Spooky San Diego Activities to Get in the Halloween Spirit

by Keller Williams Realty

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the end of August hits, I’m ready for pumpkin spice lattes, hay rides, and haunted houses. San Diego County has plenty of areas to experience the beautiful fall foliage, fresh apple pies, and other fun autumn activities. There’s even more to do at night once we get closer to the Halloween season.

If you’re looking for ways to get spooky with the kids, or leave them behind for a haunting date night, here’s a list to get you started. The top of the list will start with more kid-friendly activities, while the bottom of the list will sure to give you a fright.


Family-Friendly Halloween Activities

Kids Free San Diego

San Diego is chalk-full of family centric activities, making it an easy choice for family vacations. However, October may be the best time of year to plan a visit for cost-savings. For the past 30 years, San Diego restaurants, hotels and attractions have made it possible for kids to eat, play and stay for free for the whole month of October. With over 100 special offerings, you can save big with activities the family will love, like free admission for children ages 11 and under at the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, or San Diego SeaWorld. For full details on all offerings this October, learn more through the link below.

Tips Before Visiting

  • Check the link below to learn more about age or coupon requirements. Each offering can have their own terms.
  • Plan accordingly. Halloween weekend can be busy if parks are offering special events.
  • Mondays are perfect for outdoor activities as most of the museums are closed.

Learn More: Kids Free San Diego


SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular

Starting September 18th, SeaWorld will have plenty of spooky surprises every weekend up to Halloween. The kids will be able to enjoy trick or treating during the day and join the Halloween dance party with the rest of the Sesame Street gang. Explore their decorated trail and meet all sorts of characters. The best part is if you are Fun Card passholders, you get to enjoy this event for FREE.

Learn More: SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular


Legoland’s Brick-Or-Treat

Every Saturday in October, Legoland offers the only after hours event for kids in San Diego. You can expect rides open late, trick or treating, live entertainment, and more spooky-fun. This event is offered outside of regular admission, so make sure to check Legoland’s website for additional information and pricing.

Learn More: Brick-Or-Treat Event


Visit the Pumpkin Patch at Bates Nut Farm

Going to the pumpkin patch is a given during Halloween, but if you’ve never taken the drive out to Valley Center, you really are missing out. Many fall traditions and memories have been made at Bates Nut Farm. For over 50 years, the farm has provided one of the largest pumpkin patch the county has to offer! Bring the whole family along for tractor hayrides, petting coral and pony rides. You’ll find a variety of pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes: from the classic Jack-O-Lantern to massive Big Macs. The pumpkin patch opens for the 2021 season on September 18th..

Learn More: Bates Nut Farm


HauntFest on Main (Downtown El Cajon)

After taking a year off in 2020, the city of El Cajon will set up for their 9th Annual HauntFest. This free, family friendly event offers costume contests, a car show, face painting, and live performances. Walk through the Promenade Pumpkin Patch to find your perfect match, and take a family picture in front of the staged photo area. They’ve expanded the carnival rides and games this year so be prepared for even more fun for the whole family!

Learn More: HauntFest on Main


Halloween at Birch Aquarium

The Haunted Aquarium returns in 2021 on October 22-24. Enjoy a spooktacular night as ghosts, mermaids, and sharks come out to play. Meet glowing sea creatures, make it through the kelp maze, and show off your scariest costume at the showcase. This family-friendly event is perfect for a night of learning about mysterious underwater animals. All guests ages 2 and up are required to wear face masks, regardless of vaccination status.

Learn More: Haunted Aquarium


Oceanside’s 20th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival

After taking last year off, Oceanside’s 20th annual Dia de los Muertos Festival will be returning to the city on Sunday, October 24th. The festival celebrates the lives of the dead, the interaction between the dead and the living, and the cycle of life. Walk the vendor booths, explore the beautiful altars, and create a memorial for free in the Chalk Cemetery. While they have not announced specifics, there will be a kids area, full of arts and crafts to enjoy. Between the food, music, art, and culture, Dia de los Muertos is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the seasons of life.

Learn More: Friends of Oceanside Dia de los Muertos


Haunting Activities for Teenagers/Adults


Haunted Corn Maze “Field of Screams”

Now that we’ve had great Halloween fun with the kids, it’s time to experience San Diego’s haunting night life. We’ll kick off this list with Carlsbad Strawberry Company’s annual pumpkin patch. The farm is chockful of activities for the kids, like tractor rides, apple cannons, and corn mazes. If you happen to visit the patch on Friday and Saturday evenings, the corn maze gets a ghoulish face lift and provides thrills for teenagers and adults alike. The best part, 50% of the proceeds go towards the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation, which helps protect and preserve the 400-acre ecosystem near Carlsbad’s coastline.

Learn More: Pumpkin Patch at Carlsbad Strawberry Company


The Haunted Trail at Balboa Park

Get ready for a mile long trail of terror! The Haunted Trail is renowned for being one of the best haunted attractions in America. This year, the trail is offering even more thrills, by offering two haunts in one with their eXperiment Maze. You’ll see chilling characters, like Michael Myers, Jason, Chucky, creepy nuns, and faceless children to name a few. This horrifying trail is not for the faint of heart, with an age limit of 10 and older. Do you have the guts?

Learn More: Haunted Trail


Nightmare on Normal Street

Need something a little less scary? Hillcrest’s haunted dance party is back for 2021. Taking over Pride Flag Plaza, expect the night of October 29th to be filled with live entertainment, dancing, costume competitions (even for our furry friends), and outdoor bars. Get freaky on the massive outdoor dance floor, indulge yourself with delicious food truck options, or enjoy a complimentary cocktail during Haunted Hosted Hour. This event is ages 21 and older. Sorry kids!

Learn More: Nightmare on Normal Street


Gaslamp Quarter Historic True Crime Tour

Take a stroll through Downtown San Diego as Murder N’ Mayhem takes you through the darker history of the Gaslamp Quarter, formerly known as the Stingaree. On this mile long tour, you’ll hear the interesting stories of the first death on the tour, hotel rooms that are still haunted to this day, and the San Diego Serial Killer. As a word of caution, this tour discusses assault, murder, and other adults themes, so you might want to leave the kids at home for this one.

Learn More: Murder N Mayhem True Crime Tour


Take a Haunted Ghost Tour

Not only have there been horrific murders and crime throughout the city, but many popular tourist locations, like Old Town and the Gaslamp are known to have a large amount of paranormal activity. Many have actually sited ghosts amongst the older parts of San Diego. Several tour groups in the area get you up close and personal with these spiritual locations, and a few will even take you ghost hunting. Here’s a list of the best tours to check out:


The Haunted Hotel: Disturbance

Mission Valley’s Haunted Hotel is back and it’s even more disturbed than the last year. Not only will you walk through the resting dead at the Hotel, but they’ve added 2 additional fright zones to get your blood pumping. Walk through the damp, dark craziness of Kill-billy Chaos, or the heart-pounding, clown-filled blacklight experience of 3-D Freak-Fest. If you get through the Hotel alive, party it up with light shows, axe throwing, spirited libations and live entertainment for a swinging monster mash.

Learn More: The Haunted Hotel: Disturbance Mission Valley


SeaWorld’s Howl-O-Scream

Saving the best for last, San Diego has a new haunting experience full of ghoulish surprises. Similar to Knott’s Scary Farm, SeaWorld will transform their peaceful daytime park into a sinister scare zone on weekend nights. Horrifying creatures stalk you around every turn, while even more terrors await in the several haunted house opportunities. Enjoy terrifying live performances, late night roller coaster rides, and thirst-quenching cocktails. If you’re looking a way to make your skin crawl, this might be the bloodcurdling experience you need.

Learn More: SeaWorld’s Howl-O-Scream

Published on 2021-09-01 12:55:53