It's probably true, you know. They turned 12, and all of a sudden the sweet little girl or boy you once knew has been reduced to a pile of snarling, almost-teenage angst, listening to One Direction at ridiculously high volumes. Winning them back with a gift — or a bribe? — has never been easier.


Running away to the circus might seem like a good idea to your almost-teenager, but they probably won't make it past the park. Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus has all the magic and mystery of a circus, minus the effort of getting off the couch. Illusionists are tied to a game they've been trained to play since childhood, although neither knows the rules. The novel introduces a diverse cast of characters and a fairytale-like quality of forbidden romance, future seers and patrons, all in love with a circus that rolls in with no announcement and features fantastical acts that seem impossible. An added bonus: The book is cool enough that your preteen might actually like it. $15 • Auntie's Bookstore • 402 W. Main


Being original and standing out is the focal point of a generation that spends pretty much all of its time on Twitter and Facebook updating statuses, trying to be cleverly amusing. A custom-made necklace is not only one-of-kind, but super chic, especially when she takes a million selfies wearing it. (#oneofakind, and you're all set.) Varying from completely gothic to glitzy-girly, options include glittering gems, cute birds, massive roses, and creepy skulls — all in the name of high fashion, of course. $28-$49 • Veda Lux Boutique • 1106 S. Perry


You've heard it blaring from their stereo and blasting from their iPods as the British boy-band invasion has consumed your preteen's life. To add fuel to the obsession, bring home a life-sized cardboard cutout of their favorite band member. Yes, it may be a little bit creepy to hear them talking to a 2D Harry Styles as they go to bed, but their absolute joy at having their pop idols in their lives probably outweighs the psychological scarring you'll get from his flat, lifeless eyes. $30 • Pink Cadillac • NorthTown Mall, 4750 N. Division


The epitome of preteen existence is playing with this little ball on a stick, otherwise known as a kendama. Not only can preteens learn to do some amazing tricks with this thing, it also comes in multiple fun colors and styles. Customizing their own kendama will be the highlight of their Christmas season, and the kendama competitions they'll have at school will make their days. $16-$39 • Boo Radley's • 232 N. Howard


The affliction that is preteen-ism is very different for each gender. Girls get snarky; boys get off-the wall, boundless energy that never seems to fade. Working off your hyper 12-year-old may seem like an impossible challenge, but the sport of Frisbee golf is here to help. As they chuck Frisbees at little baskets in a quest for the most points, the house will be a lot quieter, and your head will hurt a lot less. $10 • The General Store • 2424 N. Division


They'll tell you that you don't understand them, and that one day when they grow up to be famous, you'll regret grounding them. Get their foot in the door of millionaire movie-star success by having someone else teach them how to be funny. (At this point, knock-knock jokes are past their prime.) These improv workshops range from environment creation to character development as students work together to tell a cognitive, hilarious story through the use of their bodies. $25 • Blue Door Theatre • 815 W. Garland

Harvest Festival Craft Faire @ Green Bluff Grange

Sat., Oct. 8, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun., Oct. 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sat., Oct. 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
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