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Art&Seek Jr: Pumpkins, Bats, Zombies & Pigs–A Mixed Bag Of Fall Fun 11

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

There’s something about fall that makes me want to be crafty. Not deceitful clever crafty–but the act of crafting something completely useless using styrofoam, floral picks, colored leaves and a glue gun. I’m not sure if it’s the crisp weather, the scent of pumpkin spice in the air, or all the seasonal magazines at the grocery check out screaming at me to get busy, but my inner Craft Queen just comes alive this time of year. I’ll be at the store or taking a walk in my neighborhood and spy a festive wreath and hear the Craft Queen’s voice say to me, “Therese, you could SO make that.” Fast forward $200 and 20 trips to the craft store later and easier said, than done is usually where I end up.

After so many failed projects you’d think I’d learn, but nope. Every fall I whip out the glue gun and get back in the proverbial craft saddle. Last weekend I tried my hand at Cat O’ Lanterns, i.e. pumpkins carved to look like cats. As usual, at first glance this project looks easy enough, but as I discovered, the shape of your pumpkins is key to getting that feline look. As a result, my lantern looks more like owl than a cat. Rose saved the day by adding a cat tail from an old costume.

Pinterest's Cat O' Lanterns (left) and my attempt. Don't worry, I'm not quitting my day job. (photos Left: Pinterest Thomas J. Story; Right: Therese Powell)

Pinterest Cat O’ Lanterns (left)…and my attempt. Don’t worry, I’m not quitting my day job. (photos Left: Pinterest Thomas J. Story; Right: Therese Powell)

The pumpkins in the background seem to have their own editorial comment on my craft-making abilities. Maybe I’ll listen to them next year.

You don’t have to be crafty to get into the spirit of the season. Check out these events for boatloads of fall, family-friendly fun. No glue gun required.

Move over black cats, owls are gaining on you as the favorite animal for October. And why not? They’re just so gosh darn cute. Okay maybe not so much when they’re disemboweling that squirrel on your front lawn, but you know what I mean. Celebrate all things owly at one of these owl prowls.

  • Stop by the Trinity River Audubon Center this Thursday night for their Third Thursday Owl Prowl. Kids can learn to call owls, study owl anatomy, and find out how to attract owls to your yard. Later on after it gets dark, head out on to the spooky trails for a group lead owl prowl.
  • Another Owl Prowl you and your flock won’t want to miss happens Saturday night at the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill. Besided the guided night hikes, kids can explore owl pellets and take part in owl crafts. RSVP is required so sign up now! One little FYI before you go on an owl prowl. Since it’s dark you won’t be able to actually see the owls, so it’s important to be very quiet so you can hear the owls. Being quiet can be hard for the tinies, so these events are generally better suited for kids 6 and up.
Live it up at Denton's Day of the Dead Festival Photo: Ed Steele Photography

Live it up at Denton’s Day of the Dead Festival. Photo: Ed Steele Photography

Let’s face it, Halloween and fall festivals go hand-in-hand and one of the absolute best is happening this weekend in Denton. That’s right, it’s time again for the annual Day of the Dead Festival; a quirky, community get-together that is described by the organizers as “little harvest fest, a little Dia de los Muertos, a little Halloween, and a lot of Denton magic.” There will be games and food vendors plus a variety of entertainment on hand including music, dancing, a salsa tasting competition and coffin races which are sure to please monsters of all ages. After the coffin races, mosey on over to Dan’s Silver Leaf for Cirque du Horror. This Halloween show is a collection of bone-chilling poems, spine-tingling short stories and spooky songs. It’s a  little song, a little dance, part musical theater, part cabaret and fun for all ages.

Get piggy with it at the Fall Feral Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler, TX. Photo: City of Ben Wheeler

Get piggy with it at this years Fall Feral Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler, TX. Photo: City of Ben Wheeler

Speaking of super-duper fun, be sure to check out the Fall Feral Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler, Texas. The tiny East Texas hamlet (sorry, I couldn’t resist) is gearing up to welcome folks from miles around for their 8th annual event this weekend. Visitors can enjoy a parade, world championship wild hog cook-off, Fall Feral Follies, a carnival, or my favorite, the crowning of the Hog Queen. But hold on girls, before you start practicing your acceptance speech, ANYONE 18 and older can compete. A few years back, MISTER Ruston Frazier was deemed “Feral-ist of them all” and stole the crown from the ladies after his rendition of Tom Jones’ hit, “She’s a Lady.” The lucky Queen will represent the town of Ben Wheeler throughout the coming year during all of its main events.

Have yourself a merry little Edgar Allan Poe Halloween this Saturday at the Children’s Center at the downtown Dallas Public Library. The Steampunk style event will celebrate the works of Poe and other tales of assorted Victorian with Halloween games and activities. Kids can visit Frankenstein’s Lab, see scenes from Poe stories in the haunted dungeon, or have their fortunes read by the Mysterious Madame Maria. There will be a costume contest and an opportunity to meet William Ritter, author of “Jackaby” and “Beastly Bones.”

After you’ve finished tapping on the chamber door at the library, fly across the street to City Hall Plaza for Boo-Vie Bash. Highlights include rock climbing wall, laser tag, zip line, bungee run, bubble soccer, pumpkin decorating, crafts, costume contests, music, and food trucks. After the sun goes down grab your lawn chairs and blankets and settle in for the main event–a screening of the film “Strange Magic” outside on the plaza. It’s all free so go ahead, get a big bucket of popcorn.

This last festival usually happens in May, but torrential rain and flooding last spring forced the cancellation of the Trinity River Wind Festival. Lucky for us organizers re-scheduled this sweet, unassuming, outdoor event for this Saturday. The wide open space along the river makes the perfect backdrop for both kite flying or kite watching. You can bring one of your own kites to fly or watch one of the many spectacular show or stunt kites. Kids can also take part in a wildflower planting, see the Frisbee Dogs show, play in the kids zone, watch Japanese kite makers at work and even make their own kites.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 10-year-old daughter, Rose. Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at