Family Halloween Events & Fall Festivals in Marin & the Bay Area

September 29, 2015

Halloween Girls in Witch CostumesHalloween is one of our favorite holidays, and there's so much family fun to be had at this time of year. Find the Halloween event or fall festival that's right for you! We'll keep updating our list of events for Marin and beyond as we find more this fall. If you have an event you'd like to see added to the list, please contact us.

Marin and Sonoma Events

  • Harvest Celebration
    Slide Ranch, Muir Beach
    Saturday, October 17, 10 am–4 pm

    Celebrate the season of bounty with Slide Ranch. Family activities include live music, local organic cuisine, nature craft activities, food and gardening workshops, and more. Pack a picnic and enjoy a day by the sea at tis coastal education farm. Activities are suitable for all ages. Fun for all ages is guaranteed. Tickets are $25 per person in advance and $30 at the door; children 2 years and under are free! For more info, visit their website.
  • Tolay Fall Festival
    Tolay Lake Regional Park
    Lakeville Highway at Cannon Lane, Petaluma
    Saturday and Sunday, October 17–18 & 24–25, 11 am–5 pm
    The 9th annual Tolay Fall Festival takes place over two long weekends in October at the site of the old Cardoza Ranch off Lakeville Highway, which was famous for its pumpkin patch. In addition to pumpkins and fall decorative items for sale, attractions and activities include a Native American village, the Nighttime Creatures Barn with Creepy Crawly Critters Room, nature hikes, a giant straw maze, a hands-on children's area and kiddie corral, and hay rides. Admission: $5 adults, $3 children 12 and under; free for Sonoma County Regional Parks members. Parking for non-members is $7. School field trips may be scheduled on October 9–10 and 15–17 from 9 am–3 pm. For more info, call (707) 565-2041 or visit their website.
  • Annual Giant Pumpkin Festival at Kunde
    Kunde Winery, Kewood
    Saturday & Sunday, October 10 & 11, 11 am–4 pm

    Come see giant pumpkins on display at the annual Kunde Family Estate Giant Pumpkin Festival! Cash prizes will be presented for the overall heaviest pumpkins. But that’s not all – other attractions will include junior pumpkin decorating, face painting, professional pumpkin carving, wines by the glass, food trucks, and delicious pumpkin desserts! Fun for all ages! Location: 9825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marine Science Sunday: Creatures of the Deep
    Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito
    Sunday, October 11 & 25, 10 am–5 pm

    This month, the Marine Mammal Center celebrates Halloween with a creepy collection of stories about the animals that live in the deepest parts of the ocean! Learn how elephant seals can dive to 5,000 feet and stay underwater for two hours at a time without imploding (!), find out how a sperm whale searches for its nemesis, the mysterious giant squid, and discover more about spooky looking animals like the Vampire Squid and Goblin Shark. Free admission. Location: 2000 Bunker Road, Fort Cronkhite in Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.

Our Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

September 29, 2015

Halloween NightFall is here, and what is a better way to celebrate its arrival than with a good book? My kids and I love to go to the library and pick out some great Halloween children's books to read together, and fall is definitely one of our favorite times of year.

Here are some of our favorites that we've enjoyed over the years. All of these books should be available at public libraries throughot Marin. You can look to see if your local library has these titles available at

Babies & Toddlers

Peek-a-Who by Nina Laden: Little ones love to play peek-a-boo and guess who's hiding in the pages of this fun board book, which includes an owl, a ghost, and a mirror.

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze

September 28, 2015

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch

A multiple-time winner of the Marin Mommies Pumpkin Patch Poll, the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch and Amazing Corn Maze is the big Halloween pumpkin patch that you see on the side of Highway 101 just north of the last Petaluma exit. You may even have been stuck in southbound traffic caused by rubberneckers slowing down to look at it and its amazing maze and pumpkin field!

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch, a Halloween fixture in Sonoma County since 1993, is popular for a number of reasons. For one, it's a real pumpkin patch that's not too far from civilization—it's right off the North Bay's major freeway. Second, it offers a nice mix of real country attractions and other more commercial activities like bounce houses, climbing walls, and pony rides. Third, their pumpkin prices are really reasonable: from $1 for mini pumpkins and gourds to $16 and up for really large examples.

Marin and Sonoma Pumpkin Patches 2015

September 28, 2015

Peter Pumpkin Patch

Fall is in the air, and for those seeking that true Halloween pumpkin patch experience, here's our annual guide to pumpkin patches in Marin and southern Sonoma counties.

In Marin County, Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a real on-the-farm experience and the Godmother's Pumpkin Patch at St. Vincent's is a local tradition and an exciting Halloween experience for families. For more real live farms offering pumpkin patches this season, head up north a short distance to rural Sonoma County, where you'll find them in relative abundance. We visited as many of these pumpkin patches as we could last year, and have posted links to our reviews of them below. As always, we'll visit again this year and update our reviews.

Easy Baja Fish Tacos

September 28, 2015

Baja fish tacosMy kids love fish, so these Baja-style fish tacos are a big hit in our house. They're easy to make, and most of the work comes in prepping the add-ons: crunchy shredded cabbage, radishes, salsa, and a creamy lime-infused sauce.

These tacos are fresh and light and remind me of a day at the beach in Southern California. Take a bite and it's summertime at the beach, even if it's the middle of winter.

If you're really short for time, you can make these with frozen fried fish filets like the halibut filets from Trader Joe's, but they're so much better with delicious fresh fish. I made our last batch with some wonderful local lingcod that I got from Real Good Fish, a community supported fishery (or CSF—it's like a farm CSA but for fish) with pick up sites in southern Marin.


  • 1 lb lingcod, rockfish, or other whitefish filets
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ancho chile

Pumpkin Patches Further Afield

September 28, 2015

Pumpkin PatchWhile there are plenty of awesome pumpkin patches to choose from in Marin and southern Sonoma counties (see our list of those here), you can find other great places to pick up pumpkins and other Halloween and autumn treats throughout the greater Bay Area. Maybe you're headed on a road trip to the south bay, or bound for the grandparents' house in Sacramento this October—there's probably a pumpkin patch on the way. Here are a few out-of-town pumpkin patches, in Solano, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties, that we've visited at one time or another or had recommended to us.

Solano County

  • Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Festival
    5848 Highway 12
    Suisun 94585
    (707) 374-2978
    Saturdays and Sundays, October 10–25, 9:30 am–5 pm

    The Western Railway Museum in rural Solano County holds its celebrated annual Pumpkin Festival every Saturday and Sunday from October 11–26. Ride a vintage electric express train to the pumpkin patch at Gum Grove Station for pumpkins, tractor rides, games, music, a hay fort, a pumpkin launcher, and pumpkins for sale, of course. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors 65+, and $9 for children 2–14. Admission includes museum entry, unlimited train rides, picnic area use, and parking. Reservations are not accepted.

5 Reasons Rodan + Fields Makes Sense for Busy Moms

September 27, 2015

Rodan + FieldsMarin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Stephanie Wong and Rodan + Fields.

Hello Marin Moms! New teams are launching in Marin this fall. We invite you to join our inspired, authentic, fun, and collaborative community.

I help women to build a lucrative business at home around their little ones during the important years. Or like me, moms who are looking to step away from corporate careers to build a Plan B.  I now feel financially secure, have increased self-confidence and my skin feels more beautiful than it did in my 20s! See why the Today Show named Rodan + Fields the leader in the social commerce channel here.

  1. Lifestyle. What I love about this “Social Commerce” business is how it fits seamlessly into the nooks and crannies of my life... at school drop off, after yoga, while shopping at Whole Foods and connecting with college friends and past coworkers on Facebook.

Southern Marin Mothers' Club Private School Fair

September 27, 2015

SMMC Marin Private School FairIf you're a Marin County parent looking into private schools for your children, make sure you plan on visiting the third annual Southern Marin Mothers' Club School Fair, which takes place at Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera on Wednesday, October 7, from 6:30 to 9 pm. Most private schools in southern Marin, as well as many other schools throughout the county, will be represented at this event.

This fair is designed for parents looking for private school kindergarten options for their children in Marin as well as parents wanting to switch schools or who are new to the area. Local school placement specialists Betsy Little and Paula Molligan will be on hand to speak on what to consider when selecting a school and the various options available. The parents will then circulate around the school tables and learn about the differences between the programs.

Win a HUE Animation Studio Kit!

September 26, 2015

HUE Animation StudioAre your kids ready to make their own stop-motion movies? One of the best ways to get started is with the fun and easy-to-use HUE Animation Studio, and we're giving one away to one lucky Marin Mommies reader!

HUE Animation Studio includes a USB 720p HD camera with built-in microphone, animation software for Windows and Mac, and the 60-page HUE Book of Animation, which contains instructions, tips, and inspiration for creating your own stop-motion movies. You can read our review of HUE Animation Studio here.

To enter to win, send an email to with "HUE Animation" in the subject line by Friday, October 2, 2015. We'll choose a winner at random on Saturday. Read our complete contest rules here.

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