There are always quite a few things to do in San Diego with kids for Halloween. Themed events and places to go are abundant around Halloween in San Diego.
Some of these San Diego Halloween events are also on my list of San Diego fall events. Remember 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 some links in this post, I may be compensated. Our editorial guidelines.
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 on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in October, starting at 5 p.m.
Kids ages 11 and under get free entry and are encouraged to wear costumes. The zoo comes alive in a whole different light (literally) with two glow-in-the-dark acrobatic shows, while the Skeleton Band will be rocking on the Front Street Stage.
There are hooping contests, a bubble dance party, and interactive games for the kids with Dr. Zoolittle. And beware, The Boo Crew scarecrow stilt walkers might just sneak up on you. Admission is included with San Diego Zoo tickets.
KIDS FREE AT THE ZOO AND SAFARI PARKOne paid adult can take up to five 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.
GET MY EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS — BETTER THAN BLACK FRIDAY!
Check for unpublished deeper savings on tickets through my partnership with aRes Travel, an authorized San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance ticket seller. These are better than any Black Friday promo code you’ll see because my price includes taxes and fees.
2. Visit a Pumpkin Station
San Diego has multiple pumpkin patches open for you to explore with your kids. They all vary in size, cost, and detail. Some are like mini carnivals, and some have giant hay mazes. In true San Diego fashion, many pumpkin patches are dog-friendly!
Pumpkin Stations are among the most popular, conveniently located centrally at places like Mission Valley Target and just off of the I-5 freeway in Del Mar. The list of locations includes:
- Del Mar
- Rancho Bernardo (Farm)
- Mission Valley
- National City (Plaza Bonita)
- Bonita (Farm)
Pumpkin Stations are free to enter, and parking is also free, but you’ll need tickets for rides and activities. Tickets can be bought at the Pumpkin Stations but are unavailable online. Visit their website.
3. Visit Carlsbad Strawberry Company Pumpkin Patch
Another favorite San Diego Halloween event of ours is the 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, pet the rabbits, and visit the venue’s beloved sheep and goats. These four attractions are in addition to the $10 per person entrance fee, and children under 5 enter free.
Teens may enjoy the Haunted Corn Maze on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7–10 p.m. for the month of October. The opening night for this attraction is October 6, and tickets cost from $25 per person.
The Pumpkin Patch is open seven days a week from now through November 5 from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. From October 6, Fridays and Saturdays stay open until 10 p.m. for the Haunted Corn Maze. Learn more about the Carlsbad Strawberry Company’s Halloween event.
4. SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular and Howl-O-Scream Weekends
SeaWorld San Diego has brought back Howl-O-Scream, an “intense horror-filled haunt.” Howl-O-Scream will be the nighttime version of their more family-friendly Spooktacular, 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 are priced separately from $39.99, in addition to the regular admission park tickets.
It’s a little too spooky for your tiniest tadpoles. Still, it isn’t as scary as, say, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. Use discretion when planning your SeaWorld San Diego trip during Halloween.
For a family-friendly Halloween celebration, join SeaWorld San Diego on Saturdays and Sundays 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 can purchase a special map that allows them to search for SeaWorld animal-themed pumpkins for an exclusive Halloween prize.
Visit Friday–Sunday through October 29. The Halloween Spooktacular is included with the regular park admission. 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 is in full swing at Belmont Park San Diego! One of the most popular San Diego attractions, Belmont Park, ensures its array of dining outlets get into the fall spirit with Caramel Apple Spiced Funnel Cake at Belmonty’s Burgers and seasonal beer at Draft.
Not to mention Spooky Cotton Candy and Churros at Midway Snacks — to name just a few of the many festive treats.
There’s various live music on weekends throughout the festival, or check out the Trunk or Treat Classic Car Show on October 29. There’s face painting and glitter tattoos for the kids, and plenty of activities and games included with this year’s new Pumpkin Pass.
Free trick-or-treating happens every Sunday at the festival, and you can dive for pumpkins at the Plunge Pool on select dates.
The pool also hosts the annual Glow N Float Pumpkin Patch on October 27 from 5:30–8 p.m., where you can swim among hundreds of floating pumpkins or try out the Aqua Jungle, a fun floating obstacle course. It’s a great event for the whole family, and don’t forget your Halloween costume for when you’ve dried off.
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. Tickets for the Glow N Float Pumpkin Patch event start from $20. Fall Fest runs through October 31.
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.
Fear not if you cannot make it to the pumpkin patch but live in the area. They process online orders and deliver locally.
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 are free. The event runs from October 1–31.
7. Old Town Trolley Ghost and Gravestone Tours
See the spookier side of San Diego and travel back in time to learn about dubious local legends 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.
You’ll go by the infamous Whaley House, which is said by many to be haunted, and Pioneer Park to check for paranormal activity.
The actors love getting into character for these tours. They are educational but also super spooky. Since many of these stories are based on the truth, it’s definitely important to approach these tours with caution when it comes to younger children. The tour company recommends the tour for kids 13 years and over.
8. LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights
This annual Halloween event includes live entertainment, character meet-and-greets, costume contests, rides, and giant LEGO Halloween models.
At LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights, kids can safely trick-or-treat at Treat Stations throughout the park with almost one million pieces of candy and attend the Monster Party with live entertainment, a costume contest, and more.
Spend the night at the LEGOLAND Hotel for added fun. If you stay at the hotel on days that include the Brick-or-Treat days below, the event is included in the room price.
- Every Saturday and Sunday in October (7–8, 14–15, 20–21, 28–29)
- All-day event, with activities beginning at 2 p.m.
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. However, you do need admission that covers Brick-or-Treat and the kids’ free tickets do not. Luckily we do have discounted LEGOLAND tickets with Brick or Treat here!
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 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 read ghost stories and enjoy a supernatural flair.
You can book a Ghost Roast on any night between October 1 – 31, with either a 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. option. The cost starts at $210 per fire pit and 10 people max are permitted around each pit.
You’ll also be able to participate in Halloween Pumpkin carving on Oct 14, 21, 28–30, from 5 p.m. onwards. The cost is $30 per person, and you select your pumpkin from the beachfront pumpkin patch.
And don’t miss the Haunted Happenings tours happening nightly from now through December 31, where you’ll learn the story of Kate Morgan, the ghost who allegedly haunts the hotel. Children have to be 12+ and tickets cost $35.
Older kids can also tag along for some ghoulish fun at Movies on the Beach on October 16 (Hocus Pocus) & October 30 (Beetlejuice). The movie starts promptly at 7:30. Doors open at 7, so try to show up a little earlier to secure a good spot. Check the full list of Hotel del Coronado Halloween activities for more details.
10. The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular At Sesame Place
Sesame Place San Diego is a newer SeaWorld theme park featuring all of your favorite Sesame Street residents. The Count, the host of the Halloween Spooktacular, encourages you and your family to come in costume for a spooky costume contest, trick-or-treating, themed live shows, a Halloween party, and so much more.
There’s even a fully interactive Spot-the-Ghost Scavenger Hunt and themed photo opportunities with your favorite Sesame Street characters.
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 you can experience over 3500 square feet of freak-infested terror.
Enter the Haunted Trail at your own risk and encounter Little Dead Rising Hood, a ghoul bus full of zombie prisoners, and the possessed Room 666 in the Haunted Hotel, among others. Good luck!
- Starting September 22, and running every night except Mondays and Tuesdays until October 22, then daily from October 24–31. See the online calendar.
- Opening and closing times vary daily, but it typically opens at 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. and typically ends at 10:00, 10:30, or 11 p.m. See the online calendar for daily times.
- Timed general admission tickets start at $32.99 and are date specific; cash only at the gate, but it’s highly advisable to book online; Scream Pass admission (express line upgrade) starts at $47.99
- The Experiment Maze & Trail is included in the admission ticket
- Located at Balboa Park and Juniper at Marston Point.
Haunted Trail ticket tips: Buy tickets online to skip the ticket queue.
12. Trick-or-Treating in La Jolla (TBD)
We attend this community event every year. On a select date near Halloween (the 2023 date and time is TBD), come down to the Village of La Jolla to trick-or-treat at local businesses in the late afternoon. The stores that take part display black and orange balloons so families know where they can get goodies.
It is a lot of fun and also allows parents to do some La Jolla shopping along the way. This event is formerly known as Pillage the Village.
13. Trick-Or-Treat on India Street
Families can head to San Diego’s famed Little Italy for a fun trick-or-treating option. The event will kick off at the beautiful Piazza della Famiglia town square, where you can pick up a map of local businesses participating in the fun.
Enjoy Halloween décor and music along the streets as your little ghouls, witches, and goblins walk door to door along historic India Street to collect delicious Halloween treats and candy.
- Sunday, October 29, 5:30–7:30 p.m.
- Maps businesses taking part will be available at the Piazza della Famiglia.
14. Helen Woodward Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Festival
Join Helen Woodward Animal Center and their creepiest critters for animal encounters, trick-or-treat stations, entry into their Spooky Vet Clinic, 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 to attend.
- October 14, 21, 28, & 29, from 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
- Tickets cost $13.75 per child and $7 for adults
- A great event for all ages, but the shelter especially recommends it for toddlers and elementary school-age children
15. The Scream Zone at Del Mar
This one definitely isn’t for the faint hearted and isn’t recommended for children under the age of 10. But if your tweens or teens don’t scare easily, you could head to the Trifecta of Terror at the Del Mar ‘Scaregrounds,’ where three main haunts may just scare the wits out of you.
At the Labyrinth Manor, descend the Helevator to an underground labyrinth of catacombs before attempting to escape supernatural beings via the spirit-filled graveyard.
Over at the Stars of the Silver ‘Scream’ haunt, classic horror characters, including Freddy and Jason, come to life. Or you can take a ride in The Haunted Hayride. But beware, you may just find yourself sitting among Hillbillies turned KILL-billies and dodging killer clowns.
Brand new for 2023, the Midway Madness is a Halloween-themed carnival where you can try your hand at Axe Throwing, Zombie Archery, or simply blast zombies at their virtual reality attraction. The Midway also features a variety of food options and themed beverages.
- Select evenings from October 5–31 (check their website for off-days and hours)
- Open evenings only. Timed entry starts at 7 p.m. on most nights. Check times on the daily schedule.
- Timed Ticket admission starts at $32.99, and a Scream Pass (i.e. express line) starts at $47.99.
- Parking at the Fairgrounds costs $15
- Because of strobe lights and high-impact scary attractions, pregnant women will not be admitted.
What is your favorite thing to do in San Diego with kids during the Halloween season?
See also: Best Things to Do in San Diego with Kids
*Top photo is courtesy of LEGOLAND California Resort