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Fun Fall Family Activities
In East Bay Parks

09/15/2008 by the Hauntmistress

Parks in the East Bay know how to celebrate the fall with tons of fun harvest and Halloween events!

At the heart of the fun festivities is Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont. The land where Ardenwood is located once belonged to George Patterson, who came to California from the Midwest in 1849 to strike it rich in the gold fields. Things weren’t so golden for George, so he turned to farming. By the time he married Clara Hawley in 1877, he was on his way to acquiring almost 6,000 acres of land. The Patterson House at Ardenwood was George’s beautiful mansion. It is the centerpiece of Ardenwood and magnificent to behold.

Ardenwood is a working farm and is now part of the East Bay Regional Park District. Ardenwood hosts a series of events throughout the year, but they really kick it up a notch in October with these fun events:

Oct. 4: Admire Colorful Ears of Indian corn, choose your favorites, and create a collage of brilliant hues to take home.

Corn Shelling at Ardenwood Historic Farm
Corn Shelling at Ardenwood Historic Farm

Oct. 5: Corn Shelling where you will get to put Indian Corn into a corn sheller to remove the corn from the cob and place the colorful kernels into a fanning mill to remove the dust and dirt.

Oct. 11-12: The not-to-be-missed Harvest Festival where you can harvest Indian corn and popcorn and help fill the Farm’s corncribs and take home a share of the colorful corn for your holiday table, plus enjoy magic shows, cider pressing, old-time music, crafts, ride a horse-drawn train, and tour the beautiful Patterson House.

Oct. 17-19 and 24-26: Take a ride on the Halloween Train through the fields and woods, join the Halloween goblins, and have a hauntingly good time!

Oct. 18 and 25: Gather some cornhusks from the cornfield and create your own Corn Husk Dolls.

Oct. 19: Animal Masquerade where you can create your very own farm animal mask using recycled materials and a whole lot of creativity.

Patterson House at Ardenwood Historic Farm
Patterson House at Ardenwood Historic Farm

Oct. 24-26: Take a candlelight tour of the Patterson House.

Oct. 25: Kids will have a fun time Apple Cider Pressing by putting apples into an apple press and cranking the wheel to crush the apples and eventually taste some cider!

Oct. 26: Pumpkin Carving to create your perfect seasonal decoration.

While you’re at Ardenwood for these events, you can also walk the grounds and gardens and visit the animals, including sheep, goats, pigs, horses, chickens, and turkeys!

If you’re in the Oakland area, a few miles from downtown is Redwood Regional Park. In the mid-1800s, it was the site of extensive logging to supply building materials for the San Francisco Bay Area. Don’t miss the park’s Oct. 25, Halloween Campfire featuring nature stories, songs, and marshmallow roasting.

Over in Sunol on Oct. 16 and 26, the Sunol Regional Wilderness offers three mask making classes, where paint and paper will transform you into a raunchy rat, a loathsome hog, or another charming creature. Or, make a plaster mask with your own features and shape it into a wild and beastly version of yourself. Plus, on Oct. 30, dress in costume for a morning of tricks, treats, and a costume parade. Native Americans were the first inhabitants of this park. Today you’ll find cows grazing in the 6,859-acre wilderness, plus many nature trails for hiking, picnicking, and camping.

Along the Eastern shores of the San Francisco Bay you’ll find Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont. The park has preserved 2,000-year old Tuibun Ohlone Indian shellmound sites and is the perfect spot for bicycling, walking, and bird watching. On Oct. 25, spend a fun evening on a Halloween Twilight Hike as you roam the hills looking for hobgoblins, witches, and ghosts during sunset. Find out the ancient origins and the modern traditions of Halloween. Don your costume and you'll gather treats to pass out to wondering souls along the trails.

Over in Antioch, celebrate Halloween in a place once home to three Indian tribes and have a frighteningly good time at Halloween on Hollow Hills at the Black Diamond Mines. This event, on Oct. 25, features games, crafts, scavenger hunts, and much more.

In Berkeley, the Tilden Nature Area, with over 10 miles of hiking trails, gets in on the Halloween action on Oct. 26, with Haunted Caves of the EEC. Creepy crafts and revolting refreshments will greet you at the end of the darkness.

You'll find these events and many others in our Bay Area Events Calendar.


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