Oct 27th: Halloween Events, 'Scientopia' Play Date, 'Spooky Smells of Halloween' book review & Weekly Calendar of Activities

Welcome to a spooktacular Halloween edition full of parties with haunted houses, frightening festivals and local trick-or treating leading up to Halloween night. There are also Halloween festivities going on this weekend at the indoor space that I have suggested for Play Date of the Week, and Spooky Smells are coming out of the Book of the Week!

Halloween Events

Wednesday October 27th

‘San Anselmo Annual Goblin Parade’ at 5.00 – 7.00 pm, Town hall Plaza, San Anselmo, tel: 415 258 4669
For Children up to age 7 can dress up in costume and begin the parade at the U.S Bank, walk along San Anselmo Avenue and finish at the Fire Station where they can enjoy well deserved juice and cookies. Some merchants will provide treats along the way.

‘Spiders, Bats & Black Cats: A Not –Very-Scary Halloween Sing Along’ at 6.30 – 7.30 pm, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd, Novato. (Also showing at South Novato Library, 6 Hamilton Landing on Thursday 28th at 6.30pm)
Local singer and songwriter Bonnie Lockhart presents a fun Halloween themed sing along at both libraries.

Thursday October 28th

‘Halloween Puppet Show’ at 7.00 – 8.00 pm, Corte Madera Library, 707 Meadowsweet Drive, Corte Madera
A puppet show adaption of Bill Peet’s ‘Big Bad Bruce’ ideal for children age 4 and up.

Thursday October 28th & Friday 29th

‘Novato Youth Center Haunted House 2010’. At 4.00 – 6.00 pm, 680 Wilson Avenue, Novato; www.novatoyouthcenter.org
Come and experience the chills and thrills of the Haunted House open to ages 3 and up, with a special lunch time tour at noon.

‘Haunted Pirate Manor’ at 6.30 – 10.30 pm, Faulkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Avenue,  San Rafael. $10; www.hauntedpiratemanor.com
Thursday 28th at 6.30 – 10.30pm, Friday – Sunday 6.30 pm - midnight
The first annual Haunted Manor will have live local bands in the Pirate’s Barrel Inn and indoor entertainment that includes a fortune teller, a pumpkin carving contest, a Pirate Zombie Crawl and a kid’s costume contest. Also local pirate performers and Halloween poetry by the Marin Poetry Center. The haunted manor may be scary for smaller kids.

Jumping Jack’s Halloween Party’ at 9.30 – 10.30 am for 12 – 24 months, & 10.30 - 11.30 am for 24 months & up, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael; www.cityofsanrafael.org
Come in costume for free play during the first half hour and then a sing along and games with the parachute.

Friday October 29th

‘Halloween Faire’ at 10.30 am – noon, Strawberry Recreation District, 118 East Strawberry Drive, Mill Valley, $8; www.strawberryrec.org
Come in costume to play with other witches and wizards on the bouncy house, follow the candy & prize hunt and play carnival games

‘Halloween Harvest Festival’, at 5.00 – 8.00 pm, Marinwood Community Center, 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael, Free entry, $2 per activity, or $8 passes online or $10 on the door; www.marinwood.org
Make your own custom trick-or-treat bag, get a family photo in front of a scarecrow backdrop by photographer Brian Dettor, visit the Marinwood Farmer's market table or enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie, or a hot dog from 'Moon Doggies'. Take part in pumpkin carving and decorating, face painting, bounce house, cookie decorating and candied apples.  Come in costume and get a free ticket for the activity of your choice.

‘School Fuel’s 3rd Annual Haunted House’ at 5.00 – 7.00 pm, Novato United School District Office, 1015 Seventh Street, Novato, free but donations welcome.
Fun haunted house for all ages, and dinner available for purchase.

‘Halloween Fest’ at 3.30 – 5.30 pm. Pacheco Plaza, 366 Ignacio Blvd, Novato; www.pachecoplaza.com
A spooky afternoon in costume round the plaza where you can enjoy visiting local merchants for trick-or-treat, face painting, pumpkin giveaways, balloon animals, costumed characters, a magic show, and an interactive Drum Workshop.

Friday October 29th & Saturday 30th

‘Halloween Haunted House’, Tamalpais Community Services District, 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley, $3: www.tcsd.us
Friday 6.30 – 7.30 pm will be semi scary & 8.00 – 9.00 pm will be really scary & Saturday 30th at 2.30 – 5.30 pm will not be scary for younger kids, & 6.30 – 7.30 pm will be semi scary, & 8.00 – 9.00 pm will be ‘horrifying’.  A party with ghouls, creatures, grave sites, zombies and more…

Saturday October 30th

‘Annual Halloween Spooktacular’ at 11.00 am, Borders, 588 Francisco Blvd, San Rafael; www.borders.com
Children aged 3 – 8 are invited to join the fun and listen to scary stories, play spooky games, make creepy crafts and participate in a costume parade.

‘Pirate Halloween’ at 12.00 pm, Pasta Moto, Hamilton Marketplace, 5800 Nave Drive, Novato, free; www.pastamoto.com
Family fun with the cast of ‘Pirates of Penzance’ at noon, and live music with Barbary Ghosts starting at 3.30 pm, free eye patches and pirate hats for little mateys.

Haunted House’ at 11.00 – 3.00 pm, Saint Raphael’s School,  1100 Fifth avenue, San Rafael; www.downtownsanrafel.org
Stop by and play games or make crafts before the Fourth street Trick-or-Treating begins (see below).

‘Trick-or-Treat’ at 1.00 – 2.30 pm, Fourth Street, San Rafael (between Downtown City Plaza & the West End Village); www.downtownsanrafel.org
Families can pick up a list of participating merchants, a free Halloween pencil and stickers then walk down Fourth Street where friendly merchants will be handing out goodies and candy to kids in costume.

‘Annual Trick-or-Treat Day’ at 12.00 – 3.00 pm, Town center Corte Madera; wwwshoptowncenter.com
Children of all ages come together for this annual event where kids can run around in costume in a safe environment leading up to Halloween night.

Mark Your Diary this week

Marin Preschool Fair on Wednesday October 27th at 7.00 – 8.30 pm, Osher Marin Jewish Community center, 200 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael; www.mc3.org
Looking for a preschool for your child? This free event hosting by the Marin Child Care Council will take place at the JCC and will feature over 40 Marin Preschools. It is an opportunity to meet their directors and staff, and find out which is the best school for your child.

Play date of the Week

Scientopia Discovery center, 1785 B Tanen Street, Napa; www.scientopiadiscoverycenter.com

It is essential to find fun indoor spaces for your toddlers to run around in during this wet weather we have been having, especially as winter is creeping in. Our favorites are’ Jumping Jacks’ in San Rafael , ‘Power Play’ at Cal Star Gym in Novato (check weekly calendar below for details), and of course the wonderful ‘Bay Area Discovery Museum’ in Sausalito.

But if you want to drive a little further, then ‘Scientopia’ in Napa is a great place with lots of different themed indoor areas and a garden outside with a picnic area for dry days.

Scientopia is a Discovery Center designed for children to combine play while learning music, art, math and science through creative free play and interactive exhibits. There is a soft play room for children three and under, full of soft building and climbing blocks, with slides, a small ball pit and lounge area alongside a full book shelf to chill out in.

The main room has a wide array of exciting activities for children to try out that are constantly rotated.   It has a puppet theater for kids to create their own show, a dress up area full of costumes, and a music area with instruments to play with. A produce stand and little 50’s style diner where kids can learn the different fruit and vegetables going into their food cart. A little dig pit full of rubber gravel (much cleaner) where they can play with shovels and trucks, and a large train table with pop up holes in the center full of trains and other vehicles. There is a ‘Thinking Corner’ where children can explore and learn about pulleys, magnets, simple machines, use a turn table and wind tunnels. Also a ‘Brainiac Lab’ for children 5 and older, to experiment with microscopes, electricity and more.

It is advised to check the calendar on their website before your visit on the weekends, as there are sometimes private parties booked, but this weekend is a great time to go for their Halloween Festivities. They will be offering Halloween craft making, games, cookie decorating and some ‘sticky slimy fun’. There will also be ‘Crossroad Chicken’ selling pizza and other food from their gourmet truck. Also adults are free if their children come in costume!
It is a great place for children to experiment and learn new things while playing in a fun, vibrant environment!

Children’s Book of the Week

'The Spooky Smells of Halloween' by Mary Man-Kong

This is a great book to enjoy as you and your children get ready for Halloween, it is also interactive, as it allows your child to scratch and sniff some of the illustrations that release various smells throughout the story.

We join a little boy Sammy as he is getting ready for his Halloween party with his parents and black cat. They hang the decorations, prepare the bobbling apples game, get into costume, carve the pumpkin and then going trick-or-treating. It allows you to scratch small circles on certain pages so that you can smell the cookies, the apples, and the pumpkin amongst other smells, along the way.

The illustrations really attracted me to this book and these ones by Viviana Garofoli are charming with great colors. All I will say is beware of the skull on the last page and maybe skip scratching this picture as it isn’t a smell you want to release in a hurry!

Weekly Calendar of Toddler Appropriate Activities in Marin


10 .00 - 10.30 am - Kid's Story Time Club, Pharmaca, 7514 Redwood Blvd, Novato

10.00 – 10.30 am – Book Babies, San Anselmo Library, 110 Tunstead Ave Town Council chamber

10.00 -10.40 am - Toddler class at Studio 4 Art, 1133 Grant Avenue, Novato (until Dec17th)

10.30 – 11.15 am – ‘Music Together of Marin’, The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, 47 Tamal Vista Blvd.


9.30 – 10.45 am – Baby Bounce Storytime – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, 1st Floor

10.00 – 10.30 am - ‘Baby Bounce’ Story time at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Play date for 2 and Under’ at The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

10.15 - 10.45 am - 'Music Circle', at The Parents Center, Heller's Store, 514 4th Street, San Rafael (

11.00 - 11.30 am – ‘Book Club Story Time’ at ‘Pottery Barns Kids’ store, Corte Madera Village


9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, suite 3, Novato

10.00 -10.30 am – Music Together, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 – 10.45 am - ‘Music Circle’ at The Parents Center, Heller’s store, 514 4th St, San Rafael (

10.00 - 10.45 am - Fun & Funky (age 2 - 4), Fairfax Community Center, 

10.30 - 11.30 am – Adventure Club Drop in Play, MLK Gym, 610 Colma Street, Sausalito

11.00 - 11.30 am – Story Time at Giggle Store, Corte Madera Village

11.00 -11.30 am – Preschool Storytime, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, Corte Madera

4.00 – 8.00 pm - Farmer’s Market, Bolinas Park, Bolinas Road, Fairfax


8.00 – 1.00 pm – Farmers Market, The Civic Center (Puppet Show, balloon lady, Jumpy Houses & music)

9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Novato

9.30 – 10.30 am
– Jumping Jacks, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 -10.45 am – Toddler Storytime, San Rafael Library, 1100 E St, San Rafael

10.30 – 11.00 am – Story Time at San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am - Story Time at Barnes & Noble, 313 Corte Madera Center

3.30 - 4.00 pm - 'Stories with Phil Sheridan', Sausalito Library, 420 Litho Street

3.00 – 7.00 pm – Farmers Market, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross

6.00 – 9.00 pm - Farmers Market, 4th St, between Lincoln and B St, San Rafael


10.30 - 11.30 am - Story Time with Sarah Bonnet, San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 - 11.30 am - Tot's Club, City Hall Parks & Recreation, 420 Litho Street, Exercise Room, Sausalito

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Jumping Jacks, Strawberry Recreation District, 118 Strawberry Drive, 2nd floor gym

9.00 – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Alto Shopping Center, Mill Valley

9.00 am – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Bank of America parking lot, Downtown Sausalito

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