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 check out Groupon for some fun Halloween Parties in San Diego.
Update: Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 many Halloween events have been canceled or changed. Please check the website of each event for details.
Go To A Haunted House in San Diego
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. They are working on setting up a “Drive Through” option though and we will keep you updated as soon as we hear something new.
One of the most common things to do in the Halloween season is to go to a haunted house. It is no different in San Diego.
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
While the San Diego Zoo is one of the more ethical Zoos in the country, and we love to visit throughout the year, we don’t recommend going for Halloween.
We can’t endorse the way they treat the animals, especially during the Halloween events. Dressing up the animals and exposing them to huge crowds of excited, and screaming children often leave the animals anxious and scared.
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.
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. Get into the hauntingly amazing history and culture through tours.
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.
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.
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.
Remember: Don’t forget to check out Groupon for some fun Halloween Parties in San Diego.
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.