Top events coming to San Diego during the spookiest of months include various Halloween haunts, Pacific Beach Fest, San Diego International Film Festival and Extreme Sailing Series.
Through 10.31: Haunted Hotel
Hop on the Hellevator and venture into the depths of horror as the latest inn-carnation of San Diego’s long-running haunted house dares you to endure a shuddering mutant mineshaft, a sickening swamp and an atrocious zombie-infested alley.
424 Market St., Gaslamp, hauntedhotel.com
Through 10.31: Haunted Trail
The faint of heart shouldn’t attempt this mile-long amusement that starts with a spine-tingling traipse through a 3,500-square-foot maze, then continues past Balboa Park’s contorted trees while putting you face-to-face with some of cinema’s most insidious icons.
Balboa Park, downtown, hauntedtrail.net
Through 10.31: Scream Zone
The county’s largest haunted experience returns with three hair-raising attractions: the House of Horror, the Haunted Hayride and the KarnEvil freak show, all complemented by food trucks, fun photo opportunities and a ghastly Spirit Lounge bar.
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, thescreamzone.com
10.3-14: San Diego Italian Film Festival’s feStivale 2018
Feast your eyes on a cornucopia of films, replete with rom-coms, indie flicks, dramas and documentaries, during nearly two weeks of events for aficionados of Italian movies and culture.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park, sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com
10.4: Orchids & Onions Gala
The San Diego Architectural Foundation hosts their annual awards ceremony shining a spotlight on the most aesthetically pleasing — and most visually offensive — structures in the city.
U.S. Grant Hotel, downtown, orchidsandonions.org
10.4-31: Backwoods by Savage House Haunted Attraction
Scare yourself silly at San Diego’s only themed haunted attraction, where brave souls will dodge cannibalistic hillbillies at the Gray family farmhouse.
Westfield Mission Valley, savageproductions.org
10.6: 21st annual Pacific Beach Fest
P.B.’s free, full-day beach festival is back with an oceanfront 5K and a fish taco contest, plus tons of merchants and live, local music all day long.
Oceanfront Walk, Pacific Beach, pacificbeachfest.org
10.6: Imperial Beach Auto Fest
More than 400 engines of all years, makes and models will roar to life as the South Bay’s signature auto event returns with tons of live music, merchants and more entertainment than ever before.
Seacoast Pier, Imperial Beach, carshowcalifornia.com
10.6-7: La Jolla Art and Wine Festival
Visitors at this two-day celebration of art and wine will enjoy a wine and beer garden, a silent auction, a family art center, live music, food and entertainment, all in the heart of La Jolla village.
Girard Ave., La Jolla, ljawf.com
10.6-7: Maker Faire
Meet more than 200 local makers at this gathering of fascinating folks showcasing their incredible inventions, creations and craftsmanship inside several of Balboa Park’s most-loved museums.
Balboa Park, sandiego.makerfaire.com
10.10-14: 17th annual San Diego International Film Festival
The region’s premier film festival and one of the leading stops on the independent cinema circuit is back with more than 115 movies, several glamorous parties and intimate events with up-and-coming filmmakers. Here are some must-see events during the 5-day festival:
Opening Night Film Premiere and After Party: On Oct. 10, watch as festival VIPs and stars stroll down the red carpet at the Balboa Theatre before heading in to see a screening of Can You Ever Forgive Me? featuring Melissa McCarthy. After the movie, it’s time to party with music from the Stilettos and DJ Marc Easy or test your luck at the Jamul Casino Gaming Tables.
Night of the Stars Tribute: Presented by trade publication VARIETY, dine in style while accomplished members of the industry are recognized and honored with awards, including Alex Wolff who will receive this year's Auteur Award (read our Q&A with the young actor here), on Oct. 11 at the Pendry hotel. An after party follows at Oxford Social Club.
Social Impact Panel: Industry leaders gather on the morning of Oct. 12 for a 90-minute panel to discuss social justice, the refugee crisis and how filmmakers are telling these stories.
Culinary Cinema: Raise a glass with a welcome champagne cocktail on Oct. 14 before heading into the theater for a cuisine-themed movie followed by bites from some of San Diego’s top culinary talents.
Venues throughout San Diego, sdfilmfest.com
10.12-14: Del Mar Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show
Mass-produced products are strictly verboten at this arts and crafts show that exclusively features handmade items and embellished artifacts.
Del Mar Fairgrounds, Del Mar, harvestfestival.com
10.12-14: Fashion Week San Diego
California’s largest publicly accessible fashion event once again celebrates the clothing industry by highlighting local entrepreneurs and their apparel.
Lux Art Institute, Encinitas, fashionweeksd.com
10.13: Marine Corps Bootcamp Challenge
Climb cargo nets, leap over logs and scale a 6-foot wall while racing to complete the same 3-mile, 50-obstacle course that transforms recruits into Marines.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Midway District, bootcampchallenge.com
10.13: Boots in the Park
This West Coast touring country music festival arrives in San Diego with performances by country music acts including Billy Currington, The Wild Feathers, Tyler Rich and more.
Waterfront Park, Little Italy, bootsinthepark.com
10.13: 18th annual Row for the Cure
Use a human-powered watercraft to complete a 4.5K competitive course — or opt to SUP/paddle through the brand-new beginner course — at this aquatic event raising awareness and funds to support those affected by breast cancer.
Ski Beach, Mission Bay, komensandiego.org
10.13: San Diego Modern Home Tour
Visit some of San Diego’s most gorgeous homes — in any order and on your schedule — during this design-centric event showcasing local architecture.
Throughout San Diego, sandiegomodernhometour.com
10.13: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
Strap on a pair of heels — or slip into whatever kind of kicks you want — then strut your stuff for a full mile at this fundraising walk that aims to draw attention to the seriousness of domestic violence.
MLK Promenade, Gaslamp Quarter, ywcasandiego.org
10.13: 26th annual City Ballet Gala
San Diego’s own Mario Lopez will emcee this celebration of the City Ballet’s award-winning performances and inspirational outreach programs, which benefit more than 10,000 local youths each year.
10.13-14: Latin American Art Fair
Join 10,000 like-minded Latin American art enthusiasts at this innovative fair focused on bringing more international art to our city’s local galleries.
Bread & Salt, Logan Heights, latinamericanartfairsd.com
10.14: Sixth annual Bike for Boobs
Grab your helmet, hop on your bike and choose either a 20-mile road ride or a leisurely trip around Shelter Island during this afternoon rendezvous that raises funds to fight breast cancer.
The Wine Pub, Shelter Island, thewinepubsd.com
10.14: Installation Dances at Liberty Station
Witness six site-specific dances inspired by Liberty Station’s alluring art installations during one of three guided walking tours hosted by Jean Isaacs of San Diego Dance Theater fame.
Liberty Station Arts District, Point Loma, libertystation.com
10.14: Mustangs by the Bay
Scope out hundreds of models of Ford’s classic car — or show off your own precious “pony” — as the Mustang Club of San Diego hosts their premier auto show.
Embarcadero Marina Park North, mustangclubsd.com
10.18-21: Extreme Sailing Series
The stadium-racing sailing circuit returns to the Big Bay during this high-energy, spectator-centric event that attracts some of the world’s best sailors and puts attendees right in the middle of the action.
Harbor Island, extremesailingseries.com
Rancid, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Less than Jake are just three of the acts performing at this daylong festival focused on killer tunes and incredible food and offering unlimited tastings of more than 150 craft brews.
Waterfront Park, Little Italy, scallywagfest.com
10.20-21: Coronado Art Walk
Hundreds of contemporary craftsmen and craftswomen join other gifted artisans to present one-of-a-kind creations during two days where it’s all about original art.
Coronado Ferry Landing, Coronado, westcoastartists.com
10.20-21: Fourth annual Art Rhythm & Wine Festival
This free, two-day open-air festival includes exhibits from more than 50 artists all celebrating the dynamic culture of Carlsbad.
The Forum, Carlsbad, visitcarlsbad.com
10.21: Green Homes Tour
Chart your own course as you visit the county’s most eco-friendly homes on this self-guided tour that aims to encourage, educate and empower you to make your own home greener.
Throughout San Diego, sdgreenhomestour.org
10.21: Craft Classic Half Marathon & 5K
Opt to either run alongside Route 56 or stay closer to Sorrento Valley during these two runs that offer sweeping views, challenging hills and a craft beer reward at the Green Flash’s finish line.
Green Flash Brewing Co., Mira Mesa, craftclassic.com
10.23: Halloween Pumpkin Carving Contest
Celebrate Halloween in retro style at this carving contest, where contestants compete for prizes like a stay at The Pearl Hotel while watching a Halloween-themed movie projected on the hotel’s poolside big screen.
The Pearl Hotel, Point Loma, thepearlsd.com
10.26: P.B. Pub Crawl
Hit up P.B.’s favorite haunts and hotspots as you crawl with hundreds of other costumed crazies to more than 10 different bars, each offering drink discounts and free shots without any cover charge.
Throughout Pacific Beach, clubcrawlsandiego.com/halloween
10.26: Halloween Pub Crawl
Knock back free shots and specialty cocktails at more than 10 select venues during this costumed pub crawl followed by several epic after-parties.
Throughout downtown, clubcrawlsandiego.com/halloween
10.26: Naked Magicians
Two unabashed illusionists from Australia bare it all during this uproarious, R-rated magic show that includes lots of coarse language and leaves little to the imagination.
Balboa Theatre, broadwaysd.com
10.26, 27 + 31: Zombie Crawl
Shamble throughout the streets of downtown alongside thousands of other undead drinkers during this creepy bar crawl that includes access to more than 20 of the city’s hottest parties, nearly all of which include complimentary shots and devilish drink specials.
Throughout the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village, sandiegozombiecrawl.com
10.27: Eighth annual Hallo-Wine & Spirits
Coronado’s famously haunted hotel welcomes you to wear a killer costume for this adults-only affair full of drinking, dancing and decadent desserts, all abiding by this year’s theme: Legendary Screams from the Silver Screen.
Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, hoteldel.com
10.27: Nightmare on Normal Street
Hillcrest’s annual happenin’ Halloween street party is back, with outdoor dance floors, an American Idol-style costume competition, local DJs and food trucks.
Normal St., Hillcrest, fabuloushillcrest.com
10.27: Halloween Yacht Party
Don your costume and board this decked out three-hour Halloween cruise offering tray-passed hors d'oeuvres, two floors of dancing and cash prizes for best costumes.
Spirit of San Diego, San Diego Harbor, annualyachtparties.com
10.27: WCKD Village
The evolution of the long-standing Monster Bash, this new event spans six blocks, boasts four concert stages, and includes a glitter bar, gypsy lounges and drink specials at more than two dozen of downtown’s hottest venues.
Throughout East Village the Gaslamp Quarter, wckdvillage.com
San Diego band Pinback will headline this dual Halloween/Oktoberfest event featuring a beer garden, food demonstrations, live zombies, and costume contests.
The Lafayette Hotel, Swin Club & Bungalows, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., North Park, lafayettehotelsd.com/events
10.27: Second annual Day of the Dead Festival North Park
With face painting, tequila tasting and sugar skull decorating, this second-year event also offers guests an opportunity to learn more about this vibrant Mexican holiday in remembrance of those no longer living.
Ray Street, North Park, dayofthedeadfestivalnorthpark.com
10.27: Out of the Darkness Walk to Fight Suicide
Do your part to raise awareness about San Diego’s rising suicide rate during this walk that helps fund educational programs and support those affected by suicide loss.
NTC Park Liberty Station, Point Loma, donordrive.com
10.28: Halloween at the Station
All ages are encouraged to attend this free, family-friendly Halloween celebration that includes daytime trick-or-treating throughout the district, along with live entertainment and several spooky surprises little ones are sure to love.
Liberty Station, Point Loma, libertystation.com
10.28: 17th annual Dia de Los Muertos Oceanside
Eat, dance, and shop till you drop as North County’s largest Dia de Los Muertos celebration returns with one of the most authentic Mexican experiences north of the border.
Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, mslrdiadelosmuertos.com
10.28-29 & 11.1-2: Fiesta de Reyes Dia de Los Muertos
Remember lost loved ones in a lively way over the course of two weekends that include candlelight processions, professional face painters and several colorful Catrinas — female skeletons dressed in hats — scattered around Old Town.
Fiesta de Reyes, Old Town Historic State Park, fiestadereyes.com
San Diego Gulls home games
10.12: vs Tucson Roadrunners
10.19: vs Milwaukee Admirals
10.20: vs Bakersfield Condors
10.26: vs Stockton Heat
10.27: vs Tucson Roadrunners