13 spooktacular San Diego haunts that will frighten the bejeebers out of you

From trick-or-treating for the kids to outdoor parties and bar crawls, these Halloween fright fests are crazy good fun for ghouls and goblins of all ages


Are you superstitious? Does the number 13 get you running in the other direction? You’re not alone. While it is rare, about 9 to 10 percent of Americans are uneasy about that number. We look for ways to overcome our fears and superstition is one way we use to help us maintain some control over the universe. From the not-so-scary to the down right terrifying, here are 13 spooky Halloween bashes from which to choose to make your day of the dead a fun-filled night to remember.

Not so scary for kids

Brick or Treat Party Nights: Legoland will be dressed in its Halloween best featuring treat stations filled with more than a million pieces of candy, character meet and greets, live shows, a costume contest, the AstroBash Dance Party, the Pop Badge Challenge and more. 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26. Legoland California Resort, 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad. $64. (888) 690-5346.

Halloween Family Day: Balboa Park’s 11th annual fest features dozens of free kids’ craft projects, Day of the Dead-themed displays and activities, costume contests, live entertainment and food trucks. Among the day’s highlights include mini-carnival games, a haunted lantern craft at the Japanese Friendship Garden booth, a rooftop pumpkin drop experiment in front of the San Diego Air & Space Museum and a “Thriller” flash-mob dance in the Plaza de Panama. Visit the Balboa Park website for a complete schedule. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 26. Throughout Balboa Park. Free. Participating museums also offer free admission to children 12 and under with paying adult.

Dia de Los Muertos at Old Mission San Luis Rey: Spend your “Dia” at the mission’s 17th annual festive celebration featuring altars, a car show, live entertainment, cultural performances, an all-new Kids Zone, a chalk cemetery, arts and crafts and food. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27. Mission San Luis Rey, 4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside. $2 in advance, $3 day of the event. (760) 716-5854.

A thrill for all

Haunted Tales of the Ship: Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N. Harbor Drive, San Diego. Ghosts, goblins, pirates and princesses will feel right at home listening to creepy tales by lantern light aboard the Star of India. Hear how young John Campbell fell to his death from the rigging and other chilling stories. 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 and 26. Free with general admission. $18 adults, seniors 62+, military with ID; $13 students; $8 children 3-12; children 2 and under are free. Spaces are limited.

Halloween at the Station: Dress in your favorite character — alive or dead — and saunter over to Liberty Station for a day of live music and entertainment, a Hollywood car show and other frightfully fun surprises. Trick-or-treating takes place throughout the district. Noon to 4 p.m. Oct 27. Liberty Station’s North Promenade, 2848 Dewey Road, San Diego.

Bone-chilling frights

The Scream Zone: One of SoCal’s scariest scenes returns with three hair-raising haunts, including a hallucinatory House of Horror, a harrowing Haunted Hayride and a Wizard of Oz-inspired experience called The Chamber. 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays-Saturday; 7 to 11 p.m. Sundays-Thursday. Through Nov. 2. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar. $21-$85.

Haunted Trail & eXperiment Maze: Squeamish peeps should steer clear of this mile-long amusement that starts with a spine-tingling, 3,500-square-foot maze then continues throughout Balboa Park’s perilous paths, brimming with pop culture’s most insidious icons. Times and dates vary. Through Nov. 2. Corner of Balboa Drive and Juniper Road, Balboa Park. $24.99-$34.99.

The Disturbance: This trio of terrifying attractions includes undead outcasts from Downtown’s Haunted Hotel, a congregation of “kill-billies” from the Ozarks and a 3D Freak-Fest designed to melt your mind. Times and dates vary. Oct. 4-Nov. 2. Mission Valley Center, 1640 Camino Del Rio North, San Diego. $24.99-$39.99.

Adult mayhem

Nightmare Before Halloween: Be there when El Cajon Boulevard’s celebrated inn transforms into a Tim Burton-esque wonderland where guests with the creepiest themed costumes can win big prizes. Some of San Diego’s favorite bands will perform throughout the night, including Low Volts, Shane Hall and Dani Bell & The Tarantist. 8 p.m. Oct. 25. Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd., University Heights. $20 early bird admission; $25 general admission; $30 at the door.

San Diego Zombie Crawl: Now spanning two weekends and coinciding with Dia de los Muertos, this year’s alcohol-infused undead event offers access to more than 20 of the city’s hottest parties (and escape rooms) and features complimentary shots at 10-plus venues. 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Oct. 25-26; Oct. 31-Nov. 2. Throughout the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village. $25-$39.

Hallo-Wine & Spirits Party: Prepare to see plenty of Pennywise cosplayers as Coronado’s famously haunted hotel invites guests to wear clown-themed costumes for this adults-only affair full of drinking, dancing and decadent desserts. 7 to 11:55 p.m. Oct. 26. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave., Coronado. $150 per person.

WCKD Village: Confront fearsome creatures face-to-face at this musical fright-fest featuring three eerie experiences, loads of live music, and a morbid bar crawl among other attractions. 6 p.m. to midnight Oct. 26. Seventh Avenue between Market Street and J Street, East Village. $40-$45.

Nightmare on Normal Street: Kick off Halloween weekend at this massive 21-and-up block party boasting two enormous bars, an epic outdoor dance party and multiple costume contests — including one for canines. 6 to 11 p.m. Oct. 26. Pride Flag Plaza at Normal Street and University Avenue, Hillcrest. $20-$55.