18 Things to Do in San Diego with Kids to Celebrate Halloween
San Diego attractions are offering loads of ghoulish family fun.
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 2017.
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. And, keep in mind that kids go free to many San Diego attractions in the month of October.
Table of Contents
- Visit a Pumpkin Station
- Brick or Treat Party Nights at LEGOLAND
- Haunted Birch Aquarium
- SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular
- Balboa Park Halloween Family Day
- Balboa Park Haunted Trail
- BOOmont Park at Belmont Park
- Boulevard Boo! Parade
- Pillage the Village in La Jolla
- La Jolla Recreation Center’s Halloween Carnival
- La Jolla Shores FALL FEST
- Trick-Or-Treat on India Street
- Helen Woodward Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Day
- Haunted Hotel
- The Scream Zone
- Haunted Tales Aboard the Star of India
- October & Halloween at the Whaley House
Visit a Pumpkin Station
Believe it or not, Del Mar Pumpkin Station opens on September 29. However, there are multiple locations spread across the county including 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 9:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
- Individual tickets are $3.50. Ticket packages are also available.
Tips for buying tickets: 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 1 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 Brick-or-Treat Party Nights in addition to park admission is required. Spend the night at the LEGOLAND Hotel for added fun.
- Saturday, September 30, and every Saturday in October (7th, 14th, 21st and 28th)
- 5:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
- Special ticket is required. See website for details.
Tips for buying LEGOLAND California tickets: October is Kids Free San Diego so general admission for kids is free with a paid adult. You can only take advantage of this offer directly through LEGOLAND California. Everyone in your party (free or not) will need an additional ticket to Brick-or-Treat.
Haunted Birch Aquarium
The Birch Aquarium opens in the evening for a special Halloween party featuring live music and dancing with Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters, games, story time, tricky treats and an opportunity to make slime in the special slime lab. Get up close and personal with a huge Humbolt squid! 3D microscope! Guests of Haunted Birch Aquarium also be able to learn about animals that glow in the dark. 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 20 and Saturday, October 21
- 6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m.
- Pre-sale $13.50 for Birch Aquarium members, $18.50 for non-members, or $20 at the door
Birch Aquarium ticket tips: Kids go free to Birch Aquarium 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.
SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular
Join SeaWorld on weekends in late September and October for their annual Halloween Spooktacular featuring family-friendly Halloween dance parties, special live shows (Clyde & Seamore’s Big Halloween Bash at Sea Lion and Otter Stadium and Sesame Street’s Who Said Boo? at Mission Bay Theater), trick-or-treating, Dia de los Muertos themed area, 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 one at the park for 99 cents.
- September 23, 24, 30, and October 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29
- Park hours: 10 a.m–9:00 p.m. on Saturdays; 10 AM – 6 PM on Sundays thru October 1, and 10 AM- 7 PM on all other Sundays in October
- Cost is included with park admission
Tips for buying SeaWorld tickets: SeaWorld is currently having a killer single day ticket deal on weekday visits through September 29 (about $35 off per ticket). They are also participating in Kids Free October so in addition to free admission for kids with a paid adult, kids will also be able to experience quite a few special programs for free. Check SeaWorld’s Kids Free October offers.
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, 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 28, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 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.
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 29, and running every night except Mondays and Tuesdays, and then daily from October 18–October 31 (except Monday, October 23)
- 7:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m. (opens at 6:30 p.m. on some days)
- $25, general admission; cash only at the gate but also available online; $10 – $15 extra for Fastpass upgrade
- Balboa Park at 6th and Juniper
- $5 off opening night tickets
Haunted Trail ticket tips: Buy tickets online to skip the ticket queue. A $5 coupon is available at participating San Diego-area Wendy’s restaurants.
BOOmont Park at Belmont Park
Head to Belmont Park for BOOmont Park family fun every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October, as well as Halloween night, after 5:00 p.m. Events include free trick-or-treating (6:30–7:30 p.m.), Zombie Laser Tag, pumpkin painting, live performances, costume contests, kids’ crafts (every Sunday 5:00- 7:00 p.m.), and more.
- Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October, as well as Halloween night
- 5:00 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.
Boulevard Boo! Parade
San Diego’s only Halloween parade happens in the College Area business district with ghoulish floats, unique vintage cars, costume characters, bands and more. Limited grandstand seating will be available this year as well.
- Saturday, October 28
- Starts at 10:00 a.m.
- Free to watch
Pillage the Village in La Jolla
We attend this community event every year. Come down to the Village of La Jolla to trick-or-treat at local businesses. It is a lot fun! Details for this now-annual event have not yet been released. I’ll be sure to keep you posted if Pillage the Village is happening.
- Tuesday, October 31, 3:00–6:00 p.m.
La Jolla Recreation Center’s Halloween Carnival
The La Jolla Rec Center will host a Halloween celebration complete with games, jumpers, a costume contest (judged by age group) and food.
- Saturday, October 28, 1:00–4:00 p.m.
La Jolla Shores FALL FEST
The 10th annual FALL FEST on Avenida de la Playa will be an afternoon of fun, good food and live music presented by the La Jolla Shores Business Association. Kids and adults are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes in the evening. Restaurants such as Galaxy Taco, Osteria Romantica, Barbarella, ShoreRider, Marine Room and Piatti will offer a sample of their delicious menus. Guests will also receive goodies from the surf shops, boutiques and businesses on the street. Tickets are available for purchase at: Surf Diva Surf Boutique, Ocean Girl Neighbor Savor and on lajollashoresfallfest.com.
- Sunday, October 15, 1:00—4:00 p.m. (cost is $10 online or $15 at the door)
Trick-Or-Treat on India Street
Urban families may enjoy fun and safe trick-or-treating as businesses along historic India Street in Little Italy give out candy and Halloween treats.
- Friday, October 27, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
- Maps of participating businesses will be available at the Piazza Basilone, on the corner of India Street and West Fir Street.
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 cake walk, hot cider, scavenger hunt and more.
- Sunday, October 29, 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
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 been lauded as one of the best haunted houses in the nation. It is not recommended for children under the age of 10.
- Friday, September 22–Tuesday, October 31 (closed most Mondays and Tuesdays)
- Open evenings. Times vary by day, but open 6:00 p.m.–1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights
- General admission is $19 (cash only at the door), $10 extra for a Fastpass upgrade
The Scream Zone
Head over to Del Mar Scaregrounds for a 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.
- Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30; October 5–8, 11–15, and 18–31 (excluding only Monday, October 23)
- Fridays and Saturdays, 7:00 p.m. to midnight, Sundays-Thursdays, 7:00 p.m.- 11:00 p.m.
- Parking at the Scream Zone is free
Scream Zone ticket tips: Tickets are half-off opening night. You can buy discounted tickets for other days on Goldstar.
Haunted Tales Aboard the Star of India
Is the Star of India haunted? The Maritime Museum presents lantern led, Halloween-themed storytelling tours aboard the Star of India for two nights only, October 21 and October 28, starting at 6:00 p.m. and running every 15 minutes until the last tour starts at 9: 15 p.m.
- Price is included with paid admission to the Maritime Museum (adults $13, seniors’ and kids’ prices are lower)
- Passes not valid for Haunted Tales
Haunted Tales ticket tips: Kids go free to the Maritime Museum 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.
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. Have a look at the Whaley House October & Halloween Event Schedule.
- Whaley House Ghost Hunting Tours: October 13, 14, 20, and 21. Tickets are $50 per person; 10:30 p.m.–midnight
- October 15: The Spectre of Edgar Allen Poe visits the Whaley House; $25 per person; 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
- October 25: Three scary movies from the silent age of cinema are screened at the Whaley House for one night only (6:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.); $15 per film or all three for $40.
- October 31: Halloween at the Whaley House, including period lighting and tales of the paranormal. Tickets are $15 per person.
What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego with kids during Halloween season?
*Top photo is courtesy of LEGOLAND California Resort