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10 COVID-Safe Halloween Happenings For Kids

There are plenty of safe Halloween events happening this year for families!

We are so thankful to our partners at the Child Advancement Network (CAN) for sponsoring us this season. CAN was established as a broad-based, comprehensive, and innovative approach to child health via partnerships, advocacy and collaborations aimed at advancing the wellbeing of children across domains of health. Learn more about them here.

With Trick or Treating up in the air in many part of Southeastern Wisconsin, we know that parents are looking for *safe* ways to make the most of Halloween season. We found 10 drive-through, drive-by, and walk-through events that might just do the trick.

Remember to bring your mask and maintain social distance!

Drive & Walk Through Events:

1. Boo at the Zoo at the Milwaukee County Zoo (Drive-Through)

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It’s time to “get your Spook On” at the Milwaukee County Zoo with “Boo at the Zoo,” this year as a new drive-thru “merry not scary” adventure! A Boo at the Zoo runs Thursday, Oct. 22 through Sunday, Oct. 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

From the comfort of your vehicle, you’ll ride on Zoo pathways (a FIRST in the history of Zoo events!) and take in a variety of Halloween-themed areas, carved pumpkins and illuminated light shows! The ride is specially designed for kids of all ages, AND kids at heart.

The 30-minute, 1.5-mile Halloween ride travels on wide and winding pathways through the Zoo. (For safety purposes, animals are not viewable during these evenings.)

Concession stops will be available along the way to purchase snacks and treats. Merchandise areas will be available to purchase a favorite memento from the first Boo at the Zoo Drive-Thru.

Many of the time slots are sold out, but there are still spaces in the later times.

2. Friends of Retzer Nature Center’s Scarecrow Lane 

September 21 – October 31, 2020Open Daily, Sunrise to 10 p.m.Free


Visitors are encouraged to take a fun, self-guided walk around Scarecrow Lane at Retzer Nature Center to enjoy the unique scarecrows displays and changing colors of autumn. Find the scarecrows near the Children’s Garden, located behind the west end of the Learning Center building. 

The Scarecrow Lane trail is approximately 0.4 mile. The trail includes areas of bark mulch and mowed grass and has some rolling terrain. A stroller suitable for off-pavement use could traverse the trail, but it is not a paved, flat trail.

3. Halloween Haunts at Wehr Nature Center:

Pandemic Edition (Outdoors, Walk-Through)

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Wehr’s 32nd Annual Halloween Haunts will take place on October 15, 16, & 17, from 6 to 8:30 pm.  The pandemic edition of the beloved event will be held entirely outdoors and follow all public health protocols to keep visitors and volunteers safe. Halloween Haunts educates families about misunderstood nature in a kooky, slightly spooky way. Families follow a path lined with hundreds of amazing Jack-o-lanterns into the Enchanted Forest and learn about misunderstood nature from friendly costumed characters such as owls, frogs, and skunks. The usual indoor Halloween carnival is cancelled, but every child will go home with a goody bag that includes a Halloween craft and prize. Masks are required for all participants 3 years and older, so start planning your Halloween themed face apparel! Cost: $10 per person.

4. Halloween Glow at the Racine Zoo (Drive-Through)

Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 7 – Nov. 1 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

$5 per person at the gate


Drive through a glowing Halloween lights display in the evening at the Racine Zoo.

5. Holy Hill Skeletons, Hubertus (Drive-By, Free!)


This year’s theme is “Til Death Do Us Part”.

They’re dying to meet you! Local resident Jimmy Zamzow arranges his collection of skeletons every year into an entertaining Halloween display in his front yard along Highway 167, just each of Holy Hill.

6. The Lightmare Before Christmas (Drive-by, Free!)

WI N102W17515 Lone Oaks Dr Germantown, WI


Catch this annual Halloween Lights Show in Germantown. They also do one for Christmas!

6. Halloween Glow, Delafield (Drive-By, Free!)

Pumpkins carved by area students will be lit around Clock Tower Square at the corner of Genesee and Milwaukee streets at dusk on Oct. 24. 

7. “Show Us Your Pumpkin Pavilion” in Bay View (Drive-By, Free!)


The Pumpkin Pavilion Organizing Committee and the Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) are pleased to announce a neighborhood-wide, socially-distanced version of the beloved annual event. The “Show Us Your Pumpkin Pavilion” event will run from October 23 – October 31, 2020.

Pumpkin Pavilion is normally held in partnership with Milwaukee County Parks at Humboldt Park Pavilion. This year, the event is pushing out the neighborhood, offering the neighbors the opportunity to use their spookiest creativity to create their own Pumpkin Pavilion display at their home. Neighbors will register online, and a community map will be created for people to plan their route to the participating houses.

8. Ghost Train in Shorewood (Drive-By, Free!)

Corner Bakery Shorewood Cafe – 1305 E. Capitol Drive


If you’ve never seen the Ghost Train make its nightly run through Shorewood, you’re going to want to take a pajama ice cream ride and check it out.

The Ghost Train is an artistic sensory experience which enables visitors to travel back in history, imagining the round-trip journey of the ‘Twin Cities 400’ which was operated by the Chicago and North Western Railway from 1935-1963 and crossed Capitol Drive at the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge. The Ghost Train was brought to Shorewood by Public Art Shorewood and designed by Marty Peck, CLD-E.

9. The Great Pumpkin Festival in Whitefish Bay (Outdoors, Walk-Through)

October 28 to 31, 2020

Old School House Park (5240 N. Marlborough)

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The Whitefish Bay Civi Foundation invited you to carve your own pumpking and display it at the festival: the pumpkin pick-up and drop-off location is on North Idlewild Avenue, open from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. daily.

They welcome everyone to walk through the park and enjoy the pumpkins and decorations. They encourage everyone to practice good habits by wearing a mask and keeping your distance from others.

Please note: To provide a safe event for all, this year there will be no carving of pumpkins on-site, no music and no food and beverage

10. Pumpkin Decorating Fest (Outdoor)

Various dates & times at Little Sprouts in Shorewood & Mequon

Perfect for even the littlest of ghouls. This outdoor event is toddler friendly. Bring your family for some scare-free fun to celebrate Halloween!

11. Happily Haunted Gardens at Bookworm Gardens (Walk-through)

Various dates and times


Looking for safe, outdoor Halloween fun? Our beloved, not-so-spooky Happily Haunted Gardens event is back but in a modified way! Dress in your favorite costume & stroll through the Gardens to view thousands of twinkling lights. Vote for your favorite Bookworm-inspired pumpkin, dance, hear stories, & listen to magical performances from entertainer Wes Tank, recorded especially for Bookworm. Leave your trick-or-treat bags at home because kids will be leaving with a pre-packaged goodie bag. Reservations are required for all! Walk-ins are not allowed due to admission limitations.

12. Trails & Treats at Riveredge Nature Center (Walk-Through)

October 24th, 2020


This event is sold out. Join in for an evening of tricks and treats on the trails of Riveredge. Families are invited to hike the Riveredge trails and visit educational stations along a one mile loop. Along the way,  visit with costumed woodland creatures educating you about their habits and habitats and receive candy-free treats as you go.

Canceled for 2020:

Trek n’ Treat at Grant Park – TBD or Canceled


Follow the trails through Grant Park’s 7 Bridges and receive treats along the way. Also enjoy family-friendly activities. A wheelchair-accessible route is available. Wearing costumes is encouraged!

Haunted Halloween on Downer Ave. (Free!) – TBD or Canceled

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Head on over to Historic Downer Avenue to trick-or-treat at the businesses, enjoy the amazing Halloween-themed artistry of our chalk artists, stroll along with an accordian player, and buy your pumpkin at St. Mark’s Church!

Vote for your favorite pumpkin from the businesses as they compete to win a carving contest this year while you earn your chance to win great prizes. Kids can get their face painted plus enjoy some balloon twisting.

“The Nightmare before Christmas” (Free!) – Canceled for 2020


The Nightmare Before Christmas is cancelled for 2020.

For a spooky treat, drive down to the 2700 block of Logan Street in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood. You’ll find elaborate and illuminated Halloween decorations with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme.

Autumn Celebration at the Washington Park Urban Ecology Center – TBD or Canceled


When the air gets crisp and the leaves change color, the UEC celebrates the changing season with neighbors, family and friends!Get ready to take a nature bike rides with us around the park, make crafts, enjoy caramel apples (yum), make cider, carve a pumpkin, canoeing, and much more at our annual Autumn Celebration at Washington Park.

Fear District at Fiserv Forum – TBD or Canceled


The brand new Fear District at the Fiserv Forum is kid-friendly during the day with scarecrow photo ops, a Friendly Corn Maze, a ScareCrow Toss Game, and more programming for kids.

Sold Out for 2020: Milwaukee Recreation’s Halloween Glen

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