Group of kids in costumes on Solano
The Halloween on Solano costume contest and parade Credit: Whitney Moss

Editor’s note: This story was produced for Berkeleyside by 510 Families, a parent-run web publication that’s been running down fun things to do with kids in the Berkeley and Oakland area since 2010. Visit their site to find more kid-friendly Halloween events and Día de Los Muertos celebrations and activities in the East Bay.

The Berkeley area has many family-friendly celebrations in the works for harvest, Halloween, and Día de Los Muertos going on through the end of October. It’s the perfect excuse to rock your coolest DIY costumes without anyone batting an eye.

👻 Children’s Fairyland Halloween Jam transforms its iconic attractions with charmingly spooky, rather than scary, decorations, delighting young guests and their parents. Festivities include the usual rides, a special scavenger hunt, and creative crafts. Donning costumes is encouraged, but no masks please. Weekends, Oct. 20-22 and 27-29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $18 for non-members over age 1.

🌽 Children can let loose while learning about farming at the Berkeley Harvest Festival at Cedar Rose Park. This event offers a range of activities, from playground fun and obstacle courses to a petting zoo, a climbing wall, pumpkin bowling, and a craft table for a blend of education and entertainment. Saturday, Oct. 21 11 a.m.-4 p.m. FREE

🦋 Berkeley High School hosts a kid-friendly celebration of Mexican culture and history at the City of Berkeley’s Día de Los Muertos Festival with altars, crafts, and live music. Special features include free massage, bike repair, and haircuts. Saturday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. FREE

🖼️ Celebrate and honor loved ones who have died at Kala Art Institute’s Day of the Dead (Día De Muertos) community art workshop, led by teaching artist Natalie Palms. You’ll get to create an hojalata (tin art) embossed picture frame, small zine, or crêpe cempasúchil to celebrate the memories of your ancestors, family, friends, or even pets. Saturday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m.-2p.m. FREE ($10 suggested donation) 

🐯 Boo at the Zoo offers kid-friendly animal-themed activities with an X-Ray scavenger hunt, hay bale maze, and treats for participants at the Oakland Zoo. Best costumes will win prizes. Open through Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. unless otherwise posted. Tickets required $20-$24, under 2 is FREE.

🎻 The Downtown Berkeley BART will come alive with the annual Halloween Hootenanny with palm readers, face-painting, and ghoulish surprises set to the tune of Cajun blues by Thompsonia. Friday, Oct. 27, 3-7 p.m. FREE to attend, but activities and food cost.

🌊 Enjoy choosing your pumpkin while splashing in the West Campus Pool at the Berkeley Floating Pumpkin Patch. Costumes are fine for the deck but swimsuits are needed in the pool. Children 6 and under must be closely supervised. Saturday, Oct. 28, Three two-hour sessions: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Advanced registration is required. $10-$12 per person. 

🍿 Halloween in the Elmwood is showing a fun animated movie for big kids, Monster House, as well as passing out treat bags to costumed kiddos. Make sure to visit the neighboring blocks to see some swoon-worthy house decorations. Saturday, Oct. 28, 12-5 p.m. for trick-or-treating and 6 p.m.-9 p.m. for the movie. FREE.

💀 The giant, outdoor Dia de Los Muertos Festival in Fruitvale has the theme Blooming Resilience: Honoring the spirit of Fruitvale for 2023. It includes live music, dancing, face painting, Aztec rituals, rides, games, and delicious food to buy. You’ll also have an opportunity to stop by and chat with editors and reporters from our sister newsroom, The Oaklandside, which is hosting an altar and booth with merch giveaways and more at this year’s fest! Sunday, Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. FREE to attend, but activities and food cost.

🎃 The Halloween Dia Los Muertos Family Fun Fest at Jack London Square has a full slate of activities for all ages including mariachi music, chalk art, a Halloween costume contest, and Mexican Folklorico dancing. Sunday, OCt. 29, 1-3 p.m. FREE to attend, but activities and food cost.

🤖 Little kids are welcome to wear costumes and collect small treats from the merchants at Fourth Street Trick or Treat and Halloween Festival. There will also be face painters, scary hair styling, and music. The vibe is usually best for babies through preschoolers, but all are welcome. Tuesday, Oct. 31, 3-5 p.m. FREE.

🍌 All ages are encouraged to join the Halloween on Solano costume contest. Prizes will be awarded for infants through adults. Tuesday, Oct. 31, 3-5 p.m. FREE.

Berkeleyside reporter Iris Kwok contributed reporting to this list.

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