Not all Halloween events are hell-bent on scaring you straight. Sure, we’ve stocked our list of festive favorites with plenty of frights, but you’ll also find bar crawls, Halloween attractions and family-friendly festivals. Watch theaters stage spooky shows or explore the best things to do this fall—thrill-seekers should check out the best haunted houses and real-life haunted places, too. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s no shortage of worthwhile Halloween events in Los Angeles.
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Halloween events & attractions
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 ghostly theme this October.
Often considered the largest Halloween street party in the world, there’s really no better place to be on October 31st than Santa Monica Boulevard in WeHo. 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 costume contests.
The masters of alfresco rooftop movie viewing keep outdoor screening season alive with a string of horror movies. For the weeks leading up to Halloween, you can catch screenings of Midsommar, Hocus Pocus, The Craft, Beetlejuice, The Blob, A Nightmare on Elm Street and more.
It’s alive. It’s alive! The Natural History Museum is taking a look at the science and history that inspired some of film’s most iconic, hideous creatures.
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 complimentary champagne, candy and popcorn hosted in an eerie location.
Each year the Walt Disney Concert Hall adds a little bit of Frank Gehry to Halloween with a silent film screening accompanied by organist Clark Wilson for an extra eerie feel. This year, take a seat for 1923’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, starring the legendary Lon Chaney.
Confront familiar foes at Universal Studios’ annual Halloween festivities, where big-budget scares meet iconic horror movie characters. Navigate multiple mazes and scare zones—this year’s themed attractions include the return of a Stranger Things maze plus ones based on Ghostbusters, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Creepshow, House of 1000 Corpses, “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” and “Holidayz in Hell.”
Like seemingly all pop culture horror experiences right now, this year’s Haunted Hayride will set the action in the mid-’80s in the ficticious town of Midnight Falls. In addition to the hayride, the event’s various attractions will be centered around the jack-o'-lantern–filled Midnight Falls Town Square, with a creaky old funeral parlor set up in the Midnight Mortuary Haunted House and an open-air maze at Roadkill Ranch. You’ll also find a dozen spots to go trick-or-treating an three escape rooms.
Encounter free-roaming monsters, terrifying mazes—spanning themes like Paranormal Inc., Special Ops: Infected and Shadow Lands—and more haunting attractions at the OC theme park.
The only thing better than a haunted attraction is a haunted attraction on a giant boat. You’ll find all the usual horrors here—fog, mazes and countless monsters. What sets Dark Harbor apart is its use of its surroundings; the dark, cramped confines of the Queen Mary are already pretty spooky even without monsters—just be prepared to climb a lot of skinny staircases.
Annual haunted experience Creep L.A. is sending up social-media–driven experiences this year with Haus of Creep, a satirical and frightful take on the pop-ups that’ve consumed L.A. over the past couple of years. Across a 75-minute walkthrough filled with 20 characters, you’ll find out that art is alive and dangerous as a dozen nightmarish installations mix shocking scenes with “intimate scares.”
Family-friendly Halloween activities
Well, well, well, what have we here? The Nightmare Before Christmas’s bug-stuffed sack has taken over the Halloween duties at Disneyland, moving the theme park’s annual after-hours, specially ticketed seasonal event across the way for the debut of Oogie Boogie Bash at California Adventure.
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 honors sacred migrations and the monarch butterfly.
In the eyes of a young, eager trick-or-treater, there’s nothing better than kicking off an enchanted evening with—you guessed it—sugar before dinner. Embrace the candy-loving holiday and bring out the kiddos for a family-friendly Halloween event at the “Maliboo” Country Mart. Take a stroll through the beach town’s outdoor shopping center and trick-or-treat store-to-store in your best costume. With festive décor, piles of pumpkins, candy galore and arts and crafts, this is one sweet event you don’t want to miss.
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.
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.