Designed with the family in mind, these slightly spooky hiking trails will get your little ones to explore parks and open spaces after sunset to learn about creatures that go bump and swoop in the dark. Whether you prefer full moon walks, hairy spiders, or Halloween weekend outdoors scary fun, these events are great opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy October’s gentle nights. Break out the flashlight, this is Halloween prep before ghouls and goblins come out to knock on people’s doors!

Graveyard Stroll
On Saturday, October 27 from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm, stroll by the light of the full moon with rangers under clear skies, bright stars, and the tallest trees on earth. Bring a flashlight, layered clothing, and an adventurous spirit for this family-friendly event that will explore a little known cemetery. Oh, and don’t forget your bag for all the treats (and tricks!) Young children are welcome. Contact 415-473-2816 or click here for more information.

Night Hike: Frightening Forest
In celebration of Halloween, Chabot Space & Science Center is adding some spooks and scares to their normal Moonlight Hike. On Saturday, October 27th, at 7:00pm and 8:30pm, walk through the redwood forest and be on the listen for creatures that scurry through the dark forest. All activities are meant for fun, but this spooky hike may not be for everyone. Please use discretion when deciding to join the hike. Recommended for ages 7+. Buy your tickets here.

Haunted Hike
At Coyote Lake-Harvey Bear Ranch County Park on Saturday, October 20 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm come take a night hike to explore the spooky Martin Murphy Trail (a 2-mile paved loop) and look for creepy critters. Discover the history of All Hallows Eve (Halloween) and hear spine-tingling local legends. Be sure to wear warm clothes and bring a flashlight. Meet at the Bear Ranch entrance on San Martin Avenue. Reservations required. Contact 408-355-2240 or click here for more information.

Ghosts and Haunts
On Friday, October 26 from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, join park staff for a night of spooky family fun during the Ed Levin County Park Halloween Haunt. Play ghostly games, carve a free pumpkin, eat s’mores around a glowing campfire, and take a creepy hike around the Spring Valley pond. Costumes and all ages welcome. Please bring a canned good donation for the local Food Bank. Meet at the Ranger office. Contact 408-262-6980 or click here for more information. 

Scary Stories at the Haunted Hobbit Tree 
Once the sun sets on Saturday, October 27th, you and your little ghouls can join park rangers and other brave souls for a haunted journey through Sycamore Grove Park. Gather together in a group (it’s safer that way) and take a half-mile walk through the park to the scariest tree in town. Listen to the rangers tell scary stories and enjoy some witch’s brew. Costumes are welcome – be sure to bundle up to protect against the cold. Leave flashlights at home – they attract zombies. Recommended for brave souls age 4 and up. Registration is $8 and can be done online. Walk lasts from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

City Hall Ghost Tour   
Be amazed and thrilled as you take a tour of San Francisco’s own City Hall. Learn little known facts about the building such as the cemetery that once covered City Hall. The tour begins in South Light Court. Be sure to arrive early (and with comfy shoes for walking) to allow for security checks. The tour typically begins at 6:30 pm and lasts approximately 45-60 minutes. Dates are TBA, so be sure to check the website for tour dates and times.

Headlands Halloween Night Hike and Campfire
On Saturday, October 27 from 6:00-8:30 pm, join rangers and other ghastly ghouls for an All Hallows’ Eve inspired hike, practice your owl hoots, get “batty”, and enjoy S’mores during a campfire filled with Halloween fun. Pre-registration is required, buy your tickets here.

— Laure Latham

photo credit: amboo who? & mcclouds