Halloween in Southern California is a great time to enjoy a variety of new experiences at some of your favorite “haunts.” From studio tours to tourist attractions, Halloween brings out the “ghoul” in everyone.
Among the top picks for this year’s ghastly good times:
Boo at the Zoo
Address: L.A. Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, L.A. 90027
Through Oct. 31
It might be spooky, but it’s completely safe and family friendly at the Boo at the L.A. Zoo, held at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Daily Halloween adventures and special entertainment on weekends, including roaming costumed characters, pumpkin carving, a musical puppet show, crafts and more. Costumes are encouraged.
Daily Adventures include the Spooky Stroll, Animals & You The L.A.I.R., and Boo Bird Show.
Weekend Adventures (Saturday and Sunday) include Fearsome Feedings & Creature Treats, Swazzle’s Monster Menagerie Puppet Show, “Spooktacular Science” Show, and Masterpiece Pumpkins. Trick-or-treating Oct. 20-21 and 28-29, featuring treat stations throughout the zoo.
Cost: Zoo tickets are $21 for adults, $16 for children and $18 for seniors.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Address: 3400 Riverside Drive, Burbank, 91522
Oct. 12-14, 18-21, 25-28
One of the newest entries for Halloween fun in So. Cal is the Horror Made Here Warner Bros. Studio Tour. In place since 2016, the tour is bigger and better for 2018. Enter the iconic backlot of Warner Bros. home to some of the most famous movies ever made (“LaLa Land,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Camelot,” “My Fair Lady” and “Casablanca”) and join an incredible Halloween party where a creepy circus, killer clowns, demon nuns, super villains, possessed dolls and the devil come to life.
Cost: Tickets start at $59 per person. For a premium experience, join “The Losers’ Club” for the night to enjoy one-time front-of-line access to each maze with dedicated VIP security and entry lanes, two complimentary beverages, one free IT photo-op, and free priority parking.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, L.A. 90027 (The Old Zoo Area is located just beyond the Park Ranger Headquarters and Shane’s Inspiration, Below Harding Golf Course. Follow Signs to Merry Go Round.)
Through Oct. 31
The area surrounding the “Old Zoo” and “B Rock” in Griffith Park has been called one of the most paranormally active sites in California. It is a fitting location for the annual Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. Don’t be surprised to find clowns and other sketchy characters waiting in the haunted woods as the hayride winds its way through life-sized sets until you reach the Corn Maze. Also experience the House of Shadows dark maze, “Trick or Treat” interactive neighborhood and an Old-World haunted village, Purgatory.
Ages 8 and older.
Cost: Ticket options Hayride Only $39.99; General Admission, access to all attractions $49.99; VIP Admission, limited wait/all attractions $64.99 and Platinum Experience, skip the line/all attractions, premium parking and unlimited access $109.99.
Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary
Address: 1126 Queen’s Highway, Long Beach, 90802
Thursdays-Sundays through Nov. 2
Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary in Long Beach has doubled to four the number of cocktail bars hidden inside haunted mazes. Visitors to the mazes must find secret passageways to uncover the bars, where costumed bartenders serve Halloween-themed drinks.
Food choices have also been upgraded with high-end dishes such as lobster fries and tri-tip sliders.
Dark Harbor features 200 monsters, six mazes, new paths, rides, secret rooms and nightly live entertainment.
To enhance your Dark Harbor experience, let the monsters lurking under your bed keep you company during your stay. The Queen Mary has been dubbed one of the “Top 10 most haunted places on Earth” by Time Magazine. This is the perfect opportunity for thrill seekers and scare enthusiasts to spend the night aboard the Queen Mary.
Cost: Use promo code NIGHT for rates starting at $85/night.
Tickets to Dark Harbor start at $20 with various upgrades available.
Paramount Pictures After Dark Tour: Tales from The Other Side
Address: Paramount Pictures, 5515 Melrose Ave., Hollywood, 90038 (323) 956-1777
Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 3
Not all the stories born on the studio lot made it to the silver screen. Some stories, the darker stories, remained, and they continue to haunt the lot by moonlight. It starts at dusk with champagne to toast the coming darkness. Walking in the silence of the night, you’ll descend into the mysteries behind our iconic gates to learn the tales of Paramount’s most dearly departed. Guided by flashlight, you’ll have exclusive access to the legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery where you will uncover the secrets behind the final days of a Hollywood heartthrob, the unsolved murders of an A-list director and a movie mogul and the mysterious death of a rising starlet.
Includes: 2 1/2-hour walking tour, Friday and Saturday evenings and Halloween, Oct. 31, exclusive access to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Complimentary champagne with your favorite movie candy and popcorn hosted in a secret location, complimentary parking, 16 and older only.
Cost: Tickets are $99 per person.
Ghostwalk at Santa Paula Agriculture Museum
Address: AG Museum of Santa Paula at 926 Railroad Ave., Santa Paula, 93060.
Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Oct.12-28. Tour times: 6 p.m., 6:20 p.m., 6:40 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:20 p.m., 8:40 p.m., 9 p.m.
GhostWalk was started by a group of Santa Paula Theater supporters as a way to tell stories in historic locations that change from year to year. All of the tales are tied to historic people, incidents, disasters, or general history of the city of Santa Paula and the Santa Clara River Valley. It can get chilly in Santa Paula in October and some of the ghost stories are told outside so you will want to bring a sweater or light coat.
Cost: Tickets: $10 admission 10/12-10/14. $15 admission ($10 12 and under) 10/19-10/21 and 10/26-10/28.
Info: www.ghostwalk.com/about-ghostwalk.html for tickets.
Nights of the Jack
Address: King Gillette Ranch: 26800 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, 91302
Daily Oct. 11-Nov. 4 6-11 p.m.
Halloween Jack O’Lantern Experience at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas is a family friendly, Halloween themed show on a ½ mile trail filled with thousands of hand-carved jack o’ lanterns. Expect to see larger than life pumpkin installations as well as detailed artist depictions of movie stars, sports heroes and animated characters. Seasonal food and beverage offerings from food trucks and vendors.
Legend has it that in 1824, at the top of the Calabasas grade on the original El Camino Real, a rancher from Oxnard spilled a wagonload of pumpkins while en route to Los Angeles. Sometime later, hundreds of pumpkin seeds sprouted alongside the road. As a result, the area was dubbed Las Calabasas, “the place where the pumpkins fell.”
Cost: Tickets available for 30-minute intervals are $25 for 13 and up, $20 for ages 4 to 12 and free to 3 and under.
Danny Elfman: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Address: 2301 N. Highland Ave., L.A. 90068
L.A.’s reigning Pumpkin King, Danny Elfman will return to the Hollywood Bowl for three nights to perform his role of Jack Skellington, singing live to film for a special screening of Disney’s timeless holiday classic, Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” for the film’s 25th anniversary. Live scenery projections, live orchestra, guest artists, and an all-star cast. Elfman will be joined by other original cast members including Catherine O’Hara (Sally) and Ken Page (Oogie Boogie). The Bowl will be transformed into Halloween Town with special pre-show activities including an audience participation costume contest, photo opportunities and trick-or-treating stations. Tim Burton-inspired costumes are encouraged.
Cost: The price of tickets start at $55
Scarium of the Pacific
Address: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, 90802
Saturday, Sunday Oct. 27-28 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The annual Scarium of the Pacific is a family-friendly educational Halloween event held at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Special Halloween programs include the annual children’s costume contest, creepy coloring contest, magic shows, underwater pumpkin carving, spooky storytelling, crafts, and the eerie animals of the Great Hall.
Cost: The ticket price for adults (Ages 12 and up) $29.95; Child (Ages 3-11) $17.95; Senior (Age 62+) $26.95.
Slightly Spooky Stories
Address: Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge, 91011
Saturday, Oct. 20 11 a.m.
Descanso favorite Ensemble Shakespeare Theater returns with a family-friendly retelling of your favorite Halloween stories. Enjoy a selection of stories that are funny, surprising, and slightly spooky. Kids (and grown-ups) are encouraged to come in costume.
Cost: Tickets are $9 for general admission; Seniors 65 and over/Students with ID $6; Children (5 to 12 years) $4; children under 5 are free.