Halloween brings friendly ghosts, sweet treats and outdoor adventures for Long Island families all month long. Here are options for those looking to celebrate spooky season with younger revelers.
The Center for Science Teaching and Learning in Rockville Centre knows creepy haunts aren't for everyone. It does have a "Scary Walk" for those brave enough to take a quarter-mile hike down wooden paths where creepy lighting and frightening creatures will be looming. For those who prefer to spot Halloween's friendlier creatures, the "Not-So-Spooky Walk" instead brings families through an outdoor, colorfully lit adventure that offers up photo ops with costumed characters. There will be an arts-and-crafts area as well.
Guests may dress up, but masks are required for adults and for kids ages two and older. Tickets are timed and lines will be spaced as so to keep participants only within their own groups. Only one group will be permitted through the woods or at a craft area at a time. Tickets will be made available through the CSTL website.
WHEN | WHERE Oct. 16 through 18, 23 through 25 and Oct. 30 through Nov. 1; 1450 Tanglewood Rd.; 516-764-0045, cstl.org
INFO $10 admission includes access to "Not-So-Spooky Walk" and arts and crafts area; $15 admission includes access to all attractions including the "Scary Walk," "Not-So-Spooky Walk" and craft area.
Sweetbriar Nature Center is mixing Halloween fun with educational experiences. A two-night "Halloween Spooktacular" event includes eerie animal encounters, Halloween games and a night walk through a spooky (but not-too-scary) outdoor trail. The "Spooktacular" is ideal for those ages eight and up, according to Sweetbriar.
Come All Hallows' Eve, the center's "Tales, Trails and Treats" event offers an afternoon of fun for children with animals, games and a trick-or-treating trail.
WHEN | WHERE "Spooktacular": Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 from 7 to 10 p.m.; "Tales, Trails and Treats": Oct. 31 from 1 to 3 p.m.; 62 Eckernkamp Dr., Smithtown; 631-979-6344.
INFO "Spooktacular" tickets are $15 per person; "Tales" tickets are $10 per person. Purchase in advance at sweetbriarnc.org.
Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse is known for bringing on the big spooks. But don't rule this Halloween spot out just yet. While this year's nighttime offerings include a drive-through haunt, and scary outdoor corn maze, kid-friendly adventures take place during the day. In daylight on Saturdays and Sundays, the corn maze will be transformed into a "Not-So-Scary Halloween Adventure," featuring friendly characters like Frankenstein, a mummy and a witch.
Outdoor drive-in movies will also run for 16 nights on Gateway’s property in Bellport with an early kid-friendly show followed by a late-night horror film. Children’s movie options will include "Hocus Pocus," "Halloweentown" and "Frankenweenie." See the schedule at fearli.com. Each showing holds 50 cars.
WHEN | WHERE The "Not-So-Scary Halloween Adventure" and drive-in movies are held at 215 S. Country Rd., Bellport. Adventure is on Saturdays and Sundays Oct. 17-18, 24-25 and 31 only; noon-4 p.m. Movie schedule varies.
INFO "Not-So-Scary" is $10 per person. Drive-in movies are $40 per car. All tickets must be purchased in advance online.
Family canoe trip
If you're looking for a unique alternative to trick-or-treating on Halloween, a family-friendly canoe trip is taking place in Brookhaven along a "haunted" river. The "Safe Halloween on Carmans River" event, organized by Carmans River Canoe and Kayak ll and JMC Travel and Eco Tours, offers up a one-hour paddle journey along the waterway.
Families will reserve their own canoes, which can hold up to two adults plus two children. Canoe launches will be staggered to ensure social distancing. Excursions run between 1 and 4:15 p.m., and the trips also include life jackets, paddles and one small pumpkin per child. Costume-wearing is encouraged but not necessary. Upon return, families will get some sweet treats plus a chance to do arts and crafts.
For those not keen on hitting the water, there is also a non-boating package that includes an arts and crafts session followed by a movie screening. Attendees are asked to bring lawn chairs or blankets for comfort and to dress for the likely chilly temperatures.
WHEN | WHERE Carmans River Canoe and Kayak: 2979 Montauk Hwy; Brookhaven; 631-803-8496, carmansriverkayak.com. Oct. 31 from 1 to 4:15 p.m. Movie screening at 5:45 p.m.
INFO $40 per canoe; movie screening and craft is $15 per person. Tickets for both options can be purchased at eventbrite.com.
'Ghosts, Goblins & Witches'
A socially distanced Halloween ballet has arrived at Ballet Long Island in Ronkonkoma. The show, titled "Ghosts, Goblins & Witches," will bring 90 minutes of spooky fun. Seating is limited and the show takes place outdoors.
WHEN | WHERE Oct. 24 at. 7 p.m.; 1863 Pond Rd., Ronkonkoma; 631-737-1964, theballetcenter.org
INFO $18 per adult; $9 per child and $9 seniors.