to stand up and even do yoga moves. The show combines lots of cool Japanese elements like Japanese techno music and an origami-influenced set design.


BOS Youth OrchestraIf Tori Amos sang songs about dinosaurs or cookies, it might sound a bit like Laurie Berkner. Bringing her Rock Till You Drop Tour to Citi Center Performing Arts Center, Berkner will rock out for the under 10 set (Nov. 8). Although you may be still finishing up your kids’ Halloween candy, it’s never too early in the season for Peter and the Wolf, which will be performed by Boston Youth Symphony (Nov. 8). For kids who like a sillier type of concert, check out “Gustafer Yellowgold’s Wisdom Tooth of Wisdom.” Combining the best of a pop concert and an animated movie, the show has something for everyone.

The Hamptons

Who knew that George Washington could play a wicked guitar lick? We the People is a historical and musical concert where the Founding Fathers are hip rockers who make dull textbook facts seem fun and exciting (Nov. 14).

San Francisco

While not technically a concert, James and the Giant Peach is a musical that uses Dahl’s classic children’s book as inspiration (Nov. 7-9). Before each show at the Marin Theatre, stop by for the puppet workshop and create a bug character puppet to join James on his amazing adventure.


Best Picks for Halloween Parties for Kids

Halloween doesn’t have to mean trudging across dark lawns or roaming apartment hallways. In fact, sometimes the best Halloween for the wee ones is attending a Halloween party at a museum or other cultural institution. These kid-centric monster bashes offer your little goblins nonstop fun and plenty of candy — all within a safe and warm environment. Here are RedRover’s best picks for Halloween parties at top kid spots in New York, the Hamptons, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco. (oh, and you’ll have a blast too!)

New York

AMNH HalloweenGo trick-or-treating with the dinosaurs at New York’s American Museum of Natural History’s 19th Annual Halloween Celebration. Kids can get decked out in their frighteningly finest and chomp on candy as they watch Dr. Finklestein’s Zombie Show. If your kids prefer live animals to taxidermied ones, head over to Boo at the Zoo at the Bronx Zoo. Besides its over-the-top jack-o’-lantern display, Boo at the Zoo boasts a hay maze, a costume parade, and plenty of animals of Halloween lore.

Halloween goes historical at NY Haunted Society…Enter at Your Risk held at DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Kids can get their fortunes told, create Victorian mourning jewelry, and watch out for zombie Founding Fathers. For a tasty history lesson, check out the Halloween: A New York Treat event at Museum of the City of New York. Kids will go on a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt to discover sweets that were invented in NYC.

For your littlest costumed cuties, join the midday Halloween Costume & Music Parade where kids can march and show off their eerie outfits at Children’s Museum of Manhattan. As well, many NYC libraries are offering daytime parties for the under 5 set.

Keep the party going on Nov. 1 at Children’s Museum of the Arts Halloween Parade. After designing monster masks, kids and families in costumes will trick or treat throughout the different studios of the museum. At New York Hall of Science, get rid of rotting pumpkins at its Dead or Alive event where you can watch jack-o’-lanterns catapult through the air.


Out on the Hamptons, little vampires and princesses can scamper down and trick or treat along Main Street in Riverhead as part of the Edgar Allan Poe Festival. Afterwards, they can hear spooky tales by master storytellers at Joe’s Garage & Grill, and then end the evening with — what else but — a parade.


In Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium will be transformed into Georgia A-Scary-Um for some monstrous mayhem. Kids will fill their bags with treats alongside some spooky underwater friends like longfin batfish and Japanese spider crabs. After the blowout, guests and ghosts are invited to sleep over at the museum and dive deeper into the aquatic life.

4062825632_1446e1c3b3_zGeorgia’s Panola State Park is adding an extra fun twist to Halloween. Instead of trick-or-treating, kiddos can “trunk or treat” at its Halloween party. Boys and ghouls will collect candy going car to car rather than door to door. After the sugar rush kicks in, families can get their ya-yas out on the playground and participate in the best costume and best trunk decoration contests.

Add a little ethereal air to your kids’ Halloween, and stop by Callawolde Fine Arts Center’s historic mansion and grounds for Halloween Night on Callanwolde Mountain. Some of the spooky fun will include LEGO building tables with a large scale exhibit, door-to-door trick-or-treating throughout the estate, and a carved pumpkin contest (bring your pre-carved pumpkins for judging).


In Boston, masked munchins can get a head start on Halloween at the Boston Children’s Museum. At 10 a.m., the Halloween Fun event kicks off with monster makeovers and decorating trick-or-treat bags and ends with a monster scavenger hunt in the museum.

If you want to spend Halloween day in the great outdoors, head over to the Corn Maze at Marini Farms in Ipswich, Mass. Besides getting lost in the eight-acre corn maze, kids can go hopping mad on the bouncing pillow and burn off energy on the pedal cars. Up the spooky factor and stay late for Flashlight Night and explore the maze’s nook and crannies with flashlights.

San Francisco

San Franciscans know how to party and that includes the city’s youngest residents as well. At Habitot Children’s Museum, wee ones can play miniature golf in the garden graveyard, paint miniature pumpkins, and fly paper ghosts in the Wind Tunnel at the museum’s daylong Not-So-Spooky Halloween party. Kiddos can show off their spooky duds at Moscone’s Tiny Tot Halloween Parade hosted by San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Costumed kids will receive trick or treat bags, march in the parade, and then trick or treat at local merchants.

Enjoy and be safe!



The Easiest Way to Make Halloween Decorations

skeletonfest-550x550What’s the easiest way to make Halloween decorations? Enlist your kids and one of RedRover’s amazing partners to do the honors. This weekend – just seven days away from All Hallows’ Eve – museums and cultural institutions in New York, the Hamptons, Boston, and San Francisco are hosting arty workshops where your little goblins can craft creepy cool decorations to spice up your home.

Thanks to NYC Parks’ Seasonal Crafts workshop, little New Yorkers on Friday can create a spooky silhouette wall or window decoration for your own “haunted house” using colored chalk on black paper. Held at Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island, kids can get inspired by the twisting tree canopies and rustling leaves to depict a ghostly Halloween scene.

Out on the Hamptons at the Suffolk Library, kids can decorate and paint a pumpkin – no knives or carving here – at the Pumpkin Painting workshop on Friday. On Saturday, families can visit Long Island Children’s Museum for its Ghostly Gala, which also includes creepy crafts.

The Boston Children’s Museum has gone monster-crazy this month, celebrating lovable ogres and cuddly beasts with its “Monster Party” gallery exhibit. At its Art Studio this weekend, kids can get creative and design their own version of Frankenstein. If you want to get even more into the Halloween spirit, stop by Mass Audubon’s Mystery Festival Free-For-All. After the kids check out live creepy crawlers, they can whip up an orange-and-black decoration at the crafts station.

In San Francisco, kids can go batty on Friday at the Halloween Beaded Bat session at SF Chinatown Library. Kids age 8 and older can unleash their inner Batman or Batgirl and design their own personalized creature of the night. On Saturday, get revved up for Day of the Dead, and head over to Richmond Art Center to create a mask and decorate a sugar skull at Skeletonfest. Your kids will be the coolest ghouls in school!


Paws & Awws: Check Out These Halloween Pet Parades This Weekend

Brooklyn Pet ParadeYes, we know: your kids are insanely cute in their adorable Halloween costumes. But we think that there’s a pretty close runner-up: your pet. From coast to coast this weekend, New York City, Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco are all holding Halloween pet parades. So get a head start on Halloween and preen your pup, dress your dog, and join these super fun parades.

With hundreds of dogs in costumes and thousands of spectators, New York City’s Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade on Saturday is “barking mad” and top dog when it comes to fun and creativity. Over in Brooklyn, dog lovers will gather for the Great PUPkin Festival, one of the largest dog costume contests in the borough. The massive event also offers hayrides, face-painting, and free pumpkins. In Queens, the Annual Canine Costume Contest is only one aspect of Socrates Sculpture Park’s annual Halloween Harvest Festival. Dance troupe Streb Extreme Action Kid Company, mask-making, and lots of tasty treats are only a few parts of this day-long program.

In Atlanta on Sunday, animal lovers can come together not only to go coo-coo about canines but do so for a good cause. The Halloween Doggy Parade and Costume Contest will benefit Animal Rescue Project. There is a $20 fee to enter the contest and a recommended donation to participate in the parade.

Head down to Faneuil Hall in Boston on Saturday if you and your kids love all things four-legged and cute. At the Halloween Pet Parade, every mutt is a winner. After the pet parade, awards will be given to pups in a slew of categories.

And at San Francisco’s Harvest Festival on Saturday, the Costume Pup Parade is just one facet of this fun-filled Saturday. Besides parading pooches, families can enjoy face painting, pony rides, and kids’ music.

Photo: Fort Greene Pups via Flickr


Museums Elevate Handwriting to an Art Form

Children's Museum of the ArtsYour kids’ first scribbles are the baby steps toward handwriting and communicating. And while some schools have dropped penmanship from the curriculum in favor of the keyboard, a number of children’s exhibits have taken up the cause and elevate handwriting to an art form. These fun shows and workshops in New York City, the Hamptons, Boston, and Atlanta will inspire you and your kids to pick up the pen or crayon and keep bold printing and curlicue letters alive for at least a little bit longer.

In New York City, this is the last weekend to catch “Mel Bochner: Strong Language” at the Jewish Museum. The colors are bold and exciting, and kids can relate to the works’ finger-painting quality. Best of all, the artist’s love of language is contagious. At the Children’s Museum of the Arts, “Drawn to Language” brings together top artists’ works that spotlight words and letters. Kids will love the show’s Explosive Drawing, a huge notebook page filled with colorful comic lettering. And at New York Hall of Science, your kids can design their own notebook and customize it with fun accessories at Make It: Inventor’s Notebooks.

At the Parrish Museum in the Hamptons, the worlds of art and language collide and form a happy coexistence at the Poets and Painters exhibit. Fragments of or whole poems are written directly onto collages and paintings, the words adding to the image’s power and vice versa.

Even the youngest kids in Atlanta can learn to express themselves through the act of writing (or most likely scrawling) at Let Your Creativity Flow. This workshop at the Children’s Museum of Atlanta invites kids to don a smock and write, draw, and paint on the walls.

In Boston, future authors can get in on the act as well at the Boston Children’s Museum. During the fun Messy Sensory Activity: Scribbling, kids build up those little hand muscles by gripping hard on to markers. Not only will the little ones develop fine motor skills, they’ll keep handwriting alive as well.