• Pamela Froman


Boo! It's the scariest time of the year – Halloween! There are are some terrifying and fun ways to celebrate this awesome holiday here in Los Angeles. Whether you want to be scared silly or are just are a fan of costumes and candy, you are guaranteed a thrill.

Halloween kicks off on a Wednesday, a perfect way to break up your week. The holiday has an ancient history. It originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, where people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off spirits. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day, and it eventually incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before became known as All Hallows Eve, and then Halloween.

So what are your plans for this festive occasion? Here is a breakdown of local highlights to get your scare on.

If you love to be freaked out, then you have to visit “Dark Harbor” at the Queen Mary. This event offers the most authentically frightening experience available – after all the Queen Mary is haunted! You'll walk through six terrifying mazes and you never know what creature will creep up on you. 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach. Runs through Nov. 2.

Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum will transform into the haunted BOO-tanicum with the annual Halloween extravaganza, highlighted by its unique and infamous haunted house. Enjoy the tricks and treats of the season on the wooded grounds with a host of enticements including ghost stories, game booths, festive food and libations, performances and more. Oct. 27, 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga.

You'll definitely want to find a way out from unique and interactive live-action adventure escape rooms! These games are super thrilling. Escapes include Amityville, Hyde and Seek, Jumanji, the Orphanage, Fire and Ice, Wizards Workshop, Titanic, Alice in Wonderland and more! Various locales around Los Angeles.

Have fun with the whole family at the Halloween Harvest Festival! This event features activities like Halloween stories with Santa, a magic show with Stephen Wood, free Mister Fun balloons for the kids, free face painting, big bubbles, chalk art fun, trick or treating and a costume contest. First Avenue in Downtown Arcadia (Huntington to California). Oct. 27, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Get your costume on at Cinema Secrets! Professional level prosthetic kits and makeup from Cinema Secrets are an unparalleled choice for Halloween or stage makeup. Transform yourself to your Halloween character with perfection and guarantee. Become a member of Blue Man Group or take a turn as the Wicked Witch! 4400 Riverside Drive, #110, Burbank.

The nightmare-filled world of Knott’s Scary Farm returns for its 46th season. Every inch of the park becomes covered with hidden frights, prowling creatures, spine-chilling scares and terrifying twists. This year guests will come face-to-face with fear as they brave through the park’s 14 haunted attractions including new and original scares with the debut of two grueling never-before-seen mazes and a hair-raising new scare zone. 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. Runs through Oct. 31.

The Reign of Terror has been named the Best Haunted House in Southern California! There are eight Reign of Terror theme attractions and over 23,000 square feet to explore and reach your deepest fears! Beware rooms including the Haunted Mansion, The Miner's Revenge, Casa Blood, Quarantine, The Asylum, Infected, Inbred, and the freaky Fun House. Janss Marketplace, 197 N. Moorpark Rd., Thousand Oaks. Runs through Nov. 3.

Nights of the Jack is a family friendly, Halloween-themed show. Walk along a 1/2 mile trail filled with thousands of hand-carved jack o’ lanterns. You'll see larger than life pumpkin installations as well as detailed artist depictions of your favorite movie stars, sports heroes and animated characters. King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas. Oct. 11 – Nov. 4.

Boo at the L.A. Zoo is a fun-filled event at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens. These festivities offer roaming costumed characters, pumpkin carving, a musical puppet show, crafts, and more. Wear your costume! Trick-or-treating on select dates. 5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles. Runs throughout Oct.

Welcome to Malibu's Annual Halloween Carnival and Movie! Costume parades, carnival games, trick or treating along the City's hiking trails, art activities and a free screening of “Goonies.” Malibu Bluffs Park, 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. October 26, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood dares you to explore their iconic backlot for Horror Made Here, a super scary Halloween event where evil clowns, demon nuns, villains, possessed dolls and even Satan himself are there to greet you. 3400 Riverside Dr., Burbank. Runs though Oct. 28.

Join hordes of rotting revelers for Long Beach’s annual zombie outbreak. Zombie Fest scares with activities including a live alligator exhibit, learning the most requested zombie-esque choreography ever made – Michael Jackson's “Thriller,” the Zombie Walk and Zombie Apocalypse Scavenger Hunt. Don't have a costume? Cinema Makeup School will turn you into a zombie – for free. Rainbow Lagoon, Long Beach. October 19 - 21.

The space around the "Old Zoo" and "B Rock" in Griffith Park is known for being paranormally active, and welcomes you to the annual Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. Take a jaunt into the woods, where savage clowns await. The hayride wanders through life-sized sets and a freaky cast of characters. Then disembark and experience the terrifying Corn Maze! More attractions include the House of Shadows Maze, “Trick Or Treat” interactive neighborhood, and a haunted village. 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles. Runs through Oct 31.

Oak Park's 13th Annual Indoor Halloween Carnival features a spooktacular evening. Everyone is encouraged to wear costumes. Attractions include a Trick or Treat Village, Enchanted Forest, face painting, game booths, food and prizes. Oak Park Community Center, 1000 Kanan Rd., Oak Park. Oct. 31, 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Danny Elfman is coming to the Hollywood Bowl for three nights to perform his iconic role of Jack Skellington, singing live to film for a screening of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas" for the film’s 25th anniversary. There will be live projections and orchestra, and an all-star cast. Catherine O'Hara (Sally) and Ken Page (Oogie Boogie) will also be on hand. The Bowl will become Halloween Town with a costume contest, photo ops and candy! Tim Burton-inspired costumes encouraged. 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. Oct. 26 – 28.

The 7th Annual Trunk or Treat Halloween event is here! Parents dress up their little monsters in Halloween costumes and bring them out for some trick-or-treating fun! Trick or Treat from trunk to trunk of local businesses that have come out to show their support for their community! Enjoy popcorn, games, candy, activities, prizes and more. The Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road, Calabasas. Oct. 31.

The 15th Annual Mourning Tours take place at Heritage Square Museum. On Saturday learn how Edwardians grieved, the history of spiritualism and séances, a re-creation of Phantasmagoria, and how turn-of-the-century beauty was actually dangerous. Sunday includes family-friendly period games, 19th-century inspired crafts, a pumpkin patch and trick or treating. 3800 Homer St., Los Angeles. Oct. 28 - 29, noon to 4 p.m.

Gelson’s Calabasas Village transforms into a frightful fantasyland for its 21st annual “Spooky Village.” Enjoy trick-or-treating, face painting, arts & crafts, and prizes! Receive a free photo of your little ghoul. Gelson’s Calabasas Village, 22277 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas. Oct. 27, 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. (818) 377-6494

The Marina Spooktacular offers Halloween merriment for everyone. Daytime activities are family-friendly and include a scavenger hunt graveyard, a maze of terror, trick-or-treating, Dia de los Muertos celebrations, DJs, music, food trucks, costume contests, cultural dances and more. When night falls the park becomes a frightfest with tours of haunted pirate ships. 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina Del Rey. Oct. 27 – 28.

Happy Harbor Halloween brings the spooks to the Port of Los Angeles. Start the day with a Halloween-themed Pet Parade, costumes encouraged. Then enjoy Happy Harbor Halloween, featuring a costume parade, music, arts and crafts, face painting, games, and fun. Two locations: in San Pedro, along the Promenade on Harbor Blvd. between 3rd and 4th Streets, and Wilmington Waterfront Park on West “C” St. Oct. 27, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

The annual Sea Scare is coming to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro with fishy frights. Attractions include the Trick-or-Treat Trail, Seaside Boardwalk, Sea Scare Party Zone and Skull Alley. 3720 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro. Oct. 27.

The Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena is welcoming the Halloween spirit with the 23rd Annual Pumpkin Festival. The family-friendly event is hosted at Brookside Park. The festival includes a petting zoo, pony rides, bouncers, carnival games and seasonal crafts. 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena. Oct. 27 - 28, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Paramount Ranch is hosting a special Halloween event: Scare-amount Ranch! The fright-fest will combine film history and nature. Kids activities include making fake movie blood and animal-themed crafts. Choose from two self-guided hikes into the backlot woods - one great for the little ones, the other for those looking for a scare. Other activities include a screening of the 1940 classic “Dr. Cyclops” which was filmed at Paramount Ranch, selfies in the jailhouse, a costume contest, face painting, a spider zoo, and more. 2903 Cornell Rd., Agoura Hills. Oct. 27, 6 - 9:30 p.m.

Scarium of the Pacific is a spooktacular, educational Halloween event great for the kids. Special Halloween programs include the costume contest, creepy coloring contest, magic shows, underwater pumpkin carving, spooky storytelling, kooky crafts, and the eerie animals of the Great Hall. 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach. Oct. 27 - 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Check out the festivities in Downtown Los Angeles at the 11th Annual Halloween Festival. Face painters, bounce houses, arts and crafts, puppet shows, trick-or-treats, and more. Meet pirates, superheroes and fairies! Costumes are encouraged for children. Grand Hope Park, 919 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. Oct. 31, 5 - 8 p.m.

Ride the Fillmore and Western Haunted Hayride Family Dinner Train and feast on BBQ tri-tip & chicken, bread, potato salad & beans. Then, embark on a spooktacular hayride where you get up close and personal with scary creatures. Next, explore the Haunted House! 364 Main St, Fillmore. Oct. 19, 26.

Halloween is guaranteed to be a scare-ific time. Trick or Treat!

SIDEBAR Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Southern California’s scariest, most intense event is Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Face your darkest fears! The movie studio that invented the horror genre creates all-new immersive worlds of living, breathing icons from the most twisted imaginations in film and television.

This year, discover the dark secrets lurking in Netflix’s Stranger Things. Journey to small town Hawkins, Indiana—a seemingly peaceful community with dark, unnerving secrets. When a young boy goes missing near a secluded government laboratory, his faithful friends begin a quest unfolding a series of increasingly bizarre and frightening events. With the threat of flesh-eating creatures in the shadows and the help of one very strange little girl, their world is about to be turned “Upside Down”!

Plus, brace yourself for these other spine-chilling mazes that will make your worst nightmares come to life:

Face evil in one of the greatest paranormal thrillers of all time in Poltergeist. After moving to their new home in sunny Southern California, the Freeling family discovers that dreams can come true—and that nightmares can too…

Escape the homecoming of a bloodthirsty slasher in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. This new maze will truly have you on edge…of Michael Myer’s knife that is.

Witness the bone-chilling resurrection of legendary horror icons in Universal Monsters. Featuring an original score produced and composed by GRAMMY® Award-winning musician, SLASH this will shake horror fans to the core.

Beware the deadly power of Halloween traditions in Trick ‘r Treat. It is said that Halloween is the night when horrifying creatures roam free, but there are rules devised to protect us from their evil. Every year, one small town is taught a terrifying lesson: that some traditions are best not forgotten.

Survive the twisted experiment that started a gruesome tradition in The First Purge. The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) have instituted the inaugural Purge, a 12-hour period on Staten Island, where all crimes, including Murder, are legal. Try to live!

Encounter darkness in Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare, Unfriended, and a terrifying surprise ending in The Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter Two. A nightmarish surprise ending will leave you screaming for more!

Brave the post-apocalyptic world in a fight for survival in AMC’s The Walking Dead. Prepare to fight for survival in a fully immersive journey as you navigate through a world overrun by walkers with an insatiable appetite for the living.

The screams and thrills continue with Terror Tram: Dreadtime Storiez Hosted by Hollywood Harry, five new scare zones with unimaginable horrors awaiting you around every dark corner and an all-new high-energy Jabbawockeez live show.

Soon you’ll realize that horror may lurk in the shadows of the night, but true fear comes from within.

General Admission $75 - $97. Universal Express $179 - $239. Includes ONE-TIME express access to each maze and ride. Priority seating area at Jabbawockeez live show.

Runs through Nov. 3.

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