Parents know that Halloween’s not just about Oct. 31 anymore. After weeks of anticipation and costume prep, kids need as many opportunities to celebrate the holiday as possible, in hopes of gathering a year’s supply of fun-size candies along the way.
San Franciscan youngsters are in luck: The city’s museums and other family attractions pack on the spooky spirit of the season with a variety of activities for costumed revelers. Check out the list below for the Halloween festivities on the days leading up to the big night.
Friday, Oct. 28
55 Music Concourse Drive
Friday, 6:30-9 p.m.
Halloween starts on Friday night at the California Academy of Sciences, with the Werewolf, Vampire and Mummy party. Dance at the silent disco, meet “mad” scientists sharing creepy specimens, make crafts and—perhaps scariest of all—more trick-or-treating.
Saturday, Oct. 29
199 Museum Way
Saturday, 10-2 p.m.
All the Halloween possibilities in one of city kids’ favorite spots: Pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, crafts, games and live music. Admission is free for kids 12 and under.
Fourth and Howard streets
Saturday, 12-3 p.m.
The 22nd annual event in the Yerba Buena Children’s Garden hosts live music, palm readings, a costume parade and more spooky-but-not-scary activities.
903 Gilman Ave.
Saturday, 11-5 p.m.
The San Francisco Police Department gets into the holiday spirit by hosting a free pumpkin patch, face painting, costume contest, music, food, carnival games and jumpy houses.
Sloat Boulevard at Upper Great Highway
Saturday and Sunday, 11-4 p.m.
Visit the wild animals and join the fun in a costume parade and contest, live music and a hay maze. Kids will grab a treat bag upon exiting the zoo.
Sunday, Oct. 30
1100 California St.
Sunday, 2-4 p.m.
What’s spookier than treasure-hunting through a Gothic cathedral as the organ plays? Grace Cathedral’s Halloween event for kids is free (donations appreciated) but requires advance registration.
1 Ferry Building
Sunday, 11-2 p.m.
Celebrate Halloween at the Ferry Building Marketplace with a Harvest Festival that begins Friday and culminates with the Trick-or-Treat event on Sunday. Weekend events include a movie night on Friday, Ferry Plaza pop-ups on Saturday and trick-or-treating on Sunday.
Noe Street at Market
Sunday, 11-2 p.m.
Head over to the first annual Castro Halloween event to take place during the daylight hours. Costume contest for everyone, including pets. Pre-register to participate in the costume contest.