The Best Halloween Events In California

Yes! It’s time for terrifying haunts, pumpkin patches, dancing zombies, vampire theaters, haunted mazes, ghostly train rides and as many jumpscares as your heart can take – it’s Halloweeeen!!! 

This year, we’re taking it to California, which has something going on for every fan of the spooky season – whether you like hardcore frights or have kiddies that are happier with a local, friendly trick-or-treating, wandering around in a pumpkin patch and hugging inflatable, friendly Caspers. 

We’ve divided this “Halloween events in California” listing by (nearest) city and have labeled events kid-friendly where appropriate. Those without that label are for you to decide- some sites allow under-13s in if they are with a guardian, so it’s up to you to judge how much a thrill your kid will get out of it. We, as always, recommend you check with the official sites before you go to help your judgment call on appropriacy.

Before we get to our favorite events happening in California this Halloween, let’s remember where it all came from and answer the three biggest questions asked this time of year.

Where Did The Halloween Tradition Come From?

Carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating, and wearing scary costumes are some of the best-known Halloween traditions. But the Halloween holiday is actually the modern-day combination of a couple of centuries-old festivities.

Samhain. Source: Wikipedia

First came an ancient, pagan Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced “SAH-win”), which celebrated the harvest season. People back then would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits for the year ahead. Then, in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III made November 1 “All Saints Day” to honor the Catholic saints. This merged with some of the traditions of Samhain, with the night before being named All Hallows Eve, and later, Hallowe’en. We also have Dia de los Muertos, which is generally celebrated around the same time among people of Mexican heritage, though it has definitely grown in popularity, not least since Pixar released the brilliant “Coco.” Dia de los Muertos is much more colorful and celebratory than the more somber and scary Halloween, but both draw big crowds annually.

Why Are Pumpkins Such A Big Thing At Halloween?

A carved turnip. Source: National Geographic

The tradition of carving pumpkins (Jack-o’-Lanterns) was started in Ireland, but back then they used what they had- turnips and gourds. Legend has it that a man named Stingy Jack managed to trap the Devil. He only let him go when he promised that Jack would never go to Hell. When Jack died, though, he was rejected by Heaven too, and so was condemned to wander the Earth as a ghost for all eternity. The Devil gave Jack a burning lump of coal in a carved-out turnip to light his way. The locals then started carving scary faces into turnips and gourds and lighting candles inside to scare the wandering All Hallows spirits away from their homes. When the New Americans arrived in America, they had no turnips or gourds, and so started to carve pumpkins out instead.

Is Halloween Related To Devil Worship?

No. While there are some individuals out there that use the dramatics and somber, creepy atmosphere of the season to take things in that direction, for the vast majority of those that celebrate it, it’s all just fun and games. If anything, the idea of dressing up scary and carving a few pumpkins for the front porch is to frighten AWAY the devil and his friends, not welcome them in! Halloween also appeals to human nature’s love of adrenaline-induced thrills. When we go on fast carnival attractions, ride that Pacific swell, watch an action movie at the IMAX, go to the circus, or step into that zombie-infested Haunted House, there’s just one thing we’re looking for – the rush of knocking on Death’s door and bouncing back to reality again, blowing a raspberry! 

Now we’ve explored how we got to today’s Halloween, let’s head on over to California and find out how we can celebrate it throughout the state. In many cases, the celebration has already begun, so throw on that costume and get out there! Here’s our best Halloween events in California:

Halloween in California. Source: visitcalifornia

Halloween In Los Angeles

Los Angeles has a few signature Halloween events that annually attract crowds of thousands, among them the Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns and the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval (also known as the “World’s Largest Halloween Street Party,” gathering over 500,000 people on Santa Monica Boulevard). But we’ve done some grave-digging and found a mix of other events that will also entertain you in Los Angeles in the lead up to this year’s All Hallow’s Eve.

Halloween Time At The Disneyland Resort (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Through October 31.
Halloween Time at the Disneyland Resort. Source: grandlegacyhotel

Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland in California is the annual go-to for kids in the state, seeing the park transformed into America’s Halloween capital with fangtastic decor and rides to scare and thrill. Definitely on our list of must-dos are “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the Haunted Mansion and Oogie Boogie’s Bash at California Adventure.

Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Hollywood (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Various dates through October 31.
Halloween Horror Nights, Sideshow Slaughterhouse. Universal Studios Hollywood. Source: westcoaster

Universal Studios Hollywood hosts the annual Halloween Horror Nights, said to be the scariest show in Los Angeles, with the whole park transformed into a scream-packed horror movie site of roaming zombies, murderous monsters and other terrifying surprises. If you survive the walk through, check out the nine (yes, 9!) haunted houses, set up around The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and other great horror movies themes.

Knott’s Scary Farm

  • Select dates through October 31.
Knott’s Scary Farm. Source: insideuniversal

Southern California’s largest immersive Halloween experience, Knott’s Scary Farm, is a 57-acre theme park in Buena Park which has, for nearly 50 years, been offering the best and scariest Halloween fun! 10 haunted mazes, five scare zones and two shows await! Expect to meet crazy clowns, brain-eating zombies and numerous other creepy creatures lurking in the dark as you explore (they boast they have over 1000 creatures lying in wait!)…don’t be shy to scream! 13+.


  • October 21 – 29.
Hungry hippo at Boo at the LA Zoo. We couldn’t resist posting the great photo by Jamie Pham/timeout!

Dress up to explore the zoo in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park. Halloween brings special shows, a maze, education stations, and the chance to treat the zoo residents to some pumpkin snacks!

Halloween Carnaval, West Hollywood

  • October 30–31.
Halloween Carnaval, West Hollywood. Photo by Yijie L.

Great news! This traditional and truly epic Halloween street Carnaval has been resurrected this year (it was last held in 2019!). It’s a free, open-to-all parade of costumes along Santa Monica Blvd., between North Doheny Dr. and La Cienega Blvd. Note that this is an event whose participants are encouraged to feel free to express themselves, and some costumes are, let’s just say, risqué for sensitive young viewers – which is why we didn’t label this one as kid friendly!

Day Of The Dead, LA State Historic Park (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 28.
Day of the Dead. Photo by Jamie Rosenberg

Day of the Dead is a renowned Halloween music festival held annually since 2012. Expect a real Mexican celebration of Día de Los Muertos, with Mexican-inspired decor, artists, musicians and mariachis.

Shaqtoberfest On The Queen Mary, Long Beach (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Through October 31.
Shaqtoberfest on the Queen Mary. Source: Facebook

Board the historic 1930s Queen Mary ocean liner, nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” for her military use during WWII, which is permanently docked in Long Beach. The second year into a new Halloween tradition, the ship and dock boast creatures from the deep, spirits of fallen sailors, crazy clowns, skeletons, pirates and more, offering pop-out scares, haunted trails, a pumpkin patch, carnival rides, a marketplace, a hay maze, live music and themed bars. During the day, enjoy the one-hour Haunted Encounters tour if you dare.


Scarium Of The Pacific, Long Beach (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 28
Scarium of the Pacific. Source: aquariumofpacific

Where little ones can learn while having fun at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Included in the cost of general admission, there’s a children’s costume contest, a vampire magic show, and various creepy creatures to discover.

Carved At Descanso Gardens, Pasadena (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 6 – 29.
Carved at Descanso Gardens, Pasadena. Source: descansogardens

Think carved pumpkins. Hundreds of them. Packed into one mile of Halloween delight in the gardens’ Camellia Forest. What could be more inspiring than that? We’ll tell you – demonstrations on how to carve your own pumpkin masterpiece! A must-see this Halloween!

17th Door Haunt Experience

  • Select evenings through October 31.
17th Door Haunt Experience. Source: Management

In Buena Park this year, this is an annual Halloween scare that is for the truly strong of heart. Expect to be touched, yelled at, forced to crawl on your hands and knees and to have to complete various tasks. If that’s not enough – enroll for the Field Trip, where a van takes you to an undisclosed location for even more terror, which you’ll have to discover for yourself (because we are too scared to try it!).

Where: 8420 On The Mall, Buena Park

Tickets: Starting at $34-$48 at

Dia De Los Muertos Festival (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 25 – November 2.
Day of the Dead on the historic Olvera Street. Source: culturela

Day of the Dead on the historic Olvera Street offers you a chance to celebrate your departed ancestors in a distinctly Mayan, pre-Colombian and Aztec way. Enjoy evening processions, blessings, dancing, treats to eat and artists to paint your face.

The Hollywood Forever Cemetery nearby will have its own festival on October 28.

Where: Olvera Street, LA.

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

  • 7pm – 10pm every Friday and Saturday through October 31.
All Saints Lunatic Asylum. Source: Hollywoodgothique

If you’re brave enough, take a walk-through tour of this old, rundown asylum. Shut down 50 years ago, patients unable to leave, doctors with nowhere to go – and that’s only the start of the horrors that await in the dark hallways of this haunted house experience! Under 13s must be accompanied by a guardian.

Where: 22521 Shawnee Road, Apple Valley.

Tickets: $13 at

Reign Of Terror

  • 7pm select evenings through November 4.
Reign of Terror. Source: Instagram

A bonanza of Halloween scares and surprises spread within 10 connected mazes and over 100 separate rooms featuring cemeteries, a funhouse (watch out for the clowns!), an asylum, an infected hospital (masks on!), a haunted mine and more! Ages 13+.

Where: Reign of Terror,  225 N. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks

Tickets: $35-$65 at

ScareScape, Murrieta

  • 6pm – 10pm Thursday and Sunday, and 6pm – 11pm Friday and Saturday through October 29.
ScareScape. Source: Instagram

Time to face your fear in phobia-themed mazes at the top of Heritage Hill – from pitch-black darkness, to clowns and ghosts, your heart will definitely be a-pounding after a tour of this haunted house! 

There is also a marketplace and Spirit Lounge Bar with a circus sideshow. Ages 13+.

Where: Heritage Hill Event Venue, 28701 Los Alamos Heights Road, Murrieta

Tickets: $25-$55 at

The Haunted Harvest, Chino

  • 7pm, Thursdays-Sundays through October 29.
The Haunted Harvest. Source: Instagram

A grown-up tongue-in-cheek scare, this is a corn maze with a variety of scary themes to discover, one of which is an old video rental store called Hauntbuster, where you get trapped after hours with the Notflix Killer…This event combines everything we love best – storytelling, animatronics, illusions, and so many jumpscares, I was amazed we survived!

Where: Frosty’s Forest, 14861 Ramona Avenue, Chino

Tickets: $30 at

The Vampire Circus (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Various dates and times through October 31.
The Vampire Circus. Source: Facebook

Expect chills, thrills and fun with an awe-inspiring, macabre vampire show for all ages – cirque acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, comedians and more.

Where: The Montalbán Theatre, 1615 Vine Street, Hollywood

Tickets: $44-$49 at

Urban Death Tour Of Terror

  • Various times Fridays – Mondays through October 31.
Urban Death Tour Of Terror. Source: Instagram

This theatrical show is what we would happily call “dark and disturbing,” and so not one for the kiddies – meet monsters and spirits, hear chilling tales, and let the goosebumps rise.

Where: Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood

Tickets: Tickets are $22-$27 at

Anaheim Fall Festival (KID FRIENDLY)

  • From 11am – 6pm (with a parade at 7pm) on October 28.
The Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween parade. Photo by Jody Daily

2023 is the 100-year anniversary of this fun annual Halloween festival in downtown Anaheim. Enjoy spooky-themed food booths and a kid-friendly haunted house to explore. Check out the Halloween exhibit at Museo. Then, at 7pm, line the streets for the parade – or get in costume and join in yourself!

Where: Downtown Anaheim at Anaheim Blvd. and Broadway Street

Tickets: Free admission. Get more information at

Boney Island (KID FRIENDLY)

  • 6pm – 8pm and 8pm – 10pm, Thursdays – Sundays through October 31.
Boney Island. Source: Facebook

The museum’s Nature Gardens light up for Halloween every year, with shadow puppets and magical skeletons providing live interactive entertainment for all ages.

Where: Natural History Museum, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles

Tickets: $25 per person and $20 for members at

Halloween Bu-Bash (KID FRIENDLY)

  • 2 – 4pm, October 27.
The Bu-Bash. Source: Samantha Bravo/TMT.

The perfect Halloween event for the littlest trick-or-treaters in your family, offering open-air games, a costume contest, face painting and trick-or-treating.

Where: Bluff’s Park, 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

Tickets: $8 per child at

Magic Of The Jack O’Lanterns (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Various dates and times through October 31.
Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns. Source: Facebook

Step into a world of carved pumpkins, light displays and a walk-through nautical seascape. There’s plenty to eat and drink, and that gem of a fall activity: a build-your-own s’mores experience.

Where: Whittier Narrows Park, 750 S. Santa Anita Ave., South El Monte

Tickets: Tickets start at $19.99 for children and $24.99 for adults at

Nights Of The Jack (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Open various evenings 6pm – 10pm through October 31.
Nights of the Jack. source: Facebook

Set out on a one-mile trail surrounded by Halloween goodies – carved pumpkins, how to demos, games, selfie spots and plenty of food and drink.

Where: King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas

Tickets: $39.99-$64.99 at

Tunnel Of Terror Haunted Car Wash (KID FRIENDLY)

  • 6pm – 10pm various dates through October 30.
Tunnel of Terror Haunted Car Wash. Source: Instagram

Car need cleaning? Fancy a scare with that? Then book your family and your car in for a unique Halloween experience at Big Wave and Carwood Car Wash. Expect actors in costume, creepy props, SFX, and new surprises every night.

Where: Big Wave Car Wash, 2219 Lincoln Ave. in Anaheim and Carwood Car Wash, 2729 E. Carson Street, Lakewood

Tickets: $30-$40 per car at

Son Of Monsterpalooza (KID FRIENDLY)

  • 6pm – 11pm October 13, and 11am – 6pm October 14-15.
Son of Monsterpalooza. Source: Instagram

A horror convention with Halloween vendors, movie screenings, panels, costume contests and celebrities. Meet “Evil Dead” director Sam Raimi, “Chucky” star Devon Sawa, Harvey Guillen of “What We Do in the Shadows” and more. What a holiday treat!

Where: The Marriott Burbank Hotel, 2500 N. Hollywood Way, Burbank

Tickets: $35-$75 at

Black Lagoon

  • Open nightly with various time slots through October 31.
Black Lagoon. Source: Instagram

This pop-up bar appears from the fog at Halloween and disappears again from whence it came…come in costume and enjoy the themed cocktails and live entertainment while you can!

Where: Lost Property Bar, 1704 Vine Street, Los Angeles

Tickets: $25 at

Beetle House LA

  • Open nightly.
Beetle House LA. Source: Instagram

This year-round Halloween-themed restaurant offers a horror-themed menu and ever-changing magic and music shows while you dine. Reservations recommended!

Where: Beetle House, 7080 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles

Tickets: $60 for adults; $22 for children under 12; Reservations after 9.30pm are for 21-and-older only at

Street Food Cinema’s Boo-Ze, Bites & Frights

  • 5.30pm October 20 – 21.
Street Food Cinema’s Boo-Ze, Bites & Frights. Source: Todaytix

Put on your best Halloween costume and head out for drinks and frights with double horror movie screenings, adult trick-or-treating, a DJ and brilliant guided tours of beautifully spooky Victorian mansions.

Where: Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer Street, Los Angeles

Tickets: $34 at

The Spirit Lounge

  • Various dates and time slots through November 11.
The Spirit Lounge. Source: Instagram

Jumping at any time of year, this spirit-laden bar becomes “the Macabre Manor” during the Halloween season for special photo ops and high-end cocktails.

Where: The Set, 10555 Mills Ave., Montclair

Tickets: $20 at

Thriller Nights: A Throwback Horror Party

  • 7pm – 11pm Fridays and Saturdays through October 31.
Thriller Nights: A Throwback Horror Party. Source: eventbrite

If you love 80s and 90s horror, this Halloween event is for you. You’ll be partying alongside numerous renowned horror film villains (yes, selfies are allowed!) in recreated movie scenes, with themed cocktails and a DJ blasting out retro hits. 21+.

Where: Anaheim Garden Walk, 400 Disney Way, Suite 199, Anaheim

Tickets: $50-$125 at

Howl-O-Ween At The Living Desert, Palm Desert (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 29–30.
Howl-O-Ween at the Living Desert. Source: livingdesert

Visit the 100-acre Living Desert Zoo and Gardens this Halloween to trick-or-treat in costume among the giraffes, foxes, and badgers.

Castle Dark At Castle Park (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Saturdays and Sundays through October 29.
Castle Dark at Castle Park. Source: parkjourney

This annual favorite has some new mazes this year, one of which has an all-female cast and is called Shipwreck Cove. Interactive shows, tricks and treats and a family-friendly daytime Dia de Los Muertos celebration await!

Where: Castle Park, 3500 Polk Street, Riverside

Tickets: $19.99-$44.99 at

Coffin Creek, Corona

  • October 6 – 29, 7pm – midnight on Fridays-Saturdays; 7pm – 10pm on Sundays.
Coffin Creek, Corona. Source: Facebook

Before shopping in the market for some Halloween goodies, head into the five walk-through mazes. Watch out for the zombies – they will chase you! And you’ll be sure to let out a few screams as you try to escape the Coffin Creek asylum and carnival of nightmares. Under 12s must be accompanied by a guardian.

Where: Riverview Recreation Park, 14600 Baron Drive, Corona.

Tickets: $17-$69 at

Fearplex Presents Lights Out (KID FRIENDLY)

  • 6pm – 11pm select evenings through October 31.
Fearplex Presents Lights Out. Source: Management

We’re still shaking from this experience! These walk-through mazes are packed with zombies, clowns, and circus freaks. The black light experience “Toxic Terror” is one to beat! IF you survive, there’s live music, food, a market and a Zombieball (paintball) experience to enjoy. Under 13s must be accompanied by an adult.

Where: Fairplex, 1101 W. McKinley Ave. Pomona

Tickets: $27-$33 for general admission; $29.99 for Lights Out and Oktoberfest combo tickets at

Laguna Niguel Haunted Trails

  • 6.30pm October 13 – 15.
Laguna Niguel Haunted Trails. Source: Facebook

Walk carefully along this haunted trail, where you’ll meet monsters, ghouls and more than a few members of the undead community. You are guaranteed to be frightened here (which is why we chose not to label this one as kid friendly!)

Where: Crown Valley Park, 29751 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel

Tickets: $13 in advance or $15 day of at

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Various dates and times through October 31.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. Source: Instagram

Hop on a wagon to take a ride through the deep, dark (and haunted!) woods. Be ready for some jump scares! If you survive, you’ll have the haunted town of Midnight Falls to explore, and some themed walk-through mazes to enjoy, too! 13+.

Where: Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles

Tickets: $29.99-$119.99 at

Halloween In San Jose

Unhinged At Winchester Mystery House, San Jose

  • Through October 31.
Unhinged at Winchester Mystery House. Source: Facebook

Said to have been built by an eccentric heiress trying to ward off ghosts, this 160-room mansion was made for a Halloween celebration! This year, we are told, two fictional characters from Old Hollywood have moved into the house and are throwing themselves a welcome party…but things take a turn for the Halloween worst. After you’ve solved the mystery, have a look around the Halloween Museum and enjoy some snacks and drinks at Café 13. Under 13s must be accompanied by an adult.

Halloween On The Wharf: Trick-Or-Treat By The Bay, Monterey (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 31.
Halloween on the Wharf: Trick-or-Treat by the Bay. Source: seemonterey

Dress up in costume and head along to the historic Old Fisherman’s Wharf for some Halloween fun- a costume contest, trick-or-treating, and a DJ playing our Halloween favorites. 

Nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea is all set for a Halloween parade and a chance to go trick-or-treating around the village businesses.

Casa De Pumpkin Patch, Hollister (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Through October 31.
Casa de Pumpkin Patch, Hollister. Source: Facebook

Halloween is Casa de Fruta’s favorite time of year. Expect a field full of pumpkins, a kiddie train, and a carousel. If you’re feeling lucky, try some gold-panning! On weekdays, they teach groups about Native American culture through music and beaded bracelet making.

Halloween In Sacramento

Heartstoppers Haunted House, Rancho Cordova (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Through October 31.
Heartstoppers Haunted House. Source: Management

If you’re feeling brave, step into this Haunted House’s three floors of non-stop horror. If you survive its four scare zones, outside you’ll find carnival games, live music, and other Halloween fun. Under 13s must be accompanied by an adult.

Zombie Bike Rides, Davis (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 27 – 29.
Zombie Bike Rides. Source: thedirt.davies

Davis is known as a bicycle-friendly town, and that counts for zombies, too. This Halloween you can dress up in your funerial best and join a free 12-mile bike parade of zombies along the Davis Bike Loop. Added extras are a Zombie Paintball competition (can you get any deader and dirtier?), a family-friendly pre-parade brew party hosted by Sudwerk Brewing Co. and a “zombie mash afterparty” with music and BMX performers to entertain you.

Pumpkin Patch Express, West Sacramento (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Through October 29.
Pumpkin Patch Express, West Sacramento . Source: Facebook

Grab a 2-hour ride on Yolo County’s vintage River Fox Train for pumpkin, trick-or-treating, and sack racing.

Halloween In Mendocino County

Skunk Train’s Pumpkin Express, Mendocino County (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Weekends and Mondays through October 30.
Skunk Train’s Pumpkin Express. Source: Facebook

Mendocino County’s 1885 Skunk Train leaves from Willits and winds through a redwood forest and a pumpkin patch, where you can pick out your own and take pictures before getting back on the train.

Halloween In Santa Cruz

Boardwalk Fright Flicks, Santa Cruz

  • Through October 25.
Boardwalk Fright Flicks. Source: Instagram

Grab your friends and go watch some classic horror movies with an accompanying cocktail at this 21+ event, on every Wednesday during Halloween season at Santa Cruz’s old-school Beach Boardwalk. The lineup includes Us, Child’s Play, Zombieland, and the 2018 Halloween.

Halloween In Fresno

ZooBoo At Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Fresno (KID FRIENDLY)

  • When: October 12 – 28.
ZooBoo at Fresno Chaffee Zoo. source: Facebook

Fresno Zoo is offering a light show this Halloween, with decorated paths, pumpkins, pirates, trick-or-treating and other seasonal fun. Come in costume (nothing inflatable or scary, please – we don’t want to frighten the animals!)

Mystery At The Darling Hotel, Visalia

  • October 20 – 21.
Mystery at the Darling Hotel. Source: Facebook

Help Sherlock Holmes look for clues to solve the crime in this 32-room boutique hotel in Visalia before enjoying a five-course meal and signature cocktails by the rooftop bar Elderwood. Ovr 21s. Overnight stays available.

Halloween In Santa Barbara

Boo At The Zoo At The Santa Barbara Zoo (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday, October 20 – 29.
Boo at the Zoo at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Source: Management

Santa Barbara’s zoo is running weekend evening trick or treating this Halloween, plus a spooky train ride, mad scientist experiments, and for the brave at heart, encounters with the creepiest of crawly zoo residents.

Thriller Flash Mob (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 28.

An annual favorite, get online to learn the moves, then get dressed up and join hundreds of other zombies to perform Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” dance in the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens.

And if you don’t want to dance, no worries- it’s a show well worth watching with the family!

Halloween In San Diego

San Diego has some great annual scares for Halloween lovers. The most popular by far is the Haunted Trail at Balboa Park, a one-mile trail through a grove of twisted pines and gnarled oaks, with plenty of jumpscares along the way at the Ghoul Bus, Birdbox Cabin, and Merlin’s Forest. Legoland Resort and Seaworld offer tons of Halloween fun for smaller Halloweeners, as do Bates Nut Farm Pumpkin Patch, Valley Center in North Inland, Mountain Valley Ranch, Oma’s Pumpkin Patch in Lakeside and Children’s Nature Retreat in East County. Below, though, are our favorites of the season!

Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch And Corn Maze

  • Through November 5.
Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze. Source:  Facebook

You may have picked strawberries at this farm during the summer, but fall brings pumpkins, tractor rides, a corn maze and a petting zoo – great fun for all the little ones. For teens and adults, Friday and Saturday evenings see the Haunted Corn Maze opening…enter if you dare!

A portion of the proceeds benefit the preservation of the nearby Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

HalGLOWeen At The San Diego Zoo (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through October 29.
HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo. Source: Management

Enjoy late nights under black lights with music, drinks, acrobats, and Halloween fun. ‘Kids Free San Diego’ runs through October, meaning under 11s can enjoy Halloween here for free!

Headless Horseman Wagon Ride, Temecula (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 6 – 28.
Headless Horseman Wagon Ride. Source: Management

You may have heard of the Temecula Valley hot-air balloon rides, but have you heard of the Headless Horseman? Grab a wagon ride through “Wine Country Hollow,” a family tour exploring a few spooky spots while keeping your ears and eyes open for the legendary Headless Horseman.

Halloween In San Francisco

San Francisco has its fair share of Halloween annuals to thrill and entertain. Check out the SuperNatural Halloween at the California Academy of Sciences which combines education with a touch of spooky magic. The Halloween Hoopla is a popular Yerba Buena Gardens festival too, great for little trick or treaters. Read on for more Halloween-in-San-Francisco fun.

Boo At The Zoo At San Francisco Zoo & Gardens (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 21-29.
A lemur enjoys a jack-o-lantern at the Boo at the Zoo Halloween event at the San Francisco Zoo. Source: SFchronicle

Dress up for Halloween at the zoo with the chance to win prizes and treats as you watch the animals chowing down on their pumpkin feasts. Enjoy the ZootoberFest’s giant hay maze, as well as German-inspired food, beer, and fun.

Boo At The Zoo At The Oakland Zoo (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Through October 29.
Boo at the Zoo at the Oakland Zoo. Source: Facebook

Book ahead for this Halloween party – Oakland zoo invites you to come in costume this Halloween (no inflatable costumes, please – they scare the animals!) to enjoy its hay-bale maze and scavenger hunt for candy bar prizes. There’s also a contest you can enter by tagging Oakland Zoo on social media for a chance to win Glowfari tickets – the zoo’s holiday nighttime event that runs November 10 to January 28.

Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 14 – 15.
Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. Photo by Sarah Murray.

Half Moon Bay’s annual Halloween pumpkin festival sees the town surrounding itself with pumpkin patches and claiming itself the “World Pumpkin Capital.” Giant pumpkins, carved pumpkins, a Great Pumpkin Parade, pumpkin pie-eating contests washed down with pumpkin-infused ales and pumpkin spiced cocktails…yep, it’s all about the pumpkin!

San Francisco Ghost Tour (KID FRIENDLY)

  • Permanent.
The Ghost Tour. Photo by Iori

On year-round, this lantern-lit walking tour takes you to real haunted sites and their legends in San Francisco’s Chinatown and Jackson Square, from graves and crime scenes to buried treasure. It’s not just tales being told, though – you’ll get to use proper ghost detectors too!

Halloween In Siskiyou

Creepy Tour And A Halloween Pub Crawl

  • October 27 – 31.
A Halloween pub crawl. Source: 1bignightout

Get a taste of Siskiyou County’s Gold Rush lore this Halloween. Start in Yreka with the Miner Street Ghost Tour on October 27, followed by the Spooky Halloween Evergreen Cemetery Walking Tour on October 31 if you’re brave enough! For a 21s+ trick-or-treat with style, on October 28, McCloud is hosting a Halloween Pub Crawl, where a passport will set you back just $5 and participating businesses offer food and drink specials. If you make at least three stops, you might win a prize!

Halloween In Morro Bay

Witches And Warlock Paddle (KID FRIENDLY)

  • October 29.
Witches and Warlock Paddle. Source: rivercitycompany

Get on board this themed paddle event in Morro Bay. Put on your best hats and capes, then rent a kayak or board to show off your vilest cackles on the water. It’s fun and for a good cause – all proceeds will benefit a local food bank.

Halloween In Hornitos

Dia De Los Muertos (KID FRIENDLY)

  • November 2.
Dia de los Muertos, Hornitos. Source: mercedcountytimes

Put some Mexican flavor into your Halloween and pay your respects to your ancestors in Hornitos (almost a ghost town itself with a population of just 50). The town is known as the home of “bandit-hero” Joaquin Murrieta, whose spirit some say still wanders the town’s hilltop cemetery. A candlelit procession will lead from the town plaza to St. Catherine’s Church and cemetery.

The Takeaway

There’s something for everyone who loves Halloween in California- whether you’re up for a hardcore scare, or are happy with smiley pumpkins and carnival rides, California, as always, has something to entertain you! From Traxplorio- Happy Halloween!


While we at Traxplorio do our very best to give you the most up-to-date information, we always recommend you do your own research before you travel, and check conditions and prices with official sites. Thanks for understanding, and enjoy your adventure!

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