Halloween doesn't have to be frightening. Here's 10 of our favorite family-friendly weekend events young ghosts and goblins are bound to enjoy.
Dress in costume and trick-or-treat with the animals. There will be crafts, games, live entertainment and the famous elephant pumpkin smash. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 23 through 25. Costume contests are at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily, and the African elephants smash pumpkins at 11:30 a.m. The Maryland Zoo, Druid Hill Park, Waterfowl Lake Pavilion area. Free with zoo admission ($13-$18; children under 2 free). marylandzoo.org.
Happy Healthy Halloween
Enjoy crafts, games, costume contests and healthful snacks at two Y of Central Maryland branches (activities vary by location). 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Druid Hill Family Center Y (1609 Druid Hill Ave.) and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Weinberg Family Center Y (900 E. 33rd St.). $5-$10 (free for Y members). ymaryland.org.
Compete in a pumpkin-carving contest, trick-or-treat along a nature trail, enjoy carriage rides and have your fortune told by Madame Cylburnia. Don't forget your costumes. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Cylburn Arboretum, 4915 Greenspring Ave. $5-$10. cylburn.org.
Witches and Wizards Day
Paging budding Herminones, Harrys and Rons. Take a ride on the Wizard Express and learn about the magical properties of plants, potions and steam engines. Young witches and wizards can make wands and hats, play Quidditch and take in a show. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24 at the B&O Railroad Museum, 901 W. Pratt St. Train rides are at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Museum admission: $12-$18. borail.org.
Can Company's Trick or Treat event
At this inaugural event, trick-or-treat around the Can Company's new plaza (restaurants will also offer themed food and drink specials), decorate a souvenir pumpkin and follow members of White Marsh Ballet Academy as they dance to "Thriller." 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24. Free, except for a $5 entry fee for the costume contest. 2400 Boston St. thecancompany.com.
Trick or Treat Trail at Downs Memorial Park
Kids 12 and under will enjoy games, treats and a costume contest during this afternoon at the park. Noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 24. 8311 John Downs Loop, Pasadena. $6 per car park admission. 410-222-6230.
Downtown Westminster turns downright creepy with ghost tours, a haunted house, a scarecrow contest, a Halloween parade, fun-run and, to cap off the night, a screening of "Ghostbusters" on Locust Lane. Activities start at 3 p.m. Oct. 24. Some events require advanced registration. $10 for the run; other events are free. westminstermd.gov.
Haunted Halloween Hike
Kids ages 5 to 12 are invited to take a somewhat scary hike along a nature trail where they will encounter witches, owls and snakes and try to solve a Halloween mystery. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Lake Roland Nature and Environmental Education Center, 1000 Lakeside Drive. $5-$7. Registration required. lakeroland.org.
Trick or Treat at the Square
Enjoy food and drink specials, decorate a pumpkin and take home a complimentary caricature at this annual favorite. A costume contest helps raise money for the Govans branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. And there's another chance to check out the White Marsh Ballet Academy take on "Thriller." 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 ("Thriller" dance at approximately 2 p.m.). Belvedere Square, 529 E. Belvedere Ave. The event is free, but there is a $5 entry fee for the costume contest (18 and under; 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.). belvederesquare.com.
SoBo Halloween Bash
Pumpkin decorating, crafts and games and an all-ages costume contest are planned. But after a long Halloween-related weekend, how does adult games (and beer and wine) sound? We're looking out for you guys, too. 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 25. Riverside Park, 439 Randall St. Free. sobofun.com.