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Halloween in California

Things to Do for Halloween Fun in California

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Halloween in California

Taking Photos with Mickey Jack-o-Lantern at Mickey's Halloween Party

© 2012 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.
If you're looking to celebrate Halloween in a big way, California's cities and towns have lots to offer. To kick the season off, Half Moon Bay's Pumpkin Festival (held in mid-October) includes a biggest pumpkin contest as well as lot of other fall-themed activities.

Halloween in the Southern California Theme Parks

The theme parks in the entertainment capitol go all out for Halloween.

Halloween in the Los Angeles Area

  • If you'd rather party than scream yourself silly, the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval is sometimes billed as the "World's Largest Halloween Street Party."
  • We especially enjoy the way folks along the harbor side of Newport Beach's Balboa Island decorate their homes for the holiday - it's a much quieter way to enjoy a bit of the seasonal fun.
  • If you like your Halloween fun with a lot of fake blood and gore, you might like the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
  • Or try Delusion, an interactive theater/haunted house experience produced by actor Neil Patrick Harris and John Braver.

Halloween in San Diego

Goings-on planned in San Diego include a Halloween Monster Bash in the Gaslamp and Haunted Trail at Balboa Park. Any time of year, the Whaley House is reputed to be one of the most haunted in the country.

Halloween in San Francisco

  • The Haunted House of Horrors offers a super-creepy adults-only experience and a tamer version for kids, both at the Old Mint.
  • The Exotic Erotic Ball is in its 31st year (but will be held the weekend before Halloween).
  • The long-standing street party in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood ended after violence in 2006.

Halloween in Silicon Valley and Santa Clara County

  • Gilroy Gardens offers month-long seasonal themes and a Halloween Camp Night, which allows families to camp overnight in the park.
  • Even though tour guides make a point to tell you it's not haunted, Winchester Mystery House offers special Fright Night evening tours in October.
  • In the Santa Cruz Mountains, Roaring Camp Railroad runs a Children's Ghost Train with costumed characters recounting the The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • California's Great America in Santa Clara hosts the HHalloween Haunt

Halloween in Other Parts of California

  • Napa: You'll have to join the Wine Club at Castello di Amorosa to get in, but their annual Halloween Pagan Ball is so much fun that it's well worth it. Held in a recreated Italian castle with an atmosphere closer to Venice's Carnevale than anything we've seen this side of the ocean, a dungeon full of horrors, good wine and food, we think it's more fun than all those Southern California theme park events put together.

  • Big Sur: The Point Sur Lighthouse between Big Sur and Carmel offers a special Halloween Ghost Tour.

  • St. Helena: The St. Helena Historical Society sponsors an annual "Spirits of St. Helena" Cemetery Tour, more fun than creepy, with characters dressed in period costume.

  • Pismo Beach: The Point San Luis Lighthouse does a special ghost tour in October.

  • At Calico Ghost Town east of LA, you can take a haunted hayride, run from creepy clowns or see an authentic vaudeville-style freak show.
Any time of year, California has plenty of haunted houses, hotels and other places you can visit, or try one of our favorite ghost tours or take a cemetery tour, some given at Halloween only.

What do you like to do in California at Halloween?

I like the big theme park events
Try a local "haunted" fun house
Visit a real haunted house
Take a ghost tour
Go to a pumpkin patch
Trick or treat in the neighborhood

See what others think

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