It’s the weekend before Halloween, and it’s full of spooktacular fun. Venture to Birch Aquarium’s Haunted Aquarium and trick-or-treat on Little Italy’s India Street. Commemorate Dia de los Muertos at North Park’s Day of the Dead festival, whip up some creepy yet delicious treats at a Halloween-themed baking class and enjoy animal encounters at a Howl-o-ween bash. Read on for where to start the sweet celebrations early.

photo: Jordann Tomasek/Birch Aquarium

Little Italy

Trick-or-Treat on India Street
Little monsters will roam the streets of San Diego’s Little Italy for the 13th Annual Trick-or-Treat on India Street. From 5:30-7:30 p.m. kids of all ages are encouraged to dress up for this fun and safe Halloween tradition to enjoy trick or treating throughout Little Italy. The event will kick off in the Piazza della Famiglia with Halloween décor, music and some trick-or-treating. After grabbing a map of participating Little Italy businesses in the Piazza, little ghouls, witches and goblins can walk from door to door along historic India street to get delicious Halloween treats and candy from the local businesses that are taking part in the event. Bring your family out for a night of sweet and spooky fun! Fri. Event details.

Balboa Park

School of Rock the Musical
Based on the hit movie, School of Rock is the story of wannabe rock star Dewey Finn, who poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school. When he discovers his students’ musical talents, he enlists them to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands. This Junior Theatre premiere is suitable for all audiences. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Balboa Park’s Family Halloween Day
The region’s largest free Halloween carnival grows even bigger with more than 30 organizations bringing San Diego County families a fun, safe, and culturally inspired kickoff to their Halloween activities. The Balboa Park Halloween Family Day features dozens of free craft projects for kids, Day of the Dead-themed displays and activities, costume contests, carnival games with prizes, face painting, live dance entertainment, and food trucks. Participating museums also offer free admission to kids 12 and younger with paying adult. The Plaza de Panama and El Prado walkway will be overflowing with free hands-on activities for kids, while select museums offer additional Halloween-themed activities inside their buildings. Among the day’s highlights are mini-carnival games for prizes courtesy of the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, a giant Day of the Dead altar set up by La Vista Memorial Park and Cemetery, a haunted lantern craft at the Japanese Friendship Garden booth, a rooftop pumpkin drop experiment in front of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and a “Thriller” flash mob dance in the Plaza de Panama that anyone can learn and participate in. Sat. Event details.

La Jolla

Birch Aquarium’s Haunted Aquarium
Enjoy close encounters with Scripps Oceanography scientists and search the exhibits for unusual underwater creatures rarely seen at Birch Aquarium. Discover a sea of glowing monsters (big and small), get sticky with slime, enjoy spooky stories, and boo-gie down to live music, all while having a monstrously good time. Recommended for ages 2+. Fri.-Sun. Event details.


Disney Pixar’s Coco in Concert
Coco — the 2017 two-time Academy Award®- winning film for Best Original Song as well as Best Animated Feature Film — delights audiences young and old with Michael Giacchino’s beautiful musical score played by the San Diego Symphony along with the live film. Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. Concert/screening will feature original Coco soundtrack guitarist Federico Ramos! Sat. Event details.

North Park

Day of the Dead Festival
It’s the 3rd Annual Day of the Dead Festival North Park hosted by Artelexia! They are excited to collaborate with the community to honor and remember the lives of loved ones who have passed before us. They will have artisan vendors, community altars, craft workshops, food vendors, music, a cerveza and tequila cantina, and so much more. Bring the whole family to this free community event! This year they are working with a few local artists to create altars and interactive art stations. Sat. Event details.

Mission Valley

Halloween-Themed Baking Class
Don’t miss Sur la Table’s spooktacular Halloween themed baking class for kids. Bakers ages 8-12 will whip up spiderweb chocolate brownies, a mummy cookie, and jack-o-lantern cake pops-on a witch’s broomstick. In this hands-on class, kids will mix, roll, cut, and decorate their treats. They’ll love all the Halloween goodies they get to take home. Sat. Event details.

Rancho Santa Fe

Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Days
Gather up your little goblins and join the fun of Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Days. This festive event includes hands-on animal encounters, trick or treat stations, entry into the “Creepy Clinic,” face painting, crafts, a mystical maze, frighteningly fun games and a mini pumpkin patch. There will also be costume and pumpkin decorating contests; the kids who win will receive free Frosty Farm admission. Your family can also enjoy the adoptable K-9 kissing booth, a cake walk, refreshments and plenty of photo ops. Walk-ups are welcome. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Point Loma

16th Annual Point Loma Fall Festival
Only in San Diego will you find a pumpkin patch with ocean views. Point Loma’s fall festival offers the best of autumn fun with wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, music from local musicians, and exhibit booths showcasing San Diego businesses, artisans, and nonprofit organizations. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. you can also sample food from local eateries at the Taste of Point Loma. Sat. Event details.

Liberty Station

Halloween at the Station
Liberty Station invites the community to head to the North Promenade for a free, family-friendly Halloween celebration. All ages are encouraged to come decked out in their most elaborate costumes. The daytime festivities will include trick-or-treating throughout the district, live entertainment, a Hollywood car show, and other spooky surprises. Sun. Event details.

––Beth Shea