• Pamela Froman

Boo! It's Halloween!

It's the scariest time of the year! Ghouls, ghosts, skeletons, and other freaky creatures of the night are taking center stage. Pumpkins are popping up all over. And of course, candy is a sweet treat that we all enjoy. However this year, Halloween is different than the usual trick or treating we normally see. COVID has many events going virtual or held from the safety of your car. But that doesn't mean that this boo-licious holiday won't be fun for kiddos and adults alike. Here is a breakdown of the most thrilling and spooktacular things to do here in Los Angeles this Halloween.

Are you a fan of horror movies? It's the perfect time of year to scare yourself silly. The Screamfest Horror Film Festival is the largest and longest-running horror film festival in the United States. The iconic Paranormal Activity movie was discovered and premiered at the festival in 2007. It is also known as the “Sundance of Horror”. The 2020 Festival will be held at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters on the 3rd floor of the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. Runs through Oct. 15.

Dark Delicacies in Burbank is the home for horror. This creepy spot sells signed books, CDs and LPs, clothes, collectibles, DVDs and BlueRays, DD merchandise, and more – all that have the theme of terror. This year they are hosting a Halloween Curbside Trick or Treating event. They will be handing out special treats on Oct. 30 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Oct. 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. If you want to participate, email with your name, the number of kids (12 & under) that will be with you and the date and the hour you will be out front. You must email by October 25.

Trick-or-treating may be discouraged this year, but the first-ever Hauntoween LA is here to save the day! They are offering an un-boo-lievably fun, child-friendly, immersive, interactive, and safe drive-thru experience open daily. Guests will drive through a variety of installations, like a Jack-O'-Lantern tunnel with over 1,000 brightly lit pumpkins, a blacklight tunnel powered by FX's Emmy®-nominated series What We Do in the Shadows, an array of Halloween environments and mini-maze routes featuring giant pumpkins and countless themed overlays, and, of course, an interactive pumpkin patch with a pumpkin of your choice to take home. Costumed and safely masked actors will provide in-vehicle “door to door” trick-or-treating on a two-street, built-out neighborhood, with plenty of wrapped candy and decorations for the kids. To top it all off, guests can enjoy live musical performances by The BeatBuds at select, surprise times. Throughout the experience, socially distanced photos and multi-cam video ops will encourage social sharing in a safe, contactless environment. National retailer and one-stop-shop Halloween destination, Party City will join the celebration with installations curated with Party City products. Amping up your Hauntoween experience will be easy with DIY car decoration kits available for purchase online during ticket booking. This one-of-a-kind adventure comes from Experiential Supply, an award-winning immersive film event company. 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills. Runs through Oct. 31, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

A Stranger Things-themed experience taking place in Downtown Los Angeles brings the Netflix series to life with a thrilling hourlong journey that takes you back to 1985. Enjoy this fun-filled event from the safety of your car. 24 cars will go through “a world of bitchin' tunes, mullets and monster hunts,” and sets that feature actors in costume and special effects. Runs through Oct. 31.

The annual Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is now a “live drive-up experience.” While in your car, you'll motor up to “All Hallows Lane” for some Halloween fun, including a live show on a 40-foot screen, scenes from past hayrides, and character actors that will scare you silly. The event will take place at Bonelli Regional Park this year to accommodate the drive-thru format. 120 E. Via Verde Dr., San Dimas. Runs through Nov. 1.

The Urban Legends of Southern California comes to the OC Fair and Event Center. Spooky folklore is translated into special effects and frightening creatures, as well as three zones where you can park. 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa. Runs through Nov. 1.

Nights of the Jack is the scariest Halloween drive-thru this season! The driving trail offers tons of hand-carved and illuminated Jack O' Lanterns. Make your way through King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas and lose yourself in selfie-friendly Halloween heaven! King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Hwy., Calabasas. Runs through Nov. 1.

Have you ever picked a pumpkin from a real pumpkin patch? Tanaka Farms is the spot for you! This pumpkin patch requires reservations for entry with two options: Monday through Friday offers Wagon Rides with U-Pick Pumpkins and Saturdays and Sundays offers a Drive-Thru Pumpkin Patch experience! You can also enjoy the Tanaka Grill and Drive-Thru Produce Market Stand. Tanaka Farms, 5380 ¾ University Dr., Irvine. Runs through Oct 31.

Mr. Jack O'Lanterns Pumpkin Patch offers in-person shopping, online ordering, delivery, and contactless curbside pick-up. Mr. Jack O' Lanterns Pumpkins is a one-stop-shop to get in the spooky spirit! Whether it's online shopping or at the patch, customers can enjoy Halloween activities, games, shopping for Halloween costumes, picking the perfect pumpkin, and purchasing fall decorations such as corn stalks, hay bales, gourds, and more. 1841 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. Runs through Oct 31.

Through October, you can observe Halloween at Descanso Gardens. Safely find your way through socially-distanced, pumpkin-themed exhibits. 1418 Descanso Dr., La Canada Flintridge. Runs through Oct 31.

The Bite LA Halloween Food Crawl and Creature Safari offers a fun-filled twist on drive-thru haunted events. It's a tasty Halloween food crawl that winds around spooky Legg Lake. There are eight bites, a campfire dessert, warm drinks, and amusement that you can safely appreciate while in your car. Legg Lake, 750 Santa Anita Ave., South El Monte. Runs through Oct 11.

Heritage Square Museum in Montecito Heights is celebrating Mourning Tours that discuss death in the Victorian era. You'll find out about spirit photography, how you can attempt to contact the dead, old remedies for illness, and cemetery symbols. As well, the museum will feature a station where you can make your very own protective sigil to avoid evil spirits. 3800 Homer St., Los Angeles.

Knott's Berry Farm is featuring a “Taste of Fall-O-Ween.” Food stations are filled with pumpkin-spiced treats, apple cider, funnel cakes, soup bread bowls, and more delectable fall fare. There's also a children's trick-or-treating trail. And don't worry adults – you get treats too – frozen “bloody” lemon slime margaritas.

San Fernando Valley Drive-In brings scary screenings to you from the comfort of your car. Double features for Halloween include Edward Scissorhands, Labyrinth, Casper, Scream, and more. 6335 Woodley Ave., Lake Balboa.

For more in-car movie fun, catch screenings and comedy shows while on the Sunset Strip. Andaz West Hollywood is screening a slate of horror classics including Halloween, Suspiria, An American Werewolf in London, Young Frankenstein, and more. 8401 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood.

Downey is observing its annual Day of the Dead celebration virtually. You'll find recipes and crafting tutorials, and on the actual day, there will be an eclectic mix of movies, music, ballet Folklorico performances, shopping, and art exhibitions. Nov. 1.

Real Haunted Spots in Los Angeles

Did the ghost of Marilyn Monroe haunt The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel? Legends about the space point in that direction. A famous mirror in the lobby allowed people to take pictures and claim they could see her reflection. But Marilyn isn't the only ghost that calls The Roosevelt home. On the ninth floor, you can hear Montgomery Clift – who stayed in suite 928 for several months – playing his trumpet. Lights and faucets are also known to turn on and off on their own.

Before The Comedy Store made its way to the Sunset Strip in 1972, it was Ciro's Restaurant, one of Hollywood's hotspots in the 1940s and '50s. Its owners were known to be thick with the mob and the building has peepholes that allowed mobsters to check out who was coming and going. There is also a hole in the stairway that fits a gun. Employees have heard voices and cries coming from the building's basement.

The Silent Movie Theatre has an interesting history. The original owner, John Hampton, began the theater in 1942, showing his film collection at a time when studios were disposing of silent prints. But Hampton used toxic chemicals to preserve the films – unwittingly exposing himself to cancer. Lawrence Austin took over the theater after Hampton's death. But in 1997 Austin was shot and killed in the lobby in a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Austin's ghost is said to still haunt the lobby and Hampton's ghost can be heard roaming the second floor, where he lived.

The Hollywood sign has long been a signal for suicides. In 1932, a hiker found Peg Entwistle at the base of the landmark. She had climbed to the top of the 45-foot letter “H” and jumped to her death. Visitors say they have seen the actress and sometimes smell the scent of her gardenia perfume.

In the late 1800s, wealthy landowner Don Antonio Feliz died from smallpox. The legend says that when his niece Doña was cheated out of her uncle's will, she put a curse on the land. Since then, untimely deaths and ill omens have befallen the land's deed holders. Believers say they've seen Doña in a white dress on horseback haunting the trails.

When Howard Hughes owned the Pantages Theatre, he built a door that connected his office directly to one of the theater balconies. Hughes's ghost is known as a notorious workaholic and is said to be seen in his former office on the second floor.

It's the season to get spooked. Happy Halloween!

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