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Spooktacular Things to Do This October in Southern California

Tanaka Farm I Photo: Grant Schweppe, some rights reserved
Tanaka Farm I Photo: Grant Schweppe, some rights reserved | Grant Schweppe
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One of the things that makes Halloween special is that you can celebrate all month long. Whether you prefer to go to a pumpkin patch, get spooked at a haunted house or learn about mourning practices in the Edwardian era, Southern California offers something for everyone.

Below are 13 ways to celebrate throughout the region!

1. Queen Mary, Long Beach

Dark Harbor is the Queen Mary’s annual Halloween haunt featuring 6 haunted mazes, a 4D theater experience, hundreds of monsters, immersive attractions, live entertainment, resident DJ’s, themed bars, private creepy cabanas, concession style grub along with a V.I.P. RIP lounge.

Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary I Photo: Albert Lam, some rights reserved
Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary I Photo: Albert Lam/Flickr | Albert Lam, some rights reserved

2. Haunted Hayride, Griffith Park

The Haunted Hayride provides the ultimate Halloween experience. Become part of interactive shows, take a ride on the Scary-Go-Round, visit a psychic and shop in a charming Bootique. Hop on the hay wagon and take a trip into the unknown and watch out for the clowns. The attraction is recommended for children eight and older.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride l Photo: Cory Doctorow, some rights reserved
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride l Photo: Cory Doctorow/Flickr | Cory Doctorow

3. Boney Island, Griffith Park

According to their website, Boney Island was held for 19 years in a residential neighborhood, but the increasing expense of getting permits became too burdensome. Luckily, Boney Island has found a home this year in Griffith Park at the Los Angeles Live Steamers between their "Ghost Train" and Travel Town. “Boney Island features skeletons performing rope tricks, levitating through hoops, and shadow puppetry,” says the event website. The event contains no gore and no actors that jump out at you which makes it a family-friendly attraction.

Boney Island I Photo: Boney Island Facebook Page
Boney Island I Photo: Boney Island Facebook Page | Boney Island Facebook Page

4. Ghost Train, Griffith Park

The Ghost Train is held at the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum in Griffith Park. Hop on for a family-friendly 23 minute-train ride where you will encounter fire-breathing dragons, witches, Frankenstein’s Castle, graveyards, clowns and giant spiders.

5. Rotten Apple 907 Haunted House, Burbank

Located in Burbank, the Rotten Apple 907 Haunted House started off as a child’s birthday party. Now, the attraction is designed and built by members of the Meyer family and a group of volunteers. “I had a business called Greenapple Studio. After many years we decided the haunt needed a name so we decided to keep with my business name, but make it creepier thus Rotten Apple 907. The 907 came about because it’s our address,” said Diane Meyer. The attraction is a nonprofit fundraising event and all donations this year will go to Volunteers of Burbank Animal Shelter. The haunted house opens for select dates starting October 20 and is located at 907 N. California St. Burbank, CA 91505.

Rotten Apple 907 Haunted House in Burbank I Photo: Courtesy of Rotten Apple 907
Rotten Apple 907 Haunted House in Burbank I Photo: Courtesy of Rotten Apple 907 | Courtesy of Rotten Apple 907

6. 15th Annual Mourning Tour at Heritage Square, Los Angeles

How did people of the Edwardian era mourn their dead? Head over to the Heritage Square to attend their mourning tours to learn about mourning etiquette, participate in a reenactment ceremony and learn about séances. This year’s activities take place October 27th and 28th and are included with museum admission. While the mourning tours take place on both days, Heritage Square  will host a family-friendly day on the 28th where children can play period games and make 19th century inspired crafts.

Mourning Tour at Heritage Square I Photo Courtesy of Heritage Square Museum
Mourning Tour at Heritage Square I Photo: Courtesy of Heritage Square Museum | Photo Courtesy of Heritage Square Museum

7. Thrill the World Zombie Dance

Zombies roam Ventura Harbor Village as they prepare to perform the classic Michael Jackson “Thriller” simultaneously around the globe for the world record! It is part of the Thrill The World project, a group of people who not only dance to a 6 minute song. According to the event’s website, “This is a global community project that is inspiring others to break down barriers, connect with people of all religions, race, political and economic persuasions, contribute to helping humanity, encourage environmental stewardship and encourage people to step up as leaders, visionaries, and creators.” This year TTW will be held Saturday, October 27, 2018, 10 AM GMT and 10 PM GMT. Simultaneous events will be held in Hollywood, Costa Mesa, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Thousand Oaks and Vacaville.

8. Wicked Lit, Altadena  

If you are in the mood for an immersive theatrical event, head over to the Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena for “Wicked Lit: The Chimes & the Corps.” According to a press release "audiences will experience two short plays as they are led through mausoleum by Storyguides." This year’s plays include “The Chimes: A Goblin Story,” and “Teig O’Kane.” The event involves walking, so comfortable shoes are encouraged. Also the production is recommended for audiences over 13 since the plays may contain mature themes and theatrical violence.

Wicked Lit Cast Members I Photo: Wicked Lit 2018 Press Release
Wicked Lit Cast Members I Photo: Wicked Lit 2018 Press Release | Wicked Lit 2018 Press Release

9. Pumpkin Patch at Tanaka Farms, Irvine  

The annual pumpkin patch is now open at Tanaka Farms in Irvine. Pick some pumpkins, walk through a corn field, visit the animals at the petting zoo and take pictures with your favorite Sanrio characters.

Tanaka Farm I Photo: Grant Schweppe, some rights reserved
Tanaka Farm I Photo: Grant Schweppe/Flickr | Grant Schweppe

10. Knotts Scary Farm, Buena Park

The first Halloween Haunt at Knotts Berry Farm took place in 1973. According to a YouTube video uploaded to the park’s channel in 2012, “Haunt History: A Haunt to Remember,” during the first haunt, employees around the park were encouraged to decorate their own areas and daytime entertainers also helped decorate for the event. In the video, Gary Salisbury, Knotts’ manager of entertainment from 1970-1989, says that during the first haunt there were 7-9 monsters. This year, Knotts is hosting its 46th Knotts Scary Farm event and housing six mazes and over “1,000 horrifying creatures.”

Knotts Scary Farm I Photo: Jeremy Thompson, some rights reserved
Knotts Scary Farm I Photo: Jeremy Thompson/Flickr | Jeremy Thompson

11. Museum of Death, Hollywood  

According to the Museum of Death’s website, the museum was founded in 1995 to “fill the void in death education in the USA.” Take a self-guided tour to see items like antique funeral ephemera, mortician and coroners instruments, Manson family memorabilia and crime scene photographs. While there is no age limit to visit, the museum is recommended only for mature audiences and due to some of the content, no children are allowed without a parent. The museum’s website also says that people have fainted throughout the years so they encourage visitors to prepare themselves before visiting.

12.  West Hollywood Halloween Carnival

Whether you prefer to buy your costume at a store or make your own, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival is the ideal place to put your costume on display. The free event, which first took place in 1987, dubs itself as one “of the largest and most unique Halloween gatherings.” The carnival takes place on Santa Monica Boulevard between North Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on October 31st.

West Hollywood Halloween Carnival I Photo: Matthew Dillon, some rights reserved
West Hollywood Halloween Carnival I Photo: Matthew Dillon/Flickr | Matthew Dillon

13. Reign of Terror, Thousand Oaks

Voted #1 Walk-Through Haunt and the largest indoor Haunted House for all of Southern California. Walk through 105 bone chilling rooms in 8 different attractions - all attractions are connected so you exit one and enter the next immediately! Dozens of ghoulish characters are anxiously awaiting your presence inside. If you have children 12 or younger or want to see all the details, there is also the option on select days to visit the haunted house with the lights on and without the monsters or special effects. Reign of Terror is located at Janss Marketplace, located off the 101 Freeway. 

Reign of Terror I Photo Courtesy of Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror I Photo Courtesy of Reign of Terror | Photo Courtesy of Reign of Terror

Bonus - Scare-A-Mount Ranch, Agoura Hills

On Saturday, October 27th, the National Park Service is hosting Scare-A-Mount Ranch at Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills. Taking place at a location that has served as a setting for many Hollywood productions, the family-friendly event blends elements of film history with nature. Kids can make fake movie blood and nocturnal animal-themed crafts. Attendees can also choose from two self-guided hikes into the woods and watch a screening of the 1940 film "Dr. Cyclops."

Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, CA I Photo: David Jones/Flickr
Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills, CA I Photo: David Jones/Flickr | David Jones

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