Brendan McGuigan
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How to Spend Halloween California-Style

Sept. 17, 2019

In the last several years, a spell has clearly been cast. Halloween is now the second most popular American holiday, and there is no better place for tricks and treats than California. Conjure up a delightful, frightful time at these destinations.

Next Level Trick or Treating
Halloween in Quincy: Small town charm and a family friendly Halloween await at Halloween in Quincy. Quincy merchants provide food, drink and entertainment during this late afternoon trick or treat, perfect for the little ones. 

LEGOLAND Brick or Treat Parties: Halloween lasts all month long with free kids admission with an adult ticket at LEGOLAND. Every Saturday night the park features Brick or Treat Party Nights, a family-friendly celebration with live music, character meet and greets, costume contests and treat stations.

Howl-o-Ween: Join the animals at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert on the Saturday before Halloween and on All Hallows Eve for a howling good time. Come in costume and enjoy animal encounters, treat stations, entertainment and arts & crafts fun.

Trick or Treating in SLO: On Halloween Night the Farmer’s Market in San Luis Obispo transforms from fruits and veggies to goblins and ghouls. Enter the kids, adult or couples costume contest, enjoy local eats and trick or treat through the downtown businesses.  

Parades and Festival
Harvest & Halloween Masquerade Ball: The Buena Vista Winery hosted California’s first ever masquerade ball in 1864. This Halloween the Sonoma winery welcomes modern revelers to don their finest Steam Punk costumes and dance the night away in the historic Champagne Cellar.

Carnaval: They’ll be dancing in the streets in West Hollywood at the liveliest Carnaval in town. Adults should come dressed to impress in costume and enjoy dancing, local eats, live music and all out fun.

Doheny Beach’s Halloween Haunt: Start the scary season early in Dana Point at Doheny Beach’s Halloween Haunt Oct. 19th. Wear your best costume and stroll along the Spooky Walk enjoying Halloween treats, face painting, craft booths and the chance to win tickets for prizes.

Scarecrow Fest: Enjoy over 400 unique, scary and whimsical scarecrows peppered throughout artsy Cambria’s East and West Villages, Moonstone Beach and San Simeon in October. The winning scarecrow will be announced at the town’s Oktoberfest on Oct. 19th.

Tarantula Festival: Get caught in a web of arachnid races, hairy leg contests, scream-offs, costume parades and more at Madera County’s annual Tarantula Festival. Celebrating the start of local tarantula mating season, the spider themed festival isn’t for the faint of heart!

Haunted Tours and Exhibits
Harvest Haunt Express: Harken back to the California Gold Rush in Jamestown on a spooky train ride every weekend in October at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park. The Harvest Haunt Express is staffed by a "skeleton crew" and passengers are encouraged to come in costume.

Halloween Haunted Pathway: Extend the ghoulish Halloween celebrations into Nov. 1 with a guided walk through Nevada City’s historic cemeteries. Each cemetery offers a glimpse into Nevada City’s past and offers an opportunity to learn about some of the individuals buried there.

Headless Horseman Ride: Get ready to encounter the Headless Horseman, or at very least hear his story brought to life on a horse drawn wagon ride in Temecula. The spooky rides take place every Friday and Saturday in October.

Cemetery Tour: Cupcakes, cocktails and…cemeteries? That’s just what you get on this unique food and ghost tour in Oakland. The spook-tacular tour visits two historic cemeteries and brings to life the stories of some of the most famous and infamous Bay Area residents from days gone by.

The Scream Zone: If you have nerves of steel, prepare to get scared at San Diego’s Scream Zone, the largest, goriest, scariest, scream-inducing haunted house in the city. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…

Pumpkin Patches
Skunk Train Pumpkin Express: Pick your perfect pumpkin with the Skunk Train Pumpkin Express in Mendocino County. The 134-year-old heritage train winds through Redwood forests, riparian corridors and untouched woods before letting guests off at a pumpkin patch.

Farmers Market Pumpkin Patch: Start training now to maximize the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market’s all-you-can-carry pumpkin patch shopping event on Oct. 30th. After you select the perfect pumpkin, head to the no-carve decorating event to create a Jack-o-Lantern to display on Halloween.

River K Pumpkin Patch: For a good old-fashioned time nothing beats the family run River K Pumpkin Patch in Paso Robles. Go on a hayride, get lost in the corn maze and of course find the perfect pumpkin to take home.

Petaluma Pumpkin Patch: Keep your eyes peeled for the Great Pumpkin at the Petaluma Pumpkin Patch. Its large corn maze was named one of the nine best mazes in the world. If you find your way out, you’ll have more than five acres of pumpkins to choose from.

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