Nine things to do with your family this week

This week Halloween haunts and parties kick off the season’s scary events while festivals give way to tamer fun.

fall family
Photo courtesy of Irina K., Adobe Stock

It’s not quite October yet, but that hasn’t stopped nearby amusement parks and local venues from putting on Halloween-themed events. Though there are surely more fright-filled events to come, there are also some less scary happenings to supplement this week’s family events round-up.

King’s Dominion’s Halloween Haunt
Sept. 23-Oct. 29

The eight scare zones and five mazes are probably better suited for the big kids, but little ones will still be able to make the most of the Kings Dominion Great Pumpkin Fest, a petting zoo and a space to paint pumpkins. Once the clock strikes 7 p.m., be prepared for over 400 monsters to make their presence known.

Six Flag’s Frightfest
Sept. 23-Oct. 29; noon- 10 p.m. on Saturdays, noon-9 p.m. on Sundays (extended hours during the last two weeks of October)

Haunted houses and scare zones will be scattered throughout Six Flags every weekend from Sept. 23-Oct. 29, the most frightening festivities taking place once the sun goes down. Scream inducing elements have even been added to certain rides, and new this year is a show called “Cursed!” which traces four college kids’ experience at a haunted bed and breakfast.

Bush Gardens Howl-O-Scream
Sept. 23-Oct. 29

Bush Gardens rides, attractions and fall decor will remain as normal during the day, but starting at 6 p.m. on Sept. 23, haunted houses, Terror-tories and spooky shows will come to life.

22nd Annual CCE Irish Folk Festival 
Sept. 23, noon-7 p.m.

The Sherwood Center at Van Dyck Park will host the 22nd Annual Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann Irish Folk Festival, which will include music and dancing on four stages, vendors, exhibits, workshops and Gaelic sports. The CCE is a nonprofit that supports the “preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music and culture.”

Fredericksburg’s Fall Fairy Festival
Sept. 23, noon-5 p.m.

Children of all ages can come dressed up as their preferred mythical creature (fairy, elves, wizards, etc.) and enjoy an assortment of contests, face painting, a magic show, scavenger hunt and many more arts, crafts and games benefiting Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania and Caroline counties’ nonprofits. The event will be held at Old Mill Park.

Discovery Junction Children’s Museum Touch a Truck
Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

At the Prince William County Fairgrounds, children of all ages will be able to climb into their favorite truck and meet the person who uses them to serve the community everyday. Children will also get to take a ride in a Barrel Train, participate in hands-on activities and grab lunch for purchase at food trucks.

Temple Hall Fall Festival
Sept. 29-Nov. 7

Starting Sept. 29 the Temple Hall Farm will host their Fall Festival featuring giant jumping pillows, pumpkin blasters and corn cannons plus a 24-acre corn maze, live music and pig races. Pumpkins and treats will be on sale in the general store.

Royal Adventure Days
Sept. 30, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Oct. 1, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Children can enjoy a 30-minute train ride accompanied by their favorite princesses and fairy tale characters at the Railroad B&O Museum. There will be drinks plus opportunities to craft.

Autumn Apple Festival at the Loudoun Heritage Museum 
Sept. 30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

There will be no shortage of apples to taste at the Loudoun Heritage Museum’s Autumn Apple Festival, plus guests will be able to learn how to make their own cider and check out tools that have been historically used at orchards.