If you just can't wait to get your costume on, there are plenty of pre-Halloween festivities in NY and NJ to get your fix. Be careful of burnout, though–for you and the kids. I love the idea of a pumpkin float, though, that just sounds beautiful. There's one in Central Park this weekend. Hope the weather holds up on Sat and we avoid rain!

Sat., Oct. 24. Benefit for Natalie. Natalie is a 4yr old from Howell, NJ who suffers from seizures. Help her family with medical expenses by coming out to this event. Great food, silent auction, food and awesome prizes are available. $10 in advance; $15 at door. The Headliner 1401 Route 35, Neptune, NJ. Link here.

Sat., Oct. 24. Mark Wurst (Magician) at Tenafly Public Library. A non-scary Halloween magic show for kids at 2pm. Balloon animals and giveaways! 100 Riveredge Road. Link here

Sun., Oct. 25. Cape May Halloween Parade. 3 pm. The Parade travels down Carpenter's Lane onto Ocean Street and then down Washington Street where it ends at the Emlen Physick Estate where there’ll be a little party for the participants. Link here 

Fri, Oct. 23 and Sat., Oct. 24. Zoo Boo at Van Saun Park. (12-3pm Sat; 6:30 to 9pm Fri/Sat). The Zoo opens up in the evening for kids in costume who get to see the animals, trick-or-treat, and enjoy magic shows and storytelling. It's probably too late to get tickets, but you might be able to check Craigslist or other message boards. Tickets went on sale in August. Link here

NEW YORK

Sat., Oct. 24. Central Park Pumpkin Festival. 11am to 5pm. A scarecrow design competition and pumpkin giveaway. Hay rides, haunted house, face painting, vendors, live entertainment (The Big Apple Circus, Kidrockers, etc.) Free. Link here

Sun., Oct. 25. Central Park Costume Parade and Pumpkin Sail. 3-6pm. Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, Central Park, enter park from Fifth Ave at 110th St. In addition to freaky tales, crafts and a costume parade at 5pm there will be a fleet of pumpkins skimming the Harlem Meer at dusk. Bring your own pumpkin if you want to participate! All ages. Link here. 

Sun., Oct. 25. Halloween Horrah! New York Botanical Gardens. 11am to 5pm. Come in your costume or make your own mask here and parade around the grounds. Finish the day decorating pumpkins and drinking fresh-pressed cider in the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden. Adults: $20 Seniors: $18 Students (with valid ID): $18 Children (2-12 years): $8 Children under 2: Free Members: Free. Link here

UPCOMING EVENTS

Sat., Oct. 31. Halloween Parade Nyack. Live music and prizes for best costume and float. nyack-ny.com

FALL FOLIAGE

This is the time of the month that local leaf peepers are drawn outdoors. This article I came across in Time Out Kids NY does a great job of reviewing some great places to check out foliage in NYC. Also, the different types of leaves you can find! Link here

About.com has a great guide to the New England area's best driving tours for fall foliage. Link here