function OptanonWrapper() { window.dataLayer.push( { event: 'OneTrustGroupsUpdated'} )}Halloween 2023 Events in California

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Halloween 2023 Events in California

Halloween 2023 Events in California

Discover a ghoulishly good time with this guide to the most exciting and eerie Halloween events happening across California this spooky season

Posted 5 months agoby Katrina Hunt

Which flavor of Halloween do you prefer—the holiday that includes candy and carved pumpkins, or the kind that makes you want to jump out of your skin? California has a nice blend of both, thanks to a deep inventory of local festivals, fun-loving zoos and aquariums, and some historic sites with legitimately creepy backstories.

Certainly, California theme parks celebrate Halloween with lots of flair—and they start early, often kicking off their parties in early September. But that’s only the beginning: Here are many more Halloween season events worth planning a trip around—and happily, some of them last well beyond Oct. 31.

Sept. 22–Oct. 31: Unhinged at Winchester Mystery House, San Jose

Autumn is prime time for this 160-room mansion in San Jose, which has a bizarre origin story: It was built by an eccentric heiress who was trying to ward off ghosts. This year’s event, “Unhinged: Housewarming,” features two fictional characters from Old Hollywood who have moved into the house and are throwing themselves a welcome party. (Spoiler alert: the party will not go well.) After the experience, peruse the house’s new Halloween Museum and catch your breath outside with snacks and drinks at Café 13.

Sept. 23–Nov. 5: Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, Carlsbad

This sprawling farm in Carlsbad offers strawberry-picking during summer, and when autumn rolls around it becomes a classic pumpkin patch with tractor rides, a corn maze, and a petting zoo. Come on Friday and Saturday evenings for the Haunted Corn Maze, which is geared toward teenagers and adults. A portion of the proceeds benefit the preservation of the nearby Agua Hedionda Lagoon.
 


Sept. 28–Oct. 31: Shaqtoberfest on the Queen Mary, Long Beach

Board the historic Queen Mary ocean liner, permanently docked in Long Beach, for a party on select nights featuring live entertainment, haunted trails, and themed bars and lounges. During the day, take the one-hour Haunted Encounters tour, which features the famous (and sometimes infamous) tales of ghosts who might still reside on the 1930 ship.

For more little kid–friendly fun, head to the nearby Scarium of the Pacific (Oct. 28), a fun-meets-educational event at the Aquarium of the Pacific (free with admission). Highlights include a children’s costume contest, a vampire magic show, and creepy critters.

Sept. 29–Oct. 31: Heartstoppers Haunted House, Rancho Cordova

Scream your way through four scare zones—with themes including “Blightwoods” and “Misery Mine”—in this decked-out, three-story building in Rancho Cordova. To release the tension afterward, enjoy the outdoor offerings of carnival games, live performances, and character photo ops.
 

California Halloween Events


Oct. 1–29: HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego

The world-famous zoo in San Diego stays open late on select nights so partiers can enjoy music, bubbles, acrobats, and more—all aglow under spooky black lights. Runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during October. Bonus: Since it’s Kids Free San Diego during October, kids 11 and under get into the zoo for free.

Oct. 1–29: Boo at the Zoo at the Oakland Zoo, Oakland

Explore Oakland’s zoo and enjoy activities such as the hay-bale maze and a scavenger hunt, then collect as your prize: an Oakland-made OCHO candy bar. Come dressed for the holiday—just no inflatable costumes, which reportedly scare the animals—and enter the themed costume contest by tagging the Oakland Zoo on social media. Contest winners will receive tickets to Glowfari, the zoo’s holiday nighttime event that runs Nov. 10–Jan. 28. All admissions are arranged online and event capacity is limited, so book your tickets ahead of time.

Oct. 1–29: Pumpkin Patch Express, West Sacramento

Take this seasonal ride on Yolo County’s River Fox Train. The weekend excursion on a vintage train lasts about two hours and includes time at a private park, your own pumpkin, trick-or-treating, and sack races.

Oct. 1–30: Skunk Train's Pumpkin Express, Mendocino County

Combine a train ride with a pumpkin patch on this excursion on Mendocino County’s Skunk Train, which departs from Willits. Enjoy seasonal treats during the ride on the 1885 train, then explore both a redwood forest and pumpkin patch, where you can pick out your own gourd and take pictures before getting back on the train. Runs on select dates, mostly on weekends and Mondays.

Oct. 1–31: Casa de Pumpkin Patch, Hollister

The fruit stand, gourmet shop, and RV resort Casa de Fruta pulls out the stops for the Halloween season with a field of pumpkins as well as a kiddie train, a carousel, and gold-panning. On weekdays, the San Benito County attraction also offers educational activities for groups as small as 10: Learn about Native American culture through music-making sessions and by creating beaded bracelets (though October).

Oct. 4–25: Boardwalk Fright Flicks, Santa Cruz

Watch scary movies and enjoy a cocktail at this 21-and-up event that happens every Wednesday during the Halloween season at Santa Cruz’s old-school Beach Boardwalk. The lineup includes Us, Child's Play, Zombieland, and the 2018 Halloween.
 


Oct. 6–28: Headless Horseman Wagon Ride, Temecula

Many people experience Temecula Valley from a hot-air balloon, but this seasonal event offers a different perspective: You’ll clip-clop along on an old-fashioned wagon ride, driven by Temecula Carriage Company through “Wine Country Hollow.” The family ride explores a few not-too-spooky spots while everyone keeps an eye out for the legendary Headless Horseman.

Check out more of Temecula Valley’s Halloween-season fun, such as haunted walking tours of Old Town, stomping grapes in costume at Wilson Creek Winery, and the Carnevil Ball at Europa Village.

Oct. 6–29: Carved at Descanso Gardens, Pasadena

Pasadena may showcase rose-petal-based parade floats in January, but the Los Angeles County area excels at carved pumpkins too—as in, hundreds of them—along a one-mile walk in the park’s Camellia Forest. You can also watch demos to learn how to better carve your own masterpiece at home.

Oct. 12–28: ZooBoo at Fresno Chaffee Zoo, Fresno

Walk the illuminated paths at the famed Fresno zoo to discover decorations, activities and trick-or-treating opportunities. Dress up in costume (no inflatable or scary outfits) and check out this year’s pumpkins and a pirate ship.
 


Oct. 14–15: Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, Half Moon Bay

The town of Half Moon Bay, located on the San Francisco Peninsula, is surrounded by pumpkin patches and is the self-proclaimed “World Pumpkin Capital.” This beloved festival includes enormous pumpkins, sculpted pumpkins, a Great Pumpkin Parade, and pie-eating contests, along with seasonal craft beer, pumpkin-infused ales, and cocktails.

Oct. 20–21: Mystery at the Darling Hotel, Visalia

Help solve a mystery by sleuthing for clues around this 32-room boutique hotel in Visalia. You’ll get help from an onsite Sherlock Holmes, and you won’t go hungry: The hotel event for ages 21 and up includes a five-course menu, including signature cocktails by the rooftop bar Elderwood. Check out packages to stay overnight too.

Oct. 20–29: Boo at the Zoo at the Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara

Come in costume to Santa Barbara’s zoo on weekend evenings (Friday through Sunday) for trick or treating, a train ride, wacky-mad scientist experiments, and encounters with creepy-crawly zoo residents.

Oct. 21–29: Boo at the L.A. Zoo , Los Angeles

Dress up to explore the zoo located within Los Angeles’s Griffith Park. Weekend activities include special shows, a maze, education stations, and pumpkin feedings for the zoo residents.

Oct. 21–29 Boo at the Zoo at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, San Francisco

Celebrate the season at the San Francisco zoo during the last two weekends of the month. You can enter a costume contest, secure treats, and watch the resident animals enjoying their own Halloween goodies. While you’re there, enjoy the ZootoberFest celebration with a giant hay maze and German-inspired food, beer, and entertainment.
 


Oct. 25–Nov. 2: Dia de Los Muertos Festival, Los Angeles

Downtown Los Angeles’s Day of the Dead remembrance for departed ancestors—rooted in Mayan, pre-Colombian, and Aztec traditions—is celebrated on historic Olvera Street. Come each evening for the processions, featuring blessings, dances, treats, and face-painting. Not far away, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery will do its own one-day festival on Oct. 28.

Oct. 27–29: Zombie Bike Rides, Davis

The Yolo County town of Davis is a bicycle-friendly town, even for zombies. This free event welcomes you to join a 12-mile bike parade of zombies along the Davis Bike Loop, a Zombie Paintball competition, and a family-friendly pre-bike brew party hosted by Sudwerk Brewing Co. There’s also a “zombie mash afterparty” with music and BMX performers.

Oct. 27­–31: Creepy Tour and a Halloween Pub Crawl, Siskiyou

Siskiyou County’s modern history includes plenty of Gold Rush lore. Start in Yreka with the Miner Street Ghost Tour on Oct. 27, and the Spooky Halloween Evergreen Cemetery Walking Tour on Oct. 31. For a 21-and-up version of trick-or-treating, join the Oct. 28 Halloween Pub Crawl in McCloud, where a passport is just $5 and participating businesses will offer food and drink specials. (Helpful Halloween hint: If you make at least three stops, you could win a prize.)

Oct. 28: Thriller Flash Mob, Santa Barbara 

Join hundreds of limber zombies to perform the iconic “Thriller” dance at Santa Barbara’s Courthouse Sunken Gardens. Learn the moves to be a part of the mob, or simply sit back and enjoy the show.

Oct. 28: Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Frights, Oxnard

The Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard starts the holiday boat parade season early—with boats decked out in Halloween decorations for the evening. During the day leading up to the parade, activities along the harbor include a costume parade, craft booths, and a scavenger hunt at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum and the 110-foot Mystic Whaler Tall Ship.