halloween candy 314

San Diego's best Halloween events for families: pumpkin patches, trick-or-treating, costume contests, Halloween parades, fall festivals, trunk-or-treats, candy buy backs and other fiendish fun guaranteed to raise your spirits!

Quick link:
Oct.6-8  |  Oct.13-15  |  Oct.20-22  |  Oct.27-29  |  Pumpkin Patches  |  Candy Buy Backs

Don't forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

Ongoing Events

Lizard Wizard of San Diego. See live slithering snakes, scaly lizards, jumping boo frogs, hissing cockroaches, adult tarantulas, scorpions and spectacular tortoises. Appropriate for schools, festivals, camps, parties, picnics and afterschool care. (760)-722-4466. Call for more info and to reserve. www.lizardwizardofsandiego.com

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular. Get free candy at 12 ocean-themed, trick-or-treat stations, mingle with friendly characters and watch Halloween shows. Saturdays & Sundays, through Oct. 29; visit website for admission. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr., San Diego. www.seaworldsandiego.com.

The San Diego Museum Council invites families to discover what’s new at 43 art, cultural and science museums across the county with free admission for up to two children, ages 12 & under (for every adult ticket purchase). Oct. 1-31. For participating museums and to download the Kids Free in October voucher, visit www.sandiegomuseumcouncil.org. This event is presented in partnership with the San Diego Tourism Authority’s Kids Free Campaign. For family-friendly deals this month, go to www.sandiego.org/promotions/kids-free.aspx.

FREE Boomont Park. Dare to experience a cauldronful of thrills and chills as Belmont Park transforms into a Halloween-themed beachfront amusement park offering a family-friendly fall festival for monsters of all ages. Free trick-or-treating, Zombie Laser Tag, a pumpkin patch station, Superhero Zip Line and more. Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, through Oct. 29 (plus Tues., Oct. 31), 5 pm until closing. Trick-or-treating, 6:30-7:30 pm. 3146 Mission Blvd. www.belmontpark.com.

Pumpkin Express. Take a vintage train ride that departs from Campo Depot, encounter a haunted train at the Display Building and decorate a pumpkin from an indoor pumpkin patch. Saturdays & Sundays, Oct. 7-29, 10 am, 12:15 & 2:30 pm. $5-$18. Advance reservations required. Pacific Southwest Railway Museum, 750 Depot St., Campo. www.psrm.org.

The Children's Nature Retreat's Great Annual Pumpkin Festival. Check out the 6 foot hay maze, free with standard admission. Play the “rocking the hunt” game and win a prize. Pick out your own pumpkin (small, medium, large and extra large) at the pumpkin patch. Open 10 AM to 5:30 PM, everyday. For reservations call 619-320-4942. 5178 Japatul Spur, Alpine. www.childrensnatureretreat.com


sunday  |  1

FREE Museum Mash Up. This event kicks off Kids Free in October with more than 10 museums offering entertainment, musical performances and hands-on activities. Oct.1,10 am-1pm. Museum Park (adjacent to The New Children’s Museum), 200 West Island Ave., downtown San Diego. www.sandiegomuseumcouncil.org

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular. See ongoing events.         

thursday  |  5

EcoVivarium Living Museum. See reptiles, amphibians and arthropods, and participate in hands-on encounters with animal ambassadors. Wednesdays-Fridays, noon-5 pm; Saturday & Sundays 10 am-4:30 pm. $8-$10. 136 S. Juniper St., Escondido. www.ecovivarium.org

friday  |  6

FREE Holiday Craft Fair by the Artisans of the First United Methodist Church of Escondido. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas items, home-baked goodies and more. Oct 6, 1:30-8 pm; Oct.7, 10 am-3 pm & Oct. 8, 8:30 am-noon. 341 S. Kalmia St. www.fumcescondido.org.

Kids FREE in October-The San Diego Museum Council

See ongoing events.

saturday  |  7

FREE Pumpkin Festival. Eighty artisans offer American handmade crafts and fine art at this annual fair. Also, visit the pumpkin patch with tractor hayrides, straw maze, petting corral, pony rides and vendors. Oct.7 and Oct.8, 9 am-4 pm. Bates Nut Farm, 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center. www.batesnutfarm.biz.

FREE Crafts at the Lakeshore Learning Store. For ages 3 & up. Saturday, 11 am-3 pm. Oct. 7: Changing Leaves! Fall mobile. 7510 Hazard Center Dr., San Diego & 702 Center Dr., San Marcos. 

sunday  |  8

FREE Boomont Park- See ongoing events.

friday  |  13

The TERI Players Present “Monster Story Time 2.” The troupe of misunderstood monsters returns for another Halloween adventure! This family-friendly production features performers with special needs. Oct.9, 7 pm. $10-$20. Star Theatre, 402 N. Coast Hwy., Oceanside. www.teriinc.org/monsterstory.

saturday  |  14

The Great Pumpkin Patch Express. Wear your Halloween costume and have loads of fun with Charlie Brown and Snoopy! Enjoy a train ride, pumpkin picking, games and more. Oct.14-15, Oct. 21, 28 & 29; visit website for times and tickets. Orange Empire Railway Museum, 2201 S. A St., Perris, CA. www.oerm.org.

FREE Crafts at the Lakeshore Learning Store. For ages 3 & up. 11 am-3 pm. Oct. 14: Branch Out! Tree Art. 7510 Hazard Center Dr., San Diego & 702 Center Dr., San Marcos.

FREE Scarecrow Contest. Build a scarecrow for display at the Bates Nut Farm pumpkin patch. Each entry will receive a free jack-o-lantern pumpkin and certificate of participation. Bring entry and completed registration form by 10 am, Oct.14. Judging from 11 am-noon. 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center. www.batesnutfarm.biz.

FREE Halloween Traditions in Nature. Visit the haunts of the season’s iconic characters. Take a closer look at hoary oaks and get the facts on bats, owls, spiders and more on this guided walk. Oct.14 & Oct. 28, 9:30-11 am. Meet inside the Visitor Center. Mission Trails Regional Park, One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Carlos. www.mtrp.org

sunday  |  15

Pumpkin Express. See ongoing events.

tuesday  |  17         

Linda Hawley’s Nature Adventures. Learn how species interact in nature’s web of life, and the importance of protecting our environment. This month’s topic: “Creepy Creatures! Bats, Spiders, Insects & Snakes.” Oct.17, 9:30-11:30 am. $10 per child with advance registration; accompanying adults & siblings under 4 free. For ages 4 & up. Mission Trails Regional Park’s Visitor Center, One Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Diego. www.mtrp.org.

FREE Kroc Fit Kids Family Fun Nights. A fitness-oriented activity plus healthy snacks. Oct.17, 6-7 pm. Gymnasium at The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 6753 University Ave., San Diego. www.sd.kroccenter.org.

friday  |  20

FREE HauntFest on Main. Oct.20, 5-10 pm. Free family fun block party in downtown El Cajon. Three entertainment stages, petting zoos, free games, crafts, special attractions, costume contest, candy trails, Ghostbusters movies and more! 201 E. Main St. www.hauntfest.org.

Haunted Aquarium: Sea Monster Mash. Get sticky with slime, find a sea of glowing monsters, boo-gie down to live music and listen to spooky tales. Oct. 20 & 21, 6-9 pm. $18.50-$20; ages 2 & under free. Birch Aquarium at Scripps, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla. www.aquarium.ucsd.edu.

The Children's Nature Retreat's Great Annual Pumpkin Festival. See ongoing events.

FREE Boomont Park. See ongoing events.

saturday  |  21

FREE PLNU Fall Festival. Highlights include a pumpkin patch, wagon rides, a live karaoke band, food samples, live music and exhibit booths. Oct. 21,10 am-2 pm. Point Loma Nazarene University, 3900 Lomaland Dr. www.pointloma.edu/events/14th-annual-fall-festival.

San Diego Kids Expo & Fair. Check out the latest products and services for children and families, watch live performances, enjoy hands-on activities and visit Playland with inflatable jumps and slides for young children. Don’t forget to stop by the San Diego Family Booth and say hi! Oct.21 and Oct.22, 10 am-5 pm. For tickets, visit website. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. www.sandiegokidsexpo.com.

Parent’s Nite Out at Elite Gymnastics Academy: Halloween. Kids, ages 4 & up, have a great time with gymnastics, games and more. Oct. 21, 6-10 pm. $20. Register online. 1817 John Towers Ave., El Cajon.   www.elitegymnastics.com/pno.html.

Halloween Sleepover Party. Oct.21, sleepover 6:30pm to 8am (Oct.22), party 6:30-9:30 pm (Oct.21). Party includes a Haunted House, carnival games and prizes, costume contest and open gym. Sleepover includes everything above plus a pizza dinner, movies and breakfast in the morning. Guests who sleepover need to be picked up by 8am on Oct.22. Poway Gymnastics, 12850 Brookprinter Place. Details at www.powaygymnastics.com

sunday  |  22

Bow Wow Brunch Cruise. Indulge in a bountiful buffet while your favorite pooch can savor a pet buffet and join a doggie costume contest. Oct. 22, 12-2 pm. For details, visit website. Portion of proceeds will go to Helen Woodward Animal Center. Departs from Grape St. Pier, 1800 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. www.hornblower.com

wednesday  |  25         

Too Cute to Spook. Complimentary drama workshop for ages 5-11. Oct.25, 4:30-5:30 pm. Students have fun during an action-packed hour full of adventure. Activities include themed problem-solving scenes, improvisation, theater games and creative movement. Costumes optional, props provided. Join the fun! RSVP online or call 619-846-2407. Drama Kids of San Diego, 2176 Chatsworth Blvd. dramakids.com/san-diego-encinitas

friday  |  27

Trick-or-Treat Family Overnight Adventure. Walk in the footsteps of sailors who served aboard the USS Midway. There will also be a costume contest plus treats that will be given away during ship tours. Fri. Oct.27, 5 pm until Sat. Oct.28 9:30 am. Visit website for fees and to register. For ages 4 & up. 910 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. www.midway.org/halloween-overnight.

saturday  |  28

FREE Balboa Park Halloween Family Day

More than two-dozen museums and cultural attractions present a spook-tacular array of costume parades, kids’ crafts and other surprises. Highlights include a doggie costume contest in the Spanish Village, the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s rooftop pumpkin drop, a Thriller flash mob and more. Participating museums also offer free admission to ages 12 & under with paid adult. Oct. 28, 11 am-4 pm. www.balboaparkconservancy.org/family-day.

Salvation Army Kroc Center’s Boo Bash.This hauntless jaunt promises hours of festive fun including trick-or-treating, fang-tastic pumpkin decorating, spooky carnival games, bounce houses, rock climbing and more. Oct. 28, 1-4 pm. $1 (cash only). Kroc Center Recreation Field, 6753 University Ave., San Diego. www.sd.kroccenter.org.

Halloween Public Skate at San Diego Ice Arena. Come in costume and skate to awesome Halloween music! Oct.28, 1-3 pm. $12-$14. 11048 Ice Skate Place, San Diego. www.sdice.com.

FREE The Super Dentists Spooktacular. This annual fall party promises cauldrons of family fun including a costume contest, music, carnival games, food and vendors. Oct. 28, Noon-3 pm. The first 1,000 visitors to tour the newly designed office will receive a prize. EastLake Shopping Center, 2226 Otay Lakes Rd., Chula Vista. www.thesuperdentists.com.

FREE Costume Contest & Parade at Bates Nut Farm. Oct. 28,11 am; registration starts at 9 am. 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center. www.batesnutfarm.biz.

FREE Crafts at the Lakeshore Learning Store. For ages 3 & up. Saturday, 11 am-3 pm. Oct. 28: Silly Spider Puppet. 7510 Hazard Center Dr., San Diego & 702 Center Dr., San Marcos.

FREE Trick-or-Treat Dog Show. Alpine Stagecoach Lions Club presents this annual event that offers a costume contest, prizes, exhibitions by Champion Frisbee, surf and diver dogs, food and vendors. Oct.28, 11:30 am–4 pm Summers Past Farms, 15602 Olde Hwy. 80, Flinn Springs. www.summerspastfarms.com.

Family Overnight: Mysterious Midnight on the Marsh. Encounter spooky critters, take a night hike through the marsh, be part of a treasure hunt and munch on creepy snacks. Oct. 28, 5:45 pm until Oct.29, 9:30 am. $45. For ages 5 & up. Call for reservations. The Living Coast Discovery Center, 1000 Gunpowder Point Dr., Chula Vista. www.thelivingcoast.org; 619-409-5908.

Halloween Family Day. Celebrate bats and other nocturnal creatures with crafts and hands-on activities. Oct. 28, 11 am-3 pm. Free with admission. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park. www.sdnat.org.

FREE Halloween Traditions in Nature. See Oct. 14.

sunday  |  29

FREE Family Spook-tacular Concert at First United Methodist Church of San Diego. Oct. 29, organist Stephen Price plays Halloween tunes on the largest pipe organ in the county. 4:30 pm. Kids are encouraged to wear their favorite costumes. Stay for a sumptuous spaghetti dinner ($5; $10 per family) at 5:30 pm. 2111 Camino Del Rio South, Mission Valley. Details at www.fumcsd.org/spooktacular.

FREE Howl-o-Ween Doggie Costume Contest & Parade. Judging and parade starts Oct. 29, 11 am; registration, 9 am. Bates Nut Farm, 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center. www.batesnutfarm.biz.

Howl-O-Ween Harvest Family Day. Enter the Eerie Estate, stop by trick-or-treat stations, visit a mini pumpkin patch, encounter various animals and join pumpkin decorating and costume contests. Oct. 29, 9 am-1 pm. $14.25 per child; $5 per adult. Helen Woodward Animal Center, 6461 El Apajo Rd., Rancho Santa Fe. www.animalcenter.org/programs-services/education/howl-o-ween-harvest.

The Children's Nature Retreat's Great Annual Pumpkin Festival. See ongoing events.

tuesday  |  31


FREE Treats Abound at Village Walk at EastLake. Children in costume, ages 12 & under, can receive goodies from participating merchants. Oct.31, 3-5 pm. EastLake Pkwy. & Miller Dr., Chula Vista. www.shopvillagewalk.com.         

FREE Halloween Happening at EastLake Village Marketplace. Treats, mascot appearances, face painting and balloons. Oct. 31, 3-5 pm. For ages 12 & under. Otay Lakes Rd. & EastLake Pkwy., Chula Vista. www.shopeastlakemarketplace.com.

Spook-tacular Flight Fest at iFly. This Halloween iFLY Oceanside will transform into a "Spook-tacular Flight Fest." Come out between 4-8 pm on Oct.31 and enjoy an evening of flight with raffle prizes, candy for the kids, costume contest and a special flight show from expert instructors. Receive 15% off all first time flyer packages when you arrive in costume. 3178 Vista Way, Oceanside. www.iflyworld.com/oceanside

Pumpkin Patches

Pumpkin Station
Four locations offer an array of fall fun with games and rides, giant slides, a petting zoo, pumpkins and more. Most open from Sept. 29-Oct.31. Free admission; ride ticket packages available. Look for a FREE train ride coupon and more info on the back cover of this issue. www.pumpkinstation.com; 858-566-7466.

Carlsbad Pumpkin Patch at the Carlsbad Strawberry Fields
See giant pumpkins, find your way through a corn maze, paint pumpkins and enjoy hayrides (Fri., Sat. & Sun.). Daily, Sept. 29-Oct. 31, 9 am-6 pm. Cannon Rd. & Interstate 5. www.carlsbadstrawberrycompany.com.

Summers Past Farms
Pumpkin patch open Wed.-Sun. in October. Pick your favorite pumpkin during business hours. On weekends, enjoy a jump house plus snacks and refreshments for purchase. Free admission. 15602 Olde Hwy. 80, Flinn Springs. www.summerspastfarms.com.         

Bates Nut Farm
Choose from a variety of pumpkins and check out other attractions including tractor hay rides, a petting corral, straw maze and pony rides. Sept. 23-Oct. 31. Free admission. Weekends feature live entertainment, food trucks and other family events. 15954 Woods Valley Rd., Valley Center. www.batesnutfarm.biz.

buckets of candy.

Halloween Candy Buy-Backs

Americans purchase nearly 600 million pounds of candy every year just for Halloween. Much of that will be devoured immediately, but most will linger around the house to tempt you for days and weeks to come. Why not save your family the extra calories by donating leftover candy? With a little effort, you can provide great gifts to people in need of encouragement!

The Super Dentists
Bring your Halloween candy to your local Super Dentists from Oct. 30 - Nov. 3 and get cash in return.

Children’s Choice Pediatric Dental
Turn your Halloween candy into cash at the Children’s Choice 2nd annual Candy Buy Back Event. Candy drop-off Nov.1, 9am-6pm. For more info call (619)-996-9543 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Things change. That’s why we’ve included phone numbers and websites when available. Since some activities require advance reservations or have limited space, don’t forget to call first to confirm dates, times and admission prices! 


Updated:   October 2017


Free Ticket to the San Diego County Fair for Kids up to Age 12

Free Ticket to the San Diego County Fair for Kids up to Age 12

The San Diego County Fair offers a free ticket to kids up to age 12, if they read 10 age appropriate books and have the certificate signed by a teacher or librarian. Here's the link to the San Diego . . .

Read more

San Diego Family's Ultimate Summer SandBucket List

San Diego Family's Ultimate Summer SandBucket List

We San Diegans have it really rough—living in a top summer travel destination that others dream of visiting someday. One thing is sure: there is no shortage of fun things to do, especially when th . . .

Read more

9 Ways to Celebrate Summer Solstice

9 Ways to Celebrate Summer Solstice

In San Diego, June 21 marks the longest day of the year and heralds the start of the beloved summer season: summer solstice. The summer solstice presents another opportunity for families to celebrat . . .

Read more

10 Simple Pleasures Your Children Will Love this Summer

10 Simple Pleasures Your Children Will Love this Summer

When I think back on my childhood summers, it’s the simple pleasures I remember most. Running barefoot in the grass. Romping with my dog in the backyard. Reading my favorite book in a shady spot u . . .

Read more

Things to do for the 4th of July

Things to do for the 4th of July

Add some spark to your Fourth of July celebration with fireworks displays, parades, live performances, patriotic games and crafts, and other star-spangled happenings.   Sunday  |&n . . .

Read more

10 Things to Do With Kids During the Summer

10 Things to Do With Kids During the Summer

Take a Trip to the Farmers' Market. Farmers' markets are surprisingly family-friendly, offering great stimulation for children.  They present a unique learning environment where kids experience . . .

Read more

10 Tips for Tackling Comic-Con with Kids

10 Tips for Tackling Comic-Con with Kids

You’ve thought about it and have decided to take the kids downtown San Diego during Comic-Con. There are things you can do to help navigate crowds and maximize fun. Here are helpful hints on how to . . .

Read more

How to Stay Connected with Grandparents Who Live Far Away

How to Stay Connected with Grandparents Who Live Far Away

National Grandparents Day (in September) is a day set aside to remember the wonderful love our parents show our kids. Those who live far from their children’s grandparents know that maintaining a . . .

Read more

7 Summer Dates for You and Your Mate

7 Summer Dates for You and Your Mate

There is something to be said about warmer weather and longer sunlight hours. It reminds us of the newness of young love and the excitement of growing closer as we spend more time together. As summer . . .

Read more

How to Make a Heart Braid for your Daughter

How to Make a Heart Braid for your Daughter

Send your daughter to school with this fun heart braid. She'll look adorable on Valentine's Day—or any day of the year. What You’ll Need: Wide-tooth comb Fine-tooth comb Hair clip Ponytai . . .

Read more

Apple Picking in San Diego

Apple Picking in San Diego

Kennedy (age 2) picks apples at Volcan Valley Apple Farm. Fall in San Diego finds many families apple picking in nearby Julian. Known for delicious apple pies, Julian is home to many apple farms, al . . .

Read more

Free Summer Concerts in San Diego

Free Summer Concerts in San Diego

2018 INFORMATION WILL BE POSTED SHORTLY!! Outdoor concerts are a summertime tradition in San Diego. With so many throughout the county to choose from, you can take a picnic and dance the night away . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!