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La Jolla Halloween events go online, outdoors or into oblivion

Mr. Jack O'Lanterns Pumpkins' roving pumpkin patch will be open Oct. 3-31 at 6710 La Jolla Blvd. in La Jolla.
(Courtesy)

Though most of us have been wearing masks for most of 2020, it’s almost time for a different kind of mask. Halloween is right around the corner.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, La Jolla’s events will look a little different this year — almost as if in costume. Some have even become ghosts.

But no matter what, La Jolla has a variety of ways to celebrate the season.

Pumpkin patch

The Mr. Jack O’Lanterns Pumpkins roving pumpkin patch will be open Oct. 3-31 at 6710 La Jolla Blvd. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Customers also can order pumpkins online for delivery or curbside pickup, as well as kits for decorating pumpkins or tools for carving.

The following coronavirus safety protocols will be enforced onsite:

  • Employees will wear masks and gloves.
  • Employees will receive a temperature check upon arrival and be given a questionnaire daily regarding any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Social distancing will be required.
  • A designated employee will sanitize highly touched areas.
  • All customers must wear masks at all times.
  • Sanitization stations will be placed throughout the patch.
  • Customers must sign a waiver upon entrance.

Learn more at mrjackolanternspumpkins.com.

Creeps of the deep

During October, Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is launching its first Haunted Aquarium Remix at 2300 Expedition Way.

It takes the spooky science fun that the traditional Haunted Aquarium is known for and mixes things up outdoors with new animal encounters and activities geared to children ages 2-10.

During the Haunted Aquarium Remix, capacity will be limited and activities will be held outdoors at Tide Pool Plaza, Smargon Courtyard and Education Courtyard.

Upon entering, children — who are encouraged to wear costumes — will receive a Discovery Booklet that includes self-guided explorations tied to Haunted Aquarium Remix activities. Young guests will have the opportunity to learn about and touch spooky creeps of the deep, including slimy seaweed, several species of small sharks and creepy, crawly critters like sea spiders. They also can visit the Haunted Kelp Maze, explore what happens when a whale “falls” and get up close with nautical nutrients, some of the tiniest critters at the aquarium.

All guests 2 and older are required to wear face coverings both indoors and out and maintain a 6-foot distance from other groups.

Admission is $19.50 for adults and $15 for children ages 3-17. Reservations are required for aquarium members and the general public. Learn more at aquarium.ucsd.edu.

Crafts, goodies and virtual story time

The La Jolla/Riford Library, normally home to spooky Halloween stories and trick-or-treating, has craft materials and goodie bags lined up for little goblins.

For October, the branch will have two Halloween-themed “Take & Make” craft activity kits for children available for pickup during operating hours while supplies last at 7555 Draper Ave.

The La Jolla/Riford Library is offering Halloween-themed craft kits for kids.
(Courtesy)

On the big day (Halloween), a recorded Virtual Halloween Storytime will be posted in the morning at facebook.com/LaJollaLibrary for viewing any time, said youth services librarian Dana Sanchez.

Staff members will distribute Halloween goodie bags for children in costume. The bags will be prefilled and handed out during operating hours while supplies last.

Poof! They’ve disappeared

Some events could not be reimagined for social distancing and have been canceled.

Because the La Jolla Recreation Center is closed due to the pandemic, its annual Halloween Festival has been canceled, said San Diego city spokesman Tim Graham.

Similarly, La Jolla Presbyterian Church will not host its annual Harvest Festival. “As much as we love it and the community interaction, it has always been a hands-on event and would not be the same in the time of COVID and social distancing,” said the Rev. Jim Sedgewick. “We look forward to bringing it back better than ever next year.”

Mystery events

Representatives of the Bird Rock Community Council, which organizes a community window-painting event in October, and the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, which organizes the community Pillage the Village event, did not respond to requests for information about those festivities for this year.

The Bird Rock event typically invites children to paint the windows of participating businesses with seasonal decorations. It isn’t clear whether it will be modified or canceled.

Pillage the Village normally invites children to trick-or-treat on Halloween at participating retailers along Girard Avenue and Prospect Street. The Village Merchants Association announced during its September meeting that Pillage the Village had been canceled but the board would try to produce an online version. Details of that were not immediately available. ◆