Halloween is almost here! In fact, many spooky celebrations are going on tonight, so you can double your family's Halloween fun. You can trick-or-treat for free at the Big Boo!seum Bash in Downtown Little Rock, attend Halloween festivals like Boo at the Zoo and Magic Screams, and much more.
We've also rounded up some non-Halloween events, such as free family festivals and the Junior League of Little Rock's first-ever tween fashion show at Holiday House.
And, we're excited about this weekend's bounty of family-friendly walks and runs, including the Full Moon Walk at the Big Dam Bridge. For our list of seven active events this weekend, see our blog post here.
1. Boo at the Zoo at Little Rock Zoo: Arkansas's largest Halloween festival is back and filled with lots of howl-oween fun. Boo At The Zoo is appropriate for families with children of all ages, and features a safe environment for trick-or-treating. Don your costumes, stroll through the colorful lights and Halloween-themed decorations, and enjoy nightly dance contests, free carousel rides, glitter tattoos, live music, a dance party and more. 6-9 p.m. through Nov. 1. $10, all-inclusive arm bands $20. For info: (501) 666-2406, LittleRockZoo.com.
2. Big Boo!seum Bash in Downtown Little Rock: At this 19th annual Halloween celebration, kids can enjoy a safe and fun evening at museums and businesses downtown, including Museum of Discovery, Arkansas Arts Center, Historic Arkansas Museum and others (see full list of participating locations here). Little boys and ghouls can visit participating locations at no charge and take part in storytimes, games and trick-or-treating. Pick up game cards at any participating location and get the card stamped at each location to be eligible for prize drawings, including a flat screen TV, $100 gift card and basket of goodies. Hosted by the Greater Little Rock Museum Consortium and sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. 6-8:30 p.m. Oct. 30. For info: (501) 376-4781, LittleRock.com. FREE!
3. Magic Screams at Magic Springs Water and Theme Park in Hot Springs: Family events, including rides for kids and a haunted house for younger children, are planned for daytime hours before scarier monsters and events emerge from the shadows at dusk. Open Sat. & Sun. Oct. 11-Nov. 2 & Oct. 31. Hours: 4-11 p.m. Sat.; 4-9 p.m. Sun.; and 4-11 p.m. on Halloween night. $29.99; kids under 48" inches are $19.99; kids under 3 are free. Look for $19.99 tickets at Walgreens, too. For info: (501) 624-0100, MagicSprings.com.
4. Great Pumpkin Halloween at Bass Pro Shops: This Peanuts-themed event features all of the classic characters, including Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Sally and Lucy. Kids can participate in a costume parade, trick-or-treating and craft activities. Visitors can also have a free photo taken with life-size cutouts of the Peanuts characters. Oct. 24-31; hours vary. See website for full list of activities and specific times. For info: BassPro.com/Halloween. FREE!
5. Screening of "Monster House" at CALS Ron Robinson Theater: A special screening of PG-rated "Monster House" will thrill the audience, along with movie-themed concessions. This event is part of Big BOO!seum Bash. 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30. $5. For info: (501) 918-3000, CALS.org.
6. Halloween Block Party for Children with Disabilities at Helping Hand in NLR: Candy, games, photo booth, costume contest and lots of fun for children with disabilities. The costume contest begins at 6:30 p.m. Please Rsvp to Melissa.Franks@HelpingHandCC.com. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 30. For info: HelpingHandCC.com. FREE!
7. Halloween Hayride at Pinnacle Mountain State Park: Enjoy a fun-filled evening hayride complete with a roaring campfire and treats. Advance payment and registration required. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 26 & 31. $12; children ages 6-12 are $6. For info: (501) 868-5806, ArkansasStateParks.com/PinnacleMountain.
8. Halloween Carnival at Sherwood Forest: Enjoy carnival booths with prizes and candy, a costume contest hosted by DJ T-Smooth of Power92 Jams, plus a Glow-in-the-Dark Treasure Hunt. The Haunted House admission is $2 and will run from 7-10 p.m. on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 31. For info: (501) 835-8909, click here. FREE!
9. Holiday House Glitz and Glamour Tween Fashion Show at Statehouse Convention Center: Sponsored by Dillard’s, Inc., this brand-new event is part of the Junior League of Little Rock's annual shopping extravaganza, Holiday House. The event includes elegant desserts and drinks, SWAG bags for each guest, and the latest fashion for girls ages 4-12. This ticket also serves as a general shopping ticket for Nov. 1. $25. 2-4 p.m. Nov. 1. For info: (501) 375-5557, JLLR.org.
11. Fall Fest at the White County Pioneer Village in Searcy: Celebrate Fall at the 1880s-inspired Pioneer Village during Fall Fest. Enjoy costumed guides, food, pioneer crafts, music, camp fire cooking, farm animals, games for children, and a Civil War re-enactment complete with cannons! No admission fee, but donations are always appreciated. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 1; 1-4 p.m. Nov. 2. For info: (501) 580-6633, WhiteCountyPioneerVillage.org. FREE!
12: "Inner" Active Family Festival & Dance Out Violence at William J. Clinton Presidential Library: Mothers Against Violence presents a festival of fun, including food trucks, live entertainment, dance parties, family yoga, sidewalk art, a talent show, scavenger hunts, free giveaways, bouncy houses, face painting and more. Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic with your family & community at the first-ever Picnic For Peace. Dance Out Violence by having your family join a dance party, as the group attempts to set a Guinness World Record for the world's largest dance class! Please bring your lightly worn coats to donate at the festival. Mothers Against Violence will donate the collected items to Women and Children First and Dorcas House for their residents. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 1. For info: Click here. FREE!
For more events, browse our full online calendar here.
Halloween will come a day early to downtown Little Rock, as the annual Big!Booseum Bash haunts local museums and attractions tonight, Oct. 30! Little boys and ghouls are invited to dress in their cutest costumes for safe, free trick-or-treating, games and other fun from 6-8:30 p.m.
Be sure to pick up a game card (available at each location) and get your card stamped at each location you visit to be eligible for prize drawings. This year's drawings include a flat screen TV, $100 gift card and a basket of goodies.
Participating locations include:
The Big Boo!seum Bash is hosted by the Greater Little Rock Museums and Cultural Attractions Consortium and sponsored by the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. For more information, click here.
Looking for some non-spooky fun this weekend (Oct. 31-Nov. 2)? Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and get active at one of the seven family-friendly walks and runs in central Arkansas, including the Full Moon Walk on the Big Dam Bridge and the Puppy Up! Walk at MacArthur Park.
1. 5th Annual Full Moon Walk at the Big Dam Bridge: Ozark Mission Project and the Big Dam Bridge Foundation presents this family-friendly walk across the Big Dam Bridge. The walk begins simultaneously from both the Little Rock and North Little Rock sides of the river. Participants walk over to the other side and back for a total of 1.8 miles on the lit Big Dam Bridge. Attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food items and drop them off at the collection stations. The Full Moon Walk features special guest Craig O’Neill, a light show, food trucks, special entertainment and glow-in-the-dark items available for purchase. A shuttle service for both sides of the river: Murray Park in Little Rock; Crystal Hill Elementary in North Little Rock, begins at 6 p.m. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. 7 p.m. Nov. 2. For info: (501) 804-6686, BigDamBridge.org. FREE!
2. Just Communities of Arkansas 15th Annual Walk for CommUNITY at River Market Pavilions: Wear your walking shoes and bring children, strollers, pets on leashes, friends, family and neighbors for a celebration of Arkansas' open, diverse and spirit-filled community. The family-friendly and accessible route begins and ends at the River Market pavilions. Music, entertainment, t-shirts and refreshments will be provided for all registered walkers. Funds raised support JCA's youth and community leadership programs. Advance tickets $25; day of $30, students $10, families up to five people $50. 3-5 p.m. Nov. 2. For info: (501) 372-5129, click here.
3. Arkansas in Support of Fathers March & Rally in Downtown Little Rock: Arkansas Fatherhood and Family Initiative leads this event that includes a walk to the State Capitol and guest speakers. The event highlights the importance of fathers in the lives of their children and encourages parents to be more involved in the upbringing of their children in a positive way. 11 a.m. Nov. 1. For info: (501) 366-6677, click here. FREE!
4. 2 Million Dogs Puppy Up! Walk at MacArthur Park: Friendly, vaccinated dogs and their families are invited to this silent auction and 2-mile walk to promote awareness of canine cancer and fundraise for comparative oncology research. Registration and silent auction begin at 11 a.m.; walk kicks off at 1 p.m. Nov. 1. $20-$25; under 14 free. For info: click here.
5. Making Strides 5K Walk Against Breast Cancer at North Shore Park in North Little Rock: Be part of this network of breast cancer awareness events all over the nation, uniting more than 300 communities to finish the fight. Start and end the walk at North Shores Park--everyone is invited! Making Strides walkers turn awareness into action by helping raise more than $60 million for the American Cancer Society each year to save more lives from breast cancer. 8-10 a.m. Nov. 1. For info: (501) 603-5226, click here. FREE!
6. Aspire 5k Run/Walk at Two Rivers Park: Aspire Christian Academy hosts a run/walk to increase awareness of learning disabilities and raise money for this unique school. Registrants will receive a commemorative t-shirt (while supplies last). $35; kids ages 2-12 are $12. 8-11 a.m. Nov. 1. For info: (501) 224-1418, click here.
7. 5K Run/Walk for Childhood Fitness at LRSD Administration Building: Life Champs presents a walk/run that focuses on fitness for school-aged kids. Big cash prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third place finishers! $30, students K-12 $10. 8:30 a.m. Nov. 1. For info: (501) 255-0950, LifeChamps.com.
For more events, browse our full online calendar here.
Editor's Note: We're following along with the Nipper family as they take the Fit Families Challenge from Special Olympics Arkansas. The six-week program is designed for individuals with special needs and their families, and encourages physical activity and healthy eating for the whole family. Read more about the free program here, and check out more blog posts from the Nipper family here.
“No” Miles yells as his legs go limp and he refuses to hold up his own weight. I plead with Miles to cooperate and do just five more sit-and-stands, so that we can be done and move on to something more fun. It has been a long day and we need to get through his therapy checklist.
After we finish the therapy battle, get the kids bathed and in bed, I contemplate why some days it is so easy to get his therapy in and others it is such a challenge. I remember how as a child I would spend hours each day playing on the monkey bars in my backyard. I loved the monkey bars to the point that I think my parents bought me every type of glove to try and protect my hands from the rough calluses and blisters that took over my palms. No one made me play on the monkey bars…I wanted to.
And that is when the light bulb went off.
Exercise (and therapy) is a battle when it is something we have to get done as opposed to being something fun to do. Luke and I have always tried to make exercise and therapy fun for Miles. But during our busiest times, exercise and therapy become items we need to check off the list as opposed to fun events for the whole family. Teaching Miles to love being active is about more than us just enjoying time together, it is crucial for Miles' health and development.
Miles, like most people with Down syndrome, has hypotonia, or low muscle tone. Many people confuse muscle tone and muscle strength but they are very different things. Muscle tone involves the length and tension of the muscle at rest and does not change throughout a person’s life. Low muscle tone can impact balance, coordination, posture, and endurance, making physical activity more challenging. It is important to develop muscle strength (focus of Physical Therapy) to provide stability and muscle control. Couple low muscle tone with the fact that most people with Down syndrome have a lower Basal Metabolic Rate (calories your body uses at rest) and use up to 15 percent fewer calories than their typically developing peers, and you can see that loving to exercise is especially important!
Over the past two weeks, we have really concentrated on making exercise fun. It requires more planning and creativity to incorporate therapy goals into the exercise sessions but the pay-offs are well worth it. Here are seven favorite activities that have easily fit into our busy schedule!
1. Seasonal Activities
We love going to the pumpkin patch in October and this year we used it as a great opportunity to incorporate exercise. We had to walk up and down the rows of pumpkins searching for the perfect one! We had to step over the vines and lift up several pumpkins before we could make our final pick.
2. Community Walks/Runs
We participated in the 3rd Annual Central Arkansas Buddy Walk on October 11 (pictured at top of post). This is a special event for our family since it celebrates people, like Miles, with an extra 21st chromosome. This was the perfect atmosphere for our family to walk together. Miles walked ¾ of the 1-mile loop by himself. It seemed like every time Miles would begin to get tired, there were sweet volunteers or other walkers to cheer him on and recharge him!
3. The Playground
This is one of our favorites for the whole family and a great therapy time too! Miles gets to work on walking up steps, running, climbing, jumping, and so much more. Molly tries her hardest to do everything big brother does. She crawls up the steps, pulls to stand on the various structures, and goes down the slide. We often throw in games of tag to incorporate some running!
4. Obstacle Courses
We set up obstacle courses in our living room or backyard on a regular basis. The one we did this week started on our back porch and Miles had to open the latch on the gate, go down three steps with use of a handrail, walk across a board (balance beam), step over the rungs of a ladder laying on the ground, go down his slide, back over the ladder, across the balance beam, up the stairs, and kick a ball into his little soccer goal. We time each family member doing the course and include lots and lots of crazy cheering.
Miles loves to run this loop in our house that goes through the kitchen, hallway, living room, dining room and back to the kitchen. I can’t remember exactly how this started but one day we started chasing him with this plastic sword (no worries on safety, it has a very soft, rounded tip). He thinks this is hilarious and will run laps for 15 minutes with us chasing him. He collapses into a fit of giggles when we catch him and instantly asks for us to chase him more or takes the sword and comes after us!
We will combine several therapy activities into a concentrated “work out” time. Things like squats with a weighted ball, crunches, push-ups, and pull-ups. Luke will start and do the exercise with the number of reps Miles is supposed to do. I will sit with the kids and we will count and very exuberantly cheer on Luke. Next it is my turn to do the exercise with the same amount of reps for my cheering squad. By the time I’m done, Miles is so excited for his turn to be cheered on that he quickly completes the activity!
7. Dance Parties
This is definitely our favorite and one of the best aerobic exercises we do with Miles. Luke will play DJ and select some great tunes and we will all dance for 15-20 minutes. The crazier and sillier the dancing, the better. Miles can tear up the dance floor and loves to laugh at his moves. With each dance party we are guaranteed to enjoy many of his great belly laughs that seem to erupt from deep within. At the end of the 15-20 minutes, we are all out of breath and laughing! I will admit this requires you letting your guard down and loosening up, but is a guaranteed good time.
The Arkansas Fatherhood and Family Initiative: Fathers Engaged and Empowered to Learn (FEEL), a new program of Arkansas Head Start Association, is in the process of developing programs and services to assist fathers in living up to their crucial responsibilities.
“There is a need for fathers in the state of Arkansas,” says Dedric Davis, chairman of the task force behind the effort. “What we’re trying to do with FEEL is first address absentee fatherhood as far as being in the classrooms, spending time with your child, reading with your child, walking with your child. A lot of fathers think they need money to raise their kids, but they don’t. It’s just time and effort.”
The actions of an involved father dramatically impacts children’s lives in just about every category. From teen pregnancy and incarceration to childhood obesity and poverty, children who grow up with a present, engaged father stand a much better chance of developing healthy habits and positive outcomes than those who don’t.
Davis, a father of one, is uniquely qualified to lead the initiative during its formative stages. A preschool teacher, fatherhood engagement and parent engagement coordinator for Mississippi County Arkansas Economic Opportunity Commission (MCAEOC) in Blytheville, he sees firsthand how hungry many children are for a consistent male role model in their lives.
“Just going through the school building, with me being a teacher, a lot of kids call me Mr. Daddy. That touches me,” he says. “When I go into the classroom I’m probably the only man that they see during the day. When it comes to school, it’s nothing but women most of the time and when they go home they either see a grandmother or mother or maybe the babysitter. Dad is really nowhere around, he’s working or he’s really not in the family at all.”
Davis doesn’t have to try very hard to put himself in his students’ shoes. Raised largely by his grandmother, he went through many of the same struggles growing up and when his daughter was born, shared similar obstacles as those faced by fathers today. Truth be told, he could have very easily been one of the men he now hopes to help through FEEL.
“I see myself in some of those kids. I grew up without a father, I grew up without a mother at a certain point in my life,” he says. “When I get to school in the morning and get to class I look at some of those kids and I see the innocence in them. I see myself. It makes me want to work hard and do more for those kids.”
Davis says it is important to keep in mind the universal nature of the problem of absentee fathers. Thought often portrayed as an issue only within certain communities or segments of society, the problem cuts across racial, religious and economic lines. Even in two-parent households, children can be left wanting for a father’s attention and involvement.
“With families who have money, parents will go and buy a new Xbox or Playstation or Nintendo and they’ll tell the kids, ‘Well, I bought you what you need, what else do you want from me?’ They use it to replace spending time with their kids,” he says.
Formed in February of this year, FEEL recently landed $30,000 in funding through the state’s General Improvement Fund. The group is currently in an information-gathering phase to help determine the greatest areas of need in the state and is encouraging the public to weigh in via a survey available through their Facebook page. The survey will be live through Nov. 1, the date of the group’s first major activity. The Arkansas in Support of Fathers march and rally is planned for that day, starting at 11 a.m. at Capitol and Chester Streets in downtown Little Rock and proceeding to the steps of the State Capitol.
As they determine the needs of the community, FEEL is already spotlighting certain issues and hoping to offer programs, such as literacy courses, job training, and individual or group mentoring of parenting skills.
“We figured out a lot of our fathers out there are embarrassed about not being able to read, not being able to write,” Davis says. “I’ve interacted with a lot of men who are intimidated by some of the other men who have success, so when it comes to asking for help, they don’t ask, they’re like, ‘Well I’m not worried about it. I don’t need that.’
“It’s not just a thing for low-income or middle-income fathers; it’s all the fathers in Arkansas and across the United States, period. We’re struggling, our kids are struggling. We all need help sometimes and the only way to get help is to put it on the table and figure out how we’re going to get it done collectively.”
Arkansas in Support of Fathers March and Rally
When: November 1, 11 am
Where: A march will begin at Capitol and Chester streets in Little Rock and end at the State Capitol Building where the rally will be held.
Nationwide, 24 million American children grow up without their father in the home and this lack of a solid father-child relationship has an enormous impact on individual’s’ long-term health and well-being. Jackie Govan, director of Arkansas Head Start, says the organization’s research uncovered some sobering statistics that served as the foundation for the effort to establish FEEL.
Children who are raised in father-absent homes are:
What’s more, Govan says, engaged fathers can help head off behavior problems including risky and anti-social behavior, particularly in boys. And, research shows strong father-child relationships lead to a young person developing healthy peer group relationships and higher academic achievement.
Did your family go wild at the Little Rock Zoo this weekend? Tons of local families -- outfitted in their sweetest and scariest costumes -- had a howling good time at Boo at the Zoo.
In addition to handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters, Little Rock Family set up a photo station to capture some of the families enjoying the fall fun. Did we snap your family's photo on Saturday, Oct. 25? Then, check below to find your little ghoul's smiling faces!
The Junior League of Little Rock's largest annual fundraiser, Holiday House, kicks off the holiday shopping season Oct. 29-Nov. 1. The event helps support JLLR's initiatives to improve literacy skills among local students, decrease childhood obesity in the community and more.
More than 180 merchants will set up shop at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock, offering everything from artisan gifts and housewares to trendy clothing and accessories. Shoppers can attend general shopping hours Oct. 30-Nov. 1, or attend special events, like private shopping, Ladies Night Out, Cookies & Milk with Santa, or the first-ever Glitz & Glamour Tween Fashion Show.
Here's the full schedule:
Earlier this fall, I climbed Pinnacle Mountain with my family. It was one of the first mornings that really had a bit of chill in the air. From that moment I had the bug. You know the one. It causes that itch for autumn in Arkansas where pumpkins adorn many a front stoop, the leaves change and so do fashions. Everything’s cooler, including the clothes.
The Junior League of Little Rock has jumped into fall fashion this year like kids into a pile of leaves. The organization focused on promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community has set its sights on tweens through a new fundraising event called Glitz & Glamour.
“We are extremely excited to be introducing this and reaching out to a younger demographic. This event will include elegant desserts and the latest in girls’ fashions for women of all ages to enjoy. We’re expecting a crowd of 400 guests and hope to raise $20,000 to support the community projects of the Junior League,” states Holiday House Publicity Chair Margaret Payne.
Tween fashionistas and their families will enjoy viewing the latest in fall fashions as well as help the community move forward by supporting JLLR’s various philanthropic initiatives. The Glitz & Glamour fashion show is in conjunction with the Holiday House shopping event.
|Tween Fall Fashion Hits|
|80’s Inspired Looks||Cute Back Packs and Transparent Purses|
|90’s Inspired Flannel||Jean Vests and Overalls|
|Camo and Geometric Prints||Vintage Inspired Designs|
So what does Holiday House help fund?
Glitz & Glamour
What: Fashion show for tween girls 4-12. Desserts and sweet treats will be served.
When: Saturday, November 1, 2014 between 2-4 p.m.
Where: Statehouse Convention Center, Wally Allen Ballroom (in conjunction with Holiday House)
Ticket prices: $25 per seat, $250 for a block of 10 seats together
Sponsored by Dillard’s