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 decorations for your home and garden.
Important: Please note that we are currently updating this guide with the 2023 dates and events as they are released.
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 a 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” has not released its 2023 dates. We’ll update this post as soon as they are released.
Cost: $25 per person
San Diego Haunted Houses
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.
The Haunted Trail
Dates: September 22-October 31, 2023 (Mondays & Tuesdays are closed, except October 24, 30, and 31)
Location: Balboa Park
San Diego is not lush with forest, and the classic cabin in the woods feels. 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.
The Scream Zone Del Mar
Dates: October 5-31, 2023
Location: Del Mar Fair Grounds
This is the ultimate Must-Do for Halloween lovers. 3 Haunts: The Haunted Hayride, Stars of the Silver “Scream”, and Labyrinth Manor make for some good terror! But that is not all. This year, they are also offering a Halloween-themed Carnival with food booths, games, and more. Try your survival skills at the Zombie Archerie or Clown Alley Axe Throwing, escape to a scary virtual reality Zombie-calypse and indulge in a few tasty cocktails.
Dates: Not open in 2023, coming back in 2024
Location: Mission Valley Target Parking Lot
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.
Attend A San Diego Halloween Parties
All throughout October, this southern Californian town is exploding with Halloween events for all kinds of people with every kind of budget. The Halloween Parties are filled with laughter, food, and some scary Halloween activities that are hard to pass on.
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.
San Diego Halloween Pub Crawl October 2023
Friday October 27, 2023, Saturday October 28th, 2023 & Tuesday October 31, 2023
Location: Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Dress up in your favorite Halloween costume and come enjoy an all-access VIP pass to 15+ bars, lounges & nightclubs. Receive exclusive drink specials and free welcome shots, and party it up with hundreds of other costumed crawlers!
Nightmare on Normal Street – October 28, 2023 5 PM – 11 PM
Also on October 28th, 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.
Black Pearl Halloween Yacht Party San Diego
Date: October 28, 2023 9:15 PM – 1 AM
Location: San Diego Bay
This haunted midnight party bay cruise takes your Halloween night to the next level. 2 DJs, 2 dance floors, an open bar, complimentary bites, and lots of spooky fun are included in this cruise on board of the California Spirit Luxury Yacht.
Special Halloween Events in San Diego
Halloween at Hotel Del Coronado
The Hotel Del Coronado is putting on a few Halloween events this year that will help you get your fright on.
The events for Halloween 2023 have yet to be announces, but here is what was offered last year:
The Mad Hatter Tea Party Halloween at The US Grant
October 2023 – TBD
This twisted feast in the style of Alice in Wonderland takes 13 guests down a culinary rabbit hole. A 13-course tasting menu prepared by Chef Mark Kropczynski will surprise and delight you until the witching hour. Make reservations here>>
Kid-Friendly Halloween Events
San Diego Zoo Halloween Events
Every Friday, Saturday & Sunday in October
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 HalGLOween, with outdoor and socially distanced events like bubble dance parties, the python path, or Dr. Zoolittle’s Trick or Treats, 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.
Wicked Spooky Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Every Saturday & Sunday in October 2023 (starting October 7th) from 12 – 4 PM
The Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s signature spooky tea is a bewitching celebration of all things Halloween! Delight in a selection of delectable finger foods and sinful sweets, each crafted to transport your taste buds to a world of spellbinding indulgence.
And don’t forget your Halloween costume! Costumes are more than welcome – they are encouraged! Immerse yourself in the whimsical atmosphere and receive an extra treat to make your experience even more magical.
$125/adult and $63/child exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made HERE.
Spooktacular Halloween Extravaganza at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar
Saturday, October 28, 2023 at 5 PM
Get ready for the Fairmont Grand Del Mar’s much-awaited Halloween event and step into a world of enchantment as the Grand Del Mar comes alive with Halloween magic!
Put on your most creative and spooky costumes for an unforgettable gathering at Grand Social. Kids can enjoy a number of live stations including the friendly Witch in Candyland, experiments in the Mad Scientist’s lab, and more.
General admission is $50/adult and $25/child plus tax and gratuity. Cabanas are available for $300 and firepits for $150. For more information, click HERE.
Witches of Westgate Tea – The Westgate Hotel Downtown
October 15, 20, 21, 22 2023 – TBD
High Tea with a bewitched twist is served at the marvelous Fontainebleau Room at the Westgate Hotel Downtown. From delicate pastries to sandwiches and other delectable bites, exquisite tea and a glass of Champagne are served in a spooky setting. Reservations required – book here>>
Hauntfest on Main – San Diego East County
October 20, 2023
On October 20th, a free festival takes place from 4 PM-9 PM 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.
Gaslamp Flicks – Halloween Edition
Fridays in October 2023
On the corner of Island and 4th/5th Ave, you can enjoy a free spooky movie night. Bring a chair or a blanket and watch some of these classics. Full bar and free popcorn are available.
Movies to be announced soon.
Trick or Treating on India Street
October 27, 2023 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Pack your little ones and head over to the Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy for some good ol trick or treating. The shops and restaurants have big buckets of sweets and treats waiting for the cutest ghosts, princesses, pirates, and fun disguises.
October 28, 2023 11 AM – 2 PM
Meet up by the Pride Flag in Hillcrest (on the corner of Washington & University) for a family-friendly spooky block party, including games, trick or treating, a costume contest, and a family-friendly Drag Show.
10th Annual Howl-O-Ween Mutt Run
October 28, 2023
Sponsored by Road Runner Sports, this 1k/5k for you and your four-legged best friend is a great way to run off the sugary treats preemptively. And all proceeds go to CA Labs & More, who rescued 2000 dogs this year What’s not to love?
Dress up yourself and your pup for a chance to win awesome prizes, and don’t forget to bring your ID if you want to treat yourself to a pint at the Mike Hess Beer Garden afterward. Sign up here>>
Remember to order your Halloween decor now, before it is too late!
Take a look at these other Fall Activities in San Diego:
- 8 Ways to Celebrate Fall in San Diego
- Apple Picking in Julian
- Best Haunted Houses in San Diego
- Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos
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.
Things To Do On Halloween: San Diego Edition – Pin For Later
Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Maria Haase