There are many reasons to visit San Diego; the amazing weather, the authentic Mexican food, the diversity of pretty much everything, and of course, the gorgeous beaches. It’s no wonder so many people visit.
But did you know that San Diego isn’t just for summer vacation? In the fall, when the goblins and ghouls come out to play, San Diego begins to hum with special activities and events. There are several really great Haunted Houses in San Diego.
If that is your thing, you should read our recommendations by a former Haunted House scare actress for the best Haunted Houses in San Diego. Here are all the things to do on Halloween San Diego has to offer. And don’t forget your Halloween costume!
Also, don’t forget to order some fun, I mean scary Halloween decoration for your home and garden.
Update: Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 many Halloween events have been canceled or changed. Please check the website of each event for details.
Horrifying History & Culture in San Diego
Among the top San Diego Halloween Events to choose from, the best way to get into a spooky fall mood is to do activities that pertain to the history and culture of the town.
San Diego is an old town, founded in 1769. The oldest part of the city is Old Town, followed by the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown. Get into the hauntingly amazing history and culture through some of these spooky tours.
Murder Mystery Tour in the Gaslamp Quarter Downtown
This fun and scary tour takes you on a walk around the beautiful Gaslamp Quarter in downtown. You will hear a lot about the gritty history of the old (and not so old) days, from brothels, bars, and brawls to gruesome murders, ghost stories, and much more.
Ghosts & Gravestones Frightseeing Tour San Diego
For further immersion into the San Diego Halloween events, you can take a tour on a renovated all-black “doom buggy”. Get transported back in time with such skill that by the end of the tour, you’ll feel as if you’re a ghost roaming the astral plane. This tour is not appropriate for children as the stories told contain graphic details and adult themes. Read our full review of the Ghosts and Gravestone Tour here>>
Haunted Happening Tour San Diego
While not tremendously terrifying like the haunts during this time, this tour will keep you at the edge of your seat. The compelling stories of murder, mystery, and ghosts rumored to still roam will get you in the whimsical mood. You will visit all the haunted sites in San Diego, including the Whaley House – one of the most haunted places in America.
Tickets are available online and kids are more than welcome on the tour. The company also offers an adult-only bonfire at the Del with wine and spirits of all sorts.
San Diego Ghost Tour – Gaslamp Quarter
This San Diego Ghost Tour definitely hits the spot for Halloween in San Diego. You’ll walk to various haunted spots in the famous Gaslamp Quarter of downtown San Diego, also known as the “Birthplace of California”. A great mix of spooky ghost stories and interesting history about the beginnings of San Diego.
Go To A Haunted House in San Diego
Walk Through A Haunted Corn Maze
The Carlsbad Strawberry Company puts not only a pumpkin patch but also a Haunted Corn Maze for adults. The “Field of Screams” is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7-10:30 PM between October 2 and November 7, 2020.
Cost: $25 per person
Kid-friendly: Halloween Trail at Petco Park
This Halloween themed Pumpkin patch at Petco Park is a great way to get into the fall spirit right in the heart of downtown and especially a must if you are a Padres fan. They also have scary movie nights between October 26-29.
San Diego Haunted Houses
Update: Because of COVID-19, the Disturbance and the Haunted Hotel, the two largest Haunted Houses in San Diego, will not be operating in 2020. However, they are opening a “Drive Through” ScreamZone in Del Mar, open October 1-31, located on the Del Mar fairgrounds.
Friday & Saturday: 7 PM – 11 PM
Sunday – Thursday: 7 PM – 10 PM
There are 7 haunted drives that you can choose from:
- Conjuring Row
- Dead End Truck Stop
- Horror Icon Way & Nightmare on Elm Street
- Clown Alley
- Fury Road
- Mine Shaft Trail
- Dusk Til Dawn
- Zombie Carnival Row
Because of Social Distancing, only a limited number of tickets are available per hour, so we recommend you book your tickets in advance, especially during the weekend. Get tickets here>>
Sunday-Thursday: $45 (4 person car) $60 (5 or more passengers)
Friday-Saturday: $55 (4 person car) $70 (5 or more passengers)
For next year, I recommend either The Disturbance or The Haunted Trail. Both are praised for the actors they hire and the terror they instill in their guests. They are both owned by the same people so the experiences while different hold the same amount of terror.
Read our full guide on the best Haunted Houses in San Diego here – including FAQs and Insider Tips by a San Diego Haunted House Scare Actress.
New to San Diego, The Disturbance was created by the infamous Haunted Hotel in 2019. While new, it creates three horrifying haunt experiences and lives up to their Haunted Hotel reputation.
The theme changes every year but a favorite is the Kill-Billy Alley, where zombie hillbillies overrun society in the most depraved way.
The Haunted Trail
San Diego is not lush with forest and the classic cabin in the woods feel. However, in Balboa Park where the trees are clustered and you really feel like you’re in a horror movie is The Haunted Trail.
So famous and well-rated, they’ve been featured on the Travel Channel and are well respected around town. The unique psychological way they traumatize guests has people lining up day after day. This is an absolute can’t miss. You can buy tickets for both attractions at the door or online.
Attend A San Diego Halloween Event
All throughout October, this southern Californian town is exploding with Halloween events for all kinds of people with every kind of budget. The Fall events are filled with laughter, food, and some scary Halloween activities that are hard to pass on.
San Diego Zoo Halloween Events
The San Diego Zoo offers some great Halloween Events this year for kids. For the last three weekends in October, the San Diego Zoo puts on HaGloween, with outdoor and socially distanced events like bubble dance parties, the python path, or Dr. Zoolittle’s Mask-erade and many more.
And the best part? Kids (11 and under) are free for the whole month of October when accompanied by a paying adult. How awesome is that? Get your tickets here.
Westfield UTC – Drive-in Movies & Halloween Scavenger Hunt
On October 30 & 31, head up to Westfield UTC mall in La Jolla for a Drive-in scary movie night featuring Beetlejuice and Hocus Pocus. The tickets are $30/car.
The mall also has a free, family-friendly, and socially distanced Halloween Scavenger hunt from October 18-31, every day from 11 AM – 7 PM. Prices include goodies from Wetzel’s Pretzels, Season 52, and Eureka.
La Mesa Oktoberfest
While this not scary, it is still a fun October event in San Diego. This free festival has been lively and thrumming since 1973. Thousands of people gather for the Munich-inspired celebration year after year. This year (2020), it will take place on October 3, but please check for updates due to the current situation.
If you’re not up for a beer or you’re too young, there are activities and drinks for you too. Specialty cocktails are offered in the garden and kid-friendly activities await your gaming spirit. There’s no possible way you can’t have fun here.
Hauntfest on Main – San Diego East County
On October 25th, a free festival takes place on Main Street in the East County neighborhood. Take the family on an outing filled with pumpkin patches, candy challenge activities, costume contests, and so much more.
Terrifyingly Fun Nightclubs with Special Halloween Parties in San Diego
For my energetic people out there, those who love the lively nightclubs, during Halloween San Diego has an explosively lively nightclub scene. This is the scene for people who like the costume and more commercialized version of Halloween. There’s plenty of fun in these Halloween activities.
On October 26th, see East Village and the Gaslamp District transform into a demented and twisted block party, possibly the largest one in San Diego. Party to the live music of big named professionals and have a chance at a cash prize for the costume contest.
There’s no doubt you’d have a blast meeting new people and partying with your friends all night long at this bomb block party.
Nightmare on Normal Street
Also on October 26th, Hillcrest has one of the best parties for all of Halloween. Not quite as big as WCKD but probably far more local friendly.
With local food trucks and DJs plus the costume contest and the massive dance floor, there are loads of things you can do on this night of thrilling adventure.
Hotel and Resort Halloween Fun in San Diego
Rather than staying at the hotels and resorts in San Diego during this peak time, you can get the same experience with the wicked Halloween activities San Diego hotels and resorts offer during this time.
These activities are, what I like to call, treat yourself activities or bougie activities but so worth it for the great experience.
Witches of Westgate Tea
In honor of the countless stories and lore on Wicca, Westgate Hotel in Downtown San Diego conducts a quaint all-inclusive tea with a spooky Halloween theme.
The event takes place on October 19th and the hotel encourages those who attend to wear a bewitching costume for the contest that also takes place during the tea. Children are welcome and tickets are available online.
Nightmare Before Halloween
On the 25th of October, the Lafayette Hotel transforms into the infamous Tim Burton movie. The wonderland of Halloween cheer is more for adults and includes performances by musicians and a costume contest to find the best Tim Burton inspired costume. This is a can’t miss for the holiday movie favorite.
Packed with history, fun, and some unbeatable weather that San Diego is known for, visitors can find some extra few gems in the fall season. In San Diego, Halloween is not only a chance to all out on eccentricities and munch on classic candy favorites, but it is also a time to reflect on the town’s dark history and get in touch with your magical side.
Things To Do On Halloween: San Diego Edition was written and edited by Hedge Metreyeon. For more San Diego Explorer posts, check out our homepage. For more of their articles visit here. Follow them on social media here.