As parents brace themselves for the sugar rushes that will possess their children tomorrow, Miami is gearing up to celebrate the holiday with costume contests, haunted houses, safe trick-or-treating, and other fun activities. All across Miami-Dade, families have plenty of options for celebrating a night of spooky fun. You can even bring your dog to some spots. From North Miami Beach to Kendall, here are the ten best halloween events for kids.
1. Monster Mash Bash. The dark and eerie Patricia A. Mishcon Athletic Field beckons the tiny and hungry monsters of the 305 to sink their teeth into a night of low-key scares. The Monster Mash Bash will offer arts and crafts, rides, rock climbing, haunted ghost tours for $1, and other diversions. The free event will also give young ones a chance to compete in a costume contest. Will their frightening Halloween looks slay the competition? 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at Patricia A. Mishcon Athletic Field, 16601 NE 15th Ave., North Miami Beach; 305-948-2957; citynmb.com. Admission is free.
2. Yappy Hour Barktoberfest. Nothing brings more joy than watching a gang of pups prance around in silly costumes on the scariest night of the year, especially when there's a dog costume contest and a trick-for-treat competition involved. The all-out holiday canine- and kid-friendly affair will offer pumpkin painting for the little humans, raffles, a photo booth for you and your pooch, and other goodies. You can support local four-legged friends who are waiting to be adopted by bringing dog food, toys, beds, cages, etc., that will benefit the Humane Society. Each donation will get you five raffle tickets. And don't forget to keep your furry friends safe on Halloween with these pet safety tips from the Humane Society of Greater Miami. 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at the Spillover, 2911 Grand Ave., Ste. 400D, Miami; 305-456-5723; thespillovermiami.com. Pet supply donations encouraged.
3. Nightmare at 405 Haunted House. Calling all brave young souls: Do you dare to be scared? Spirits linger behind the walls and through the halls of the cursed Nightmare at 405. As night falls on All Hallows' Eve, little ones can roam the kid-friendly haunted house at Coral Gables' War Memorial Youth Center for a night of fright. Will the spirits of the nearby haunted Biltmore Hotel lurk through? Only the gutsy ghouls who make their way to University Drive will know. The site warns that the haunted house isn't suitable for children under the age of 5. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at the War Memorial Youth Center, 405 University Dr., Coral Gables; 305-460-5600; coralgables.com. Admission costs $4.
4. Hocus Pocus in 35mm at Nite Owl Theater. Sistas! The best part of Halloween has arrived. If your kid has yet to see the 1993 Disney cult classic starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, it's time to get them acquainted with the Sanderson sisters, stat. The Secret Celluloid Society will screen the film at the Nite Owl Theater tomorrow. Whether it's your first or 50th time seeing the Halloween flick, we suggest making your way to the Design District's 35mm classic movie theater on your broomstick or vacuum cleaner for a night of witchy fun. 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at Nite Owl Theater, 3930 NE Second Ave., #201, Miami; 833-648-3695; niteowltheater.com. Tickets cost $10 plus tax via niteowltheater.com.
5. Twentieth-Annual Halloween on the Mile. How much candy can the kids collect on Miracle Mile in three hours? Our guess: enough to keep all of Miami-Dade's dentists in business. Kick off the Halloween celebration at Books & Books on Aragon Avenue for some eerie Halloween tales. From 4 to 7 p.m., stroll along Miracle Mile and through downtown Coral Gables as kids trick-or-treat at more than 50 stops. The best part: The bash will include two costume contests: one for the human children and one for your furry, four-legged ones. Check out the schedule and location of events here. 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, in downtown Coral Gables and on Miracle Mile, Coral Gables; 305-569-0311; shopcoralgables.com. Admission is free.
6. West Kendall Halloween Family Event. Your little ones' sugar rushes will be at an all-time high. Luckily, West Kendall's halloween event offers plenty of diversions — such as trick-or-treating to live music, a haunted trail, and a kids' zone — to burn off all of that extra energy. Meanwhile, hungry ghouls and goblins can sate their ferocious appetites at onsite food trucks. Be sure to pass by the pumpkin patch for that perfect Halloween photo op. Registration for the event is mandatory; sign up here. 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at West Kendall Baptist Hospital (surface lot), 9555 SW 162nd Ave., Miami; 786-467-3404; baptisthealth.net. Free registration via baptisthealth.net.
7. Dolphin Mall's Spooktacular Halloween Party. Does the thought of going door-to-door with your kids have you shaking in your witchy boots? If the answer is yes, bring them to the annual Spooktacular Halloween Party, where a night of safe treats await. Magicians will have tricks up their sleeves, and stores will give away more candy than young minds can even perceive. The event will also offer live music, face painting, balloon artists, games, and a costume contest whose winner will take home a $50 Dolphin Mall gift card. 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at Dolphin Mall, 11401 NW 12th St., Sweetwater; 305-365-7446; shopdolphinmall.com. Admission is free.
8. Boooo-PAC. This ghoulish gathering in the 9,500-square-foot entertainment space is sure to be a supernatural treat. The competition is on at the spooky celebration for best costume. Plus, the free community event will serve treats, popcorn, and hot dogs for hungry phantoms to feast upon. Bring those devilish dance moves to dance the night away at the Spooky Ball. 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at the Overtown Performing Arts Center, 1074 NW Third Ave., Miami; 888-672-2386; overtownpac.org. Admission is free.
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9. Halloween Spooktacular. When the clock strikes 4, get your young creatures ready for the dance floor at the Shops at Sunset Place's Monster Mash Dance Party. An afternoon of safe fun awaits, where zombies, black cats, witches, and ghouls can roam throughout the mall’s haunted shops in search of their favorite sugary treats. Be sure to stop by the spooky candy station for giveaways and scary fun. To fill those halloween buckets to the brim, stroll to the local businesses on Sunset Drive between South Dixie Highway and Red Road for the Safe Streets Halloween event. Is there really such a thing as too much candy? Parents, don't answer that question. 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 31, at the Shops at Sunset Place, 5701 Sunset Dr., South Miami; 305-663-0482; shopsunsetplace.com. Admission is free.
10. Howl-o-Ween at Fairchild. The same neighborhood walks probably get old for your pooch. They smell the same grass, pass the same houses, and greet the same dogs. But at Howl-o-Ween, tails will be wagging, tongues will be hanging, and kids will be resisting the urge not to stop and dote on every costumed pup they see. Stroll through Fairchild's beautiful 83 acres with your kids and pups, or take a tour with them on a narrated tram ride. Cuteness overload awaits on the scariest day of the year. 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, October 31, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, 10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables; 305-661-8953; fairchildgarden.org. Admission costs $25 for adults and $12 for children ages 6 to 17; children 5 and younger get in free.