Halloween & Fall Fun in Marin

Fall is here, and so is our guide to all things Halloween in Marin! Get the scoop on pumpkin patches, activities and events, craft and costume ideas, and more.

Best Trick-or-Treat Neighborhoods in Marin

October 30, 2017

Rombeiro House on Halloween in Novato Marin County

Halloween may be one of everyone's favorite holidays, but trick-or-treating is kind of a lost art these days. It used to be you'd just trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, but many communities just aren't Halloween friendly. In fact, it seems that many otherwise bustling neighborhoods become ghost towns, so to speak, on Halloween night.

If you happen to live in a place that does go all out for Halloween, then you're in luck! Otherwise, you might want to seek out another nearby neighborhood in which to find that Halloween spirit—plenty of families in Marin County do.

Three Deliciously Spooky Halloween Treats

October 26, 2017

Mummy hot dogs In October, my kids and I love to make fun Halloween-themed treats for parties, snacks and school lunches. Not only are most of these healthy, but they’re fun to make and eat, too.

These recipes also make a great playgroup or play date activity or girl scout or cub scout project. Feel free to vary the recipes as you see fit.

Hot Dog Mummies

Ingredients

Get SuperNatural at the Cal Academy this Saturday!

October 26, 2017

SuperNatural 2017

This weekeend, the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco once again invites families to SuperNatural 2017! Grab your costumes and have a ghostly good time among spooktacular animals and spine-tingling scientific specimens while trick-or-treating through the world’s only aquarium-planetarium-natural history museum at night. SuperNatural takes place Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 5–9 pm

Our Top 10 Spooky Halloween Movies for Families

October 22, 2017

Halloween movie poster collage

There's nothing much better than watching a spooky (but not too scary) movie with the family on a cool fall evening and sharing a big bowl of freshly popped popcorn. I polled everyone in our family to find out what their favorite Halloween movies were, and we came up with this list of 10 that we think are must-sees every October.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G)

Wallace and Gromit, the ever-charming cheese-loving claymation duo, star in this clever sendup of monster movies, where something horrible ravages gardens and threatens a village's veggie-growing competition. Cute and clever with plenty of jokes (including a few that only grown-ups will get). Ages 3 and up.

Marin and Sonoma Pumpkin Patches 2017

October 22, 2017

Fall is almost here, and for those seeking that true Halloween pumpkin patch experience, here's our annual guide to pumpkin patches in Marin and southern Sonoma counties. Most pumpkin patches open in late September or early October.

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.

We've included dates and hours for pumpkin patches when available. Hours are correct as of the time of publishing, but it's still a good idea to check a pumpkin patch's website or give them a call before you go in case anything changes. As a rule, most pumpkin patches are open during the whole month of October, although a few open in late September. Pumpkin patches listed here are open through October 31 unless otherwise indicated.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for October 20–22

October 20, 2017

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Check out our list of Halloween pumpkin patches in Marin and Sonoma counties—see our list here.

Friday, October 20

  • Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch
    Santa Rosa
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am

    Santa Rosa Pumpkin Patch offers eight acres of pumpkins, a huge seven-acre corn maze, kiddy corn mazes, hay and sunflower mazes, jack-o-lantern tether ball, tire swings, a 10-bale-high hay pyramid, a huge jumpy pillow, pedal trike races, a corn play box, a petting zoo, face painting, and more. Location: 5157 Stony Point Road (at Rohnert Park Expressway). For more info, visit their website.
  • The Great Peter Pumpkin Patch
    Spring Hill Jersey Farm, Petaluma
    Friday–Sunday, 9 am–6 pm

    Pick your own organic pumpkin, dig for potatoes, take a tractor ride, visit farm animals, taste homemade ice cream and Spring Hill cheese, milk a cow, and get lost in the hay maze. Peter Pumpkin Patch also offers fresh fruits and vegetables and picnic baskets. Activities are free and so is the parking. This is a wonderful and fun pumpkin patch on a real working farm. Location: 4235 Spring Hill Road (off Bodega Ave.). For more info, call (707) 762-3446 or visit their website.
  • Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch
    Nicasio
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm

    Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch offers a wide variety of certified organic pumpkins spread out in an expansive meadow on the farm. Kids activities: jumpy houses, inflatable slide, hay rides, pony rides, a petting zoo, farm animals to visit, a climbing wall, and face painting. Some of these attractions have an admission fee, and some are available only on weekends and select days. Shaded seating area with picnic tables, so you can relax and take in the scenery, listen to some great live music, and even eat lunch. If you arrive hungry, Big Jim's BBQ is on hand on weekends. Tim Cain performs on Sunday from 11 am to noon. Location: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio. Read our review here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Petaluma Pumpkin Patch
    550 Stony Point Road
    Friday & Saturday, 10 am–10 pm, Sunday, 10 am–6 pm
    Over 50 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, as well as a 4-acre Amazing Corn Maze (admission $6, 5 and under free; $9 on Friday and Saturday nights 6–10 pm), farm animals, a zip line, weekend pony rides, face painting, jumpy houses and inflatables, food vendors, covered snack area, and more. Some of these attractions have an admission fee. For more info, visit their website.
  • McClelland's Dairy Pumpkin Patch
    Petaluma
    Friday 1–9 pm, Saturday, 10 am–9 pm, Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Find the perfect pumpkin in McClelland's three-acre organic pumpkin field. Free admission includes pumpkin patch, petting farm animals (including cows, goats, and chickens), and watching cows being milked in the parlor. There's also a hay maze, kids' haunted hay house, hay rides, bounce houses, and u-pick squash, and the new Haunted Forest, as well as a farm store and a food cart serving organic grilled cheese sandwiches, organic milkshakes, organic popcorn, and espresso drinks. Read our review here.
  • Godmothers Pumpkin Patch
    St. Vincents, Marinwood
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    This long-time favorite pumpkin patch at St. Vincent's near Marinwood offers a variety of pumpkins as well as attractions and activities like bounce houses, a hay pile, face painting, snack shack, and a picnic area. Groups welcome. Read our review of St. Vincent's Pumpkin Patch. For more info, visit their website.
  • Tam Valley Haunted House
    Tam Valley Community Center, Mill Valley
    Friday–Sunday, 3:30–7:30 pm (depending on ages)

    The theme for TCSD's annual Tam Valley Haunted House is "Summon the Reaper". The Haunted House has three different tours: 3:30–4:30 pm: Not Scary, for children under 8 with all the lights on and a fun tour of the different areas; 5-6:30 pm: Scary, for children over 9; closed 6:30–7:30 pm to feed the volunteer monsters then back open 7:30–9 pm for a truly horrifying experience. Cost: $6 per person. Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Teen Food Craft: Pumpkin Candy
    Civic Center Library, San Rafael
    Friday, 4–5:30 pm

    Join us every third Friday of the month for a fun craft. This month we’re making candy! Materials provided. Please arrive on time to hear the instructions. For students in the 6th–12th grades only. No registration necessary. This event will be held in Room 410B, down the hall from the library. For more info, visit their website.
  • 6th Annual Ohlone Big Time Festival
    Rob Hill Campground, Presidio of San Francisco
    Friday, 5 pm, Saturday & Sunday, noon

    Join us in Ohlone Big Time! Celebrating indigenous culture of the California coast. Experience food, dancing, singing, storytelling, raffles , vending, camping and good old family fun. All are welcome! For more info, visit their website.
  • Outdoor Movie Night: Jaws
    Robin Sweeny Park, Sausalito
    Saturday, 6:30–8:30 pm

    See Jaws for free in Sausalito's Robin Sweeny Park. Location: Caledonia Street, Sausalito. For more info, visit their website.
  • Novato Horsemen Haunted House
    600 Bugeia Lane, Novato
    Friday & Saturday, 7–10 pm

    Bring the kids out for a night of scare and fun at the Novato Horseman Haunted House in Novato. Admission is $5 per person. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Marin High School Music presents The Addams Family
    San Marin High School, Novato
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm, Sunday, 2 pm

    Celebrate the Halloween season with the creepiest family around, The Addams Family! San Marin Students bring the Addams family to life but with a twist. Audiences will enjoy a unique and immersive theater experience sure to entertain. This show might be considered PG-13 so please consider this when bringing children. Tickets: $15 general, $5 students and children, $25 VIP. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • College of Marin Drama Department presents The Little Prince
    James Dunn Theatre, Kentfield
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday, 2 & 7:30 pm and Sunday, 2 pm
    Perfect for all ages! Bring the family to see The College of Marin Drama Department's, The Little Prince. Young and old alike will love this heartwarming, classic tale by Antoine de St. Exupéry. Journey alongside the Little Prince through the desert and outer space, while he encounters marvelous celestial beings!  Don’t miss this delightful story that encourages audiences of all ages to rediscover their dreams and the wonders that are all around them! Tickets: $20 General; $15 Seniors; $10 COM Students, Employees, Alumni, Retirees, and Youth. Purchase tickets here.

Saturday, October 21

  • 2017 Bioneers Conference & Family Fair
    Marin Center, San Rafael
    Saturday & Sunday, 8 am–6 pm

    The Bioneers Conference highlights breakthrough ideas for solving our most pressing ecological and social challenges. Come learn from some of the country’s top nature-inspired education masters and have fun exploring a wide array of experiential education activities. Free events on-site including the Family Fair (10 am–4 pm). For more info, visit their website.

The Addams Family Arrives at San Marin High School

October 20, 2017

Celebrate the Halloween season with the creepiest family around, The Addams Family! San Marin High School Music's production of the Broadway musical opens Friday, October 20, at 7:30 pm at San Marin High's Emily Gates Student Center in Novato. Join Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma, Lurch, and of course Uncle Fester in this hilariously ghoulish musical theater experience based on the creepy characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams.

Family Halloween Events in Marin & the Bay Area

October 19, 2017

Nicasio Valley Farms Pumpkin Patch

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays of year, and there's so much family fun to be found in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area. Find a variety of family-friendly Halloween events 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

  • LEGO Haunted House Workshop
    Play-Well Marin, San Anselmo
    Monday, October 30, 3–5 pm
    This Halloween season, join Play-Well TEKnologies for a LEGO Haunted House workshop! Participants will have time to engineer their own trap then they will see if their LEGO Minifigure to go through. Can you make it out of the haunted house without getting scared! Fee: $20. For more info and to register, visit their website.
  • Halloween Trick-or-Treat Trail
    Downtown Petaluma
    Tuesday, October 31, 3–5:30 pm

    Join over 60 participating downtown Petaluma merchants for a fun and safe community Halloween for the entire family and goodies for costumed kids under 12. Prepare for a hautingly "ghould" time  as the scary, the cute, the ugly and the creepy descend on Downtown Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.

The Godmothers of Timothy Murphy School Pumpkin Field (St. Vincent's Pumpkin Patch)

October 18, 2017

Godmothers St. Vincent's Pumpkin Field

One of Marin County's most beloved Halloween traditions is the Godmothers of Timothy Murphy School Pumpkin Field, AKA the St. Vincent's Pumpkin Patch. This popular seasonal fixture is located in St. Vincent's field near St. Vincent's School for Boys just south of Novato.

As usual, this year's pumpkin patch is really well done. It's attractive both for adults and children, with colorful plywood cutouts for photos ops, and plenty of spooky decorations, figures, and props to keep everyone interested. They don't actually grow their pumpkins here, but have a large selection of them ready to choose. There are wheelbarrows and red Radio Flyer wagons available for you to haul around your pumpkins (or your kids).

Our Favorite Halloween Books for Kids

October 16, 2017

Halloween book cover collage

Fall 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 marinlibrary.org.