It’s the spookiest time of the year. This year’s bumper crop of orb weaver spiders have decorated our mountains in cobwebs, and we’re sharing our favorite local haunts for getting into the spirit of the season. From theme parks to garden supply stores, we’ve materialized activities for ghouls and goblins of all ages. Please note that most of these attractions run through Halloween, or the weekend before.
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles is playing host to several seasonal events: Boney Island, the Spider Pavilion, Haunted Museum, and a Día de los Muertos celebration. Boney Island is held in the nature gardens of the museum and requires separate ticketing from museum admission. The museum is not open during the event. Boney Island will feature animal encounters, decorations, performances, light displays, and more. The Spider Pavilion is an add-on to museum admission for an additional fee, and gives the public the opportunity to observe and learn about our eight-legged neighbors in a controlled, non-threatening environment. The museum’s Haunted Museum event on Saturday, October 28, is a ticketed, reservation-based event open only to museum members. The event will include a scavenger hunt and a 21+ area with “boos” available for purchase. The Natural History Museum’s Día de los Muertos celebration on Sunday, November 5, ties in to the “Becoming Los Angeles” exhibit and will feature live music, activities, and more. For more information on events at the Natural History Museum, please visit NHM.org
Local theme parks are also getting in on the thrills of the season. Disneyland in Anaheim is hosting their annual Oogie Boogie Bash, after hours in their California Adventure park. This is a separately ticketed event with special character interactions, treat trails, a parade, and more. Daytime guests can still get in on the Halloween fun in both parks with seasonal decorations, food and beverage offerings, and more, including the ever-popular Haunted Mansion attraction re-decorated for Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas.
Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is celebrating with their family-friendly “Knott’s Spooky Farm,” during the day, with activities that include a pumpkin patch and a skeleton marionette show (showtimes vary), and their more frightening “Knott’s Scary Farm,” featuring scary halloween mazes, that might not be appropriate for all ages.
Universal Studios in Universal City offers Halloween Horror Nights, a very intense thrill event featuring mazes that are most advisable for those over the age of 18. For those interested in a more family-friendly Halloween experience at Universal Studios, a daytime visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter while wearing wizard robes and sipping pumpkin juice may be more advisable (just don’t run into the troll in the bathroom after the feast).
In Corona Del Mar, Roger’s Gardens is offering their annual Halloween Boutique for all your decorating needs this season. Visiting the gardens is tradition for many Los Angeles families, and it makes for a nice afternoon for ages, strolling through the different botanical offerings, including a section of native Southern California flora. Roger’s Gardens offers a free milkweed exchange program (limited to one one-gallon plant per household). Participants who bring in a tropical milkweed plant from their garden will receive a free native milkweed plant in exchange. Roger’s Gardens also features an on-site cafe, and their Christmas boutique is already up and running in addition to their Halloween boutique. Visit RogersGardens.com for more information.
Pa’s Pumpkin Patch in Long Beach is another SoCal tradition. It now requires advance reservations and a ticketed entry fee, but still features pumpkins, games, and rides. Visit PasPumpkinPatch.com for reservations and more information.
Closer to home, the Calabasas Pumpkin Festival is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, October 22, at Juan Bautista de Anza Park. The event features food, music, crafts, ventors, vintage cars, a live bug and reptile show, and plenty of pumpkins. Young participants are encouraged to come in costume. Calabasas got its name from the Spanish word “Calabaza” meaning “gourd”, and the city of Calabasas throws its heart into this fun, family festival. Tickets are $15 at the gate, or $10 in advance. Learn more at www.cityofcalabasas.com
Regardless of what age, or how easily frightened you are, there’s something for everyone this Halloween season. Please remember to exercise extra caution and vigilance while driving on Halloween and “Halloweekend,” no Halloween festivities are worth risking an accident. Have fun, be safe, and don’t pick up any hitchhiking ghosts.