It's that time of year again, when black-and-orange-wrapped "fun size" candies start appearing temptingly near supermarket cash registers, TV schedules are full to bursting with frightening flicks, and parents and kids gear up for the aftermath of a well-stuffed trick-or-treat bag. But because times may be a little too scary to allow kids to traipse around the neighborhood ringing doorbells, showing off their costumes, and begging for candy, most youngsters' Halloween celebrations are confined to school events and tame at-home parties.
Buck the trend with some safe thrills at the Goblin Jamboree, the Bay Area Discovery Museum's annual Halloween party. The museum gets gussied up for the holiday, with unsettling décor, ghost- and witch-themed games, an eerie train ride, and a (gently) hair-raising haunted house. Best of all, since guests are encouraged to come in costume, children have an opportunity to model their ghoulish get-ups. The event begins at 10 a.m. each day at BADM, 557 McReynolds (at Murray), Sausalito. Admission is free-$8; call 339-3900 or visit www.baykidsmuseum.org.
-- Joyce Slaton
Scissors, paste, thread, and lots of paper -- this is the stuff dreams are made of. From toddlers scribbling to grade-schoolers passing notes to teens making zines, kids want to express themselves so badly it doesn't matter if grown-ups approve. But if they do, it can turn into one of those magic moments parents and teachers fantasize about, in which a learning experience and a good time meld into one glue-covered afternoon. Family Day at the San Francisco Center for the Book provides tables full of challenging book-making projects for ages 5 to 12, all designed to be windows into the love of reading, writing, and creating art. As you might imagine, kids go nuts for it. Help set those little minds free starting at 2 p.m. at the Center, 300 De Haro, S.F. Admission is $10, and reservations are recommended; call 565-0545 or visit www.sfcb.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Make Your Own Spook House
Every neighborhood has residents who dress up their homes for the supernatural season by setting out frightful stuffed effigies on the front porch, stringing unearthly chains about the rooms, and welcoming visitors with recorded spectral sounds. Kids can do the same thing on a comfortably small scale at Create Your Own Haunted House for Halloween, where children ages 5 to 12 make tiny dwellings for passing apparitions using Chinese takeout boxes. The craftiness begins at 4 p.m. at the Anza Branch Library, 550 37th Ave. (at Anza), S.F. Admission is free, but reservations are necessary; call 355-5717 or visit www.sfpl.org.
-- Joyce Slaton