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Pumpkin trail at Carved
Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano

Halloween events in Los Angeles for spooky fun

Get in the spirit with these festive events in L.A., from family-friendly Halloween activities to ghostly nights out

Michael Juliano
Edited by
Michael Juliano
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Not all Halloween events are hell-bent on scaring you straight. Sure, we’ve stocked our list with some haunted houses, but you’ll also find family-friendly activities, spooky screenings and trick-or-treating opportunities. If you’re looking for a real taste of the fall, you’ll find apple picking aplenty and—for the thrill-seekers—some real-life haunted places. But if you simply want something festive, there’s no shortage of worthwhile Halloween events in Los Angeles.

RECOMMENDED: See more of Halloween in L.A.

The best Halloween events in L.A. this year

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Confront familiar foes at Universal Studios’ annual Halloween festivities, where big-budget scares meet iconic horror movie characters. You’ll be able to navigate multiple scare zones and mazes, including ones based on The Haunting of Hill HouseThe Texas Chainsaw MassacreThe ExorcistThe Walking DeadHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (a peculiarly specific choice in the Halloween saga) and the Bride of Frankenstein, plus the return of “The Curse of Pandora’s Box.” The Studio Tour will also morph into the Terror Tram, complete with a The Purge tie-in.

  • Theater
  • Interactive

Its past installments have found attendees stealthing their way through a Victorian home and embarking on a Blade Runner-esque bounty hunt. And now this celebrated immersive horror theater event is returning to L.A. for an event an a 146-year-old mansion.

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  • Movies
  • Horror

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.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

After a year as a drive-through in San Dimas, this haunted event heads back to Griffith Park with a traditional hayride and a return to its 2019 setting: the mid-’80s ficticious town of Midnight Falls, which borrows a little bit of the road culture of Sons of Anarchy and the isolation of Twin Peaks.

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  • Movies
  • Downtown

The masters of alfresco rooftop movie viewing have returned, with both a Santa Monica “drive-up,” a new rooftop in El Segundo and its returning location in Downtown L.A. Between the three locations, you’ll find as many as eight showtimes in a single night, with everything from Paranorman and Casper to What We Do in the Shadows and The Lost Boys.

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Plus some family-friendly Halloween events

  • Things to do

Stroll through a mile-long trail filled with all things pumpkins, including an illuminated forest of jack-o’-lanterns, during Descanso Gardens’ annual Carved. For three weeks in October, the event will line a loop of the botanical garden with thousands of professionally-carved pumpkins in all sorts of forms: as a sea monster rising from a pond, arranged on the ground like a white-and-orange paisley, stuck together with branches in the form of some oversized bugs and cobbled together into a house.

  • Things to do

Well, well, well, what have we here? The Nightmare Before Christmas’s bug-stuffed sack is once again taking over the Halloween duties at Disneyland, holding the theme park’s annual after-hours, specially ticketed seasonal event at Disney California Adventure for Oogie Boogie Bash.

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  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours
  • USC/Exposition Park

Face your fears and head to the Natural History Museum’s Spider Pavilion, where you can observe several hundred orbweaver spiders in a living exhibit just outside of the museum. Scared the spiders might be hard to spot in the wild? Fret not. In previous iterations we’ve spotted ones about the size of an adult’s palm. Gulp. (But don’t worry: The scariest ones are in enclosed habitats.) 

  • Things to do

Walk across the grounds of the scenic King Gillette Ranch as the Santa Monica Mountains hideaway is illuminated with thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns. Nights of the Jack reverts to an on-foot, two-thirds-of-a-mile trail this year (with a “Spookeasy,” too). Timed tickets required each night; expect to spend an hour to an hour and a half there.

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  • Things to do

Go pumpkin picking in the pines as this Halloween-themed month of activities hits a perennially-Christmas theme park Lake Arrowhead amusement park. On weekends from October 9 through 31, SkyPark at Santa’s Village hosts its Pumpkins in the Pines activities, which—you guessed it—sees pumpkins and hay bales covering the grounds of the park.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

The L.A. Zoo’s annual Halloween celebration includes a month of spooky decor, a conservation-minded graveyard of departed species and up-close-and-personal interactions with some of the zoo’s creepiest crawlers. On weekends, you’ll find creepy crafts, a mad science show and a photo op. The animals typically get in on the Halloween action, too, with pumpkin or carcass feedings scheduled over the weekends. Show up on October 23, 24, 30 or 31 for trick-or-treating.

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