My husband Patrick went down to Home Depot for light bulbs and rat traps and came back with a $300 animatronic dragon for our front yard. He’s eager to hear it roar at trick-or-treaters. Halloween decoration has officially gone too far. I have decreed that all further monies must go toward Halloween activities.
Belmont Park in Mission Beach will be hosting its Boomont and Fall Fest through October and November on Friday-Sunday, from 5 pm to closing. October activities include free trick-or-treating for kids 12 and under, costume contest, and pumpkin painting. Expect a spooky rollercoaster, plus a pirate raid on the mini golf and zombie laser tag. Rides and attractions are half-price, down to $15/$27 for unlimited options (rides only or rides and games).
Hazard Center Drive at Frazee Road, San Diego
On October 26 from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm, urban candyphiles can head to India Street, where Little Italy businesses will be handing out candy to kids of all ages. The next day, October 27, at Hazard Center in Mission Valley, there will be a costume contest from 2 pm - 4 pm on the plaza level near the statue of Pappy Hazard. Cost is $10, and it’s open to both children and families. Prizes awarded for best child costume, best parent-child duo, and most creative.
The Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association in Campo will host the Pumpkin Express Halloween celebration through October 28, complete with train rides and pumpkin patch. Expect a cast of ghosts and ghouls on the haunted trains. Rides start at 11 am, 1:15 pm, and 3 pm daily. Tickets range from $8-$25, depending on whether you travel coach or first class (the latter includes free soft drinks and snacks).
The older crowd might enjoy the Ghosts and Gravestones trolley tour of San Diego that visits some of America’s Finest City’s finest haunts. It starts at the Maritime Museum’s Star of India, then glides through the Gaslamp before winding up at the Whaley House, said to be among America’s Most Haunted. Dress for cool weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. Final tour is on Friday, October 26; cost is $42.
Scare seekers may want to seek out the Savage House in the parking lot of the Mission Valley Target; it’s getting buzz as this season’s standout shocker. This year’s storyline is Backwoods, and the twists and hicks should have you jumping out of your city slicker. The House also abuts a museum featuring creations inspired by the Saw movies and The Walking Dead. House/Museum combo ticket, $18; front-of-line pass, $5; museum only, $5; second-time-through ticket, $5. Open through October 31. For something more truly backwoodsy, try the Haunted Trail in Balboa Park, keeping an eye out for Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, and Jason Voorhees as they lurk among the patches of of pine and oak. Of course, before you hit the trail, you’ve got to make it through the 3500-square-foot maze. Tickets, $25.
Fans of more… intellectual frights may want to stop by the Poe Fest being held in the Whaley Museum’s historic Adobe Chapel, originally built in 1850 and rebuilt in 1937. Enjoy staged performances of several famous Edgar Allen Poe short stories, including “The Cask of Amontillado.” Show runs through October 28, tickets run $25-$70.
- Saturday, October 27, 2018, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Hotel del Coronado,
1500 Orange Avenue,
$135 - $2000
All those frights usually get the Kellys looking for more liquid spirits to calm their nerves. The Hotel Del Coronado hosts an adults-only Hallo-wine and Spirits Night on October 27 from 7 pm-11 pm. Event begins in the Garden Patio room with wine tasting and foodie bits from the kitchen, then proceeds to the Grand Ballroom for dessert, dancing, and a costume contest. (No word yet on the possible appearance of Kate Gordon, the friendly ghost said to inhabit the hotel and pull the occasional prank.) Tickets are $155, and include dinner, dancing, wine tasting, and two drink tickets.
- Monday, October 29, 2018, 8 p.m.
4130 Park Boulevard,
Those looking for a more casual drinking experience may wish to visit the Halloween Pop-Up event at North Park’s Hundred Proof on October 29 from 8 pm - midnight. The featured guest is Portland’s House Spirits distillery. They make their spirits from scratch, and several House experts will be on hand to discuss their craft and serve up cocktails such as the Spooky Old Fashioned, featuring their Westward American single malt whiskey, vanilla rooibos syrup, and baked apple bitters.