Autumn is by far my favorite season. Even though my allergies do not like the color-changing trees and the falling leaves, my eyeballs do love them. My how pretty Pittsburgh is during autumn. This year Baby Beez got to visit two pumpkin patches (resulting in a bunch of pumpkins still sitting around our kitchen, that I haven’t decided what to do with yet). Her school goes a little overboard on all holidays, and with doing Halloween activities for every one of October’s thirty-one days, you can bet she was all “ERMAHGAWD I LOVE HALLOWEEN SO MUCH!!”
We didn’t do a speck of Halloween decorating, because we don’t do a speck of any holiday decorating, because holiday decorations aren’t my thing. I did let Baby Beez get one of those stickygel jack-o-lantern things to put on the sliding glass door, but that was the extent of our Halloween cheer. What I lack in home decorating, I make up for in very enthusiastic activities and outings.
This year was our first visit to the “No Scare Matinee” at Castle Blood. I love the idea of haunted houses, but I do not like things jumping out at me, and when it comes to the fake chainsaw man that’s in every haunted house, I’m like OH HECK NO. So a no-scare matinee was the right option for both of us, and we had a lot of fun.
At 4, Baby Beez was just barely old enough for the outing. She was a little bit scared by the spooky decorations in the house, so I didn’t push her on being brave, and carried her through the whole thing (and let her bury her face in my shoulder when she needed to). Castle Blood has a kind of hokey storyline about how you have to help them by finding three things in the house. I mean, it’s hokey for someone in their 30s, but Baby Beez and the other kids in our group got into it, and enjoyed asking the various characters about the sapphire, brain and broken heart they had to find.
The actors struck a great balance of having a spooky vibe, but also joking with kids and being very friendly so they weren’t scared. Also, obviously, there wasn’t anyone jumping out and no chainsaw guys. At the end of our tour, Baby Beez and I grabbed a quick photo with the “Pumpkin Shepherd,” who was wearing a pretty fun Halloween print dress.
Even with the 50+ minute drive from the City, I give Castle Blood an A+ for a family Halloween activity. It’s probably most appropriate for kids aged 5-10, but frankly, is not so bad for grown ups like me, who want to like haunted houses, but are really big scaredy cats.
The tour itself was only about an hour, so on the way home we stopped to check out Round Hill Park. Play Pittsburgh talked up this public working farm, and it was on my “to visit” list. Since the weather was fine and the park is free to visit, a stop was a lovely idea. There were a number of families having professional photos done while we were there. It’s an absolute perfect place for photos. There are so many trees, and the barn and farm structures are pretty and rustic. I’d love to go back there and have family portraits done sometime.
“Nature” was the big theme at Baby Beez’ school in October. Black walnut husks and acorns were scattered around the park, and she was excited to gather them to bring them in to show her classmates.
There are chickens, turkeys, cows, pigs and horses at Round Hill Park. Baby Beez enjoyed chatting with them and making all kinds of new animal friends.