By Michael Benninger
Exorcize your right to fright all month long with eleven eerie events ranging from a mild “Boo!” to ones that’ll scare the poo outta you.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October
Belmont Park, Mission Beach
Mission Beach’s famed centerpiece transforms into Boomont Park for a month-full of frightful fun. Ghoulish guests can try their hands at three-story Zombie Laser Tag or take their chances in the terrifying Boomont Manor. Other highlights include the Giant Dipper coaster’s monstrous makeover, a pick-'n'-paint pumpkin patch and free trick-or-treating Fridays.
El Cajon Blvd., College Area
San Diego’s largest annual Halloween parade lurches down El Cajon Boulevard once again, this year with more floats and flesh-eaters than ever before. Try to survive portable carnival rides before reanimating with drinks and food truck fare, and then boo-gie down at the afterparty/awards ceremony inside College Avenue’s Baptist Church.
Ghosts & Gravestones
Nightly, Thursdays through Mondays
Various locations in Old Town and Mission Hills
Discover the evils surrounding El Campo Santo Cemetery; experience the unspeakable horrors of the world-famous Whaley House and uncover the dark truth that lies beneath Mission Hills’ Pioneer Park during a terrifying exploration into the lives of Old Town’s famous phantasms.
Halloween Family Day
Balboa Park takes a terrifying turn as more than 25 museums and attractions host grim gallery tours, creepy-crawly craft projects and blood-curdling storytelling sessions. Other horrid highlights include carnival games, human and canine costume contests and a rooftop pumpkin drop.
Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked!
October 24 - 25
Birch Aquarium, La Jolla
Dive into the deep-end this All Hallows’ Eve for first-hand experiences with dreadful dwellers from Davey Jones’ locker. Birch Aquarium invites gutsy guests (and their kids) to unearth sunken treasures, make a mess in the do-it-yourself deep-sea slime lab and soak up live music from Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters.
Daily through November 1
424 Market St., Gaslamp
San Diego’s longest-running haunted house returns with a super-creepy Doll Island experience and a nightmarish Clown Subway, both devilishly designed to scare the bejeezus out of brave souls. Enter if you dare.
Haunting Talks of Our Seafaring Past
October 24, 25, 31
Little Italy waterfront
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the Bay, the Star of India presents three nights of skincrawling stories about the most-feared phantoms of the ocean. Enjoy tales of darkness and despair aboard this unnerving vessel, which is almost certainly haunted itself.
Haunted Trail of Balboa Park
Daily, through November 1
This mile-long trek through Balboa Park’s contorted orchard is not for the faint of heart. Enter an outdoor world of terror and offer yourself up to “The eXperiment,” a new 3500- square-foot maze ripped from the depths of hell. Consider yourself warned.
San Diego Monster Manor
October 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 30, 31
The Ghastley Family may have succumbed to a devastating fire years ago, but their spirits remain - along with apparitions aplenty - in this 13-room, 4,000-square-foot fright fest produced by volunteers from Mira Mesa’s Theater Guild. Gallant ghost-hunters willing to take their chances in this infernal inferno are reminded to say “trick or treat” upon entering... or face the fiery consequences.
October 3 - 5, 9 - 12, 16 - 19, 22 - 31
Scream Zone returns to life at the Del Mar Fairgrounds with spine-tingling new additions: Zombie Paintball recruits sharp-shooting ballers to take out a steady stream of “live” zombies; the House of Horror now features a dozen chilling new chambers; and the Haunted Hayride promises enough scary clowns to drive even the fearless to therapy.
Spooktacular 10K/5K Run/Walk
October 26 Point Loma
Starting off with a warm-up set to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, this festive waterfront run/ walk offers ominous awards, mysterious medals and a freakish finish line festival at Liberty Station.