The 17 Best Halloween Events in Los Angeles, from Drive-Throughs to Haunted Houses
While most Halloween events were canceled or reformatted last year, 2021 brings back many spooky and delightful activities. Sure, you could spend Halloween exploring the city’s most haunted places on your own or streaming scary movies at home, but this year there are plenty of fun (and safe) things to do out on the town. (Hello, terrifying car wash!) Whether you’re looking for a scary haunted house, a family-friendly jack-o-lantern display or a drive-through scream fest, we’ve rounded up the top 17 Halloween events in Los Angeles this year.
Editor’s note: Some events are requiring proof of vaccination status and/or masks. Please check with the individual venue before booking tickets.
1. Tunnel of Terror OC
It's worth the drive to Anaheim to experience a haunted car wash in which ghouls tease, taunt and torment you even while you're in line to enter the soapy and scary wash itself. While we don't recommend this for the littles, in case it forever scars them from using drive-through washes, but for tweens and up it's a fast and fun jump-scare experience that will leave you with fun snaps for social media and a shinier vehicle, all for $25 per car.
2. Hauntoween in Woodland Hills
This immersive family-friendly event features pumpkin picking, face painting, trick-or-treating, and performances and games for the littles. Equally exciting is the 40 foot carousel and immersive Halloween-themed tunnels. Don’t worry, there's also fun for the grown-ups, like a Malibu Wines tasting garden and food trucks. Open every day in October.
3. Nights of the Jack in Calabasas
Stay cozy with your kids in the car as you putter through the King Gillette Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains hideaway at this event that's appropriate for all ages. There are thousands of hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns arranged in themes that range from local interest (like the Hollywood sign, recreated with pumpkins) to classic (like a cemetery). We recommend having your kid put on their costume while you hide a few pieces of candy in your car before you go. That way, you can bribe your kids not to get out of the vehicle, and to describe each tableau as you embark on the 25-minute, mile-long drive that you bought a timed ticket for. Also, this makes great social media content so that you look like you actually made an effort this Halloween (when in reality, between the virtual learning and general quarantine stress, there wasn't even time to buy a pumpkin let alone carve one).
4. Halloween Howl in Duarte
This free event on October 30 starting at 6:30 p.m. is great for families that like to craft, since participants are encouraged to decorate their cars as part of the drive-through fun. The Duarte Parks & Recreation Department is sponsoring the event, modified from its usual festival format to accommodate health and safety concerns—but don’t worry, there is still going to be plenty of fun on offer (think: trick-or-treat stations, spooky decorations and dancers dressed like monsters).
5. Electric Dusk Drive-In
Enjoy the great outdoors...well, a former Sears parking lot...with other horror film lovers at this makeshift drive-in theater which has food vendors and is showing classic spooky films for the month of October. Two showings a night are scheduled, with the earlier flick skewing family-friendly (think Cruella and Hocus Pocus) while the later flick is grittier (um, It and Poltergeist). We're thinking this is a great opportunity for some scary pranking of unsuspecting family members...
6. Urban Legends Haunt in Costa Mesa
On the OC Fair Grounds, drive through a special effects-enhanced retelling of urban legends including scary criminals and unsettling ghost stories. So that no one rolls over a performer during a fright, organizers have created pull-over zones where you can be safely parked while watching the interactive show. It's scary in places, so it's recommended for age 13 and over. And yes, there will be monsters but no, they won't reach into your car. Since this is from the same team that puts on the annual Queen Mary Dark Harbor show, we're expecting a top-notch production.
7. Haunted Hayride
An LA favorite for more than a decade, the Haunted Hayride is back with its original format and location at Griffith Park this year after adapting to a drive-through experience last year. There will be—of course—the iconic wagon hayride and guests can also walk around the fictional town of Midnight Falls for trick-or-treating and scare zones, tour the mortuary and more.
8. Intruder Escape: The Clown Academy
The immersive escape room Intruder Escape returns in October with a reimagined haunted maze. Instead of their usual escape room format, The Clown Academy will be a go-at-your-own-pace haunted maze but with tasks that guests have to complete at various points in order to move forward. There will be actors to interact with and even the queue line will feature carnival games and entertainers. Note: Masks must be worn inside the maze.
9. House of Spirits: A Haunted Soiree
What makes a Halloween haunted house experience even better? Some cocktails, of course. At House of Spirits, guests can sip on drinks while exploring the Rasputin-inspired haunted manor. Just enjoy the ambiance if you’re skittish, or venture deeper and interact with the actors and props if you’re adventurous. Four miniature cocktails are included with the ticket, but more food and drinks will be available for purchase.
The immersive experience Delusion first launched in 2011 and continues to be the leader of interactive theater. This year, Delusion will put on a play called Reaper’s Remorse. The interactive play will start at the designated check-in times and lasts roughly 90 minutes but guests are allowed to explore the manor and grounds for as long as they want (between opening and closing times). There will also be a full bar and food offerings for those planning to make this their full night outing. Note: All guests will be required to wear masks.
11. Carved at Descanso Gardens
For one of the less spooky activities, Descanso Gardens will be lit up with hundreds of jack-o-lanterns this fright night season. In addition to the mile-long trail of glowing pumpkins and the opportunity to enjoy the garden itself at night, there will be Halloween-themed sculptures, parking carving demonstrations, a hay maze and harvest-themed food and drink offerings. Carved will be happening from October 11 to 31.
12. The Nightmare Before Christmas Live-to-Film Concert
Get the Halloween vibe without the scare at this live-to-film concert at the Banc of California Stadium. The concert will feature music from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas and will star Danny Elfman himself as Jack Skellington. Come early for the family-friendly pre-show activities which include a costume contest and trick-or-treating. All attendees will be required to wear masks.
13. Halloween Road
A small town of Victorian buildings seems to be the setup for many horror movies, so the Heritage Square Museum with its collection of historic buildings is the perfect backdrop for Halloween Road, part of Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween. The outdoor walk-through experience will feature iconic scenes from Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters, The Addams Family and more. There is a beer and wine garden available, although a two-drink ticket must be purchased with your admission in advance.
14. Phantom Carriage Brewery
This brewery in Gardena goes full force with its horror themed decor and thriller movie screenings in their The Shining-themed theatre room year-round, but you can bet that it will be a fun place to spend Halloween night. Phantom Carriage offers a wide range of brews from IPAs to sour beers and there’s a cafe touting farm-to-table food that can be enjoyed outdoors on their “graveyard patio.” There will be plenty of events leading up to Halloween including a costume contest on October 23 and a Zombie ball on October 30.
15. Spooky Tea at Lilly Rose
Gather your girlfriends for a classy and a little spooky afternoon tea celebration of All Hallow’s Eve. The underground bar Lilly Rose at Wayfarer DTLA is serving up a special high tea menu for the month of October with Spooky Tea, with charcoal bread, pumpkin galore and a salted butter caramel oolong tea. There will also be tea-infused cocktails and warm apple cider available, and costumes are alway welcome. The Spooky Tea will be available from 2 to 5 p.m. on Thursday to Sunday in October.
16. Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights
The theme parks are back with a full lineup of Halloween events this year, and Universal Studios will have their Halloween Horror Nights on select nights starting from September 9 to October 31. In addition to the rides, there will be more than half a dozen haunted mazes themed from The Walking Dead to The Haunting of Hill House. The tram tour is also transformed into The Terror Tram complete with actors jumping at the tram to scare you.
Technically, every day is Halloween at BeetleHouse, a Tim Burton-themed bar in Hollywood, but Halloween weekend is certainly a good excuse to finally check out this spot and hang out with Beetlejuice. From the decor to the costumed live performers, there is plenty of Instagram fodder here. It’s more about the experience than the food here, but rest assured the food and cocktail presentations are on theme. Reservations for dinner are a must, although the bar is first-come first-served.
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