The most suitable places to take your children trick-or-treating share some basic qualities. They celebrate the Halloween season with more than horror-related events. Many are interactive and give your children a fun, scary experience in addition to sweet treats. They also take some corporate responsibility for the safety of the children, almost guaranteeing that your children will not receive tainted candy. Maryland has quite a few venues that meet these criteria.
The amusement park, Six Flags America (sixflagsamerica.com), in Largo hosts an annual Frightfest where children and adults enjoy Halloween attractions like the Bridge of Terror, performing artists dressed like goblins and a trick-or-treat trail. The Chesapeake Beach Water Park (chesapeake-beach.md.us) lets children trick-or-treat after they take a ride along a "haunted" river.
Residents of Washington, D.C.'s Maryland suburbs, such as Prince George's County and Montgomery County, may take their children to trick-or-treat at The National Zoo (nationalzoo.si.edu). The National Zoo sponsors "Boo at the Zoo," where kids encounter animals along haunted trails while costumed staff and volunteers hand out candy. About an hour away in Baltimore, the Maryland Zoo (marylandzoo.org) in Druid Hill Park sponsors a similar event that includes carnival games and other forms of entertainment.
Baltimore city residents may take their children to a fall festival sponsored by The Children's Guild (childrensguild.org). In addition to trick-or-treating, attendees enjoy free face painting, food and children's activities. Greenwell State Park (greenwellfoundation.org) in rural Hollywood has a Monster Rockfish Festival that offers trick-or-treating in a country landscape. Children also enjoy pony and kayak rides. In 2010, suburban Ellicott City celebrated its 27th annual Halloween fest on Main Street, where shopkeepers hand out candy and dimes to neighborhood children.
Indoor malls with bustling shops offer minimal interactive activity with children, but parents can be assured of safe, poison-free candy from liable merchants. Trick-or-treating times change from year to year; contact mall officials to obtain a schedule. Malls that feature store-to-store candy giveaways in the Baltimore area include the Avenue at White Marsh (theavenueatwhitemarsh.com), Eastpoint Mall (eastpointmall.com), the Mall in Columbia (facebook.com/TheMallInColumbia) and Glen Burnie's Marley Station (facebook.com/MarleyStationMall). Montgomery County's Lakeforest Mall (facebook.com/LakeforestMall) offers trick-or-treating in Gaithersburg.
Solomon's Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center (annmariegarden.org) leads adults and children through a wooded pathway along which they can take scenic pictures in addition to picking up candy from sponsoring organizations. The city of North Beach (ci.north-beach.md.us) sponsors a haunted boardwalk enjoyable enough for adults but not too frightening for children; merchants disseminate candy along the route. Neighboring Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' (kennedy-center.org) National Symphony Orchestra (nationalsymphony.org) gives a classical music Halloween concert followed by trick-or-treating.
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