The list of things to do in San Diego with kids for Halloween is a much longer list than it was last year. In fact, I dare say that activities are up and running normally, though with enhanced health and safety measures in place.

Some of these Halloween events in San Diego are also on my list of San Diego fall events. Plus, keep in mind that October is Kids Free San Diego where kids go free to many San Diego attractions when adults hold qualifying tickets (restrictions apply).

This means that many of the below activities are free for kids of certain ages while others may require additional admission.

You can save on tickets, tours, and hotels through my affiliations. If you make purchases through the links in this post, I may be compensated.


1. San Diego Zoo HalGLOWeen

San Diego Zoo Halloween festivities include HalGLOWeen, named for the glow-in-the-dark decor and entertainment that guests will enjoy Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays from October 1–31.

Kids ages 11 and under are encouraged to wear costumes. There will also be a DJ spinning tunes, a bubble dance party, and much more. Admission is included with San Diego Zoo tickets.

KIDS FREE AT THE ZOO AND SAFARI PARK

One paid adult can take up to 10 kids ages 11 and under for free to both parks. The adult needs to hold a qualifying ticket, which I have at a discount below.

I have an exclusive San Diego Zoo tickets promo code and a San Diego Zoo Safari Park ticket promo code that you can access with password lajollamom. These tickets are also eligible for Kids Free October so you can save even more!


2. Visit a Pumpkin Station

A little girl in rows of pumpkins at Del Mar's Pumpkin Station.
My daughter at a Pumpkin Station.

Some Pumpkin Station locations will be open this year! In addition to pumpkins in all shapes and sizes, Pumpkin Stations offer additional activities to entertain kids during a visit. There are giant slides, an antique carousel, a swing ride, and a train ride to name a few. Pumpkin Stations are open daily through October 31.

  • 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 $4.00. 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.


3. Haunted Aquarium at Birch Aquarium

A little boy in a fireman costume looks into a tank of fish at Birch Aquarium.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps | La Jolla CA | www.aquarium.ucsd.edu

Kids all over San Diego look forward to the annual Haunted Aquarium Halloween celebration at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. This year, the event will run October 22, 23, and 24, 2021 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Fun, educational activities geared toward kids ages 2 to 10 include meeting slimy sea creatures. You’ll be able to perform some spooky science experiments and enjoy some sea-themed Halloween decor, too. Reservations are required. Ocean-themed costumed are encouraged!

See also: Guide to Birch Aquarium at Scripps


4. SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular and Howl-O-Scream Weekends

A little girl in a witch costume wearing a mask views a dolphin through glass at SeaWorld San Diego Spooktacular
Photo courtesy of SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego has introduced the all-new Howl-O-Scream, an “intense horror-filled haunt.” Howl-O-Scream will be the nighttime version of their more family-friendly Spooktacular, which is still going to be offered during daylight hours. But beware, once the sun goes down. SeaWorld San Diego will transform into a terrifying playland, intended for mature audiences. Tickets will be priced separately at $39.99, from your regular admission park tickets.

For a family-friendly Halloween celebration, you can still join SeaWorld San Diego on weekends in late September and October for their annual Halloween Spooktacular. They will feature Halloween dance parties, trick-or-treating, fun Halloween decorations, and more. The Spooktacular will also host a Pumpkin Hunt. Guests will be able to purchase a special map that allows you to search for SeaWorld animal-themed pumpkins for an exclusive Halloween prize.

Visit Friday–Sunday through October 31. Reservations are required. I have tips for how to buy SeaWorld San Diego tickets but the two best places are through SeaWorld and aRes Travel. There are discounts on regular admission but also for Howl-O-Scream. You’ll want to take a look also at the Kids Free tickets!


5. Belmont Park Fall Fest

Fall Fest begins at Belmont Park on October 1! The dining outlets around Belmont Park get into the fall spirit with pumpkin-spiced coffee at Draft Coffee and Oktoberfest beer at Draft. Not to mention candy apples at Sweet Shoppe — to name just a few of the many festive treats.

You’ll also be able to pick out your pumpkin at Mr. Jack O Lanterns Pumpkin Patch seven days a week. Plus, free trick-or-treating happens every Sunday at 5 p.m. with a special Trunk or Treat event at 5 p.m. on Saturday October, 30.

It’s free to enter Belmont Park, but you’ll pay for activities such as rides, mini golf, and the arcade. Parking is free also.

See also: Things to Do at Belmont Park


6. Mr. Jack-O-Lantern’s Pumpkin Patch

Come to La Jolla to pick out your pumpkin at another family-owned Mr. Jack-O-Lantern’s Pumpkin patch.

They also sell pumpkin carving and pumpkin decorating kits. Kids can take a spin around the spooky maze and have fun in the bounce house. Parking and admission is free.


7. Old Town Trolley Ghost and Gravestone Tours

See the spookier side of San Diego, perhaps with older kids, on one of the popular Old Town Trolley Ghost and Gravestone Tours.

You’ll hop on board the “Trolley of the Doomed” to learn about some of the city’s famous ghosts and visit some spookier sites at night like El Campo Santo cemetery in Old Town San Diego.


8. LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Special Activities
Photo is courtesy of LEGOLAND California

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.

  • Every Saturday in October (2, 9, 16, 23, 30)
  • All day event, with activities beginning at 3 pm.
  • 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.


9. Ghost Roasts at Hotel del Coronado

Did you know that Hotel del Coronado is one of the haunted hotels in San Diego? You don’t need to stay overnight in order to book one of their roasts, which is a fun beach activity that I recommend. In addition to beach s’mores roasted on a private fire pit set up for your group, you’ll receive a paranormal visit from Kate Morgan (the hotel’s resident ghost) to hear her story during Ghost Roasts.

Book them for Saturdays in October (9, 16, 23 & 30) at 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. The cost starts at $230 per person but they have a menu of festive add-ons from appetizers to cocktails.

You’ll also be able to participate in Halloween Pumpkin carving on Oct 1, 9, 16, 23 & 30 — $25. Select your pumpkin from the beachfront pumpkin patch.

And don’t miss the Haunted Happenings tours happening nightly in October and November where you’ll learn the story of Kate Morgan.

Check the full list of Hotel del Coronado Halloween activities for more details.


10. Carlsbad Strawberry Company Pumpkin Patch

Not only can you pick out your pumpkin at this fun North County spot, but guests can explore a corn maze, take tractor rides, and even shoot apples at speeds of 100 mph out of an apple canon.

Teens may enjoy the Haunted Corn Maze “Field of Screams” on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7–10 p.m. for the month of October. Admission is $5 and kids ages 5 and under are free.

The Pumpkin Patch is open 7 days a week through November 8 from 9 a.m.–7 p.m. and a bit later on Friday and Saturdays in October for the Haunted Corn Maze. Learn more about the Carlsbad Strawberry Company’s Halloween events.


11. 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 24, 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 $24.99 on other days of the week; cash only at the gate but also available online; VIP admission (i.e. Fast Pass upgrade) starts at $34.99
  • Balboa Park and Juniper at Marston Point

Haunted Trail ticket tips: Buy tickets online to skip the ticket queue.


12. Pillage the Village in La Jolla

We attend this community event every year. On Friday afternoon, October 29, 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.

Pillage the Village will also have a “Dog-o-Ween” costume party and a Costume Drive for children in need. Bring new costumes toys, crafts, or candy at one of the following locations between now and October 5.

  • Pacific Sotheby’s – 1111 Prospect St.
  • Life Time – 1055 Wall St.
  • La Valencia – 1132 Prospect St.
  • Charleston Shoes – 7852 Girard Ave.

Pick up treat bags on the day of Pillage the Village at REBA (908 Kline Street).


13. 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. 


14. Witching Hour at the Westgate

This year, The Westgate Hotel will be home to the annual witching season tradition. Witches of Westgate Afternoon Tea will take place on Saturdays and Sundays in October from 2:30–5 p.m. in the Versailles Ballroom. Price is $85/adult (includes a glass of sparkling wine) and $60 for kids ages 4–12. Ages 3 and under are free.

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.


15. Helen Woodward Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Days

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. You’ll need to register in advance in order to attend.


16. Haunted Hotel

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 1–31 (closed most Mondays and Tuesdays)
  • Open evenings. Times vary by day, but it’s open from 7 p.m.–10:00 or 11 p.m. on most nights. Check times on the daily schedule.
  • General admission is $24.99 (cash only at the door); a Timed Ticket is $29.99 and you’ll pay $39.99 for a VIP ticket (i.e. Fast Pass upgrade).
  • $5 off coupons are available at Goodwill

 What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego with kids during the Halloween season?

See also: 55 Best Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

*Top photo is courtesy of LEGOLAND California Resort

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3 Comments

  1. We are having a halloween Maze for preschool age children at

    3153 Idlewild Way.

    Can I email you info about our halloween event

    Thank you,
    Melanie Smith
    858-248-2039

  2. Hello,

    The education department at Helen Woodward Animal Center (in Rancho Santa Fe) is putting on a Halloween event that is fun for the whole family on 10/29. I would love to be included in this article or somewhere on your website. May I send you more information?