23 Things to Do for Halloween That Don’t Involve a Costume
Have you seen the Stow Lake ghost?
There was once a time when you spent weeks deciding on that perfectly zeitgeist-y costume of the moment. Lately, though, your idea of a good Halloween is raiding the half-price candy on November 1. Don’t worry, we hear you. So we rounded up 23 things to do around Halloween, from spooky to sweet, that are just as fun in your regular clothes.
1. Pick pumpkins and see if you can find your way through the two-acre hay maze at Arata’s Pumpkin Farm’s.
2. Learn the moves to Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" in a free dance class on October 26.
3. Have a spooky sleepover and re-watch the not-so-spooky Rocky Horror remake with Laverne Cox. (We <3 you, Sophia Burset.)
4. The tranquil Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park is a lot creepier after dark. You may even find the ghost of a woman whose child is said to have drowned there in the 1900s. (Got the shivers?)
5. If you’re a thrill seeker, be among the first to ride Escape Alcatraz at Fisherman’s Wharf (hold the eye roll). The gut-punching drop ride simulates a jump from Alcatraz into the bay. Whoa.
6. Make candy apples.
7. Tour the historic 1886 Haas-Lilienthal House (October 28 and 29), a Victorian museum otherwise known as Mayhem Mansion.
8. Bake a Halloween candy layer cake.
9. Get festive at a "Thriller"-themed Friday Night event at the Oakland Museum of California on October 28. Never enough "Thriller" stuff, people.
10. There’s nothing quite as cute as pups on parade. Dress up the kids and the dog and take them to this year’s Boo Bash on October 30.
11. Scare yourself silly at a screening of Rosemary’s Baby at the Castro Theatre on October 30.
12. Light a candle after dark at the Sutro Baths and prepare to have it blown out or snatched from your hand by a mysterious apparition. We ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
13. Visit the pet cemetery in the Presidio. Awoooo.
14. RIP, Castro Halloween party, but we bet that hasn’t stopped the neighborhood from celebrating the holiday in other ways. May we suggest a Halloween pub crawl instead?
15. Look for teal pumpkins around the neighborhood.
16. Take a trip back in time at the Winchester Mystery House during a Halloween candlelight tour. We hear an attic full of creepy crawlies was recently discovered at the property.
17. Go trick-or-treating with the kids in Noe Valley.
18. Stir up a pot of red wine hot chocolate to pass out to trick-or-treating parents.
19. Skip trick-or-treating and Halloween parties altogether and host a candlelit dinner party. Use empty wine bottles as candleholders for a spectral vibe.
20. If you dare, take an evening stroll through the Neptune Society Columbarium and look for the ghost of a little girl standing near the urn sealed behind glass.
21. See the original Rocky Horror Picture Show on October 31 at Berkeley’s newly reopened historic UC Theatre.
22. Host a Stranger Things marathon.
23. Join the Mission’s Latino community and celebrate the Day of the Dead with a ritual procession and festival of altars (November 2, starting at 7 p.m.).