Photo: San Diego Botanic Garden

It’s Halloween season and your kids’ costumes are way too cool to make only one appearance for trick or treating on Oct. 31st. Fear not. We’ve made a list of the best Halloween events in the city, so you can take your little pumpkins dressed up in all their glory to show off their costumes throughout the month of October. Read on to see where to have some spooktacular adventures!

San Diego Botanic Garden Family Fall Festival
Looking for the lighter, non-scary side of Halloween? Head to this lush, vibrant setting in Encinitas to celebrate the holiday by painting pumpkins, doing Halloween crafts and interacting with animals at a petting zoo. Kids should wear their prized Halloween costumes to participate in the costume contest. Stop by to have their photo taken with the Big Pumpkin too! The O Truck will be on site with a variety of organic, farm-to-table entrees and Rita’s Italian Ice Encinitas will be serving up yummy frozen treats.

Good to know: Adults are not allowed to wear costumes. Bring some cash since there’s a small fee for crafts and some of the activities.

Date: Oct. 28, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: $0-$14/person

230 Quail Gardens Dr.
Encinitas, Ca

Photo: Mission Hills Nursery

Haunted Garden Tour & Family Fair
Take your green thumbs (and green witches faces) to this first ever Haunted Garden Tour and Family Fair at Mission Hills Nursery. Brave revelers can opt to take a docent led tour of one of San Diego’s most haunted locales: Pioneer Park. There will also be Halloween themed activities and crafts, food samplings, face painting, an educational visit from Ms. Smarty Plants, costume contests for the kids, pumpkin patches and more!

Date: Oct. 21, noon-6 p.m.
Cost: $35/Adults; Kids under 12/free

Mission Hills Nursery
1525 Fort Stockton Dr.
San Diego, Ca

Photo: Birch Aquarium

Haunted Aquarium
Learn more about what lurks beneath the water at Birch Aquarium’s Sea Monster Mash. You’ll get up close and personal with rare underwater creatures, skeleton shrimp and sea spiders, a giant Humboldt Squid, behold a sea of beasts aglow, get downright sticky with make-your-own seaweed slime, creepy crafts, prizes for the best family-friendly costume and more ocean-themed fun. There will be live music to “boo-gie” to by Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters. Note: This event is recommended for ages 2 and up. General aquarium admission tickets may not be used for the Haunted Aquarium event, which requires a separate ticket.

Dates: Oct. 20 & 21 6-9 p.m.
Cost: $13.50-$20; Kids under 2/free

2300 Expedition Way
La Jolla, Ca

photo: Helen Woodward Animal Center

Howl-o-Ween Harvest Family Day at Helen Woodward Animal Center
Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family day includes animal encounters, trick or treat stations, entry into the Eerie Estate, face painting, crafts, a magical maze and a mini pumpkin patch! There will also be costume contests, pumpkin decorating and pie eating contests. New this year: a scavenger hunt, cake walk, donut on a string game and hot cider!

Date: Oct. 29 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.
Cost: $14.25/per kid; $5/per adult

6461 El Apajo Rd.
San Diego, Ca


Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND CA
LEGO bricks + candy = more fun than your little ghouls and goblins can imagine! Head to LEGOLAND to see the theme park transformed into a monster mash bash for their famous Brick-or-Treat party nights. There will be costume contests, a space-themed dance party dubbed The AstroBash and a MidnightMonster Jam at the Fun Town stage where kids can boogie down with the monster crew and try their hand at Mad Marty’s Monster Machine. Take the Ghost Cruise adventure if you dare or head to the fall festival to do the LEGO pumpkin patch building activity. Brick lovers can also decorate their own craft at a meet and greet with the LEGO Friends in Heartlake City or take in a show: “The Curse of the Hallowmeenie.” All this plus 31 candy stations throughout the Park and the opportunity to collect specialty LEGO items. Sounds like a grand time for your minifigs.

Dates: Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, 5-9 p.m.
Cost: $55+

Carlsbad, Ca

BOOmont Park
The rumble of the Giant Dipper roller coaster may sound eerie as this beachfront amusement park transforms into “Boomont” Park on weekends in Oct. Get into the spirit of the season with a game of Zombie laser tag, ride the roller coaster, do crafts and stroll the pumpkin patch, trick-or-treat and join in the costume contest at this Halloween-themed extravaganza.

Dates: Every Fri., Sat. & Sun. in Oct. and Halloween
Cost: Varies depending on chosen activity

3146 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, Ca

Photo: Laura C. via Yelp

The Pumpkin Express
Take a trip to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum for a spooky choo choo ride to remember. The wheels will steam through the mountains and deposit you back at the museum for more activities. The Display Building will be decked out with pumpkins, haunted trains and various creepy creatures. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance––rides are selling out quickly.

Dates: Oct. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 31st
Cost: $5 – $18/person

750 Depot St.
Campo, Ca

Photo: Alik Griffin via Flickr

Tour the Whaley House with older kids
San Diego’s first two-story brick building is offering numerous haunts throughout October. Halloween time visits to this stately Old Town home are best suited for those 12 & up and those who are willing to hear spooky tales. Join the San Diego Ghost Hunters for a night as you participate in a paranormal investigation or visit on Halloween night for a mature evening out.

Dates: Check website for dates to corresponding event
Cost: $8 – $50/person

2476 San Diego Ave.
San Diego, Ca

Photo: Maritime Museum

Haunted Tales on the Star of India
Feel the rock of the harbor beneath your feet and take note of every creek during your time aboard downtown’s iron-hulling sailing ship the Star of India. Built in 1863, you’ll be told tales by lantern light from its 153 year-old history. These tales are creepy and true or not, you’re not likely to hear these stories during its daytime operating hours. Be sure to bring a sweater because if the harbor air doesn’t chill you, the stories will.

Date: Oct. 21 & 28, starting at 6 p.m.
Cost: $8-$18/person – $45/family package

1492 North Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca

photo: Balboa Park Conservancy

Balboa Park Halloween Family Day
If you have kids at home who are not yet ready for Balboa Park’s Haunted Trail, take them to the urban park’s Halloween Family Day instead. More than 24 museums will have a slew of themed activities for the costumed culture seekers and there will be costume contests and plenty of spooky surprises in store.

Date: Oct. 28 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Cost: Free

2131 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, Ca


Haunted Harvest
On Oct. 7th and 14th at 6 p.m. prepare to go on a spooky adventure in Santa Ysabel near Julian! The Haunted Harvest includes an eery haunted hayride (at night’s end), pumpkin seed spitting and apple bobbing contests, jug band lessons, a hoedown with a jug band, apple cider pressing/tasting and refreshments and snacks.

Cost: $25/person and prepaid reservations are required.

4425 Hwy 78
Santa Ysabel, Ca

Hallo-wine & Spirits Party at Hotel Del Coronado
The landmark hotel in Coronado that’s rumored to be haunted is throwing a rip-roaring bash that welcomes trick-or-treaters ages 4-12. You and your date will rock out like Max Dennison’s parents while your minis are treated to a special costume  party of their own that includes dinner and trick-or-treating. This event is a bit of a splurge, but it will make for a memorable event that can only take place on the island.

Date: Oct. 28, 7 p.m.
Cost: $50 – $150/person

1500 Orange Ave.
San Diego, Ca

Where are you taking your little pumpkins to celebrate this Halloween season? Tell us in the comments!

––Beth Shea