While haunted houses are a fun attraction for kids during Halloween and fall, some younger kids are just too young to enjoy some of the fright fests. While some children are less afraid than some adults walking through dark rooms as zombies reach for them, we've compiled a list of haunts around the country that the younger kids can enjoy, including some of the bigger haunted houses that offer "lights on" and family dates.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Florida
Fall is a great time to visit Walt Disney World in Orlando, with less crowds and cooler Florida temperatures. From September 11 to November 2, the Magic Kingdom hosts Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, where guests of all ages can arrive in costume, trick-or-treat around the park, take pictures with Disney characters dressed in Halloween costumes, catch the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade led by the Headless Horseman, and witness Happy HalloWishes fireworks nightly. The event takes place 7 p.m. to midnight, and requires a ticket in addition to a regular park admission ticket. In Anaheim, Calif., visit Disneyland for its Halloween Time spooktacular that runs September 14 through October 31 with a Halloween party and special attractions. For more information, visit Disney's Web sites, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Halloween Time.
Scream Portland, Oregon
During Weekend Little Screamer Fairs, young kids can enjoy Scream Portland's new location at the Portland International Raceway, where everything but the haunted houses are open. Open October weekends from noon to 5 p.m., young tykes can enjoy carnival rides, pony rides, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, face painting, story time, and more. Even better, admission is just $3 per person, and characters roaming the grounds are less scary and more kid-friendly, too. NOTE: As of October 23, 2012, the Little Screamer Fair has been canceled for the remainder of the event due to technical difficulties.
Hersheypark in the Dark, Pennsylvania
Hershey's sweet amusement park remains open in the fall for Hersheypark in the Dark, with "roller ghosters" and holiday-themed attractions and entertainment. Younger kids will enjoy Hershey's Trick-or-Treat Adventure, which offers 11 stops for kids 12 and younger dressed in costume. Visit ZooAmerica for a "Creatures of the Night" exhibit with nocturnal animal encounters. For more information, visit their Web site, Hersheypark.
Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND, California
LEGOLAND, just outside of San Diego in Carlsbad, Calif., features its annual Halloween-themed fun throughout October weekends. Besides "Brick-or-Treating" in costume, kids will enjoy a costume contest, BOO Crew entertainment, Saturday night fireworks, and dance parties. Tickets are available for full-day or evening-only admission, and include the park's regular attractions. The new LEGOLAND Florida will also be offering its first-ever Brick-or-Treat this October, as well, with LEGO pumpkin builds, Monster Fighters Scavenger Hunts and its own costume contests, dance parties and treating trails. For more information, visit the Web sites, LEGOLAND California Resort and LEGOLAND Florida Resort.
Wicked Workshop, Indiana
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis has been running its themed haunted house for nearly 50 years, this year providing families with a tour of Winny the Witch's whimsical factory. The haunted house is available for both "friendly" and "frightening" hours, with the friendly hours providing a Lights-On schedule. Kids can also enjoy a Friendly Feast with the Witches: Breakfast, lunch or dinner "boo-ffets" with friendly witches and Halloween entertainment, as well as other exciting fall break activities like the Black Hat Bash and Bat Encounters. Events begin October 11 through Halloween, with feasts happening on varying dates. For more information, visit their Web site, Children's Museum of Indianapolis.
Howl-O-Ween at Great Wolf Lodges, nationwide
Great Wolf Lodges across the country are popular for families due to its indoor water parks, but every fall they become even more fun. Kids can enjoy night costume parades, trick-or-treating, "Spooktacular Story Time," seasonal crafts and pumpkin painting and a Monster Bash Dance Party on weekends filled with games and prizes. Great Wolf can be found in popular destinations like the Wisconsin Dells, the Poconos, and Sandusky, Ohio. For more information, visit their Web site, Great Wolf Lodge.
Boo at the Zoo, nationwide
Zoos across the country, including Washington, D.C., New York, San Antonio and Atlanta, offer special Halloween-themed events that appeal to younger kids. Atlanta's popular four-day Boo at the Zoo features a costume contest for all ages, a hay maze, character meet and greets in Zoo Boo Town. In Washington, kids can trick-or-treat and enjoy animal encounters during its three-day event. For more information, visit the Web sites, Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Zoo Atlanta.
HalloWeekends at Cedar Point, Ohio
One of the Midwest's best amusement parks turns into a haunting place to visit over fall weekends. HalloWeekends, which can be quite scary for those under 13 at night, is also family-friendly during the day. Kids can explore the Magical House on Boo Hill, visit Planet Spooky, and catch a Halloween-themed parade, all included in the regular admission price, along with rides and attractions. HalloWeekend festivities take place Fridays through Sundays, September 14 through October 28. For more information, visit their Web site, Cedar Point.
Fright Fest at Six Flags, nationwide
Six Flags locations nationwide also turn its amusement parks into a haunted Halloween attraction during its fall Fright Fest, open weekends from September 22 through October 28. Again, the park's after dark activities may be too frightening for little ones, but it provides "Thrills by Day" and "Frights by Night" with not-so-scary Halloween-themed shows offered before 6 p.m. You'll find the fest taking place at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, Six Flags America outside Washington, D.C., and Six Flags New England in Massachusetts, as well as other locations across the country. For more information%2C visit their Web site, Six Flags Great Adventure.
The Count's Halloween Spooktacular, Pennsylvania
Just outside of Philadelphia is the kid-friendly Sesame Place, an amusement park for the younger crowd featuring Sesame Street characters. On weekends Saturday, September 29 through October 28, the park is transformed into a less-than-frightening Halloween attraction. Kids in costume can enjoy the new "Ernie's Rubber Duckie Costume Party" disco, the Neighborhood Street Party Halloween Parade, hayrides with Sesame Street characters, trick-or-treating across the park, and Halloween-themed shows. For more information, visit their Web site, Sesame Place.
For more haunted fun for older kids, check out 10 Best Haunted Houses for Families Who Love a Good Fright.