Thursday, October 21, 2010

Snow White + An Apple Adventure in Oak Glen = Kids Off The Couch

When we watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, our kids caution "Don't eat the apple" but alas, Snow White bites it every time. In 1938, Walt Disney gambled that families would sit in the theaters and watch a 90-minute animated film, and the film's success changed family movie going. The fairy tale storyline was familiar, but the chipper music and quirky dwarfs defined a genre that has become a part of our lives. Lately, the fruit that is most alluring at the grocery store are the shiny red globes -- the juicy tartness of varietals like Honey Crisp make us want to rush home and make pie. So when a KOTC subscriber recently mentioned that our chapter on Riley's Apple Farm was her favorite ever, we decided to update our Popcorn Adventure so you can take a trip out to the mountains for an apple adventure before the season ends. From picking fruit from the cobbled old trees at Riley's to pressing your own cider at Willowbrook Apple Farm to gobbling up mini apple cinnamon donuts and tasting different types of cider at Snow-Line Orchard, you're in for some splendid fall flavors. But, you'll need a few cute dwarfs to help cart all the bushels of fruit home! (Click here and plan a visit soon - the picking season doesn't last much past the first week of November!)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kids Off The Couch Halloween - Where to Get Your Scare on From Tot to Teen

Halloween is all about anticipation -- so it's time to start carving pumpkins, planning costumes and charting your trick-or-treating route. Here are some ups and extras that can bring thrills and chills to your family's celebration.

Tots: The pumpkin patch is the place to be if your kids are small - be sure to get a photo of them with an over-sized pumpkin for the family album. Mr Bones Pumpkin Patch in Beverly Hills includes a hay maze, face painting, a petting zooand decor for the house -- open until 9:00 PM each night this month (except Halloween). Another safe bet is to trick-or-treat amongst the animals at Boo at the Zoo, October 30-31 from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM.

Movie Ideas:
We never tire of Charles Schultz's It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Click over to the website and read more in a Popcorn Adventure based on the classic cartoon. Our kids adore Kiki's Delivery Service, an animated tale about a little witch - more about the movie in a Popcorn Adventure that includes ideas for a simple Halloween. Finally, you can't go wrong with the gentle send-up of scary stuff in Monsters Inc.

Elementary and Middle School: Strut your stuff at a Halloween Costume Parade at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater during matinees for the rest of the month. For a great selection of pumpkins and fresh produce, get to Pierce College'sHalloween Harvest Festival and explore the excellent Corn Maze. Older kids can stick around for Fright Nights from dusk until 10:00 PM. Dixie Canyon Elementary School is throwing a Pumpkin Fair on Saturday, October 23 from 11:00 AM- 8:00 PM with free admission, rides, costume contests and local food vendors. If you like corn mazes, it's worth driving out to Mission Hills to see how creative these attractions can get at Forneris Farms.

Movie Ideas:
Ghostbusters comes off a bit cheesy but you'll laugh out loud (caution - there are some racy overtones at the end with Sigourney Weaver) and Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is playing at El Capitan Theater from October 21-31; the film will be presented in 3-D with sensory effects including wind, snow, and fog.

Teens: Let's face it - teens want to be scared! Drop them (if they dare) atKnott's Scary Farm, or Universal's Halloween Horror Nights - it's all pretty intense, and absolutely not recommended for kids under 13. Our pick is theHaunted Hay Ride, newly relocated at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park (but still scary, and not recommended for kids under 10!).

Movie Ideas:
Films that were once the height of technological advancement are now campy fun, though they can still produce screams -- Poltergeist, Beetlejuice. Click here for a list of the 25 Scariest Movies of All Times - proceed with caution!

Historical Haunts for Everyone Else:
The 1925 silent film Phantom of the Operawill be screened with live accompaniment from the Royce Hall Organ on Saturday, October 30 at 8:00 PM. If they haven't yet seen it, bring the family to see the stage show of Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theater, playing until October 31. Throughout the Halloween season, there are fabulous Walking Tours of The Hollywood Forever Cemetery hosted by Karie Bible. Or, spend Halloween at Disney Hall with a screening of the silent film Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, accompanied by a live organ.

Day of the Dead celebrations:
Dia De Los Muertos honors and celebrates the departed souls in our lives, so come experience this rich and colorful Mexican tradition on Saturday, October 30 (from 2:00 PM - 12:00 AM) at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Come in Day of the Dead costumes, and enjoy food and live music - kids under 10 are free! For another glimpse of this intriguing tradition, come to Casa de Calavaras at the San Juan Capistrano library on October 24 from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM; or see the same exhibit (House of Skeletons) at the Bowers Museum on Sunday, November 7 from 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM.

Frightful Kitchen Ideas:
Click here for recipes and ideas for marshmallow bones and blood red hot chocolate! But, here's the scariest things we've seen in a long time - a McDonald's Happy Meal that looked the same on the day it was purchased as it did 6 months later!

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