OC offers a wide range of spooky fun for all ages.
Come October, Halloween pops up in all forms in and around Orange County. Whether it’s kid-friendly Knott’s Spooky Farm, family-friendly shopping at Roger’s Gardens or dinner with Vampirates at Pirates Dinner Adventure, we’ll guide you through this maze of fun for all ages and intensity levels.
Not everyone enjoys blood-curdling screams as a way of celebrating Halloween. Many times, pumpkins, corn mazes and fall activities are just the ticket.
Knott’s Spooky Farm — The annual event for kids runs during the day Thursdays through Sundays through Oct. 29 plus Columbus Day and Halloween. Kids can trick-or-treat in Ghost Town dressed in their Halloween best and interact with spooky but friendly shopkeepers. There are many other activities, including the Calico Carnival Costume Cavalcade, the Calico Mine Ride that has been transformed into a candy wonderland and Bob Baker Marionette Theatre’s Halloween-themed show at Birdcage Theatre, to name a few.
Buena Park | knotts.com
Halloween Time at Disneyland Resort — Disneyland Resort takes Halloween seriously. So much that it’s been celebrating since Sept. 1. Decor and characters dressed in Halloween attire are at both theme parks — including the Main Street Pumpkin Festival at Disneyland and Cars Land at Disney California Adventure transformed into Radiator Screams. Jack Skellington and his friends from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” are back at Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland. “Halloween Screams” nighttime spectacular offers projections, special effects and music on Main Street, U.S.A., Sleeping Beauty Castle, Rivers of America and in front of “it’s a small world.” At Disney California Adventure park, thrills rise at Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! in Avengers Campus when transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark. In honor of Dia de los Muertos, Plaza de la Familia cultural experience brings entertainment and family crafts to Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure until Nov. 2. Several times a day, “A Musical Celebration of Coco” offers a company of folklorico dancers, mariachi singers and musicians that recount Miguel’s adventure to the Land of the Dead. Halloween Time runs across the Disneyland Resort through Oct. 31.
Anaheim | disneyparks.disney.go.com
Pageant of the Monsters — Pageant of the Masters is an Orange County cultural tradition in the summer months, but every five years the Festival of Arts’ grounds get a little spooky with Pageant of the Monsters. This year’s Pageant of the Monsters haunted house theme is “Maze of the Minotaur.” The family-friendly Halloween event runs Oct. 27, 28, 29 and 31. Guests walk through the amphitheater, Pageant workshops and stage that have been transformed into a series of eerie, artistic vignettes inspired by ancient Greek mythology and the legend of the minotaur. The event also offers spooky side shows, photo opportunities, face-painting, games, art projects and more.
Laguna Beach | foapom.com/monsters
Pirates Dinner Adventure’s Vampirates — Pirates Dinner Adventure hosts Halloween-themed, family-friendly dinner show “Vampirates: Undead Men Tell No Tales” on select nights through Oct. 31. The show features aerial artistry, swordplay, death-defying stunts and dynamic duels. Follow the tale of the Vampirate King Captain Sebastian who rises from Davey Jones’ locker to unleash terror on the seven seas every Halloween night. This year he attempts a spell to free himself from the locker for good and only the world’s greatest monster hunter, Kate, can stop him. Guests can also get in the Halloween spirit by taking Vampirate Meet & Greet photos or get spooky face-painting. Every Saturday in October, there will also be costume contests with prizes for both kids and adults.
Buena Park | piratesdinneradventureca.com
Roger’s Gardens’ Halloween Boutique — Roger’s Gardens takes Halloween shopping to another level with this theatrical retail experience, themed “The Witching Hour” for 2023. The boutique offers five distinct areas, each a blend of handmade props and more than 400 styled products spanning from classic to contemporary. The family-friendly experience offers a unique way to do some shopping or just browsing while getting really into the Halloween spirit. This year’s theme offers plenty of witchy mood and Halloween energy, and you may even run into a crocodile (prop). The boutique is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.
Corona del Mar | rogersgardens.com
Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch — Tanaka Farms offers a unique way for families to experience farm life while celebrating Halloween. Monday through Thursday activities include Wagon Rides, Barnyard Educational Exhibit, U-Pick Veggie Patch, Corn Maze and U-Pick Pumpkin Fields. Friday starting at noon and all day Saturday and Sunday, activities include Wagon Rides, Barnyard Educational Exhibit, U-Pick Veggie Patch, Corn Maze, U-Pick Pumpkin Fields, Arts & Crafts, Festival Games, Farmer Golf and the not-to-be-missed Pumpkin Cannon. Open daily 9 am to 6 pm through Oct. 30. But they are open Fridays and Saturdays from 9 am to 9 pm on Oct. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28 and from 9 am to 3 pm Oct. 31.
Irvine | tanakafarms.com
Magic of the Jack-o’-Lanterns — Through October 31 on select nights, Whittier Narrows Park in South El Monte transforms into a larger-than-life pumpkin experience, featuring hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns, light displays and festive activities for all ages with this new event. Guests can step into a world where a nautical seascape, pirate ship, dinosaurs, dragons and thousands of jack-o’-lanterns illuminate the grounds. The pumpkin creations bring to life characters — from classic ghouls to pop culture icons. Magic of the Jack-o’-Lanterns offers interactive photo opportunities, themed food, live entertainment and more.
Los Angeles | magicofthejackolanterns.com
Of course, Halloween can often take a darker turn with plenty of screams coming along with laughter. For those families looking for a scarier vibe, there’s plenty to see — and scream at.
Knott’s Scary Farm — While Knott’s Berry Farm offers its family-friendly Spooky Farm, it has definitely made a name for itself among serious Halloween fans. Celebrating 50 years, Scary Farm’s lineup includes three new mazes — for a total of 10 — five scare zones and four shows. The new mazes include horror-movie-themed Cinema Slasher, The Chilling Chambers — honoring the first maze in Knott’s Scary Farm’s history, “10 Chilling Chambers” — and hotel-themed Room 13. Other new offerings include The Gauntlet Scare Zone, where guests can encounter the King and Queen of the realm, maniacal jesters, brutal barbarians, wicked wizards and lawless peasants who invade Camp Snoopy at night, and “Music, Monsters & Mayhem” — a show that takes a provocative musical journey celebrating 50 years of frights. A new addition to this year’s event is a “No Boo” necklace giving guests immunity from direct scares from scare zone monsters when it’s illuminated and visible. Scary Farm runs select nights through Oct. 31.
Buena Park | knotts.com
Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights — Universal Studios has also made a name for itself as a large-scale haunted attraction theme park with its annual Halloween Horror Nights, which is open select nights through Oct. 31. Among its eight mazes are big names like “The Last of Us,” “Stranger Things” and “The Exorcist: Believer.” There are also three scare zones, two new live experiences and the Terror Tram that drops guests off in the Universal backlot, this year in the middle of an insect uprising, followed by a walk through the Jupiter’s Claim set from “Nope” where they will encounter The Tethered from “Us.” “Blumhouse: Behind the Screams” is a new concept showing a selection of Blumhouse horror film props, including from the upcoming “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” Also for the first time, “The Purge: Dangerous Waters” takes the movie franchise into an entirely new environment — open waters — with this new, live show full of action, stunts and even some explosions. “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” is also open during Halloween Horror Nights, inviting guests to experience attractions like “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey” and “Flight of the Hippogriff.” Guests may also encounter Death Eaters as they roam Hogsmeade village.
Los Angeles | halloweenhorrornights.com
Shaqtoberfest — Back for a second year,
Shaqtoberfest returns with bigger scare trails and new experiences at The Queen Mary. Hosted by NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, the event offers haunted trails, live entertainment, carnival rides, themed bars and cocktail lounges, VIP experiences and immersive horror-themed entertainment. Family-friendly hours with trick-or-treating will happen during the last three Sundays in October when guests of all ages are encouraged to come dressed in Halloween costumes. Shaqtoberfest runs through Oct. 31.
Maverick Theater’s “Night of the Living Dead” — Based on George A. Romero’s classic 1968 film credited for developing modern-day zombie characters as we know them, Maverick Theater’s “Night of the Living Dead” returns for its 18th year — with no signs of dying yet. It’s an intense, stage experience evoking much of the same drama and fear from the film. The show runs weekends Oct. 6-29.
Fullerton | mavericktheater.com
City of Laguna Niguel’s Haunted Trails — Haunted Trails returns for another year of fun jump scares on a short trail at Crown Valley Park. The community event runs Oct. 12-15 and is not recommended for children under 12 years old.
Laguna Niguel | cityoflagunaniguel.org
Dark Harvest — In its new location, Dark Harvest this year offers two themed walk-throughs — “Shady Pines Asylum: The Escape” and “The Scary Clowns” — photo opportunities and a pumpkin patch for younger guests. This year Dark Harvest is partnering with Hauntington Beach Manor, which is offering a special interactive experience, “Followers of Pythia.” Part of the event proceeds will go to WAGS Pet Adoption in Westminster and Patriots and Paws in Anaheim. The event runs select nights through Oct. 31.
Garden Grove | darkharvesthaunt.com
By Jessica Peralta