Are you in Los Angeles for Halloween or anytime during October? Read on for our list of 21 amazing things to do in Los Angeles for folks of all ages who are here during the Halloween season. Updated for 2019, find out some of our favorites that are on hold for the year and what new events have popped up instead!
This list was initially started to keep track of all the traditions my son wanted to do each year for Halloween. For him it’s not just the one day of trick or treating, rather it’s the build up that is the most fun. Decorating the front yard, visiting the 99 cent store for more cheesy, scary decorations and of course attending as many Halloween themed events as he can muster!
To make sure you are getting the most out of the season, here is our current list of all the things you can (and according to my 9 year old *must*) do.
21 Amazing Family Friendly Things to Do in Los Angeles for Halloween (2019)
Disney’s Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure
Formerly known as Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland, the 2019 reinvention is called the Oogie Boogie Bash and will be held at California Adventure. A few years ago, we happened to be at Disneyland on one of the Halloween party days, which meant we were kicked out at 7pm. This gave us a quick glimpse of how awesome it is, with dreams to go! Even if you are annual passport holders, you will still have to purchase an additional ticket, which sort of stinks to be honest. This year, the special halloween party days will be held on select Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
The deal.. you arrive in costume if you wish to a park that is closed to everyone except party goers. This means you have almost no lines for popular rides, and can breeze through things. The lines are for the trick or treat stations instead. The trick or treating stations are nothing special to be honest. There are no special edition Disney items, but the littles don’t care. Our goal is to focus on the rides, catching the trick or treat stations along the way.
Pick Your Own Pumpkin Festivals
In our effort to decorate and carve lots of pumpkins, we end up at multiple pumpkin patches during the month, but our favorite and must visit remains Underwood Farms in Moorpark. Sure, there are lots of closer pumpkin patches, but a visit to Underwood means you can walk the vast yards picking out your perfect pumpkins, your littles can ride in wagons, watch pig races, pet some farm animals and get lost in the corn maze. It makes a perfect weekend outing for the entire family or even better on a random day when school is out!
If you really cannot muster the strength for the long drive or the heat, our we also love the Mr Bones Pumpkin Patch in Culver City and even the little parking lot ‘patch’ in Eagle Rock in front of the Target. Not as cheap or fun as Underwood, but both will give the kids good options for pumpkin selection and some added fun on top! For those of you in Sherman Oaks, check out Tina’s Pumpkin Patch that operates from Oct 5-31, 2019.
Neighborhood School Halloween Festivals
Yes, I have included the neighborhood school festival on our list of things you must do for Halloween in Los Angeles. One, these are often fundraisers for the local public schools and two, it’s a great way to get to know your neighbors even if you don’t’ go to the school.
Our yearly go to for school halloween parties was always the preschool Rose Scharlin in Silverlake. They know how to throw a great party for the kids for a low price. Since this party is not always on the cards, we have checked out a few other local favorites too.
Micheltorena has a fun Halloween party on Oct 26th from 3-6 that is open to all. Buy tickets and have fun cruising the booths and enjoying the different scenes set up by the different families and classrooms. Or check out your own neighborhood for fun school carnivals and festivals, even if you don’t attend the school, most are open to all families and it’s a great way to support local public schools!
Boo at the Zoo
Boo at the Zoo is the perfect thing to do for the littlest in the family. It is mellow, not scary, goes on all month and of course is at the zoo which most kids love any time of year! During the week there are plenty of little Halloween additions to keep the kids happy. Explore the dimly lit caves, the ghoulish grove and take photos of your little creatures.
On the weekends, the events ramp up with crafts, pumpkin carving demonstrations and a monster mash dance party! Don’t miss seeing the animals receive their special halloween treats on the weekends as well. We love seeing the elephants stomp their pumpkins! Don’t miss trick-or-treating on October 19/20 and 26/27! Boo at the Zoo starts its fun Oct 1 and continues until the end of the month.
Spooktacular at the Bob Baker Marionettes
Backyard Haunted Houses
There are people in the world who love Halloween so much that they build their own haunted houses/mazes in their backyards. I think this is amazing, because it means we can go visit them! There are three that I know of currently: The Rotten Apple 907 Haunt in Burbank (dates 19, 20, 26, 27, and 31) the
Backwoods Maze (closed for 2019) also in Burbank and a haunted house/maze at 4302 Ambrose Street in Los Feliz that was created by a teenager with the help of his parents. (Drive by to see if signs are up this year as this teen is now older and could be off to college!)
All of these open in mid-October and get super busy as the season goes on. Go early in the evening and/or when it first opens as they get busier and busier the closer you get to Halloween.
Atwater Village Trick or Treat Parade
When we lived in Los Feliz, there was a yearly trick or treat parade for local families to the shops on Vermont. It was so fun and a great way to get to know more people in the neighborhood. In recent years, we have participated in the Atwater Village Trick or Treat event on the “Boolevard”. It is free and open to kids of all ages. This year’s event will be held on Oct 25th from 4:30-6:00 pm. There are some really great shops around Atwater and it’s awesome to be part of this wonderful community event. Head out to show your support for all the great community events they put together.
Halloween Lights/Decoration Tour in Burbank
OK, this isn’t really a tour, but there are some creatively decorated houses in Burbank that deserve a mention. I foresee that Halloween will become like Christmas where families load up the kids and head out to check out all of the elaborate displays. I know mine is a super fan of doing this! Here are some that we have found out about that are great for a spooky night drive by.
- California Street between Jeffries and Victory
- California, between Magnolia and Chandler
- Toluca Estates Drive (Half of a pirate ship coming out of the ground)
- 2352 N Orchard Drive
- California and Magnolia (A decked out horror house. See above under Backyard Haunted Houses)
- North Glenwood Place, near the Magnolia Carwash
- Backwoods Maze on Pepper Street (See above for Backyard Haunted Houses)
- Clark and Cordova (Turn the radio to 99. and listen to spooky music)
- 1400 Block of Evergreen
- Florence between Clark & Magnolia
- 700 block of Catalina
A Faery Hunt & Fairy Halloween Party
We love the recurring faery hunt shows at Fern Dell in Griffith Park, so we are sure to love their halloween party! On October 19th (at 10:30 a.m.), families and faery hunters will go searching through the forest looking for faeries. Following their regular show, will be a halloween party with magical musical performance, storytelling, games, face painting and more. Come in costume – kids and parents!
Haunted Little Tokyo
This is the 3rd year of Haunted Little Tokyo that takes place all month long. Everything from a pumpkin patch to a Haunted block party, trick or treating and Ghostly Walking Tours, this great neighborhood event caters to both families and adults. Check the schedule for more information on the different events and which one is appropriate for your family.
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios (recommended for 13 years and up)
Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights is a fun family scare-a-thon for those who are ready for some fright. On select nights between Friday Sept 13th and Halloween, live stage shows, scare zones, mazes and more await those who dare. Tickets are available online and prices vary depending on which night you choose. Festivities begin at 7pm.
Nights of the Jack
Nights of the Jack is a fun event for all members of the family, including little ones who are a little scared by Halloween. The intricately carved pumpkins welcome visitors as they walk the half mile trail around the ranch taking in hundreds of amazing carvings. Contrary to what we believed last year, they are not real pumpkins, so they don’t spoil as the month goes on. Regardless, it’s a fun night out to get you into the spirit.
Pumpkin Festival at Brookside Park
Kidspace’s yearly Pumpkin Festival located at Brookside Park is a family-friendly event fun for all ages. The party is hosted in Brookside Park in front of Kidspace and is free for everyone. There are food booths, bouncy houses, a petting zoo and more. Even though admission is free, tickets must be purchased individually for each of these. This year’s event will be held on Oct 19-20th from 9:30-5. Go early to avoid the crowds and heat! We have attended a few times and always have a blast (and spend a ton!).
Kidspace Spooktacular: Monster Mash
On Oct 12 and 13th in the evening from 5:30-9, you can enjoy Halloween themed activities throughout the museum. With your timed ticket, families can enter the Arroyo Adventure to meet a Ghost Host and meet fun and frightful characters in search of candy and other treats. Tickets need to be purchased in advance. Dressing up is encouraged!
Carved at Descanso Gardens
Looking for something not so scary and out in nature? Head to Descanso Garden for their Carved display. From Oct 23-27th, a thousand professionally carved pumpkins will be on display – all of them REAL! The 1 mile walk through the Camellia Forest is a fun family event. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members and will sell out fast. All times on Oct 26th are reserved for Descanso members, so book yours if you are a member.
Knott’s Spooky & Scary Farm
Another amusement park Halloween event we have on our yearly to do list is at Knott’s Berry Farm. The Knott’s Spooky Farm festivities include daytime, non-scary events such as shows, activities, and decorations aimed at kids ages 3-11. On select nights, the park turns super scary for Knott’s Scary Farm with more intense monsters, shows and scary mazes. Starting in mid-Sept through the first week of November.
“Maliboo” Country Mart Festival
The Malibu Country Mart is a fun, free family event with safe trick or treating and costume contests for both kids and pets! Halloween programming includes costume station, festive decor, haystacks and pumpkins for Instagram photo props! This is a great time on the way to or from the beach! All the fun starts Sunday Oct 27th at 12 p.m.
‘Scarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium of the Pacific has joined the Halloween bandwagon with their creepy undersea educational experience. Magic shows, costume and coloring contests, face painting and more keep the kids engaged and excited. It all happens on the weekend of Oct 26-27 from 9-5. Admission to the ‘Scarium events is included with a regular priced entry ticket or members pass.
On Halloween Night
Get Spooky Portraits
I will admit getting spooky portraits is more for the grown-ups than the kids, but it is our top “must do” and our first stop on Halloween night. There is a wonderful photographer and mom who instead of giving out candy for Halloween gives out something so much better (for the parents at least!). She sets up a black walled studio on her front porch and snaps a few photos of your kid (and you) dressed up in front of the black backdrop. Last year was her 4th /5th year of doing it and I hope it continues for as long as possible. It is my absolute favorite thing to do with my son at Halloween now.
Rec Center Halloween Parties
If your neighborhood doesn’t go all out for trick or treating, try visiting a local rec center instead. We love the festivities at the Silverlake Rec Center yearly Spooktacular party. It is held on Halloween, starting at 4pm. They have games, arts and crafts, costume contests and plenty of treats for the kids. This is also a great place to start before you head out into the neighborhood to knock on a few doors. Other rec centers that we know that do their own parties are in Cypress Park and Glassell Park.
Neighborhood Trick or Treating
The one thing I don’t like about LA at Halloween is that not every neighborhood is ready to greet trick or treaters. It was such a different world for me growing up in Texas where our parents never dreamed of driving us to a neighborhood – we visited the houses in our area and that was that. Unfortunately here many neighborhoods do not get in the festive mood. If you are looking for somewhere to go on the east side, try some of our favorites here:
- Holly Knoll in Los Feliz with a Michael Jackson theme party, disco lights in the streets and lots of family fun,
- Armstrong Ave in Silverlake has been our go to for years. Several blocks are cordoned off with most houses on the street participating (although it’s been fewer and fewer each year). It gets crazy busy as the evening wears on, but for younger kids starting right at 5ish will get you up and down the street and finished before the crowds and bigger kids appear.
- Boo-kley (Berkeley) Circle in Silverlake is a small cul-de-sac right in the heart of it all. This little circle closes itself off to vehicle traffic and throws a fun street party. There are not a ton of houses, which makes it great for your first or last stop of the evening. There is always amazing light shows and musical performances and a great community vibe.
- Atwater Village has a growing number of fun streets for the kids to cruise around trick or treating. Lots of walking, but the streets are flat with good sidewalks. It’s a great neighborhood to explore on Halloween.
- South Pasadena is the most like what I grew up with. Head to Monterey Road between Windsor Place & Diamond Avenue or Marengo Avenue & Fair Oaks for kids to get their fill of Halloween treats.
Favorite Halloween Events in Los Angeles Cancelled for 2019
Ghost Train at the LA Live Steamers (Cancelled)
One of our favorites of the season is a visit to the Ghost Train at the LA Live Steamers in Griffith Park. In recent years it’s been off and on. For the 2019 season it is OFF. We are so sad to not have it on this year’s agenda, but will leave it on the list in hopes for a 2020 revival!
For years we were scared to go, worried it would be too scary for our little guy. We made the plunge last year and he LOVED it. We actually went twice during the short time it was open. There are definitely ghoolish and garish items on display, and you ride the train in the dark, but overall it’s not as bad as we had imagined. There are sounds, lights and some smoke, but overall, it is definitely enjoyable for kids who like a little scare. After a year off, this year will likely be packed with everyone who missed it’s presence last year. This year’s rides will begin on Oct 13th. A new addition this year is the ability to purchase tickets online in advance. Book early!
Boney Island (Cancelled for 2019)
Boney Island is a newby on the Griffith Park Halloween scene, but was one of our favorite Halloween traditions in Los Angeles when it was a crazy set up in a family’s front yard. In 2017 it was shut down due to complaints by neighbors. But back by popular demand, it was refreshed and brought alive in Griffith Park in 2018.
Unfortunately it looks like it will not be held in 2019 after all. We will keep our event on the list with hopes that it will also be revived in 2020.
With all the fun from the home location, there are illusions, light shows, magic shows and more bones than you can shake a stick at! The fun starts on Oct 11th and goes through Halloween night. On the weekends everything gets going from 6-10 pm, ending an hour earlier on weeknights. Go early before the crowds! Entry to the yard is free, however, if you want to visit the tree house, you will need some cash on hand. There are also treats, light up toys and t-shirts for purchase, also with cash only.
I know we have missed a ton of things, so please share with us your favorites! We are always looking for new things to add to our list, especially as our son gets older and is even more into the spooky side of Halloween!
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