HalloWeekends for the Wee Ones

Kristy Eckert

I wasn't certain a day at Cedar Point's HalloWeekends - which I remember from years back as a pretty rockin' fright fest - was a good idea for a 4-year-old.

Turns out, it was a great idea.

After spending a Saturday there last year with our little guy, here's the skinny on taking the younger set:

1. Do it during the day. We talked about going Friday night to really take advantage of the creepy fun, but I'm glad we opted instead to go on Saturday. The kid-friendly area is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays - and it was by far the highlight of the event for our little guy. [Editor's Note: in 2015, the kids/family area is called "The Great Pumpkin Fest": It had been called Howl-O-Palooza previously.]

2. Enjoy the kid-friendly area. Situated near the front of the park among the kiddie rides, the "kid-friendly area" features trick-or-treating, with a multitude of stations handing out treats from candy to mini pumpkins. (They even provide the bags!) It also includes a corn maze that I think our son went through five times and a pedal tractor course that he toured for 20 straight minutes. (We literally had to pry him off the bike.)

3. Find the foam pit. Located beside the basketball game near the giant Ferris wheel, you could easily miss the foam pit if nobody's in it and it's not turned on. Luckily, we didn't. Good thing. Kind of wish my husband and I weren't over the height max. (And about 54 adults who walked past it while our son was frolicking in head-high foam said the same thing.)

4. Catch "Spooky Shenanigans." It's a high-energy song-and-dance revue (think Top 40 Hits from the past few decades, with a Halloween twist) at Lusty Lil's Palace. Just get there a bit early to claim a seat. We got there right on time, and ended up taking turns holding our guy so he could see from our standing-room spot in the back. He was mesmerized. It shows every hour from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays and every hour from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Sundays, and it's a ton of fun.

5. Dress up. I mean, dress your kid up. First, there's a costume contest Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. for preschoolers and 3:15 for grade-schoolers. Second, everything's more fun in costume.

As far as regular park stuff goes, there's plenty of park to enjoy beyond Halloween-themed fun. We spent a ton of time in the Peanuts-themed area near the back of the park. The Woodstock Express is a perfect first roller coaster for the toddler and preschool set (height minimum is 36 inches with a taller sibling or parent). The Snoopy bounce house is great. And the front of the park includes can't-miss classics like the carousel and bumper cars, both of which your kids can enjoy with you. Plus, there are other kiddie rides galore, as well as an arcade you could fit three (maybe more) Chuck E. Cheeses in.