The holiday season is upon us, and first up is the scariest of them all, Halloween! Whether you have little trick-or-treaters looking to cash in on their adorable shenanigans, or you’re a costume enthusiast dying to show-off at your favorite Halloween bash, San Diego has something up its wizard’s sleeve for you. From puppet shows to zombie crawls and everything in between, we’ve compiled a list of the ten best Halloween events in October.
Halloween Fun for the Little Ones
Brick-Or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND
This yearly event is back on for the entire month of October at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad. You’ll have loads of family fun when you treat your kids to a night out at the park after dark. Watch live entertainment, participate in costume contests, meet and greet your favorite characters, and so much more. Grab hands on a spook-kooky Ghost Cruise adventure, and enjoy wacky decorations and sweet treats in SEA LIFE aquarium.
Halloween Puppet Show in Balboa Park
Tiny tots will be especially enthralled with the one-of-a-kind puppet show at Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, although it’s designed for kids of all ages. Children get the chance to help Tommy the Ghost who is on the verge of losing his Halloween cred if he can’t figure out how to be scary before Halloween. Bring the family together to help the goofy ghost realize his destiny before the big day! The show plays on several dates in mid-October.
Haunted Birch Aquarium
Get up close and personal with underwater creatures you’ve never seen before at Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. You’ll be amazed by glowing beasts of the sea, both large and small during this spookalicious month. Hear ghostly stories of shipwrecks, enjoy live music, and get in on some sticky slime! These are just a few of the BOOtacular activities you’ll enjoy at Birch Aquarium. The whole family, ages two and older, are invited to join a scary good time. The event is on two days in late October, check their online calendar for this year’s dates.
Chills and Thrills: Best Museums, Houses, and Hayrides
The Scream Zone
This annual event is the Halloween destination for locals, and therefore should be on your must-do list. Every October, the Del Mar Fairgrounds is transformed into a spine-chilling thrillfest for the entire month. Best suited for teenagers and young adults, you can take a terrifying walk inside the House of Horror, ride through the dark night on the Haunted Hayride, and experience Scream Zone’s latest nerve-racking attraction – KarnEvil. Don’t miss Walking Dead Prison, The Exorcist, and Dusk Till Dawn Bar (21 and up). Check over your shoulder often for Pennywise the Clown; you don’t want him to get his hands on you!
You’ll need to put on your big kid pants for this tour. Whaley House in Old Town San Diego has been deemed the most haunted house in America by Travel Channel’s America’s Most Haunted, so you can imagine how spooky it feels in October. Get your thrills on a Past & Presence Ghost Tour inside Adobe Chapel, through El Campo Santo Cemetery, and ending in Whaley House, while learning the true and fascinating stories that go along with them. Join the staff at Whaley House for a 90-minute paranormal investigation on select dates, or watch hair-raising Silent Screams suspense and horror classics in San Diego’s first theater. Think you have nerves of steel? Spend Halloween night at Whaley House where historic lighting, period music, and tales of paranormal encounters set the stage for an authentic Halloween ghost encounter of your own.
The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park
Located in San Diego’s vast Balboa Park, a mile-long haunted trail of all trails stretches through gnarled oaks and twisted pine groves and will have you constantly looking over your shoulder. You’ll never know when the next alarming encounter with the supernatural or legendary horror icons will happen on this all outdoor haunted attraction. Will you encounter a Krampus from Stranger Things? Or will Mike Myers, Freddy, and Jason be the ones to get their hands on you? A busful of Ghouls, chainsaw wielding menaces, and the Ring Girl are among the dark presences lurking all around you. Beware, this trail is not for the lilly-livered.
This is horror like you’ve never experienced it. Created by a production company, they’ve gone all out to scare the bejesus out of you. Unlike most haunted house attractions, Savage House is an immersive experience where you are part of the horror story-line from ticketing to exit. Expect the heart-stopping feel of a horror movie. If you’re not too weak-kneed to continue on, Savage House Museum offers character and vehicle displays from your favorite horror films, and on particular dates can even meet horror movie celebrities in person.
Halloween Bashes, Crawls, and Parties: Adults Only
San Diego Monster Bash
This is by far one of San Diego’s most notorious block parties for Halloween. Located in the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village neighborhoods, guests can enjoy this eerie extravaganza covering more than eight blocks from 6 p.m. to midnight one night only. Meander through five of San Diego’s Mega Clubs, where shocking spectacles meet you at every turn. Booming beats, freaky stages, and an epic costume contest are just a few of the treats on this tricky night. Check their online calendar for this year’s date.
Hallo-wine And Spirits Halloween Party
Have you always wanted to be a vixen or a villain? If the answer is yes, head over to the famous haunted Hotel del Coronado for the 7th annual Hallo-wine and Spirits Party. This spooky spectacle features delicious eats, delightful drinks, and don’t stop till you drop booming music from 7 p.m. to midnight. Let your hair down at this themed event where a few lucky winners will be crowned best costume winners. You’ll also be treated to a few surprise special guest appearances. Check the hotel’s website for this year’s date.
San Diego Zombie Crawl
Known as one of the most unique and progressive Halloween events in San Diego, you’ll get to enjoy visiting over 25 Gaslamp Quarter parties with just one simple ticket. Welcome shots, parking discounts, and various ticket packages are offered to make your night as extreme as you’d like it to be. This twist on a pub crawl is a two-night event from 7 p.m. to midnight. When you can’t decide where to party, this is the solution for you! It’s a perfect way to experience the Halloween festivities the Gaslamp Quarter is known for each year.
The Fun Doesn’t Stop Here
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the San Diego Halloween fun, but it will give you a good start. Other attractions worth mentioning are the Old Town Trolley 90-minute Ghosts and Gravestones Frightseeing Tours, and Haunted Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. Haunted Hotel was named among the top thirteen haunted houses in America by Haunt World Magazine. In fact, it’s so scary that they have a health disclaimer and offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you aren’t ridiculously afraid, good news for you hardcore horror fanatics. Get ticket details from their websites.
Pumpkin patches, Harvest Motel Escape Room, San Diego Art Institute’s Halloween Exhibitions, and Seaworld’s Halloween Spooktacular are a few other spectacular events going on in October. Whether you’re a family with small children, or a young adult looking to dress up and show out, you can easily find a Halloween event that caters to you.