The haunts are coming to San Diego in no time. Are you ready?
Well, we’re here to help you bust those ghosts, or just join them for a frighteningly good time.
NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART
For those with a stronger stomach, San Diego has a terrifying array of haunted houses, starting with its longest running: the Haunted Hotel. The scariest hotel takes a page out of the Hollywood horror playbook as visitors trek through rooms inspired by Freddy Krueger, “Shutter Island” and “Legion.” Admission is $17 to $28, and terrified patrons will run through the house from 7 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The poltergeists leave the hotel, located at 424 Market Street, on Nov. 1. It is not recommended for kids 10 and under.
A mile of twisted, scary sights welcomes visitors at the not-so-family-friendly Haunted Trail. Starting at 6th Ave. and Juniper St., the long road ahead is filled with outdoor, anxiety-inducing terrors, and an additional maze, dubbed “the eXperiment,” has lost souls that stalk you as you try to escape. Admission is $19 to $35, and the freak-fest is open Sundays through Thursdays 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Again, maybe not the best option for kids under 10. Balboa Park returns to its normal self on Nov. 1.
Boasting the largest haunted attraction in the county, the Scream Zone will live up to its name. The Del Mar Fairgrounds’ normally beatific beach views turn nightmarish with a dreaded House of Horror, The Chamber, the Haunted Hayride and Zombie Paintball. Keep an eye out for Pennywise the clown and the Exorcist, avoid getting locked up in the Walking Dead Prison and stop for a drink at the Dusk Till Dawn Bar. Until Nov. 2, the frights terrify from 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and run from 7 to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays. Prices for each attraction range from $18 to $32.
In the middle of Mira Mesa lurks the Ghastley Manor, patrolled by an Undead army that waits for the souls who dare to enter. It may not seem very sinister, but these volunteer ghouls scare up funds for a good cause. The $13 admission ticket benefits nonprofits throughout the county. The Monster Manor runs through Oct. on Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30 to 11 p.m.
LESS SCREAMING, MORE DRINKING
For more fun and less fear, turn to a number of Halloween parties throughout the county. First up, NBC 7’s music blog SoundDiego has a frightening amount of good music on All Hallow’s Eve at the Office in North Park. Taking the stage are Halloween-ish bands Death Feather Moon, Ed Ghost Tucker and Zombie Surf Camp. The free monsters’ ball will include a free VIP happy hour from 8 to 9 p.m. for those who get on the guest list (Sign up here).
The adult goblins, fairies, vampires and everything in between shut down streets along the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village on Oct. 31. The huge block party of depravity lures guests in with siren’s songs on five stages and keeps them there with booze, dancing and the Dos Equis Masquerade. And you better dress to your wickedest nines because the Monster Bash’s costume contest winner gets a $5,000 prize. The event stretches across eight blocks downtown and runs from 6 to 11:30 p.m. Admission ranges from $35 to $75, depending if you book your ticket in advance or go VIP.
The Undead come alive for one night and 20 epic parties downtown on Halloween night. With a $75 ticket, the ghostly good time will prowl through clubs and bars like Werewolf, Vin de Syrah, Side Bar, Coyote Ugly Saloon and many more, including an opening party at the new A.D. Nightclub. The crawl includes 13 welcome shots, so plan a ride from a taxi, rideshare or designated driver. The haunts rise at 6 p.m. and go back to the grave at 11:45 p.m.
Things get freaky in Hillcrest on Oct. 25 when all the ghouls and goblins come out to dance! From 6 to 11 p.m., DJs add the beat to fright zones, costume competitions ($1,000 for first place), food trucks and a Thriller flash mob at 8 p.m. Lurking on Normal Street at University Avenue, the dance party features an over 21 area and an all ages section with a soda bar. General admission is $10, and a VIP ticket will run you $50. Proceeds go to the San Diego LGBT Center and Hillcrest Business Association.
FOR THE LITTLE MONSTERS
South Coast Highway 101 will be transformed into Pumpkin Lane from Encinitas Boulevard to K Street on Halloween from 5 to 8 p.m. Carved jack-o-lanterns will line the way, giving spooky smiles as kids pass from business to business to gather their sweet treats. Haunted games and activities, inlcuding live music and dancing, will delight guests in the Lumberyard Courtyard.
Trunk or Treat Carnival:
El Cajon's Foothills Christian Church is putting a mobile spin on classic trick-or-treating. More than 80 cars will get some ghoulish decorations and a pile of candy for the kids to pick from. They can then jump to bounce houses, carnival games, a train ride or cake walk. The free event runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Halloween at 365 West Bradley Avenue.
Why have only one day of Halloween when you can have an entire month! That’s the idea behind Belmont Park’s Fall Festival and Haunt. Each weekend in October (ending Nov. 1) is filled with creepy delights at the Mission Beach park, including zombie laser tag, a super zip line and rock wall, pumpkin patch and painting and the Boomont Manor Haunted House. Kiddos can bring out their jack-o-lantern buckets for free trick-or-treating Fridays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sunday from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dress up in your finest costumes for contests every Saturday at 5 p.m. Entry to the festival is $6.