Ghosts, Spirits & Muertos – Your Guide to Fall in San Diego

San Diego, California | I-5 Exit Guide

The fall season is upon us and San Diego has something for everyone to enjoy. From trick-or-treating alongside your favorite characters to cultural celebrations honoring passed loved ones for Día de los Muertos, here’s a guide to all things fun and festive this fall.

Little Ghosts – Halloween Family Fun in San Diego

  • Seaworld San Diego kicks off the fall season with Howl-O-Scream from September 29-October 31. Once night falls, the park will transform into a carnival of haunted creatures, spooky sips and bites, and electric live entertainment.
  • Sesame Place celebrates Halloween with not-so-scary fun at The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular from September 16-October 29. Children are encouraged to dress in their costumes and stop at trick-or-treat spots throughout the park.
  • The San Diego Zoo presents HalGLOWeen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October. A skeleton band, scarecrow stilt performers and spider acrobats are just a few of the festive features. Hints of Halloween can be found throughout the park and in the animal exhibits with pop-up dance parties, food and drink and more.
  • LEGOLAND® California Resort is bringing back Brick-or-Treat during select weekends in September and October. The event will include trick-or-treating for goodies throughout the park, all-new live shows and character meet and greets. Legoland will also debut The Great Monster Chase, a 4D comedic adventure movie for a limited time.
  • The Birch Aquarium is glowing with excitement for their Halloween Aglow event happening on October 27. Celebrate the wonders of the ocean at night, trick-or-treat around the aquarium, discover the weird and wonderful research that takes place at Scripps Oceanography and so much more! Family-friendly costumes are encouraged.
  • Trick-or-Treat on India Street is returning on October 29. Little ghouls and goblins of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their best costumes and enjoy an evening of trick-or-treating at participating Little Italy businesses along the historic India Street.
  • The 10th annual HauntFest on Main Street is happening on October 20 on Main Street in El Cajon. Families can take part in costume contests, face painting, live music and performances by local dance groups. A car show will also line the streets and a special feature of Movies in the Park will be presented.
  • Santee Lakes’ first-ever Spooktacular and Trunk-or-Treat takes place October 28. Experience the lakes like never before with a giant Halloween maze, spooky crafts and a visit from the Sanderson sisters.
  • On October 27 and 28, experience a wild and ghoulish night under the stars with the rescued exotic animals of Lions Tigers & Bears. The annual Spooky Campover is a family favorite you do not want to miss! Enjoy pumpkin carving (don’t forget your pumpkin), s’mores by the campfire, and more.
  • Get ready for a “Boo-tiful” evening aboard the USS Midway Museum with the Haunted Hangar Halloween Bash on October 21. Plan for a fun lineup of family-friendly activities, contests, tasty treats, magic potion cocktails for mom and dad, crafts, magic and more!

Big Spirits – Haunted Happenings for Adults in San Diego

  • Take a stroll through Balboa Park that you’ll never forget. Experience the mile long Haunted Trail of twisted pines and gnarled oaks from September 22-October 31. Make your way through the eXperiment maze and fog covered trails, climb aboard the Ghoul Bus where zombie prisoners share the horrifying ride with you and push your way through the adrenaline crazed clown house!
  • This October 5-31, three bone chilling Haunts and a mind-bending Midway await you at the Del Mar “Scaregrounds” Scream Zone. The Haunted Hayride, Stars of the Silver “Scream”, and Labyrinth Manor will have you screaming for a way out!
  • The Haunted Amusement Park is a HAUNTED Scare Trail set on the desolate grounds of the iconic San Diego Amusement park Marshal Scotty’s Playland. From September 29-October 31, the once joyful sounds of fun and laughter are now replaced with screams of terror as visitors make their way through the remnants of the carnival rides from the 1960’s.
  • Celebrate Halloween with the ghosts of Venice on a gondala cruise through the eerie canals and spooky waterways of the Coronado Cays from October 29-31.

Día de los Muertos – Hispanic Cultural Celebration of Lost Loved Ones

  • The City of Encinitas celebrates the annual family-friendly “Day of the Dead” on October 29 at the Mira Costa College campus. The festival will include continuous performances by some of the best Latin talent in San Diego, plus art-making workshops, artist demonstrations, student exhibitions, live Mariachi and other musical performances, as well as food trucks, opportunity drawings, vendors and giveaways.
  • The tradition of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) continues in Old Town this year. Old Town San Diego will have a Mercado de Arte at the north side of the lot across from the Market, Theatre and Trolley stop on Saturday October 28-29th. On November 2nd Old Town will be hosting the traditional procession to the El Campo Santo cemetery displaying a public altar.
  • The Downtown Chula Vista Association’s 3rd annual Día de lost Muertos Celebration on October 28. Watch as the South Bay neighborhood transforms into a beautiful and lively cempacuchil (orange marigolds) filled extravaganza to celebrate lost loved ones. The event will have a community altar, dance performances, food vendors and a special screening of Book of Life.

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