Before “boo!” turns into “boo-hoo,” you’ll want to check out our roundup of Halloween attractions that won’t traumatize little ones. (Because haunted hayrides and ghost tours aren’t for everyone.) After you’ve explored the best local pumpkin patches and found your way through our favorite corn mazes, take your little monsters to these not-so-spooky events happening around LA throughout October.
Nights of the Jack
From Oct. 3-Nov. 3, the King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas is transformed into a true Halloween wonderland. The stroller-friendly event invites families to explore a half mile trail filled with thousands of hand-carved jack o’ lanterns. Keep an eye out for your favorite superheroes, movie stars and Nickelodeon characters (the network has partnered with the event this year). There will also be live carvings by pumpkin artists, a picnic area along featuring grub from LA's best food and even a couple "Spookeasy" bars for grownups—just in case you wanna enjoy some spiked witch's brew.
Dates: Entry begins at 6:30p.m., Thurs.-Sun., Oct. 3-27; and at 6:30p.m., daily, Oct. 28-Nov. 3
Cost: Adults, $27; children (ages 3-12), $22; 2 and under are free
King Gillette Ranch
2800 W. Mulholland Hwy.
Boo at the Zoo
Join the LA Zoo for an entire month of spooky fun this Halloween season. Visit the zoo’s nocturnal animals and Halloween'y creatures including snakes, tarantulas and bats. Crafts, photo ops, roaming characters round out the month-long event with traditional trick or treat stations available on Oct. 19-20 and then again on Oct. 26-27. Don’t forget to check their daily animal feeding schedule to watch some of your favorite critters chow down on giant pumpkin snacks.
Dates: Oct. 1-27
Cost: Regular admission prices ($22 for adults; $17 for kids) give you access to all the activities.
5333 Zoo Dr.
Carved at Descanso Gardens
For five nights, Descanso Gardens will be aglow with a thousand Jack-o'-lanterns created by master carvers. Past years have featured pumpkin dinosaurs, Wizard of Oz characters and even famous icons like Elvis and Marylin. The pumpkins line a 1-mile walk through the the Gardens, and there will also be carving demos, seasonal snacks and extra surprises.
Dates: Oct. 23-27 (Oct. 26 is for Descanso members only)
Cost: $25 for Descanso Gardens members; $30 for non-members. Tickets go on sale to non-members on Tues., Oct. 1 at 10a.m. and they're expected to sell-out fast!
1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge
Prepare for plenty of photo opps as your pass through different gourd-filled "lands," including Great Pumpkin Hall, Pumpkin Pirate Cove, Pumpkin Reef and Enchanted Pumpkin Forest. There's also Pumpkin Central, where you'll find food vendors, pumpkin artists carving live, a fire show, a movie screening, kid activities and more!
Dates: Daily from 5:30p.m.-10:30p.m., Oct. 10-Nov. 3
Cost: Adults, from $17 (depending on day and time); children ages 4-12, from $14; children 3 and under are free
1101 W. McKinley Ave.
Kidspace Spooktacular: Monster Mash
Kids (and grownups!) are encouraged to come in costume for a night of scary-good fun and pre-Halloween trick-or-treating. You'll head to Arroyo Adventure to meet your "Ghost Host" and search for candy and other treats. There will also be a costume parade with dancing, an "ectoplasm" slime station, and a "franken-art" project.
Dates: Sat. & Sun., Oct. 12 & 13
Cost: $14 per person, $10 for Kidspace members
480 S. Arroyo Blvd.
Haunted Little Tokyo
Ghouls, ghosts, and goblins of all ages are invited to experience Little Tokyo like never before! Halloween festivities will be celebrated throughout the whole month of October with pumpkin patches, trick-or-treating, spooky sounds, ghostly games, free Halloween movie screenings and more. It all culminates with a massive black party and costume contest on Sat., Oct. 26.
Dates: Oct. 1-31
123 Japanese Plaza Village
Theme Park Fun
Looking to make Halloween extra-memorable this year? Consider a trip to one of our favorite SoCal amusement parks. Disneyland and California Adventure get festive with Happy Hauntings and California Adventure's after-hours Oogie-Boogie Bash, while Knott’s Berry Farm turns into Knott's Spooky Farm and Legoland kicks off its Brick-or-Treat Party Nights.
Halloween time at Disneyland and California Adventure
Dates: Now through Oct. 31
Knott’s Spooky Farm
Sat. & Sun., Sept. 28 - Oct. 27, and Thurs., Oct. 31
Legoland Brick-or-Treat Party Nights
Dates: Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26
Scarium at the Aquarium of the Pacific
Discover the creatures lurking in the depths at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s 20th annual spooktacular event for the whole family. Kids can compete in the children’s costume contest and creepy coloring contest, as well as check out magic shows, underwater pumpkin carving, spooky storytelling and crafts.
Dates: Oct.26 & 27; 9a.m. to 5p.m.
Cost: Free with ticket admission ($17.95-$29.95)
100 Aquarium Way
—Christina Fiedler & Shannan Rouss