photo: Helen Woodward Animal Clinic

It’s the weekend before Halloween but the party has already begun! Scare up a ton of fun at festivals all over the city. From fairyland on a lavender farm to animal encounters, a train ride to the past and Old Town’s Dia de los Muertos celebration– read on to be downright enchanted by all that’s on tap this weekend!

Valley Center

Halloween Fairyland at Keys Creek Lavender Farm
Celebrate Halloween during Fairyland Week at Keys Creek Lavender Farm! They’ll be dressing up the farm in all of their best fairy designs and celebrating Halloween with special events. Dress up in costume and bring your family down for the day and enjoy the Tea house which will have special Halloween Treats along with Lavender Classics. Also enjoy the Lavender Shop Holiday Sale with 15% off in-store purchases. Note: general admission is free and there’s a $5 cash parking fee. Events include: A special Halloween Pumpkin Carving Party on Oct. 27 (purchase your tickets here) and Halloween Brunch for the entire family on Oct. 29, featuring an All-You-Can-Eat set up and live music (purchase your tickets here). Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Little Italy

Trick-or-Treat on India Street
Little Italy welcomes you to the family friendly trick-or-treat experience, Trick-or-Treat on India Street— kicking off at the Piazza Basilone. Prepare for little ones dressed up as monsters, ghosts, superheroes and princesses to take over the streets of Little Italy in search of sweet treats. Little Italy businesses along historic India Street will open their doors to pass out candy and Halloween treats for a fun and safe Halloween, allowing for neighborhood kids living Downtown to celebrate traditionally and trick-or-treat treat door to door. Maps of the businesses handing out treats and participating in Trick-or-Treat on India Street will be available to pick up at the Piazza Basilone, so families will know the best spots for their little goblins and ghouls to ask for candy! Fri. Event details.

Rancho Cucamonga

Roald Dahl’s The Witches
This faithful adaptation of the classic Dahl story pits a young boy against child-hating witches who are holding a conference at an English seaside Hotel. During their struggle, the Boy is turned into a mouse, but with the help of his loving Grandmother, he manages to spoil the witches’ evil plot, saving the rest of the world’s children from suffering the same fate! Sat. & Sun. Event details.


Encinitas Dia de los Muertos Celebration
This annual family-friendly “Day of the Dead” festival will include continuous performances by some of the best Latin talent in San Diego. Kids will love the art-making workshops! There are also artist demos, a student art exhibit, a Catrina Contest for the best skull make-up, Por Siempre Car Club, food trucks, opportunity drawings, vendors and giveaways. Another event highlight: a community Ofrenda (remembrance altar) will feature a replica of the Surfing Madonna by artist Mark Patterson. Sat. Event details.

San Diego Botanic Garden Family Fall Festival
Come to the Garden and celebrate the season with Fall-themed activities, like pumpkin painting, Halloween crafts and a petting zoo. Kids can wear their favorite Halloween costume and are invited to participate in a costume contest. Don’t forget to stop in and have a photo taken with the Big Pumpkin! The O Truck will offer a variety of organic, farm-to-table entrees at the Festival. Rita’s Italian Ice Encinitas will have yummy frozen treats available. Click here for detailed information and event schedule. Note: No adults in costumes, please. There is a small fee for crafts and for some of the activities. Sat. Event details.

Old Town

Dia de los Muertos in Old Town
This community-wide commemoration, which honors ancestors and other deceased loved ones with special menus, music, dancing and crafts, includes Day of the Dead sugar skull decorating, mask and paper flower making, a giant skeleton puppet and stilt walker, face painting and so much more. Immerse yourself in the culture with live music, dancing, tamale carts, mariachis, authentic food, storytelling, complimentary Mexican hot chocolate––the list goes on and on! Don’t miss this fantastic celebration. Sat. & Sun. Event details.

Balboa Park

Halloween Family Day at Balboa Park
The free annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day gives families a safe, fun, and culturally inspired way to kick off their Halloween activities. Over two dozen participating museums and cultural attractions will present free craft projects for kids, costume parades and contests, and other spooky surprises. Participating museums offer free admission to children 12 and under with paying adult. Sat. Event details.


Ratatouille in Concert with the San Diego Symphony
For the first time ever, Disney and Pixar release their Academy Award winning film Ratatouille in high-definition on the big screen while the beloved score by composer Michael Giacchino is performed live by the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. Ratatouille is the tale of a determined young rat with a cultivated palate who gets an unlikely chance to do what he dreams of most – cook in a French restaurant in Paris. Circumstance lands the rat, Remy, in Gusteau’s restaurant, where the spirit of the late chef guides him through a bizarre partnership with clumsy clean-up boy, Linguini. In a hilarious chain of events that turns the City of Lights upside-down, Remy achieves his dream with his pal Linguini. This live orchestra event is an experience to savor as the movie cooks up delectable moments again and again. Sat. Event details.


Once Upon a Halloween
Celebrate Halloween in a distinctly different way by taking a ride into the past. Haunted house, scary stories, performances and more. Guaranteed to thrill and chill! Train rides, carnival games and tasty treats available for a nominal fee. Sun. Event details.

Rancho Santa Fe

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! Sun. Event details.

Liberty Station

Liberty Station’s Halloween Celebration
Liberty Station is inviting the community to join in on a free family-friendly Halloween celebration. The daytime festivities will include free comics, a costume contest, trick-or-treating throughout the district, ghoulish arts and crafts, a jumpy house, a play area presented by Kid Ventures, music and live entertainment, a Hollywood car show and more! Sun. Event details.

Where are you enjoying the weekend? Let us know in the comments.

––Beth Shea