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 2018.
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 Go 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 28. 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.
- Individual tickets are $3.50. 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 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 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 29, and every Saturday in October (6th, 13th, 20th and 27th)
- 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 through aRes Travel (print and go straight to the gate) or LEGOLAND California. Everyone in your party (free or not) will need an additional ticket to Brick-or-Treat. Upgrade Kids Go Free Tickets at LEGOLAND to include 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 seaweed slime in the special slime lab. Get up close and personal with a huge Humbolt squid and much more.
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 26 and Saturday, October 27
- 6 p.m. — 9 p.m.
- Pre-sale $14.50 for Birch Aquarium members, $19.50 for nonmembers, or $22 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.
See also: Guide to Birch Aquarium at Scripps
SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular Weekends
Join SeaWorld 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, 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
- Trick-or-Treat hours: 12 p.m. — 6 p.m.
- 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 $35 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, 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 27, 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.
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 28, and running every night except Mondays and Tuesdays, and then daily from October 17 — October 31 (except Monday, October 22)
- 7 p.m. — 11 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 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 p.m.), and more.
- 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.
See also: Things to Do at Belmont Park
Pillage the Village in La Jolla
We attend this community event every year. On Wednesday afternoon, October 31, come down to the Village of La Jolla to trick-or-treat at local businesses between 3:00 — 6 p.m. It is a lot fun! More details for this now-annual event, including participating businesses, are available at the Pillage the Village website.
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 27, 1:00—4 p.m.
La Jolla Shores FALL FEST
Details are not yet available for the 11th annual event in 2018. I will update you when details become available.
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 26, 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.
- Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28, 9 a.m. — 1 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.
- September 28 — October 31 (closed most Mondays and Tuesdays)
- Open evenings. Times vary by day, but open 6 p.m. — 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights
- General admission is $20 (cash only at the door), $10 extra for a Fastpass upgrade
Haunted Hotel ticket tips: You can buy Discounted Tickets on Goldstar. There is also currently a Groupon offer for the Haunted Hotel sneak preview on September 22—23.
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 28 — October 31
- Fridays and Saturdays, 7 p.m. to midnight, Sundays-Thursdays, 7 p.m.- 11 p.m.
- Parking at the Scream Zone is free
Scream Zone ticket tips: Tickets are half-off on 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 20 and October 27, starting at 6 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 (Trusted Tours has slightly discounted tickets)
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 and follow its instructions to take advantage of this offer. Kids Go Free Passes though are not valid for Haunted Tales (regular tickets and those bought through Trusted Tours qualify).
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