35 BEST Halloween Events in San Diego for Adults & Families

A woman in a black bathing suit and a witch's hat seen from behind as she holds a broom and sits on a sunny California beach.

Published on: September 28, 2023

Read my list to find your perfect Halloween events in San Diego – both scary and kid-friendly.

San Diego Halloween events span a wide variety of options. 

You can find anything from pumpkin patches and family activities at local fall festivals to fright nights at theme parks, parties into the wee hours, and everything in between. 

The best part about Halloween in San Diego is the spirit of the spookfully-dedicated locals ready to ring in the scary season. 

There is a commitment to bringing the season to life – or back to life – with fun Halloween decorations, treats, and neighborly fun throughout the fall season in the San Diego area. 

And if you’re wondering, “Where can I take my kids for Halloween in San Diego?” Fear not! There are endless opportunities for kids to get out and enjoy the Halloween festivities. Here’s a list of my 35 favorites.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

Halloween Events in San Diego: a skeleton wearing sunglasses posed sitting on a a Southern California beach, with a bucket and shovel in hand.

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Scary and 21+ San Diego Halloween Events

Halloween at Rooftop Cinema Club

When: Select nights throughout September & October
Where: Rooftop Cinema Club Embarcadero (Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel), San Diego, CA
Cost: Starts at $11.75

The San Diego location of the Rooftop Cinema Club screens Halloween favorites on select nights throughout the fall. 

You can catch a screening of Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, and many more on the rooftop of the Hyatt Hotel under the stars. 

Snacks and drinks are available. Come enjoy the best films of spooky season!

Seaworld San Diego’s Howl-O-Scream

When: September 29th – October 31st
Where: SeaWorld, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $48.99

Seaworld San Diego hosts an annual Howl-O-Scream, which is sure to spook you. 

This is one of the most popular San Diego attractions thanks to the famous haunted houses, multiple scare zones, terrifying live performances, thrilling rides, and spooktacular cocktail bars. It’s sure to be an evening of fright.

San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter Historic True Crime Tour

When: Ongoing, with booking
Where: San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA
Cost: Starting at $40.34

This 1.5-hour murder mystery tour through the area formerly known as Stingaree will take you into the area’s dark past

Walk through some of the city’s most haunted places, including a haunted hotel. You’ll feel like you’re in a real-life horror movie on these ghost tours.

Looking for more ghost tours? Read about San Diego’s other ghost tours.

Haunted Houses

The Haunted Hotel: Disturbance – Mission Valley

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: Mission Valley Center, San Diego, CA
Cost: Starting at $27.99 [based on last year]

This first annual San Diego Halloween event is a must-see if you’re a haunted house– or haunted hot l – enthusiast. 

CNN rated the Haunted Hotel: Disturbance one of the “10 Best Haunted House Attractions” in the US.

The Haunted Hotel features the 3-D FreakFest and Stars of the Silver Scream, as well as light shows, axe throwing, roaming characters, a new VR section, live entertainment, DJs, and so much more – it’s one of the best San Diego haunted houses.

The Haunted Trail, Balboa Park

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $27.99

The Haunted Trail at Balboa Park is another one-of-a-kind haunted experience, second only to the Haunted Hotel. 

Balboa Park features a 3,500-square-foot maze and a mile-long haunted trail through the dense trees. In the woods, you’ll find ghouls, zombie rodeo clowns, and terrifying tour guides ready to give you a proper fright. 

Come witness Balboa Park transform into the best spooky festivities.

The Scream Zone (at the Del Mar Fairgrounds)

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: Del Mar Scaregrounds, San Diego, CA
Cost: $29.99

The Scream Zone features Southern California’s original haunted hayride with hell-billies looking for their next meal. 

If the zombie hillbillies don’t get you, try not to get lost in the Labyrinth Manor catacombs or spooked by other horror icons, critters, and lots of ghoulish guests.

The Haunted Amusement Park, El Cajon

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: Historically Haunted Marshal Scotty’s Playland, El Cajon, CA
Cost: $20

The Historically Haunted Marshal Scotty’s Playland now remains as a haunted trail through the iconic San Diego amusement park.

Visitors weave through the remains of 1960s carnival rides and try to survive the ghostly frights. 

Use 3-D glasses to take in some terrifying visuals and then find your way through the Circus Maze, the graveyard, the House of Curiosities, the slaughterhouse, and more. 

Be warned, this one is a proper scare!

Halloween Bar Crawls & Parties

San Diego Halloween Pub Crawl (21+)

When: October 27th, 28th, 31st
Where: Check-in at VYBZ San Diego, San Diego, CA
Cost: $15-$30

San Diego Halloween pub crawl offers three different days of spooky, boozy fun with over 300 guests in costume, ready to celebrate Halloween roaming downtown San Diego and its top nightlife venues. 

Over ten venues will offer drink specials and activities to guests of this pub crawl. 

Costumes are highly recommended!

Nightmare On Normal Street (21+)

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: Pride Plaza at Normal and University, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $15

Are you wondering, “Where can I party for Halloween in San Diego?” 

Look no further than Nightmare On Normal Street. This gigantic Halloween dance party takes over the Pride Flag Plaza annually for the Halloween celebrations on Normal Street. 

Wear your best costume and get ghoulish for over $2000 in prizes, lots of vendors, photo ops, and a monstrous bar.

Black Pearl Halloween Yacht Party San Diego (21+)

When: Saturday, October 28th
Where: California Spirit Yacht, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $67.59

The Black Pearl Halloween Party is a top-rated Halloween cruise for adults. 

Tickets include an open bar for the duration of the evening, three decks to socialize on, live DJs, two levels of dancing, and gourmet food.

Halloween aboard this giant yacht right in the San Diego bay is an unforgettable experience.

Pier Pressure San Diego Halloween Cruise – 11th Annual Titanic Masquerade (21+)

When: Saturday, October 28th
Where: The Hornblower Inspiration Mega Yacht, San Diego, CA
Cost: $25 – $250

Pier Pressure presents the “biggest yacht party on the West Coast this Halloween.” The 11th Annual Titanic Maquerade Cruise is aboard a three-level yacht in the San Diego Harbor. 

Guests can expect Southern California’s hottest DJs, beautiful coastal views, lots of dancing, and over 1200 guests in costume and ready to party. This is one of San Diego’s best Halloween parties!

BarCrawlerz: Trick or Drink [San Diego Halloween Bar Crawl] (21+)

When: October 27th, 28th & 31st
Where: Check-in location TBD
Cost: $15-$45

BarCrawlerz does San Diego Halloween parties and bar crawls like no other. They offer drink specials, costume contests, and free entry to some of the city’s top venues.

Hard Rock Halloween (21+)

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: The Hard Rock Hotel, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $60 [based on last year]

The annual Halloween party at The Hard Rock Hotel is one of the most unusual San Diego Halloween events around. 

The party spans three floors and seven rooms, with over 15 of San Diego’s hottest DJs set to shake the Hardrock to its core. 

This massive event even has a Dungeons and Dragons-themed dance party in the ballroom.

Pacific Beach Halloween Zombie Bar Crawl (21+)

When: Friday, October 27th
Where: El Prez in Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA
Cost: $15 – $30

The living dead will overtake Pacific Beach during this San Diego Zombie Crawl and monster party.

Over 300 guests are expected to come out for this bar crawl. Pop into over ten venues for drink specials and zombie-themed spooky fun.

Family-Friendly San Diego Halloween Events

HalGLOWeen at the San Diego Zoo

When: Weekends throughout October
Where: The San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $59 (October is kids’ month at the zoo, meaning kids under 11 are free!)

The world-famous San Diego Zoo hosts an annual Halloween “light up the night” extravaganza, HalGLOWeen, all throughout the zoo.

Enjoy Halloween activities spanning five weekends throughout October. There will be safe, family-friendly live entertainment and lots of interactive Halloween fun.

Legoland Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

When: Select dates throughout September & October
Where: Legoland, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $89

Every year, Legoland’s annual Halloween extravaganza is one of the most anticipated family San Diego Halloween events.

Brick-or-Treat will bring shows, interactive activities, character photo ops, a 3-D movie experience, and many more events for the whole family to enjoy throughout the fall.

SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular

When: Weekends throughout September & October
Where: SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $64.99 

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is lots of fun for the family. There are colorful characters, dance parties, a scavenger hunt, free trick or treating, and even craft beers for parents.

Not-too-spooky fun awaits you through the Halloween season if you plan to visit San Diego.

Halloween At Hotel Del Coronado

When: October 31st
Where: Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, CA
Cost: Free admission

During the evening on Halloween night, Hotel Del Coronado puts on a Halloween celebration on the lawn to enjoy spirits and share in the Halloween spirit. 

Wear costumes and head down for spirit tastings, face painting, lots of treats, and even a fortune teller.

Candlelight Open Air: A Haunted Evening of Halloween Classics

When: October 27th & 29th
Where: Mt. Helix Park, La Mesa, CA
Cost: starting at $55

If a little bit of haunted romance under the stars accompanied by live music sounds like your idea of date night, then Candlelight Open Air will be the perfect Halloween treat.

This live open-air concert in the park will feature Halloween classics like Thriller, Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, and lots more!

Mask-O-Raid At The Comic-Con Museum

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: The Comic-Con Museum, San Diego, CA
Cost: $100 [based on last year]

This Halloween event, put on by the Comic-Con Museum and Funko, features an exhibition of vintage Halloween costumes and masks from Funmaker Mike’s collection.

Plus, there will be a very competitive costume contest, art, and merch for sale. All proceeds go to the Museum’s Education Fund.

Witches Of Westgate Afternoon Tea

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: The Westgate Hotel, San Diego, CA
Cost: $30 (child), $52 (adult)

Come dressed in your witchiest costume for the Witch’s Afternoon Tea at the Westgate Hotel.

Costume contests and a witch cackle competition accompany traditional high tea refreshments and kid-friendly witch’s brews.

Gaslamp Flicks – Halloween Edition

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: The Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego, CA
Cost: Free admission

Come visit San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and catch some scary flicks while you’re there. 

One of the city’s most haunted areas is definitely the best place to see Halloween classics, and they provide free popcorn while you watch.

Annual 5K Howl-O-Ween Mutt Run

When: Saturday, October 28th, 2023
Where: Road Runner Sports, Solana Beach, CA
Cost: by donation

Bring your pooch out for this annual Halloween run/walk for a fun day of good-natured racing, a puppy costume contest, a beer garden, prizes, and fundraising to rescue furry friends with Labs & More Rescue!

Tierrasanta “Monster Mash” 5K & Fun Run 2023

When: Saturday, October 28th, 2023
Where: Tierrasanta Recreation Center, San Diego, CA
Cost: $30

Keep your running shoes on for the Monster Mash Fun Run. Join the San Diego community of Tierrasanta in the tree-lined streets for this family-friendly 5k on Halloween weekend.

Halloween Storytime, Craft & Trick-or-Treat

When: October 26th
Where: Marla Haas Community Room – Point Loma/Hervey Branch Library, San Diego, CA
Cost: Free admission

The library will be hosting spooky (but not too spooky) storytime, trick or treating, and a costume party in the Point Loma Heights and Ocean Beach area. This Halloween event is designed for children ages 3-5.

Haunted Houses and Tours

The Famous Haunted Whaley House

When: Ongoing, with booking
Where: Whaley House Museum, San Diego, CA
Cost: Starting at $19

The famous haunted Thomas Whaley House is one of Southern California’s most haunted places – and one of America’s best haunted houses. 

The self-guided tour will transport you right back to the 1800s, with ghost stories of California’s dark, early history. 

For those who dare, there is also a Whaley House After Hours Paranormal Investigation experience available, which offers hands-on ghost-hunting equipment and the opportunity to partake in an actual paranormal investigation.

Old Town Trolley Ghost and Gravestone Tours

Old Town Trolley Ghost and Gravestone Tours

When: ongoing nightly, with booking
Where: Old Town, San Diego, CA
Cost: starting at $39

If Old Town Halloween sounds appealing, then the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour through San Diego’s ghostly past is for you.

The spirits of iconic San Diego characters linger in the dark corners of the city’s historic buildings, including a haunted hotel. 

Witness the charming, kid-friendly Pioneer Park become spooky by night as you explore old-timey San Diego attractions on this ghostly tour.

Halloween Festivals & Parties

Hauntfest On Main

When: Friday, October 20th
Where: Downtown El Cajon, El Cajon, CA
Cost: Free admission

This two-stage, family-friendly live concert and Halloween festival will feature a pumpkin patch, face painting, carnival rides, pumpkin carving, a car show, candy challenges, and lots more!

LGBTQ+ Family Boobash

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: Inside Pride Square on Normal Street, San Diego, CA
Cost: Free admission

Put on by Trans Family Support Services, this free family Halloween bash for queer youth and families will be a block party style event, with trick or treating, a pumpkin station, live music, and performances. 

Don’t miss out on the costume contest!

Halloween Carnival & The Nightmare Before Christmas @ Hilltop Recreation Center

When: Saturday, October 14th
Where: Hilltop Community Park, San Diego, CA
Cost: Free admission

Get into the spirit this season with a Halloween carnival and screening of Tim Burton’s classic Halloween film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, right in the Hilltop Community Park.

Make sure to bring your own chairs and blankets to enjoy the film. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Beachside Fall Fest – Belmont Park 

When: 2023 dates TBD
Where: Belmont Park, San Diego, CA
Cost: $50

Come down to celebrate Halloween beachside at Belmont Park and find yourself some craft beer while the kiddos trick-or-treat for free and ride their favorite rides. After that, enjoy live acoustic music and nibble on fall treats. 

October is also “kids’ free month” at Belmont Park, which is a nice perk to the Halloween season!

The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular At Sesame Place

When: Select dates September 16th – October 29th
Where: Sesame Place, Chula Vista, CA
Cost: $99.99

The Count’s Halloween has been an annual Halloween tradition at Sesame Place Theme Park since 1997 and is one of those San Diego Halloween events that just keeps giving! 

You can expect guests dressed in full costume at the neighborhood street party with trick-or-treating, and lots of character photo ops. 

There’s lots of Sesame fun for everyone!

Best Pumpkin Patches

Mr. Jack O’Lantern’s Pumpkin Patch, La Jolla

When: Throughout October
Where: Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkins, La Jolla, CA
Cost: Free admission

This family-owned La Jolla pumpkin patch has been operating since 2010 and is one of the best pumpkin destinations in San Diego County. 

Offering pumpkin patches, games, trick-or-treating, face painting, and lots of Jack-O-Lantern-themed fun, the folks at Mr. Jack’s strive to offer the best of Halloween without breaking the bank.

Helen Woodward Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Days

When: Select dates throughout October
Where: Helen Woodward Animal Center, Rancho Santa Fe, CA
Cost: Free admission

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Family Halloween Harvest Festival is one of the best free Halloween events in San Diego for toddlers! 

Bring your little ghouls and goblins dressed in their costumes for some hands-on critter interactions. 

Be ready to get up close and personal with creatures. There will be lots of crafts, a mini pumpkin station, pumpkin picking, face painting, treats, and a Mystery Midnight Laboratory for those adventurous ones among us.

Carlsbad Strawberry Company: Pumpkin Patch & Haunted Corn Maze

When: throughout September & October
Where: Carlsbad Strawberry Company & Pumpkin Patch, Carlsbad, CA
Cost: $5

Each year, the Carlsbad Strawberry Company puts on a Halloween spooktacular with a corn maze, a pumpkin patch, lots of Halloween decorations for photo ops, and more family-friendly fun. 

Plus, it’s great to support local businesses this time of year!


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Taylor Neal

Taylor is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, yoga instructor and frontline worker who spends most of her time in her van (Vannigan) winding through the coastal and mountain roads of California where she feels most at home. From navigating the realities of van-life to the fluctuations in diverse climates and landscapes, Taylor is excited to bring everything she’s learned about California to fellow wanderers seeking beauty and adventure.


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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.

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