Halloween events & attractions
History buffs, make your way to the Heritage Square Museum this Halloween. On the first day of their annual event, learn all about death and mourning etiquette during the Victorian era, including how even the intricate details on clothing played a role in showing the loss of a loved one. You'll also get the scoop on the Spiritualism movement, and can have your fortune told, if you dare. Then, take place in a funeral held inside one of the museum's historic homes. For family-friendly fun, children can play period games, make 19th-century harvest crafts and listen to (only slightly) spooky ghost stories.
If you haven't experienced the epicly overstimulating combination of burlesque dancing, Mexican luchadore wresting, comedy and acrobatics, the annual Halloween extravaganza is a great place to start. Head to the Mayan to witness the out-of-body-experience of Lucha VaVoom, which will take on a vampire theme this October. See good vs. evil played out in a sinful circus featuring Cavanario, Flamita, David "Infinito" Arquette and more. For this Halloween spectacular, expect high octane car performers, live music and plenty of fangs.
This is the largest Halloween street party in the world, and there's really no better place to be on October 31st. Sure, the crowd is huge (like, a half million people huge) and a bit belligerent, but the amazing display of costumes and general merry-making spirit deem it at least a worthy stop, if not your main destination for the evening. There will be dancing, drinking, and many mid-parade costume contests. Even if you don't plan on entering one, it's best to still come dressed to the nines—no one likes a party pooper in jeans and a t-shirt.
The actors of the Guild of St. George present an evening of chilling drama, enacting some of the most haunting tales of Edgar Allen Poe and Edward Gorey, two masters of the macabre. Expect to see "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Tell Tale Heart" (one of our favorites), and more. Arrive early for free cookies and hot cider, dress warmly and be prepared to walk as the vignettes take place across the sprawling Huntington Library grounds. Tickets go on sale end of August.
Spend a night in an Altadena cemetery as you're led across the grounds for two spooky theatrical productions. Wicked Lit stages classic horror stories and invites a limited number of patrons to experience the immersive performances each night. This year's stories include The Chimes: A Goblin Story and the word premiere of Teig O'Kane and the Corpse.
Join the horde at this annual Long Beach outbreak, where would-be-zombies descend upon Rainbow Lagoon Park for three days of scares, makeup workshops and costume contests. Each evening kicks off with a zombie walk through Shoreline Village.
Hop on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour this October for a special horror-themed edition. You'll embark on a special nighttime visit to sets and stages where horros like The Exorcist and Gremlins were filmed, plus a visit to the Stage 48: Script to Screen experience to see props and costumes from classic horror films like Sweeney Todd and Beetlejuice. This year, the tour even includes an encore of the wildly popular It-inspired house that popped up in Hollywood.
Take a two-and-a-half-hour guided tour of the Paramount Studios, as well as the neighboring Hollywood Forever Cemetery, during this after-hours experience. The tour digs up the dirt on Hollywood's dearly departed and comes with a personalized souvenir photo and remembrance rose, as well as complimentary champagne and candy and popcorn hosted in an eerie location.
The San Bernardino rave scene injects itself with a bit of Halloween flair at this annual music fest. Insomniac Events—the group behind EDC and the Wonderland series—is setting up multiple stages at the NOS Events Center; past headliners include Tiësto, Kaskade, Four Tet and more. Explore the grounds to find mazes alongside ominous artwork and freak show performers.
There's no shortage of pop culture conventions, but not many can rival the annual Los Angeles Comic Con. Last year alone, the convention drew 90,000 comic fans to Downtown L.A. for one epic three-day expo. This year, expect comic book panels, anime screenings and celebrity appearances. Make sure to come in costume for the geek couture fashion show and cosplay contest.
Family-friendly Halloween activities
Halloween time can be a bit scary for kids—we've all been there—so for a less frightening affair, head to the Farmers Market for their children-friendly Fall Festival: carnival games and a petting zoo are all mainstays at this annual harvest fest. Come in costume and catch a musical performance, explore the always delicious treats at the market or test your appetite with a pie-eating contest.
Hundreds of lively jack-o-lanterns begin to dot Main Street and a pair of park staples get a festive treatment: Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy and the Tim Burtonized Haunted Mansion Holiday. But only during Mickey’s Halloween Party can you trick-or-treat around the park and watch the Halloween Screams fireworks show and the Frightfully Fun Parade. Before Mickey's Halloween Party festivities begin, you can hop between Disneyland park and California Adventure for up to three hours for added fun.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery claims to host the largest Day of the Dead celebration in California, and we wouldn't doubt it: The cemetery grounds are covered with art exhibitions, dance rituals, musical performances, children's arts and crafts projects and food vendors (and crowds) aplenty. You'll see altars to the dead created by community artists, and can either watch or participate in the calaca (skeleton) costume contest. This year's theme, Coatlicue "Mother of Gods,” honors the Aztec goddess and mother of the moon, sun and stars.
While Downtown may not be the easiest place to go when it comes to trick-or-treating, the locals know how to throw a party. The Annual Halloween Party for Downtown L.A. Kids at Grand Hope Park continues to thrive as parents celebrate the spookiest night of the year with bounce houses, puppet shows and faux trick-or-treat-doors.
Yes, there’s more to pumpkins than Halloween jack-o’-lanterns: pumpkin bowling, pumpkin beer, pumpkin bread and, of course, pumpkin pie. You might've guessed by now, but there'll be no shortage of pumpkin-related activities at the annual Calabasas event. Festive fact: Calabasas' name comes from the Spanish word "calabaza," which means gourd or pumpkin.