Top tips for family Halloween activities in Berkeley

Trick or treat. Photo: Thomas Hawke
Trick or treat, and so much more: This Halloween in Berkeley. Photo: Thomas Hawke

By Heather Flett

Local Halloween events for children have been curated for us by our friends at 510Families.com. Face paint optional!

Pre-Halloween events

  • Halloween Playdate at Habitot: For special needs children, 0-5, this event is a special celebration that is fun for the whole family. These after-hours playdates are open to the public and great times for children and families to play with hands-on exhibits, explore the art studio and enjoy family bonding time in a safe, accessible and fun environment. Register here. Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2065 Kittredge St., 1:30-4:30 p.m. More.
  • Halloween House Workshops at Habitot: Grandparents and grandchildren will build and decorate a Hansel & Gretel-style Halloween house. Costumes welcome! This event is FREE to Grandparent Circle Charter Members, and $29 per child for everyone else. Registration required at habitotreservations@lmi.net or call 510-647-1111, ext. 14. 2065 Kittredge St., Friday, Oct. 23, from noon to 1 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. More.
  • Scary Stories and Magic Tricks at South Berkeley Library: Spooky stories and magic tricks for ages 5 and up. “These stories are slightly spooky and told in traditional storytelling style.” Wednesday, Oct. 28, 1901 Russell St., 7 p.m. More.
  • Solano Avenue Parade: Cal’s marching band, police escorts and 400 elementary school children in costume makes a fun show for toddlers who can sit on the curb in front of Wells Fargo or Starbucks on Solano to watch it go by. Friday, Oct. 30, begins at 10 a.m. on upper Solano Avenue. 
  • Halloween Community Parade: Described as “creative, cute, creepy and festive,” this parade makes its way through the neighborhood around San Pablo Park. Festivities include a costume contest, freeze dance, food and goodie bags. San Pablo Park, 2800 Park St., 3-6 p.m. More.
  • Solano Avenue Costume Contest: Cash grand prizes for the adult and kid categories, and great second place prizes are promised. Albany YMCA, 921 Kains, 5-6 p.m. More.
  • Harvest Festival at James Kenney Community Center: Families are invited to a FREE mini-Halloween carnival. Friday, Oct. 30. 1720 Eighth St., 3:30-5:30 p.m. More.
  • House of Screams: The event is free and suitable for kids 5-15. Friday, Oct. 30 at Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Services Center at Grove Park, 6-9:30 p.m. More.

Halloween4
A “last supper” Halloween tableau created by Michael Minasian and his then 8-year-old son Aaron on Spruce Street in 2011. Photo: Colleen Neff

Saturday, Oct. 31

  • Pumpkin Patch Dash: Kids can win prizes from Berkeley Rec. Face painting and other amusements will be on hand. Call to register and find out what time your age group will race. 510-981-5147. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School track, 9-11:45 a.m. More.
  • Not-Too-Spooky Halloween at Habitot: Enjoy a not-too-spooky celebration for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Play miniature golf in the garden graveyard, paint miniature pumpkins and fly paper ghosts in the Wind Tunnel. Visit the witches’ apothecary in the grocery store. Treats and prizes. Come in costume! 2065 Kittredge St., 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More.
  • Bats! at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden: Bat expert Corky Quirk will discuss the importance of bats in our environment. 200 Centennial Dr., 10-11 a.m. More.
  • Spooktacular Halloween Costume & Dance Party: “Dress up in your awesome Halloween costumes” contest; prizes awarded after. Fun games, dance party, pumpkin decorating, trick or treat, arts and crafts, food, healthy treats, face painting and more. $15 per child; $12 siblings. We Rock the Spectrum,  2920 Seventh St., 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. More.
  • (The Not-So-Scary) Halloween Story Time: This story time is recommended for babies through grade-schoolers. Costumes are encouraged, but not required. Light refreshments will be served. West Branch of Berkeley Library, 1125 University Ave., 10:15-11 a.m. More.
  • ‘When Pumpkins Fly’ at the Lawrence Hall of Science: A display of physics, catapults send pumpkins flying across the Hall’s lawn, and guests will learn what it takes to build these devices, also called “trebuchets.”1 Centennial Dr., 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. More.
  • Rec Room Grand Opening and Halloween Party: Come check out the newest cafe-play space hybrid in Berkeley. Activities, food and costume fun with a professional photographer on hand to take family pictures for free. 3222 Adeline St., noon to 4 p.m. More.
  • Trick or Treat on Fourth Street: Merchants will give out treats. Participating merchants will have pumpkin at their door. Want scary hair? Keter Salon professionals will give you scary hair to match your outfit. There will be face painting, live music and a photo booth, too. Runs from 2-5 p.m. More.

To find more Halloween events across the East Bay, see the {510} Families Halloween Guide.

Want to know what else is going on in Berkeley and nearby? Visit Berkeleyside’s new-look Events Calendar. Submit your own events for free if they aren’t there already — and give them featured status for a few dollars a day.