The spookiest time of year is upon us, but this Halloween, La Jolla has a cornucopia of events to help you conquer whatever fear haunts you! From chiroptophobia (fear of bats) to wiccaphobia (fear of witches), here is a rundown of this year’s happenings:
Cucurbitophobia: Fear of pumpkins
Pumpkins, ghosts, tombstones and more will front Bird Rock businesses this season, when the Bird Rock window decorating project returns 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 on participating merchant windows. Young artists must be in grades K-5 and have an adult present. To ensure there are enough supplies, children must register in advance by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bird Rock Community Council and Bird Rock Neighborhood Watch program recommend trick-or-treat hours from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31 and ask homeowners to turn off porch lights at 8 p.m. to signal trick-or-treating is over. At the same time, it’s recommended residents bring in pumpkins for safe keeping. If you normally leave lights on past 8 p.m. or overnight, remember to turn your lights back on before retiring for the evening.
Mazeophobia: Fear of getting lost
Try not to lose your way in the mile-long eXperiment Maze and Haunted Trail at Balboa Park as you pass through the grove of twisted pines and gnarled oaks, now through Nov. 2.
Watch your back while meandering the Maze, because you never know from which way the scares will hit you, as horror icons like Freddy and Michael Myers have taken over! This walk is not for children age 10 or younger — nor the faint of heart.
Inspired by spine-tingling pop culture, the Haunted Trail will be marred with the upside down world of “Stranger Things,” the Ghoul Bus where giant babies make the wheels go round and round, the “Birdbox Cabin,” and Steampunk chainsaw wielding clowns.
It’s located at the corner of Balboa Drive and Juniper Road. Admission from $24.99. (619) 696-7227. hauntedtrail.net
Zoophobia: Fear of particular animals or simply dislike of any non-human animals
Hal-Glow-een at the San Diego Zoo is back with a variety of animal-related activities during Zoo hours. Meet “Zoo Characters” (humans in costume) at the Asian Passage; grab a glowing hula hoop at Boo-la-Hoops at Wegeforth bowl; dance to Halloween tunes at the bubble dance party at Hua Mei Café; meet animals and their keepers with Featured Creatures on the Front Street Stage and Africa Rocks Stage; make your way through freaky fog, spooky sounds and surprising sights to see slithering snakes at night in the reptile house; and more.
Times vary based on event. Hal-Glow-een activities Oct. 11-13; 18-20; and 25-27; included in Zoo admission, children visit for free in October! Adult one-day passes from $56. Balboa Park. (619) 231-1515. sandiegozoo.org
Climacophobia: Fear of the act of climbing
A rock climbing wall awaits those who attend the La Jolla Presbyterian Church’s sixth annual Harvest Festival, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 at the Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.
A $10 wristband grants guests unlimited activities, including pony rides, a petting zoo, bubble soccer, rock climbing wall, face painting and more. Food trucks will be on Draper Avenue, between Silverado and Kline streets, with fare for purchase. (858) 454-0713. ljpres.events/harvest
Pedophobia: Fear of children, or fear triggered by the presence or thinking of children
For the littlest trick-or-treaters, the La Jolla Rec Center Halloween Carnival is an afternoon of Halloween-inspired games, bounce houses, arts & crafts, and more, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at 615 Prospect St. There is also a costume contest for children up to 10 years old: ages 2 and under 1:30 p.m., ages 3-4 at 2 p.m., ages 5-6 years at 2:30 p.m., ages 7-8 at 3 p.m., and ages 9-10 at 3:30 p.m.
$5 wristbands include all activities, with snack tickets 25 cents. (858) 552-1658. bit.ly/ljreccenter
Thalassophobia: Fear of the sea
Meet the creeps of the deep and get hands-on with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego science during the 20th annual Haunted Aquarium: Sea Monster Mash, 6-9 p.m. Oct. 25-27. Guests will experience eerie and unusual organisms, see a super-sized squid dissection and create their own seaweed slime to take home. Costumes are encouraged, especially with an ocean science theme.
New this year, guests are invited to decorate their own recycled plastic into ghoulish decor on Oct. 19-20 as part of the “Reduce, Reuse, Re-pumpkin” community event ahead of Haunted Aquarium. Use aquarium-provided art materials to create spook-tacular pumpkins out of recycled containers to be displayed at Haunted Aquarium. Guests can also bring their own pre-decorated recycled plastic pumpkins to share with the public.
Discounted presale tickets are $25; Birch Aquarium members $20. Tickets at the door: $30. Ages 2 and under attend free, 2300 Expedition Way. (858) 534-FISH. aquarium.ucsd.edu
Hauntophobia: Fear of haunted houses
La Jolla High School’s theater program presents its first haunted house fundraiser. Actually, two different haunted houses: a G-rated version 4 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30 and PG-rated version 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. The theater company will transform the campus theatre into a haunted house, with proceeds going to the department. Tickets: $5.
Leading up to the spooky nights, the Company presents “The Twilight Zone” dinner theater, 6 p.m. Oct. 3-4 at 750 Nautilus St. Theater students present vignettes from the 1950s TV show, with a three-course meal served. Tickets $20. email@example.com
Kinemortophobia: The fear of zombies
Are you Team Human or Team Zombie? The human vs zombies Capture the Flag game returns to the La Jolla Library, 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25 at 7555 Draper Ave., where the teams will battle it out after-hours. For grades 6-12. No registration required. Snacks provided.
For younger kids, a “slightly spooky” story time celebrates the season, 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. After story time, costumed children can trick-or-treat around the library. (858) 552-1657. lajollalibrary.org
Masklophobia: The fear of people in masks and costumes, full-bodied costumed characters, masquerade costumes and Halloween costumes
Fido or Spot can join the Pillage the Village fun this year, when the tradition expands from just humans in costume to pets in costume for the first time. Pillage the Village runs 3-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31 along Girard Avenue and Prospect Street with trick-or-treating at participating retailers. A costume contest for kids and pets will be held at La Jolla REBA, 908 Kline St. with Geppetto’s gift certificates as prizes — first place $100; second place $75 and third place $50. Every participant receives a $20 Geppetto’s gift certificate. Find participating merchants with balloons in front of their stores for a treat.
Teraphobia: Fear of monsters
The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Scare-grounds through Nov. 2, is considered among the goriest, scariest and screaming-est fright fests in the dark corners of San Diego County.
Scream Zone stiches together three “haunts” — the House of Horror, which features room after room of frightening and surprising visual and visceral experiences; the dizzying Chamber, which invites visitors to Follow the Bloody Brick Road to the Wizard of AAAAAHs; and the Haunted Hayride, a bone-chilling ride as every turn is a new challenge for survival.
The costume contest offers a $100 cash award to the Scariest, Funniest, Best Group and Most Original costumes. Best of Show wins $300. Must be age 18 or older to participate.
Hours: 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays/Saturdays, 7-11 p.m. all other nights. $21 for a single haunt or $34 for all three haunts. Tickets available online or at the door. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. (858) 755-1161. thescreamzone.com
Phasmophobia: Fear of ghosts
The Whaley House in Old Town, considered “the most haunted house in America,” will be open in extended hours the last week of October to put you in good “spirits” for Halloween. Hear tales of bizarre encounters with long-dead residents such as Thomas Whaley, master of the house, who refuses to leave until the injustices against him have been corrected; Anna, his elegant wife who watches over her family and her lovely home, even in the afterlife; Violet, the daughter whose sad death haunts the house to this day; Little Tommie Whaley, whose cries in the night can sometimes be heard more than 150 years after his death; and ‘Yankee’ Jim Robinson, the notorious outlaw hanged for his crimes where the Whaley House Museum now stands, who still seeks justice from beyond the grave.
Whaley House sits at 2476 San Diego Ave. Admission: $8. (619) 297-7511. whaleyhouse.org
— You’ll find other Halloween-themed activities at Boomont Park, 3146 Mission Blvd. in Mission Beach, belmontpark.com and the SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular, 500 SeaWorld Drive, seaworld.com