While we humans have alerts and apps and alarms to remind us of the exact dates our favorite pumpkin treats hit the stores and restaurants, the animals residing at Los Angeles Zoo only need wait for the arrival of October to nosh upon fall's most famous gourd.
That's when Boo at the LA Zoo begins, and while the animal park's eerie festivities were once scheduled solely over a single weekend, the party has expanded to fill out the whole macabre month.
Well, it isn't too macabre. After all, the animals are pretty stoked to dig into those pumpkins, and the public is stoked to watch the critters enjoy their crunchy, seedy treats. (The feedings happen on "select dates," and the carnivores, of course, receive meals that are decidedly not pumpkins, so check with the zoo as to when this popular event will happen, if you want to see it or forgo seeing it.)
Loads of "(f)ang-tastic activities" are on the Oct. 1 through 31 schedule, with crafts, "strolling characters, pumpkin carving," a "costume-encouraged dance party," and "Animals and You" encounters with all sorts of spidery, snaky sweeties, from tarantulas to scorpion.
A few haunted highlights? The "Mad Science Fire and Ice Show," the Spooky Caves at the Winnick Family Children's Zoo, and weekend appearances by Peppa Pig are all sure to be popular. It's good to note, before you and yours slither to Boo at the Zoo, that some of the special to-dos go down at specific times and days, so if your heart is set on a particular event, check out the web site or contact the zoo to make sure you coordinate your visit just so.
It's all as big as a sprawling pumpkin patch, schedule-wise, so study up on your Boo doings ahead of its October start.
Ultimately, it is more sweet than scary. There's nothing too goosebumpily about animal education, which is at the heart of this yearly not-too-frightful festival.
Okay, the tarantulas might deliver a goosebump or two, but they're gentle creatures. Call this month-long party the flip side of the spookiest holiday, the behind-the-curtain peek at its scurrying symbols and how they really live.
(Nope, tarantulas do not dangle from strings or pop out of paper decorations in real life, despite decorative evidence to the contrary.)