The man responsible for making Cedar Point scary for its HalloWeekends knows better than to frighten little children. "We don't do blood and gore," says John Taylor, manager of graphics services at the park. "We try to not give kids nightmares for the rest of their lives."
Instead, Taylor helps transform Camp Snoopy into Camp Spooky, designs the Magical House on Boo Hill funhouse, and lays out trick-or-treat paths for little ones making their way through the park. Kids can also enter costume contests, make masks, and shake their booties to such seasonal tunes as "The Monster Mash." And most of Cedar Point's rides are up and running throughout HalloWeekends.
Taylor offers a disclaimer: Some features, like Werewolf Canyon and the Fright Zone, might be a little too terrifying for youngsters. But the beasts themselves, he says, are kid-friendly. "They try not to scare [small children]. A monster will take off a glove and show them there's a real hand underneath." HalloWeekends runs through October 26 at Cedar Point (One Cedar Point Drive in Sandusky). It's open 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Admission ranges from $21.95 to $43.95. Call 419-627-2350 for more information. -- Diane Sofranec
Celebrate the season with maize and mazes.
The Pumpkin Festival at Red Wagon Farm is more than just picking out a Halloween prop. Kids can bury themselves in straw, take rides on horse-drawn wagons, and fill up on hot dogs and corn. There's also a $50 weekly prize lottery for tackling the six-and-a-half-acre corn maze. The maze takes about a half-hour to complete. "I don't want a grandma with her grandkids sweating their butts off out there for three hours," says farm owner Eric Ross. The fest runs noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through October 26 at Red Wagon Farm, 16081 East River Road in Columbia Township. Admission is free; call 440-236-3007. -- Cris Glaser