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8 not-so-spooky pre-Halloween events for SF families

Javin Salmon roars his approval after capturing first place in the animal category for his yeti outfit in the costume parade and contest at the San Francisco Zoo's annual Boo at the Zoo Halloween celebration on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. | Photo By Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

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.

A happy witch attends the Randall Museum's Halloween party. | Courtesy Randall Museum

Friday, Oct. 28

California Academy of Sciences: SuperNatural

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

Randall Museum Halloween Spooktacular

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. 

Batman and Supergirl attend the Randall Museum's Halloween party. | Courtesy Randall Museum

Halloween Hoopla at Yerba Buena Gardens

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. 

SF SAFE’s Halloween Candy Explosion

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.

Boo at the Zoo, SF Zoo

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.

A ring-tailed lemur gets a Halloween treat at Boo at the Zoo. | Courtesy SF Zoo

Sunday, Oct. 30

Grace Cathedral’s Edge of Halloween Treasure Hunt

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.

Ferry Building Marketplace Trick-or-Treat

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.

Block Party Castro Family Halloween 

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.