The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis’s annual haunted house and fundraiser is, for some families, a yearly tradition of Halloween fun. But if you’ve never been, it can be a bit tricky (no pun intended!) to figure out when to go so that your children are spooked but not scared. I got a sneak peak on Wednesday and thought these tips might be helpful as you plan your visit.
1) Know your children. Think about what they can handle and what they can’t. Do they enjoy being a little scared? The decor is quite realistic, so even the IPL Lights On hours can be a bit frightening. I’m not sure I’d bring kids who are under 3 to this event, but perhaps I’m just biased by my easily-frightened 3-year-old. If you’ve got a brave 2-year-old, then by all means, go!
And I’d probably recommend the Defender Direct’s Frightening Hours for kids 8 and older only. You’ll find a schedule of hours here.
If you choose the dark hours and your child can’t handle it, a witch is stationed in each room and can help you quickly exit. You’ll be given a pass to return for the Lights On hours.
2) Bring friends. My 3-year-old ended up loving the experience, but I brought along his much braver 5-year-old cousin and I think my son found safety in numbers. Besides, there can sometimes be a long wait to enter the exhibit and we all know a wait is more fun with friends to share it with.
3) Dress up! Lots of kids come to this event in costume. Plus, it’s just another way to make the entrance line wait more fun. (But I would avoid elaborate or difficult to walk in costumes. Once you enter the workshop, you won’t want anything holding you back from exploring!)
4) Find the witchkins! If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll be tempted to run from room to room without pausing to really take in their surroundings. So give them a purpose in each room and have them hunt for the “witchkin” (pictured above). They’re brightly colored little characters, and the real witch stationed in each room will give kids a prize for finding it! You can also answer Halloween-themed questions posted in each room.
5) Pay attention to the details. My absolute favorite feature of the exhibit was all the intricate details found in the decor. You’ll be astounded by the creativity put into each of the display rooms. In fact, I’d recommend that any Halloween lover check this out, even if you don’t have kids. I found that it’s just as entertaining for adults as it is for kids. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but if you want to see more photos, you can look at some of the pictures I took of the Wicked Workshop here.
6) Ditch the stroller. Unless you have a wee little ghost or goblin who is not quite walking (like I do), I’d leave your stroller at home. The entrance to the Wicked Workshop is just off the skywalk from the parking area, so you don’t have far to go. And once you’re in the exhibit, your kids will want to get some hands-on exploring.
7) There is a treat/snack bar at the end of the exhibit. If your kids have worked up a hunger during your visit, you can treat them to a snack at the end. (Or, if you’re trying to stick to a budget, warn them in advance that you won’t be buying anything, but maybe pack a snack or treat for your ride home.)
8) Save by buying tickets at Marsh or AAA. These reduced priced tickets are $6 each. Otherwise, cost at the door is $7. Or save $2 by pairing a ticket for the Haunted House and regular museum admission (only available at Marsh). Children under 2 are free.
9) It’s closed on Mondays. Just like the Children’s Museum itself. A complete calendar is available here.
The Wicked Workshop opens on Friday, October 13. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Thanks to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis who hosted my family for this sneak peak experience.