Halloween in Los Angeles is always great fun. California theme parks devote much of October to Halloween, and Hollywood is already plenty weird; adding more costumes and revelry to the mix only elevates the festive atmosphere. These great Halloween attractions, tours, and theme park events in the Los Angeles area will round out any October travel plans in Southern California. Before sending your children out to trick-or-treat, enjoy these Halloween events in LA. Some are totally child-friendly, and others well…some of these Halloween attractions are better suited for teens and adults.
Disneyland – Mickey’s Halloween Party is best suited for young children. It’s in the Disney California Adventure Park side of the theme park, starting October 1st. Since it’s Disneyland, there’s the usual hefty fee. The tickets start at $49, but on October 29 and 31, tickets are $59. Kids under age 2 get in free, and won’t be frightened. This is the cutest, most child-friendly of the Halloween events listed here. Crafts, candy, and costumed characters prevail at Disneyland for Mickey’s Halloween Party.
Universal Studios Hollywood – Halloween Horror Nights is the polar opposite of Mickey’s Halloween Party. Seriously: Children under 13 years old are not recommended to experience this horror show. The Hollywood backlot at Universal Studios is dedicated to Halloween in October; this year, Rob Zombie will judge a short horror film contest with the winner getting $1,000 in cash, and an airing of the movie on Syfy.com. There are five new mazes and a brand new “Terror Tram” this year: past years’ interactive mazes have featured Freddy Krueger and the Saw franchise of gore flicks. Every year, the Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights is great fun for those of us who like to scream their bloody heads off!
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens – Boo at the Zoo is an annual Halloween event at the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Griffith Park. Young trick-or-treating kids are welcomed to the zoo to enjoy crafts, treats, music, pumpkin carving, and performances. Zoo animals are treated to their own version of Halloween snacks, albeit in forms less detrimental to their diets. Boo at the Zoo is completely family friendly, and lasts all day (well, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) October 30 and 31.
Aquarium of the Pacific – This Long Beach aquarium is a favorite of my children, and it gets in on the Halloween theme action with Scarium of the Pacific. Get it? Anyway, the Aquarium of the Pacific banks on our fear of sharks, and special programs are free with general admission or aquarium membership. On October 23 and 24, all day Halloween programs are mildly thrilling, with creepy coloring contests and spooky storytelling. The scarier aquatic animals, like sharks, are presented in all their (non-lethal) glory as well.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles – The Seventh Annual Haunted Museum at the LA Natural History Museum is October 24 this year. It’s a special event, after normal visiting hours at the museum, and very popular with LA locals. Guests can choose their own eerie travel experience through the Natural History Museum: it’s temporarily decorated to appear to have creepy caves and caverns. There is trick or treating and scavenger hunts for kids on Halloween itself, and the famous Spider Pavilion is integrated into the event as well.
Pierce College – This college in the San Fernando Valley has its Halloween Harvest Festival from September 24 through October 31 this year. Children and their parents enjoy this yearly Halloween event, which during the day features a “pick your own” pumpkin patch, various cute activities and rides for kids, and daily live performances. Once the kids are in bed, Pierce College’s Halloween Harvest Festival starts up the Fright Fair Scream Park, with the nighttime “factory of Nightmares” haunted house and “Creatures of the Corn” haunted trail in a corn maze. While it’s not as blood-curdling as Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights, it’s still creepy and young children shouldn’t attend.
There are quite a few other Halloween activities and events in the Los Angeles area every year. Other popular LA attractions include Drama After Dark at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival along Route 66 (currently known as Santa Monica Boulevard), Dia de los Muertos in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and more. No matter how you choose to celebrate Halloween, if you’re in the Los Angeles area in October you have plenty of options.