Rest assured that there are plenty of things to do in San Diego with kids for Halloween from neighborhood events to big extravaganzas at local attractions. Here are some highlights for Halloween in San Diego, updated for 2019.
If I’ve seen discounted tickets for any of these events, I’ve mentioned where here. And, as new family events become announced, I’ll add them.
Keep in mind that kids go free to many San Diego attractions in the month of October. Some of the Kids Free tickets do not grant entry to additional Halloween events so be sure to read the terms and conditions.
Visit a Pumpkin Station
Del Mar Pumpkin Station opens on September 27. However, there are multiple locations spread across the county including Mission Valley, National City, and El Cajon, as well as two farms: one in Bonita and the other in Rancho Bernardo.
In addition to pumpkins in all shapes and sizes, Pumpkin Stations offer rides, petting zoos, inflatable houses and more to entertain kids.
- Times, opening dates and hours vary by location
- Del Mar Pumpkin Station open Sunday to Thursday 9 a.m.–7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m.–9 p.m.
- Admission and parking is FREE. But, like many county fairs, each of the attractions require tickets to ride/play. Individual tickets are $3.75. Ticket packages are also available.
Tips for buying tickets: Pumpkin Stations are free to enter but you’ll need tickets for rides and activities. Tickets can be bought at the pumpkin stations, but are not available for purchase online. Visit their website to download a coupon for a free train ride.
Brick-or-Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND
This annual Halloween event includes live entertainment, character meet-and-greets, costume contests, rides, and giant LEGO Halloween models. Kids can safely trick-or-treat at Treat Stations throughout the park with almost one million pieces of candy, attend the Heartlake City Fall Festival with Pumpkin Patch Build, go on the Ghost Cruise, or attend the AstroBash Dance Party. A special ticket to LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights in addition to park admission is required. Spend the night at the LEGOLAND Hotel for added fun.
- Saturday, September 28, and every Saturday in October (5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th)
- 5 p.m.– 9 p.m.
- A special ticket is required. See website for details.
Tips for buying LEGOLAND California tickets: October is Kids Free San Diego so general admission to the park is free for one child per paid adult. Take advantage of this offer directly at LEGOLAND California or even better at a discount through aRes Travel (print and go straight to the gate). Everyone in your party (free or not) will need an additional ticket to Brick-or-Treat. Upgrade Kids Free Tickets at LEGOLAND to include Brick-or-Treat.
Haunted Aquarium at Birch Aquarium
Birch Aquarium opens in the evening for a special Halloween party featuring live music and dancing with Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters, games, storytime, tricky treats and an opportunity to make seaweed slime in the special slime lab.
Get up close and personal with a huge Humbolt squid and much more. Guests of Haunted Aquarium will also be able to learn about animals that glow in the dark and create their own seaweed slime to take home.
New this year, guests will be invited to decorate their own recycled plastic into ghoulish decor on October 19 and 20 as part of the “Reduce, Reuse, Repumpkin” community event ahead of Haunted Aquarium.
Splash! Cafe will serve special Halloween entrees and treats. Those dressed in a family-friendly costume will receive a prize. This event is recommended for kids ages 2 and up.
- Friday, October 25, 26, and 27
- 6 p.m.–9 p.m.
- Pre-sale $20 for Birch Aquarium members, $25 for nonmembers, or $30 at the door
Birch Aquarium ticket tips: Kids go free to Birch Aquarium during the day with a paid adult in October. You will need to download an online coupon from the San Diego Museum Council to take advantage of this offer, which also applies to other San Diego museums.
See also: Guide to Birch Aquarium at Scripps
SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular Weekends
Join SeaWorld San Diego on weekends in late September and October for their annual Halloween Spooktacular Weekends featuring family-friendly Halloween dance parties, special live shows (Clyde & Seamore’s Big Halloween Bash at Sea Lion and Otter Stadium and Sesame Street Halloween Parade), trick-or-treating, Dia de los Muertos themed area, new Fall festival Hay Maze, and more.
In keeping with SeaWorld’s policy to protect our seas, please bring your own reusable bag or bucket for trick-or-treating. Or, you may purchase a reusable one at the park for $1.99.
- Weekends starting September 21 thru October 27
- Trick-or-Treat hours: 2:30 p.m.–Park Close.
- Cost is included with park admission
Tips for buying SeaWorld San Diego tickets: SeaWorld San Diego is currently having a killer single day ticket deal on weekday visits through September 29 (about $36 off per weekday ticket, and $20 on any day tickets). They are also participating in Kids Free October so in addition to free admission for kids with a paid adult holding a qualifying ticket, kids will also be able to experience quite a few special programs for free. They do charge a $9.99 service fee per order so pricing is usually better on Kids Free and other tickets through aRes Travel.
Balboa Park Halloween Family Day
Balboa Park and its participating museums are treating families to free admission for kids 12 and under (with a paying adult), as well as free craft projects for kids, Day of the Dead-themed activities, a costume parade, spooky surprises and more. They also typically drop a pumpkin from the roof of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Learn more about Balboa Park Halloween Family Day.
- Saturday, October 26, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
- Free to enter the event; Museum tickets are additional
Balboa Park tips: For San Diego residents, the Balboa Park Explorer pass is quite a deal at $229 per family, per year. We have it and think it’s a great value.
Balboa Park Haunted Trail
Not for kids under 10 (or the faint of heart), this outdoor haunted trail is a mile of terror including an additional maze called “The eXperiment” where for five extra bones you can experience over 3500 square feet of freak-infested terror. Enter the Haunted Trail at your own risk.
- Starting September 27, and running every night except Mondays and Tuesdays, and then daily (except Mondays) from October 16 — October 31. See the online calendar.
- Opening and closing times vary day-to-day, but it typically opens at either 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. and typically ends at 10:30 or 11 p.m. See the online calendar for daily times.
- Friday/Saturday general admission is $27.99 and $24.99 on other days of the week; cash only at the gate but also available online; VIP admission (i.e. Fastpass upgrade) starts at $34.99
- Balboa Park at 6th and Juniper
- $8 off opening night tickets!
Haunted Trail ticket tips: Buy tickets online to skip the ticket queue.
Belmont Park’s Beachside Fall Fest
Head to Belmont Park for Beachside Fall Fest (formerly known as BOOmont Park) family fun every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October, as well as Halloween night, after 5 p.m.
Events include free trick-or-treating (starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends when supplies run out), festive-themed rides and attractions like the Giant Dipper, Tiki Town Mini Golf and Laser Tag; plus, the new fall Hay Maze and two costume contests.
- Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October, as well as Halloween night
- 5 p.m. to close.
- Free to enter, though some activities have additional costs
Belmont Park ticket tips: There usually some sort of Groupon available for Belmont Park and you can register for Kids Free October deals by becoming a Belmont Park Insider. Parking is also free, but spaces can fill up.
See also: Things to Do at Belmont Park
Pillage the Village in La Jolla
We attend this community event every year. On Thursday afternoon, October 31, come down to the Village of La Jolla to trick-or-treat at local businesses between 3–6 p.m. It is a lot of fun and also gives parents the opportunity to do some La Jolla shopping along the way.
You can RSVP for the event, which helps merchants know how many people to expect. However, it’s not required.
La Jolla Recreation Center’s Halloween Carnival
The La Jolla Rec Center will host a Halloween Carnival celebration complete with games, jumpers, a costume contest (judged by age group) and food on Saturday, October 26, 1–4 p.m. Wristbands are $5.
Trick-Or-Treat on India Street
Families may enjoy fun and safe trick-or-treating as businesses in Little Italy give out candy and Halloween treats.
The event will kick off in the Piazza della Famiglia with Halloween décor, music, and some trick-or-treating where little ghouls, witches, and goblins can walk from door to door along historic India street to get delicious Halloween treats and candy from the local businesses that are taking part in the event.
- Friday, October 25, 5:30—7:30 p.m.
- Maps of participating businesses will be available at the Piazza della Famiglia.
Witching Hour at the Westgate
This year, The Westgate Hotel will be home to the annual witching season tradition. The first-ever Witches of Westgate Afternoon Tea will take place on Saturday, October 19, from 2:30–5 p.m. in the Versailles Ballroom.
The afternoon tea features house-made pastries, savory tea sandwiches, gourmet teas, kid-friendly beverages, and a host of treats with a distinctly wicked twist. Be sure to dress for the costume contest and witch cackling competition.
Helen Woodward Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Day
Join Helen Woodward Animal Center and their creepiest critters for animal encounters, trick-or-treat stations, entry into their Eerie Estate, face painting, crafts, a magical maze, and a mini pumpkin patch.
They’ll also have a cakewalk, hot cider, scavenger hunt and more.
This one is for the older kids who will be thrilled by creepy dolls, a clown subway, a Zombie infested alley, a torture temple, and more terrifying things. The Haunted Hotel has been lauded as one of the best haunted houses in the nation. It is not recommended for children under the age of 10.
- October 4– November 2 (closed most Mondays and Tuesdays)
- Open evenings. Times vary by day, but it’s open from 6:30 or 7 p.m.–10:30 or 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Check times on the daily schedule.
- General admission is $24.99 (cash only at the door); $39.99 for a VIP ticket (i.e. Fastpass upgrade).
- $5 off coupons are available at Goodwill
The Scream Zone
Head over to Del Mar Scaregrounds for the county’s largest haunted experience that is considered among the goriest and scariest fright fests in Southern California.
So, as you can imagine, the Scream Zone is definitely not for kids under the age of 10 (perhaps more suited for teens, actually, as it is scary). But those brave enough to attend will love training to survive the Running Dead obstacle course in addition to horrifying House of Horror, the dizzying KarnEvil, and the Haunted Hayride.
- Select nights September 27–November 2. See the online calendar for specific dates. Not open Mondays, and most Tuesdays.
- Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. to midnight, Sundays–Thursdays, 7–11 p.m.
- Parking at the Scream Zone is free.
- 1/2 off the opening night.
- $5 off coupons are available at Goodwill.
Haunted Tales Aboard the Star of India
Is the Star of India haunted? The Maritime Museum of San Diego presents lantern-led, Halloween-themed storytelling tours aboard the Star of India for two nights only, October 19 and October 26, starting at 6 p.m. and running every 15 minutes until the last tour starts at 7:30 p.m.
- Price is included with paid admission to the Maritime Museum of San Diego (Trusted Tours has slightly discounted tickets)
Haunted Tales ticket tips: Two kids (ages 12 and under) go free to the Maritime Museum of San Diego with a paid adult in October. You will need to download an online coupon from the San Diego Museum Council and follow its instructions to take advantage of this offer. Kids Free October Passes though are not valid for Haunted Tales (both adults and children will need valid general admission tickets to attend).
October & Halloween at the Whaley House
San Diego’s real-life haunted house (or so they say) is hosting some special Halloween events. Though some are late-night ghost hunts with museum staff and San Diego Ghost Hunters, others occur at more kid-friendly hours.
But, since kids are in the mood for haunts I would say head on over to the museum at any time in October to learn a little about San Diego history. Currently, only details about their extended October hours are available. Have a look at the Whaley House October & Halloween Event Schedule.
What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego with kids during Halloween season?
*Top photo is courtesy of LEGOLAND California Resort