Here are 5 of our favorite Southern California Halloween events that are perfect for toddlers:
1. Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland: At $70, this is by far the most expensive activity on the list, but with the ticket price you get free parking and you get into Disneyland's main park at 4 pm (3 hours before Mickey's Party actually begins, which goes from 7 pm to midnight). Also, their candy is far superior to the other trick or treat events we've been too, and you get a ton of it, so if Reese's and Snickers speak to your heart this is a good place to go. (You can read more in this post.)
2. Scarium of the Pacific: This event was a lot of fun, mostly because none of us had been to the aquarium in a long time. I think it would have been just as fun if it wasn't Halloween-themed, and probably less crowded. There's no trick-or-treating at the aquarium, but there were several craft stations set up, and the fish and animals were given pumpkins to play with, which was pretty cute in the case of the penguins. There were also a lot of activities we didn't take advantage of, like spooky storytime and taking photos with creepy critters (not my thing). We bought the Aquarium and Zoo combo tickets for $39, which saved $10 per ticket. (You can read more about our visit here.)
3. Boo at the Zoo: If Ez were really into trick or treating, this would've been great, but for some reason he freaked out when a stranger tried to give him candy (and we didn't even teach him that yet!), so this may be a better slightly older kids. We still enjoyed wandering around the zoo and Ez loved the zoo playground. (Read more here.)
4. Rise of the Jack O'Lantern at Descanso Gardens: This was such a cool and unique event, and perfect for a certain pumpkin-obsessed toddler. I found out about it through Groupon, and got us tickets for $16 each (instead of $28 regular price). You can see all of our pictures here - the giant dinosaur sculptures were my favorite!
5. Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch in Irvine: This is hands down my favorite pumpkin patch because not only do you get to pick the pumpkins off the vine (pretty rare in So Cal), but they have a ton of pumpkins. Kellogg Farms in Pomona also have pumpkins on the vines, but they were all picked over and rotting when we went last year. There's also a corn maze, which makes me all nostalgic for Halloweens in Modesto. And it's a good corn maze, with a clearly marked, dry path - unlike the Pierce college corn maze which we went to two years ago. That maze was muddy, with narrow pathways that just looked like corn rows and we had no idea if we were following the maze or blazing our own trail. Tanaka Farms has other activities like tractor rides, shooting pumpkins in the air, riding mini ATVs for slightly older kids, Ez's favorite: riding in the wheel barrow, and a farmer's market that's open year round. I also may be slightly nostalgic toward Tanaka Farms because I went to UC Irvine, and because it's where we took Ez for his 1st pumpkin patch visit. (Read more here and here.)
Since it's Halloween, I've got one more Halloween-themed toddler list for ya! Here's Ez's top 5 favorite Halloween board books (the ones that I have a feeling we'll still be reading well into Christmas season).
1. Five Little Pumpkins: This started as a library book, but Gangy just sent us a Halloween package with Ez's very own copy, which is great because he can't get enough of this book. It rhymes, it's short on words, and it features lots of pumpkins, which Ez loves to point out. What's not to love?
2. Peek-a-WHO?: I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but the author of this book is named Nina, so it automatically goes to the top of the list ;) This is technically not just a Halloween book, but there is a ghost and an owl, so it works with the theme. There's also a train, and you can never go wrong with trains + little boys. Ez loves shouting "BOO!!" on the ghost page (one of the few words he knows).
3. Five Black Cats: Ok, this might be more my favorite than Ez's, but I'm a sucker for black cats and the illustrations are so cute. He'll sit through it a few times before requesting 5 pumpkins, so he likes it, just not quite as much as me.
4. Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin: This was another gift from Gangy, and it quickly became a favorite for Ez. He especially loves it if I yell "No!" (Is our pumpkin in the leaf pile, Duck? NO!!). We have to hide this book to give our sanity a little break, otherwise Ez would read it all.day.long.
5. I Love You Little Pumpkin: Ez has had this book forever, and it's a year round favorite. We started off the month reading this on repeat daily, but as his Halloween book collection has grown it's been pushed to the back of the pile in favor of newer books. It's one of those lift the flap books, and once Ez got a huge kick out of those once he finally figured them out.