Like the candy bag of a child who has been out trick-or-treating for hours, this October comes stuffed with a tasty variety of Halloween events.
At Theme Parks
Disneyland’s nighttime holiday spectacular, Mickey’s Halloween Party, continues through Oct. 31 and also has some new twists this year, including the Frightfully Fun Parade and appearances from the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. Over at California Adventure, “Late Check-Out” lets you experience the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in total darkness. Remember, the Tower will be closing its doors for good Jan. 2. Admission is $79-$99 for ages 3 and up. Get details at www.disneyland.com.
There will be more family Halloween fun at other area amusement parks.
Saturday nights in October are Brick-Or-Treat Party Night from 5-9 p.m. at Legoland (1 Legoland Dr., Carlsbad; www.legoland.com), with a new stage show, a Ghost Cruise adventure, live music, dance parties, contests and candy carts. Admission is $35-$40.
Six Flags Magic Mountain (26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy., Valencia; www.sixflags.com/magicmountain) will offer child-friendly “low-scare” zones with a Trick or Treat Trail and Halloween crafts from 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri.-Sun. through Oct. 30 before the more intense Fright Nights start at 7 p.m. Only children ages 12 and younger are allowed to wear costumes (but not masks or gory costumes) in the park. Tickets are $79.99 adults, $54.99 children.
Every weekend in October, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Knott’s Spooky Farm (8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park; www.knotts.com) lets kids ages 3-11 participate in costume contests, trick-or-treat in Ghost Town, explore the Spooky Hallow Maze and celebrate the 50th anniversary of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” at Linus’ Great Pumpkin Patch. Admission: $72 adults, $42 ages 3-11.
Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy will also be aboard The Great Pumpkin Patch Express that arrives at the Orange Empire Railway Museum (2201 S. A St., Perris. www.oerm.org) Oct. 15-16 and 23-24. The train trips depart at 10 a.m., noon and 2 and 4 p.m. for the Most Sincere Pumpkin Patch, where kids concerts, hayrides, a bounce house, vintage trolley rides and pumpkin picking are part of the fun. Hop aboard for $25 adults, $15 children.
Another pumpkin picking destination is the Underwood Family Farms Harvest Festival (3370 Sunset Valley Rd., Moorpark; www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com). While the festival will be happening from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. every day in October, the fun really piles up on Saturdays and Sundays because each weekend holds special attractions and different themes. Country Farm Weekend is Oct. 8-9, Wild West Weekend Oct. 22-23 and All About Pumpkins happens Oct 29-30. Admission is $6 on weekdays and jumps to $15 Oct. 1-2 and 8-9; and $20 Oct. 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30.
Speaking of pumpkin procuring, one of L.A.’s more popular patches, Mr. Bones (10100 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City; www.mrbones.com), keeps getting bigger and better. Besides their plethora of pumpkins, they’ve added a hay pyramid and Spooky Spider Bounce House, and cool weekend entertainment to old favorites like the straw maze, giant rocking horses, super slide and the Pumpkin Village. The patch is open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Admission is free on weekdays and opening weekend, with regular weekend admission $10 and some activities extra.
Pumpkins also are the centerpiece of the popular Kidspace Pumpkin Festival from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 15-16. Besides pumpkin picking, there will be games, crafts, performances and a costume parade. Admission to the festival is free, though some activities have an extra fee. Children can also dress up and go trick-or-treating for goodies and healthy treats during the museum’s Halloween Hunt from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 29. Visitors can be transformed into mythological creatures and, at 12:30 p.m., take part in the Medusa Freeze Dance. Admission to the hunt is $13 for ages 1 and older, with a $6 additional fee for trick-or-treating. Other October events at the museum include a visit from some “creepy critters” Oct 8 and a concert by the Boo Hoo Crew at 1 p.m. Oct. 23. Find the fun at 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena and learn more at www.kidspacemuseum.org.
RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns has been one of Southern California’s more popular Halloween attractions in recent years. RISE is returning, but at a new location with a new concept. Instead of being an outdoor installation, RISE will be housed indoors at the L.A. Convention Center (1201 S Figueroa St.), so folks won’t have to wait until sunset to see jack-o’-lantern magic. RISE will be open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 13-16. The move to the Convention Center also means more room for more pumpkin creations. There will be hundreds of craftsmen carving thousands of fresh pumpkins (along with life-like carveable artificial pumpkins) to create a multitude of magnificent sculptures. Tickets, which cost $26 for adults and $22 for ages 3-12, can be purchased at www.therise.org. Jack-o’-lantern lovers can also view RISE at Pomona’s Fairplex Oct. 27-30.
On the Wild Side
Celebrate Halloween with the animals during Boo at the L.A. Zoo (5333 Zoo Dr., L.A.; www.lazoo.org). From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day in October, you can see animals getting special holiday treats, and explore spooky caves and a ghoulish maze. On weekends, go on a “Graveyard Safari” and check out the “Boneyard” education station. Zoo admission is $20 adults, $15 ages 2-12.
Canines get their chance for Halloween fun at the Haute Dog Howl’oween Parade stepping off at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in Marina Vista Park (5355 Eliot St., Long Beach; www.Howloween.info). The entry fee is $10 to have your pup in the parade, but it is free to watch. It is also free for adults and kids to participate in the Halloween Costume Contest at 2:25 p.m. Everyone, humans and canines, can attend the vendor and pet adoption fair from 12:30-4:30 p.m. and maybe find a future Howl’oween Parade participant.
Southern California marine life, meanwhile, seems to have a special affinity for Halloween. For the 17th year, the Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach; www.aquariumofpacific.org) turns into the Scarium of the Pacific from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 16-17. Attractions include magic shows, underwater pumpkin carving and the annual children’s costume contest. Tickets: $29.95 adults, $17.95 ages 3-11.
A costume parade around the Santa Monica Pier is a Sunday highlight of the weekend-long Fishy Fest at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium (1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica; www.healthebay.org) from 12:30-5 p.m. Oct. 29-30. Other festival highlights include spooktacular stories, fish-themed mask-making and, if you dare, the mad scientist’s lab. Admission is $5 for adults, and free for each child with a paying adult.
At the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Sea Scare, 7-10 p.m. Oct. 29 at 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, youngsters can visit 13 treat stations, do “apparitional activities,” view “dreadful demonstrations” and dance like a zombie. Learn more at www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org. Admission is $7-$10 adults, $3-$5 children and reservations are recommended.
With Creepy Creatures
If zombies are your thing, march on down to the Rainbow Lagoon (400-403 Shoreline Village Dr., Long Beach) for the Long Beach Zombie Fest. Have a bloody good time in the “Thriller” workshop, the Zombie Walk and the “brain” eating contest. The Fest, which runs from 5-10 p.m. Oct. 14 and 2-10 p.m. Oct. 15-16, is child-friendly (depending on their tolerance for gore) and also offers laser tag, an Art of Horror exhibit, an interactive reptile exhibit and a Walking Dead Experience. Admission is $13-$18 for adults, free for ages 11 and younger with an accompanying adult, and you can learn more at www.LongBeachZombieFest.com.
Before “The Walking Dead,” before “The Shining,” before even “The Thing,” there was “The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari.” This 1920 silent cinema classic is a prime example of German Expressionist film making and a pioneering horror movie. The movie will be screened in Disney Hall (111 S. Grand Ave., L.A.; www.laphil.com) at 8 p.m. Oct. 31, with organ virtuoso Clark Wilson providing suitably eerie accompaniment. As with Zombie Fest, parental discretion is suggested for this film. Tickets are $31-$61.
Those not interested in big scares may want to visit Descanso Gardens (1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada-Flintridge; www.descansogardens.org) at 11 a.m. Oct 22-23 and 29-30 for Slightly Spooky Stories. Members of the Ensemble Shakespeare Theater will perform several holiday-related tales that are more fun than frightening. Admission is $9 adults, $6 students with ID, $4 ages 5-12.
Spooky Science Weekends, meanwhile, will haunt Discovery Cube L.A. (11800 Foothill
Blvd. L.A.; www.discoverycube.org/la) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. every weekend in October. Children can experience a magical, mythical world of dragons and wizards, including the Wizard of Ooze stage show. Kids can also wear costumes related to each weekend’s theme. Admission ist$17.95 adults, $12.95 children and the event also takes place at Discovery Cube OC.
There will be Spooky Creatures in the Garden at the L.A. County Arboretum (310 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia; www.arboretum.org) from 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 28. Kids can visit in costume for a morning of holiday-themed merriment featuring pumpkin decorating, science projects, story times and autumnal craft projects. The event costs $5 per child plus Arboretum admission of $9 adults, $4 ages 5-11.
Families can venture into the wilds of Topanga Canyon (1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga; www.theatricum.com) to experience the Theatricum BOO-tanicum from 4-9 p.m. Oct. 28. Explore a spooky maze and a haunted house and enjoy games, ghost stories and performances by Creative PlayGround, Peter Alsop and the improv troupe Off The Grid for $15 admission for ages 6 and older.
Halloween celebrations with a sense of history will be held at the Heritage Square Museum (3800 Homer St., L.A.; www.HeritageSquare.org) and the Grier Musser Museum (403 South Bonnie Brae St., L.A.; www.griermussermuseum.org). Heritage Square Museum’s Mourning Tours and Halloween Tours from noon-4 p.m. will spotlight a Victorian funeral “party” on Oct. 22 and more family-friendly activities on Oct. 23 with period games, 19th century-style harvest-time crafts and Halloween stories. Admission is $20 adults, $8 ages 6-12. Grier Musser’s Halloween Haunted House Tours at 1 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23 let you tour this 1898 Victorian house that will be decorated with vintage Halloween decorations and memorabilia. Tours cost $12 for adults, $6 for children.
Find even more Halloween happenings in our October Calendar.
Michael Berick is Calendar Editor of L.A. Parent.