When you’re a youngster, there is nothing quite so edifying, satisfying and just plain exciting as winning a contest, especially if there’s more involved than sheer luck. It’s the draw of youth sports: “We beat those guys!” It puts a little spring in a kid’s step and a sparkle in his or her eye.


But competitions don’t have to be athletic in nature. The best ones are those that bring out the cleverness and creativity in your kids that occasionally floor you as a parent. The drive to bring something into being that wasn’t there before, and have it be nothing short of perfect.


What fits the bill more than a Halloween costume contest with official judges, and the whopping prize of a year’s worth of free tenpin? That’s the opportunity to be presented to your young masters of disguise at the Halloween Party at Easy Day (725 Broadway, SoPo) on Friday, October 27 from 6 to 11 p.m. Bowl a few frames and scope out the competition while you enjoy music, food, and drink specials. At 7:30 p.m. sharp, the kids’ costumes will be judged, and only the spirits of All Hallows’ Eve know for sure which young monster will emerge victorious. Of course, should it be one of your brood who’s the champ, you’re gonna have to drive them to bowling every week for a while, but it will be worth it to see the confident swagger you remember from your own moments of triumph, however long ago. Oh, and there’s an adult costume competition too, so you’re not off the hook for looking ridiculous either.


Easy Day Halloween Party: https://www.facebook.com/events/1979191462097395


On the other hand, if the hustle, bustle, noise and lights sound like a little too much for your boy or girl, especially if your family suffers from a sensory integration challenge like autism, Down syndrome, or sensory processing disorder, a better idea might be Play Your Way: Trick or Treat at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine (142 Free St) on Saturday, October 28 from 9 to 10 a.m. Thanks to Museum sponsor WEX, admission is free, with an RSVP to Lily O’Brien at 207-828-1234 x227 or lily@kitetails.org. Your child will follow a trick-or-treat visual map to find treats throughout the facility, play in the exhibits, and show off his or her costume in a more subdued environment specifically created for the occasion. There will be a limited number of participants, and available noise-reducing headphones, as well.


So be sure to kick off the holiday season in the mischievous spirit we’ve all loved for so long, and be sure to flash a thumbs-up to the generous organizers before you say so long.


Play Your Way: Trick or Treat: https://www.facebook.com/events/1588338834556720

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