Friday, October 24, 2014

Totally Texas -- Picture this for Halloween

My grandsons’ games of make believe started me thinking of photo opportunities for Halloween. So, although this is mainly a list of Halloween-related events, I’ll interject a few suggestions for letting kids¾ and adults¾ act out their costumed fantasies.

October 24-26: Halloween Nights at the Dallas Zoo. What better place to get wild than the zoo as darkness falls? Gates open from 5-8 p.m., letting visitors see the animals at their most active. Tickets $10 for ages three and up, $5 per vehicle for parking. The venue is ZooNorth, 650 S. RL Thornton Freeway (I-35). Price includes candy stations, costumed characters, Animal Adventures, and more. Picture your tiny Ninja Turtles riding the zoo’s tortoise sculptures, your inner Joker clowning with penguins. Get the picture? For more information, see or call 469-664-7400.

Through November 26: Depend on Autumn at the Arboretum for lovely fantasies. Become a storybook character at the Pumpkin Village, Cinderella in her carriage, or a tiny headless horseman perched on a giant pumpkin. At the Dallas Arboretum, 8525 Garland Road in Dallas, open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 for nonmembers, $10 for children age 3-12, on-site parking $10 per vehicle. (Discounted parking available at Or visit on buy one, get one free Wednesdays. See the site for additional information.

October 25: Zombie Shootout at the Tyler Public Library. Nerf the zombies, or risk becoming one of the undead yourself. The library at 201 South College Avenue, Tyler, opens its doors to the living dead from 6-7 p.m. Admission is a bag of Halloween candy or a $2 donation to the Friends of the Library. For information, call 903-593-7323. If Tyler (about 90 minutes east of Dallas on I-20) seems a little distant, stop along the way for something truly terrifying¾ the Feral Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler (near Edom), October 24-25. For more information, see

October 25: Let Texas Discovery Gardens bug you with its Creepy Crawl-o-ween Family Festival, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., at Fair Park in Dallas. Btterflies and ladybugs can enjoy treats, arts and crafts, and critter close-ups. Admission ($8 for adults, $4 for children ages 3-11) also gives you access to the Butterfly House. See for information and directions.

October 26: Two-footed critters don’t get all the fun. If your true love is truly a dog, check out Howl-o-ween at Old City Bark, aka, Dallas Heritage Village, 1515 S. Harwood, Dallas, from noon - 4 p.m. Dress your four-footed friend, yourself, or both for unique photo opportunities. Costume contests, games, crafts, and more. Tickets are $10, free for kids ages 12 and under. Proceeds benefit Heritage Village and the SPCA of Texas. See for more information.

October 30: Boo Bash, at Plano’s Tom Muehlenbeck Center, 5801 W. Parker Road. Free for children aged 12 and under, from 5-8 p.m. Come in costume with a trick or treat bag for a night of carnival games and candy. For information, see

My grandkids inspired me to suggest some out of the ordinary photo venues. Our newest favorite¾ the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Not the one downtown, the one at Fair Park. Yes, the fossils and dioramas the kids loved when they were toddlers are still at the old Museum of Natural History building in Fair Park for only $1 (or free with your ticket to the Victory Park museum location). Hours are Friday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Imagine your Goldilocks with the bear diorama, your Red Riding Hood facing down the wolf. See Parking usually free outside of scheduled events.

More inspiration needed? How about the animatronic dinosaurs at the Heard Museum of Nature and Science, McKinney, for your cave guy or gal? Or the oversized longhorn sculptures at Pioneer Park in Dallas for cowboy wannabes? Or mermaids at the Dallas Children’s Aquarium and local fountains? Share your faves!

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