If Charlie Brown were still wistfully seeking the Great Pumpkin, his best bet would be to look at the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival. For two days the seaside town's gray fog is replaced with a gourd-eous orange while squash lovers enjoy the Great Pumpkin Parade, freshly whittled work from the Picasso of pumpkin carvers, a pumpkin run, and the inevitable pie-eating contest (no, not apple). There's also music, crafts, costume contests, and a haunted house for the kids. And if all that activity makes you hungry, you can snack on pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin fudge, and, yes, even pumpkin sausages. The autumn appreciation begins at 10 a.m. each day on Main Street between Miramontes and Spruce, Half Moon Bay. Admission to all events is free; call (650) 726-9652 or visit www.miramarevents.com.
-- Jack Karp
Although often maligned as blood-sucking freaks, bats also have undeniable style. They dress in hip blacks and browns, wear excellent wings, and use radar to get around. That's cool, man, and no one knows it better than the Lively Foundation, creator of Bat Tales, a wacky celebration of the chiropteran family in music, theater, and dance. Using stories from legends and folk tales concerning bats, Artistic Director Leslie Friedman leads her batty troupe through crowd-pleasing songs like "Boffo! Bats! Oh!" and "I'm Not a Baby Seal," the latter said to be quite touching for a tune about fuzzy flying rodents. So perk up your ears, open your eyes really, really wide, and bare your fangs for an afternoon of entertainment in honor of the little guys that eat mosquitoes. Shows begin at noon and 2 p.m. at the Randall Museum Theater, 199 Museum (at Roosevelt), S.F. Admission is $3-6; call 554-9600 or visit www.randallmuseum.org.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Festive, Fun, and Free
Zeum's Happy Anniversary
It's been five years since Zeum first opened its doors to entertainment-hungry families, and this weekend the place celebrates its anniversary with a public party. The fete begins early, as local kids scramble to bake a 50-foot chocolate chip cookie -- stick around for the six-hour baking time to buy a chunk. At 11 a.m. Zeum shuts down the cash registers, allowing visitors to peruse exhibits (including a retrospective of past displays), participate in activities, and ride the vintage carousel, gratis. The celebration starts at 9 a.m. at 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), S.F. Admission is free; call 777-2800 or visit www.zeum.org.
-- Joyce Slaton