The Big Day falls on Sunday this year, but the fun truly fills the two weeks leading up to Oct. 31. The list of seasonal merriments below includes festivals, parties, and special performances — all in celebration of harvest time and the magic it brings.
Note: There is a full moon scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23.
Events in La Jolla
Halloween Carnival. Games, face-painting, arts and crafts, rides, astro jump, music, 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 30, La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect. (858) 552-1658.
Haunted Aquarium. 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 22-23, Birch Aquarium, 2300 Expedition Way. Costume contest each night, refreshments, live music with Zydeco powerhouse Billy Lee and Swamp Critters, slimy encounters with creatures from the deep, and more. Open to all ages; kids under 16 must attend with an adult. Reservations, $15-$17, (858) 534-7336. Aquarium.ucsd.edu.
Checkout the Library. Four fun events: Cookie decorating with supplies provided 4:30 p.m. Oct. 20; Not-so-spooky story time with Harlynne Geisler, followed by trick-or-treating 6 p.m. Oct. 26; Halloween craft session 2 p.m. Oct. 27; Halloween story, crafts and ‘begging’ around the library 10:30 a.m. Oct. 28. Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. (858) 454-0268.
Fall Family Festival. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 23, Nobel Athletic Fields and Recreation Center, 8810 Judicial Drive. Carnival rides, bounce house, craft tables, cupcake dressing, face painting, imagination station, raffle, magic show. Hosted by The Parent Connection. Register by Oct. 15 at www.sandiegoparent.com. Tickets $5 for kids, parents free.
Family Harvest Festival. La Jolla Community Church and Eastgate Christian School, 4377 Eastgate Mall, east of Genesee, 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29. All festival activities, including the bounce houses, crafts, pumpkin decorating, game booths, and prizes are free. There will also be free hot dogs, chips, lemonade, cotton candy, and popcorn. Organizers request all costumes be child-friendly. (858) 558-9020, ext 208. www.ljcommunitychurch.org.
Boo Fest: 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 30, Whole Foods Store, 8825 Villa La Jolla Drive. Treat or treating for kids in costume through the store. Winner of pumpkin-coloring contest will be named. (858) 642-6700.
Shores Fall Family Fest. Hosted by merchants along Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla Shores, noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 24. Kids and adults costume contest, food, face-painting, music from Hullabaloo, singer/songwriter Molly Jensen, and teen band The Blond Brothers, freebies, raffle. Tickets: $5 advance, $10 day of at (619) 840-3482 or www.lajollashoresmerchants.com
Adult Costume Party. Plus Halloween dance with punch and entertainment, 5 p.m. Oct. 27, The Riford Center, Admission: $5-$10. 6811 La Jolla Blvd. (858) 459-0831.
Halloween Parade and Potluck. Congregational Church of La Jolla, during coffee hour, Oct. 31, 1216 Cave. Kids bring costumes; adults bring dish to pass. (858) 459-5045.
Mutts-querade. 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 28, Muttropolis, 7755 Girard, La Jolla, (858) 459-9663. Featuring treats and games for four-legged guests and refreshments for ‘parents.’ Mutt Mingle and photos, bobbing for biscuits, costume contest, treat for best trick.
Co-eds gone scary! UCSD students and staff will mark the holiday with a costume contest with categories ranging from most original to most frightening. 11:45 a.m. Oct. 29 at Price Center West Plaza. Great prizes. (858) 534-6444.
Worth a trip
Mannheim Steamroller Concert. Features founder Chip Davis and the San Diego Symphony performing synthesizer treatments of famous creepy classical works. 8 p.m Oct. 30. Tickets: $30-$85. Symphony Hall. 1245 Seventh Ave., San Diego. (619) 235-0804. www.sandiegosymphony.com.
Costume design workshop. Learn the fundamentals of applying stage makeup and the basics of costume design. Included in the $150 cost for the class is a Ben Nye theatrical makeup kit, 9 a.m. to noon, Sunday Oct. 24 at North Coast Rep Theatre School, (858) 481-2155, ext. 303.
“Halloween Spooktacular.” A variation on the improv comedy show, complete season-themed subjects, spooky games and “an ending so bizarre it will be discussed until Thanksgiving!” 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Oct. 29; 7:30, 9:45 and 11:45 p.m. Oct. 30, National Comedy Theatre, 3717 India St., San Diego. Tickets $12-$15. (619) 295-4999, www.nationalcomedy.com.
Scream Zone. Del Mar Fairgrounds presents Haunted Hayride, The Chamber, and blood-curdling scenes in The House of Horror 7 p.m. to midnight weekends through Oct. 31; Triple Haunt, $27.99; Double Haunt, $18.99; Single Haunt, $14.99; $3 off coupon at Little Caesars Pizza; parking free in the Scream Zone lot. www.sdfair.com/screamzone/home.html.
Pumpkin Station. Activities, rides, inflatables, slides, petting zoo, pumpkins for sale, and more throughout the park through Oct. 31, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Free parking and admission. 15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd. Del Mar. (858) 481-4254.
Harvest Festival. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 22-24, Del Mar Fairgrounds. Food, entertainment, crafts, family activities. Admission $9-$4, discounts at CVS and Michaels stores. (800) 346-1212. www.harvestfestival.com
Fall Festival in the Eucalyptus Grove. 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 30, for ages 2-12, San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas. Great BIG pumpkin photo op. Crafts activities ($1-$3 each) _Children may wear non-scary costumes. Free with admission or membership. (760) 436-3036, ext. 222.
Legoland Brick-or-Treat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October; Brick-or-Treat Party Nights, 5-9 p.m. Saturdays Oct. 16, 23 and 30, with costume contests, dance contests, a pumpkin patch building event, “howler of the hour” contests, nighttime trick-or-treating on one of two Brick-or-Treat Trails, live music and entertainment. Admission. www.legoland.com. (760) 918-LEGO.
Old Town. “Séance at the Seeley Stable. Is There Anybody There?” Fun performance (35 guests per show) led by Madam Stolichnaya who attempts to summon ghosts who lived in San Diego long ago to appear and tell their stories. 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23, 29-31. Seeley Stable at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Tickets: Ages 12-18 $5, Adults $10. No young children admitted. Reservations online at www.brownpapertickets.com. (619) 220-5422.
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular. Meet the park’s educational animals (near Otto the Octopus Garden in the front entrance plaza) from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. Saturdays in October to learn about owls, alligators, legless lizards and others. Spooktacular events feature Sesame Street’s Bay of Play “Countdown to Halloween”; “Pirates 4-D,” a film about a pirate and his bumbling crew; photo opportunities with Halloween-costumed characters; pathway encounters with fun-loving sea creatures; cookie decorating and more. Kids are encouraged to come in costume and enjoy 10 trick-or-treating stations from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October. (800) 25-SHAMU. Seaworldsandiego.com.
10th annual Dos Equis XX Monster Bash Block Party. Must be 21 and older to attend, 6 to midnight, Oct. 30, Gaslamp area: 7th Avenue between Markey and J Street; Island Avenue between 6th and 8th Streets. Costume Contest with $3,000 grand prize. (619) 233-5008. www.sandiegomonsterbasah.com
Creepy Crawly Festival. Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 23-Nov. 14, at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Escondido. Roar ‘n Snore pumpkin party Oct. 29, sandiegozoo.org.
Family Day at Balboa Park. Museum discounts and special events on Oct. 30. Science fun (hissing cockroaches) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. (619) 238-1233. Costumes encouraged, but not required.
The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park. 7 p.m. to midnight through Oct. 31. Located in the woods of Balboa Park, east of Sixth and Juniper. No kids younger than 10. (619) 696-SCARE. www.hauntedhotel.com
“Ballet Bites.” California Ballet presents a taste of Transylvania with selections from “Dracula” and Romanian Rhapsodies, 8 p.m. Oct. 23; 1 and 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24, Studio West, 4819 Ronson Court, San Diego. Tickets $25-$45. Saturday evening guests are invited to pre-dinner party. (858) 560-6741, ext. 12. www.californiaballet.org
Puppet show. “The Polka Dot Ghost” has a big problem and needs help getting ready for the big night, 10 and 11:30 a.m. Wed.-Friday. 11 a.m. and 1 and 2:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; Oct. 20-24, Oct. 27-31; Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater, 2130 Pan American Place, Balboa Park; $3-$5; (619) 544-9203.
Not Too Spooky Storytelling. Harlynne Geisler relates “interactive” Halloween tales in front of art masterpieces for kids ages 5 and up, 11 a.m. Oct. 30, Timken Museum of Art, Balboa Park. Free. (619) 239-5548.
Julian Fall Apple Harvest. Shopping, eating, haunted cemetery, and old-fashioned melodrama shows. Details at Julianca.com.
Bates Nut Farm. Seasonal farm fun, pumpkin patch, straw maze, hayrides, petting corral, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Oct. 31. 15954 Woods Valley Road, Valley Center. (760) 749-3333. www.batesnutfarm.biz.
Student intern Diana Polyak contributed to this report.
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