Happy Halloween! Try some of these suggestions for a fun and safe Halloween

Dodge Nature Center’s Halloween Extravaganza

Walk the friendly Trick-or-Treat trail, or if you dare, the Scary Trail along the Ghostly Pond and Haunted Prairie. Family fun activities throughout the evening include educational/entertaining skits, face painting, DJ dance party, and a costume contest for different age levels. Pre-register to avoid standing in line. The cost for non-members is $7 for adults and children and $25 for families. The cost for members is $5 for adults and children and $20 for families. Children age 2 and under are free.
Enter at the Farm Education Entrance, 1701 Charlton Street in West St. Paul.

A fang-tastic time at Como ZooBoo

Those looking for a family-friendly, non-scary Halloween celebration can head to Como ZooBoo, where Como Zoo’s grounds will be transformed into a storybook paradise.
Flowers can talk, pirates offer hugs and tigers will dance at this multiple-night adventure on Oct. 22, 23 and 24 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Follow the boooo-tiful trick-or-treat path with numerous special-themed stations, and find more than 200 costumed entertainers along the way.
Also enjoy pumpkin bowling, craft activities and lots of surprises at this spooktacular fundraiser.
ZooBoo guests can park their brooms in a free park and ride lot located off Snelling Avenue and Como next to the International Institute of MN (1694 Como Ave. W.) directly across from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. A free shuttle runs from approximately 4 to 8:15 p.m. each evening.
Advance tickets for the ZooBoo are $6 and available at Como’s Garden Safari Gifts, all metro area Cub Food stores and online at www.comozooconservatory.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the gate each evening for $7. Tickets are good for any night of the event, which will be held rain or shine. Guests are encouraged to bring their own trick-or-treat bag. For more information call 651-487-8226 or visit www.comozooconservatory.org.

Scary slices of history

Celebrate the spooky side of history this month at a Minnesota Historical Society site or museum. Popular Twin Cities events include Victorian Ghost Stories at the James J. Hill House, Shadows and Spirits of the State Capitol, The Minneapolis Horror: Tales from the Night Shift and Fort Snelling After Dark: a Candlelight Tour.
* Visit the eerie parlor of the James J. Hill House at 240 Summit Ave. in St. Paul, where costumed actors will present dramatic readings of 19th century tales of horror and the supernatural. This one-hour program, to be held Oct. 24 and 31 at 6 and 7:30 p.m., will include works by Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Wharton and the Brothers Grimm along with some “true” ghost stories. After the readings, enjoy hot cider and tours of the Hill House (included in the admission price). The program is not recommended for children under age 8. The cost is $10, and $8 for Minnesota Historical Society members. Reservations recommended; call 651-297-2555.
* Take a 60-minute tour of the dimly lit Capitol in a historical setting, similar to what the building had in 1905 when it was built. Tour groups will move through the shadowy rotunda, hallways and chambers and meet historical spirits including a night watchman, Civil War veteran, a woman suffragist, a dome foreman and an artist who decorated the Supreme Court Chamber. These spirits will tell stories of the Capitol’s early history as well as reveal their interesting pasts. Participants will even get a chance to see the rotunda chandelier up-close, as it has been lowered down to the floor. Tours will be held Oct. 21-23 and 28-30 at 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and college students, $7 for children ages 6-17, with a $2 discount for Minnesota Historical Society members. Reservations required; call 651-296-2881.
* Visit the Washburn A Mill to see costumed actors dramatize the dangers of working the night shift and the many disasters that have befallen the mill.
Hear accounts of the deadly 1878 mill explosion and the dangerous man-lift elevator. Visitors can also enjoy nighttime views of the Ruin Courtyard and the Minneapolis riverfront from the ninth-floor observation deck. The program’s title comes from the headline of an 1878 American Miller magazine story that read, “The Minneapolis Horror: Destruction, Devastation and Death.” The story described the disastrous flour dust explosion on the evening of May 2, 1878, that destroyed the Washburn A Mill and killed 18 workers. The program will be held Oct. 26 and 27 at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. The cost is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and college students, and $10 for children and Minnesota Historical Society members. Reservations required; call 612-341-7555.
* Explore historic Fort Snelling by torchlight on the evening of Oct. 30 from 6 to 9 p.m. Visitors will learn about the shadowy side of the fort as they participate in a court martial to help decide the fate of one of the fort’s soldiers. The cost is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $7 for children ages 6-17 and free for Minnesota Historical Society members. Reservations required; call 612-726-1171.

All Hallows Eve and Old-Time fun at the Gibbs Museum

Head to the Gibbs Museum for All Hallows Eve Oct. 30 where costumed guides with lanterns lead visitors through the museum grounds; unique vignettes featuring chilling tales of long ago will thrill you. There will also be pranks, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts and storytelling. Admission by reservation only. The cost is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and $8 for children. Reservation times begin at 5:30 p.m.
Also visit the Gibbs Museum for Old-Time Halloween Oct. 31 to explore Halloween traditions of the past. Carve a turnip or a pumpkin to put in your window to ward off evil spirits, trick-or-treat at Jane Gibbs’ house, make popcorn balls in the Red Barn and enjoy a cup of cider.
Old-Time Halloween is from noon to 4 p.m. The cost is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 62+ and $5 for children ages 2-16. Activities, crafts and food are included in admission price. The Gibbs Museum is located at 2097 West Larpenteur Ave. in St. Paul. Free parking available.
Call 651-646-8629 or visit www.RCHS.com for more information on events.

Myths and Legends of Owls at Raptor Center

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine will host "Myths and Legends of Owls" Oct. 31, where visitors will hear myths and legends about raptors. Dress in your most creative costume - all children that come in costume will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win prizes.
The event will be held at 1 and 2:30 p.m. at The Raptor Center, 1920 Fitch Ave. in St. Paul. The cost is $5 per child and $7.50 per adult.

Family-friendly, safe Halloween fun

Head to the Little Canada Elementary School Pumpkin Carnival Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for food, games, a raffle, a haunted house and costume parade at 11 a.m. Tickets are 25 cents.

Halloween Eve family concert

Bill Chouinard will present the sixth annual "Tricks and Treats with the Mighty Organ" Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Road in Mahtomedi.
The performance, with added special lighting and eerie effects, is designed with young listeners in mind, and children are invited to come in costume and join in the costume parade inside the room. The program will also include the famous "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" by Bach, and pizza sold by the slice from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Youth and Sports Center.
Refreshments and treats for kids of all ages will be served after the brief program, and an offering will be received.
For more information go to www.saintandrews.org or call 651-426-3261.

Maplewood Halloween Hoedown

Join the Maplewood Area Historical Society for a night of music, dancing and more at its annual Halloween Hoedown Oct. 22.
Enjoy a spooky room, craft projects, a fish pond, pumpkin painting, a silent auction, hot dogs and other treats.
The hoedown will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Maplewood Community Center banquet room, 2100 White Bear Ave. The cost is $3 for children and $5 for adults. Kids welcome to come in costume.
For more information, call 651-748-9009.

Maplewood Mall trick-or-treating
Maplewood Mall, 3001 White Bear Ave., will host a Halloween Trick-or-Treating event inviting children under 12 to dress in costume and participate in mall-wide trick-or-treating and other fun activities.
Kids should stop by Simon Guest Services to receive a free goodie bag to bring to participating stores. The event will run from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31.

Free fun at Dead Oaks Cemetery

Dead Oaks Cemetery, a 9-year-old home haunt in Oakdale, is collecting money and nonperishable food items for the Friends in Need Food Shelf. Come and see some "live monsters" and grab some free candy Oct. 31 from dusk until 10 p.m.
Also, anyone who would like to volunteer, has good acting skills and owns a costume can e-mail deadoakscemetery@yahoo.com to sign up. Some restrictions may apply.
Dead Oaks Cemetery is located on 46th St. Circle North just off Hadley Avenue North in Oakdale.

Oakdale haunted hayride

Brave the haunted trails of the Oakdale Nature Preserve where you'll find ghouls and goblins galore, and come dressed in costume -- if you dare!
Upon your return, enjoy spooky refreshments, entertainment and make a craft to take home.
The event will be held for children ages 3 to 10 at the Oakdale Discovery Center, 4444 Hadley Ave. N., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 28.
The cost is $12. Register by Oct. 21.