It's the spookiest time of the year - nights are dark, there's a chill in the air and it's easy to believe there might just be a ghost or goblin around the next corner.
There's plenty of family fun to be had in New Westminster and neighbouring Burnaby this weekend, leading right up to the big night on Oct. 31. We've compiled a list of local events and there's something for every age to help celebrate the season.
Friday, Oct. 26
Enjoy some spooky crafts at the New Westminster Public Library, for ages four to 10, at 3: 30 today (Friday). The library is at 716 Sixth Ave.
Saturday, Oct. 27
Here's one for the older kids in the city. Scary Movie Marathon for youth in Grade 8 and up, runs from 3 to 11 p.m. with the scariest movies running all day at the Youth Centre. Event is free with Youth Centre membership. Call 604-515-3775 for more info.
An all-ages Haunted Halloween Pirate Party for some swashbuckling spooky fun. This event is parent participation, with a registration fee of $4 per child at the Centennial Community Centre. Bring your own pumpkins to carve - tools will be supplied. Crafts, games and more. Runs from 1: 30 to 3: 30 p.m. Call 604777-5100 for more details.
Enjoy some special time with extended family at the Grandparents Halloween Party at Century House. Grandparents and great grandparents are invited to bring their grandchildren of all ages for hot dogs, witches brew, games and crafts, along with a haunted house. Cost is $5 for members, $6 for non-members and $3 for grandchildren (under three is free.) Runs from 1: 30 to 2: 30 p.m. Call 604-519-1066 for more information.
Lace up the skates for the Haunted Halloween Family Skate event at Moody Park Arena, from 6: 30 to 8 p.m. An evening of thrills and chills, including a variety of activities and crafts. Dress in costume. Regular admission rates apply. Call 604-525-5301.
Saturday and Sunday
Royal City Centre hosts some spooky fun for visitors on both Saturday and Sunday. Visitors in costume can have their photo taken for free in the haunted giggle house and take part in a spooky window scavenger hunt. Runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Royal City Centre in uptown New Westminster.
Get spooked on the waterfront with Fraser River Frights, for all ages, on the Samson V "ghost ship." Hear ghost stories, make spooky nautical crafts and take part in a scavenger hunt. Discover mysteries aboard the historic boat. Runs 1 to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Cost is by donation. Call 604-527-4640 for more info.
Monday, Oct. 29
Kids ages five to eight can take part in Monster Madness - with spooky crafts, terrifying decorations and a few treats as well - at Centennial Community Centre, running 3: 30 to 5 p.m. The event also includes a Halloween scavenger hunt. Cost is $9.50, register by calling 604-777-5100.
Keep Halloween sweet with Count Chocula's Creatures, a program for ages nine to 13, running from 6 to 7: 30 p.m. at Centennial Community Centre. Participants will get the chance to make creepy chocolate mould treats and spooky snacks, as well as a special witches brew. Cost is $9.50, call 604-777-5100 to register.
Over the border in Burnaby Friday, Saturday and Sunday
The perennial favourite for historic, haunted Halloween fun returns to the Burnaby Village Museum this weekend. From 6 to 9 p.m. each night, the village will be alive after dark with witches, trick-or-treating, and unlimited carousel rides, along with a wide variety of entertainers and activities. Tickets are available at the door, $14 for youth and adult, and $9 for children two to 12. If nighttime is too spooky, the carousel (but not the museum) will also be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Call 604-297-4565 to register.
Saturday, Oct. 27
Take part in family-focused fun with the Creepy Craft Workshop at Brentwood Town Centre, scheduled for 11 a.m. Check out www.brentwoodtowncentre.com for more Halloween festivities planned this weekend.
Come up to Burnaby Mountain and explore the science of scares with the SFU Science Spooktacular. This year's theme is "mad scientist" and the event includes science fun for kids from kindergarten to Grade 6 along with their families. Staff, faculty and students in biology, biomedical physiology and kinesiology, chemistry and physics will host chilling science activities. All events take place in the south concourse of the Academic Quadrangle, just outside the Shrum Science Centre lecture hall B9200. Participants are encouraged to come dressed for the event.
Lace up and get out on the ice - but don't forget your costume. The Halloween Hoopla Skate runs from 12: 30 to 3 p.m. at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre, 3676 Kensington Ave. , Burnaby. All ages (ratio of children to adults must not be greater than 3 to 1), with music, face painting, crafts, games and more. Regular admission and rental rates apply. Call 604-297-4521 for more info.
Get a pumpkin and help a good cause. Forest Lawn and Ocean View Funeral Homes are hosting a pumpkin patch from noon to 3 p.m. The event is by donation (suggested donation of $5) and all donations go to St. Michael's Hospice. Participants get to choose a pumpkin to take home, and there will be hot chocolate, cookies and safety flashlights for the kids. The event takes place outside the reception room, at 3789 Royal Oak. Ave.
Get howling like a werewolf with the annual Cameron Howler. Running from 5: 30 to 8 p.m. at the Cameron Recreation Complex (9523 Cameron St.), the event includes face painting, games, preschool crafts, photo booth and more. Show up in a costume to be entered to win a prize. The event is free, but donations of canned goods to the food bank are welcomed. Children must attend with an adult.
Join North Gate Mall retailers for a Halloween costume parade and contest, starting at 11 a.m. Wear a costume and meet in front of PriceSmart foods (3433 North Road). From there, participants will trick or treat through North Gate Mall and North Road Square Mall.
Until Wednesday, Oct. 31
On now until Halloween, Lougheed Town Centre is hosting the Spooky BOO-Tique daily. A portion of the shopping centre has been transformed into a Halloween fantasy of horrors. All guests 12 and under will receive a Halloween treat after going through. Customers can enter for free with a presentation of same-day receipt from a centre retailer, or by $2 minimum donation to the Burnaby Firefighters' Charitable Society. The BOO-Tique is located on the lower level, next to Bentley.
Wednesday, Oct. 31
Lougheed Town Centre invites kids from age two to 12 to take part in trick-or-treat fun, from 4 to 5 p.m. Entry is by donation at each of the mall entrances, with donations going to the Burnaby Firefighters' Charitable Society. Children must be accompanied by an adult and cameras are welcome.
Get moving and grooving with special dress-up editions of both Salsa Tots and Salsa Babies classes today. Salsa Tots runs at 11 a.m., and Salsa Babies at 11: 45 a.m. Check out www.brentwoodtowncentre.com for more Halloween festivities planned this weekend.
Get spooked with Brentwood Town Centre's Halloween evening fun. At 4: 30 p.m., enjoy the Pumpkin Spook-tacular Interactive Dance Show and then, at 5 p.m., take part in a trick-or-treat with the centre's retailers.
Celebrate the big night in the Heights. Heights merchants are once again hosting the annual Halloween in the Heights event, with fun for all ages including fireworks, trick-or-treating, and a spooky train ride at Confederation Park's Burnaby Central Railway. Runs from 3: 30 to 5: 30 p.m.
If you're up in North Burnaby (and if not, it's worth the drive) check out the Quarto family's annual haunted house, which has been featured in the newspaper several times. The 'house' is about 1,200 square feet of fully enclosed frights and chills - along with live actors guaranteed to add to the scare-factor. Entrance is by donation and all donations go to B.C. Children's Hospital. The house is at 4260 Dundas St.