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Ghoulish Halloween activities for kids this weekend

Plus, beer for adults.

Scary shrubbery (or scared shrubbery?) at the Boston Children's Museum.Handout

With many school districts opting out of classroom parties (notably Melrose), and with Halloween falling on a Sunday, we’re on our own this year. Oh, yes, and it might rain. Just the same, the holiday won’t be stopped — and plenty of places are throwing celebrations for kids who deserve to have a little fun this weekend. (I know a few parents who Clorox’d their kids’ candy last year. It seemed vaguely reasonable at the time.)

At the Franklin Park Zoo, trick-or-treat among the animals for Zoo Howl throughout the weekend. Plus: scavenger hunts with prizes, animal encounters, and a costume contest. Get tickets at www.zoonewengland.org.


In East Boston, The Tall Ship Boston throws a free Eastie Halloween Party (1 East Pier Drive) on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 2 p.m. Sport a costume, get your face painted, munch apple cider doughnuts, and visit a petting zoo. eastiehalloween.eventbrite.com

The Trustees of Reservations offer tons of family-friendly activities all weekend: Stroll Long Hill’s trails in Beverly to ogle more than 1,000 jack-o-lanterns; trick-or-treat at Fruitlands in Harvard; visit Lincoln’s deCordova Sculpture Park for haunted activities inspired by scary artwork; or take a haunted hike at Appleton Farms in Ipswich. www.trustees.org

Arsenal Yards in Watertown (130 Arsenal Yards Blvd.) hosts Fall Falladays throughout the weekend: Guess the weight of a giant pumpkin (and get a $500 gift card if you win), listen to live music, and duck into a cheese festival hosted by Roche Bros., if you’re tired of sneaking candy. It’s free. www.arsenalyards.com

Candid conversations for parents.GLOBE STAFF

In Westwood, swing by the University Station Truck-or-Treat Halloween Party (221 University Ave.) on Saturday, Oct. 30, starting at 11 a.m. Kids can climb trucks in costume; the event is free, but families are encouraged to bring a canned food item for donation to the Westwood Food Pantry. www.shopuniversitystation.com


If you prefer grog with your ghosts, go to Night Shift Brewing in Everett (87 Santilli Highway) on Sunday, Oct. 31, beginning at 2 p.m. for balloon-twisting, games, music, and even a canine costume contest. (They’ll also roll out some new brews, including one made with Teddie peanut butter.) www.nightshiftbrewing.com

Visit the new Boo-tanical Garden at the Boston Children’s Museum (308 Congress St.) throughout the weekend for hands-on encounters with unusual plants, or visit on Friday night, Oct. 29, for a $30 trick-or-treating event throughout the museum with DJs, and a “scare package” for each kid. www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/Boo-Tanical

In Acton, the Discovery Museum (177 Main St.) hosts a pumpkin putt-putt challenge and a scavenger hunt in costume throughout the weekend. www.discoveryacton.org

For a historical twist, visit the Old North Church (139 Salem St.) on Saturday, Oct. 30, starting at 10 a.m. for a $5 Crypt Tour, where you’ll learn about ancient burial practices (in a kid-friendly manner!) while descending to the basement, stacked with 37 tombs. Note: It’s not stroller accessible. www.oldnorth.com

The tomb of John Jutau, Peter St. Medard, and George Clark in the crypt of the Old North Church in Boston, on March 17, 2017. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/file

A few blocks away, the Boston Public Market (100 Hanover St.) hosts a Halloween party beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, in their pumpkin patch: Play games, win prizes, and fill your Instagram feed with photos of your kids posing with their 1,168-pound pumpkin. Then pop by the Greenway Carousel for a chance to win a free ride (if you come in costume). www.bostonpublicmarket.org


The ICA is free for families when accompanied by kids 12 and under on Saturday, Oct. 30, starting at 10 a.m., and they’re encouraged to don costumes. www.icaboston.org/events/play-date-spellbound-sights

If all this makes you long for a night out, head to Dorchester Brewing Company (1250 Massachusetts Ave.) for All Horror’s Eve: Halloween’s Greatest Hits True Crime Night with Sarah Caliean, to talk about true crime, horror podcasts, and infamous (are there any other kind?) serial killers. You can even test your crime knowledge with trivia while sipping beer and chomping on food from M&M BBQ. www.exploretock.com/dorchesterbrewingcompany

Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.