With these cool nights and falling leaves, the spirit of Halloween is in the air. And the Bay Area takes that very seriously. There are tons of kid-friendly events and activities leading up to the big day. Check out our list of the best Halloween Fun for the whole fam.


Image courtesy: Melissa Bouse

San Francisco

Hallowscreen at Disney Family Museum
Who better to host kid-friendly Halloween fun than the Walt Disney Family Museum? This year, they’ll be getting into the spirit by showing some classic, short animated films, featuring Mickey, Pluto and Mr. Toad. Oct. 29 at 3pm, Oct. 30&31 at 4pm. Presidio. Free with admission. All ages. Event details.

SuperNatural Halloween
The California Academy of Sciences is opening its doors to trick-or-treaters for the evening, and inviting families to check out some spooky specimens. Roaming magicians will add to the ambiance, as will giant pumpkin carving, face painting, and animal demonstrations. The museum will provide reusable trick-or-treat bags. Oct. 28, 5-9pm. All Ages. $50/adults, $30/children over 1 (VIP Packages available for additional cost) Event details.

11th Annual Children’s Halloween Hootenanny
Grimms Fairytales will take over the Haight for this year’s annual fair. Come dressed as your favorite old school fairytale character to vie for the top spot in the costume contest. Other events include a big bouncy house, games, a raffle and live music. The Haight-Ashbury Street Fair hosts this event to give area families a fun, safe, and free place to celebrate Halloween fun. Oct. 22, 11am-4pm. Haight. Free. All Ages. Event details.

Mayhem Mansion
The Haas-Lilienthal House’s Halloween events offer visitors a chance to tour this beautiful Queen Anne Victorian in the dark! The gorgeous house is transformed into a Mayhem Mansion complete with a Hall of Horrors, and a “Spookeasy” for a drink. Oct. 21, 22, 28, and 29, 7:30-10 pm. Pacific Heights. $15/adult; $10/child 8-17 advance; Limited tickets at door, $15-$20. Ages 8 and up.Event details.


Boo at the Zoo
Bring your wild bunch to the SF Zoo for trick-or-treating, a costume parade, and arts and crafts. The animals will get some special treats too! Watch as they stomp and chomp on pumpkins and other healthy snacks. Zookeepers have even set up a haunted nature trail for those feeling brave. Oct. 29 & 30, 11am-4pm. All ages. Event details.

Arcane: A Halloween Ballet
Get in the spirit of Halloween with a contemporary ballet that will enchant the entire family. Join the journey of Arcane, the muse of Halloween and the star that sits at the hip of the Harvest Moon, as she visits with Day-of-the-Dead skeletons, dancing pumpkins, and the world’s first scratch-and-sniff dance work.! Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29 8pm, Oct. 23, 30 2pm.  $25-$55. Fort Mason. Ages 4 and up. Event details.

Scare Grove
The most atmospheric Halloween event around, Scare Grove (from SF Rec and Park) is popular among older kids and teens for its genuinely frightening haunted house (they show horror movies on the walls!). There’s plenty for tots, though, like the tamer haunted house, incredible jumpy houses, live music and magic shows, hayride through the woods, and awesome crafts. Go early to avoid the crowds. Oct. 28, 3-9 p.m. Stern Grove. $8, Free under 2. All Ages. Event details.

Photo: Scare Grove

Japantown Spooktacular Halloween Party
Get your trick-or-treat on at the Japan Center Malls for a Spooktacular Halloween Party. Get busy with creepy crafts, a bouncy house, face painting and tattoos (temporary, of course) and trick-or-treating in the East and West malls. This year will also feature some spooky dancing and music! Come in costume and be part of the Japantown Costume Parade. Oct. 30, 1-5pm. Japantown. Free. All ages. Event details.

Photo: Personal Creations via flickr

Halloween Hoopla at Yerba Buena Gardens
This beloved annual hoopla includes eco-friendly crafts courtesy of Children’s Creativity Museum and Trash Mash-Up, a spooky graveyard, roving antics from the Chiquy Boom!, palm reading from the mysterious Madam Z and a photo booth. The program culminates in a Halloween Costume Parade, where everyone shows off their Halloween finery! So grab the kiddos, get on those costumes, and bring it to the hoopla! Oct. 30, noon–2pm Yerba Buena Gardens/SOMA. Free. All ages. Event details.

Trick-or-Treat Pier 70
Spend a costumed afternoon inside the most spectacular Halloween party around: Rides, games, candy, bouncy castles, food trucks, doggy costume contest, fortune tellers, fire trucks and art will keep them going all day long. Plus Circus Bella performs and there will be a Ferris Wheel (!!). See event details to RSVP. Oct. 29, noon-5 p.m. Dogpatch. Free. All ages. Event details

Photo: Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation

East Bay

ARF Halloween Costume Party
Show your support for Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation and have a blast doing it. Come in costume, play games, make crafts, and meet some of the ghoulish, and totally unscary, Therapy Animals! (No pets of your own, though.) Oct. 30, 2–5 p.m. Walnut Creek. Free. Ages 14 and under. Event details.

Jack O’Lantern Jamboree
Children’s Fairyland describes their annual bash as more “delightful than frightful.” The $10 admission price gets you unlimited to access to all the rides and shows, plus bouncy houses, balloon twisting, treat stations and, get this, PIRATE SCHOOL. Oct. 29 &30, 10am-4pm. Oakland. $10/non members, $5 members. All ages. Event details.

Trick-or-Treat at Bayfair Mall
Treat your kids to an afternoon of Hallo-Safe Trick-or-Treating fun. The fun starts with a costume parade and scream contest at Center Court. From there, kids will receive a free treat bag and are invited to go trick-or-treating, at participating Bayfair Center stores, which will hand out candies to costumed children. Perfect for little toddlers and kids of all ages. Oct. 31, 4–6 p.m. San Leandro. Free. Ages 13 and under. Event details.

Photo: Lawrence Hall of Science

Happy Creepy Halloween at Lawrence Hall
Participate in Halloween-themed activities at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Meet some of the slimiest, scaliest, and hairiest creatures you’ll ever see, launch pumpkin catapults and much more science-y spooky fun! Oct. 29 & 30, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Berkeley. Free with admission. All ages. Event details.

Bay Street Boo Bash
Head to Bay Street shopping area for some creepy cool  fun including pumpkin decorating, face painting, Halloween treats, a costume parade for the little ones, spooky magic show, doggy costume parade, festive photo booth, creepy critters from the Oakland Zoo and Monster Mash dance performances from Dance-A-Vision. After all that, they may need a nap before trick-or-treating.Oct. 30, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Emeryville. Free. All ages. Event details

Photo: Colleen McMahon via flickr 


Gamble Gardens Halloween Party
Argh!! This year’s party is a Halloween Treasure Hunt. Come dressed as a pirate (or in any costume, really) and explore for treasures in the Garden. Finders keepers! “X” marks the final stop on the hunt- where a magic show awaits! Oct. 23, 10:30 a.m.–noon. Palo Alto. $30/general; $20/members. All ages.Event details.

22nd Annual California Ave Trick-or-Treat & Blossom Halloween Carnival
Kids can don their costumes and head out along the avenue where participating businesses will be ready to dole out the goodies. There will be carnival games, fire trucks and police cars, story time, a costume contest, Halloween photos, live music from Andy Z and a host of other spooky-fun toddler and kid activities. All proceeds raised from the event support Blossom Birth Services a nonprofit resource center for expectant and new families. Oct. 30, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Palo Alto. Free. 0–12. Event details.

Photo: Bart Kresa Design

Scare on the Square
Get a nice little jump start on the Halloween fun with Scare on the Square in Downtown Redwood City. Come in costume and enjoy an inflatable playland, balloon artists, dancing, music with Andy Z and the Andyland Band, face painting, and a chance to see the Dia de Los Muertos Halloween 3-D light show (7 p.m.). Cap off your evening with trick-or-treating along Theater Way from 7:15-8 p.m. Oct. 27, 5–8 p.m. Redwood City. Free. All ages. Event details.

Mountain View Monster Bash
Celebrate Halloween with your family, friends and neighbors at the Mountain View Monster Bash! An outdoor showing of Hotel Transylvania 2 (bring your blankets and low back chairs) will be featured along with Halloween games, music and light refreshments. Movie will start at approx. 6:30 p.m. Come in costume! Oct. 28, 4–8 pm. Mountain View. Free. All ages. Event details.

Hillsdale Halloween Spooktacular
Take the party inside on Halloween and trick-or-treat at the stores at the Hillsdale Shopping Center. Not only will the little ones get the traditional helping of candy, the center is also offering cookie decorating and goulish games. Oct. 31, 5-7pm. San Mateo. Free. Ages 12 and under. Event details. 

Photo: Manuel Sanvictores via flickr

South Bay

Trick-or-Treat Willow Glen
In San Jose’s Willow Glen area, the merchants along Lincoln Ave. between Minnesota and Willow host a trick-or-treat session during the day. Babes-in-arms/strollers; toddlers, and preschoolers can head over from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and the school aged crowd can trick-or-treat from 3-4:30 p.m. Oct. 31, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m. & 3–4:30 p.m.  San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

Downtown Morgan Hill Safe Trick-or-Treat
Join local families and stroll the streets of downtown Morgan Hill. Closed to traffic so kids can trick-or-treat at local businesses, who provide candy. It’s a great and safe way to enjoy Halloween. Oct. 31, 5–7 p.m. Morgan Hill. Ages 0–12.Event details.

Photo: cassiemay

Over the Hill
Thomas and Percy’s Halloween Party
Percy will be joining Thomas the Tank Engine on the rails. Kiddos can wear their Halloween costumes, play Thomas- and Percy-themed activities, including the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy. Plus meet  Sir Topham Hatt, Controller of the Railway, and enjoy art & crafts, storytelling and more. Oct. 15,16, 22, 23, 29, 30, 10:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Felton. $20-$24; children 2 and under are free. All ages. Event details.

Marin County

photo: USAG Vicenza via flickr

The Bay Area Discovery Museum goes all-out for Halloween with its annual Goblin Jamboree. Families are encouraged to dress up while exploring a ghastly amount of perfectly-spooky activities: hay mazes, train rides, witch races, and pony rides, just to name a few. New this year is the haunted house in the Fab Lab. Oct. 15 & 16, 10am-4pm. Sausalito. $16.95. All ages. Event details. 

Tam Valley Haunted House
TCSD presents is pleased to present their annual Tam Valley Haunted House with this year’s theme of Nightmares! Dare to enter into a world of your worst nightmares and see if you can survive from one terrifying room to the next. The Haunted House has three different tours: 3:30-4:30 p.m. Not Scary for children under 8 with all the lights on and a fun tour of the different areas; 5:00-6:30 p.m. Scary for children over 9; Closed 6:30-7:30 p.m. to feed the volunteer monsters then back open 7:30-9 p.m. for a truly horrifying experience. Oct. 24, 25, 26. 3:30–9 p.m. (Children under 8 recommended to attend between 3:30-4:30pm). Mill Valley. $5. All ages.Event details.

Photo: rosefirerising via flickr 

It’s DOGtoberfest at Strawberry Village: treats for the tots plus a costume contest for your pet! Wear your costume for some pre-Halloween free trick-or-treating from 3-6 p.m. at Strawberry Village merchants, then register your pup for $15 at Woodlands Pet Food & Treats for the contest and parade at 5 p.m. All proceeds go to the Milo Foundation, a non-profit pet rescue and sanctuary.Oct. 29, 3-6 p.m. Mill Valley. Free. All ages. Event details.

Trick or Treat at Town Center
Get ready for Halloween night with a sweet little trick-or-treat at Town Center in Corte Madera. Participating merchants will have goodie bags to hand out for your little ghouls and dolls, perfect for little ones who might not be old enough to burn the midnight oil on Halloween! Oct. 23 noon–3 p.m. Corte Madera. Free. All ages. Event details.

photo: Amelia Extra via flickr

Halloween at Marin Country Mart
The Marin Country Mart is hosting a kids costume contest and trick-or-treating this year. The little ones can stop by the shops for something sweet, and maybe you can treat yourself in the process. The festivities will also include pumpkin decorating, food and music. Oct. 30, 1pm. Larkspur. Free. All ages. Event details.

What Halloween events are you attending with your little boo-crew?

—Melissa Bouse and Amber Guetebier