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20 Best Things to Do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start planning out your orange hued spooky activities! If you’re looking for something fun to do this Halloween, I’ve got you covered. In this blog post, I’ve compiled a list of the 20 best things to do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area. From pumpkin patches to haunted houses, there are options for everyone, adults and kids alike. So read on and start planning your spooktacular celebration!

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
I love seeing Halloween decorations in different places in the Bay Area

Halloween is an opportunity to be really creative.

Judy Gold
From pumpkin patches to haunted houses, here is the list of the best things to do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area. #Halloween #BayArea Click To Tweet

A brief history of Halloween

Before I list all the events, let me tell you a brief history of Halloween.

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Goulish guests welcome!

The world transforms from summer’s bright sunshine to winter’s chilly darkness over the course of the autumn harvest, with the land transforming from fertile to barren. The ancient Celts believed this metamorphosis gave supernatural forces an opportunity to break through into our realm and unleash their malevolence.

They came to celebrate the end of the autumn harvest, which marked the start of winter as Samhain (meaning “summer’s end”). This festival is believed by many to be the origin of Halloween. The Celts thought that on Samhain night, the souls of individuals who had died in the previous year would stroll among the living. Villagers offered food and sweets to placate these spirits, which may have been a practice that preceded trick-or-treating.

The name “Halloween” is derived from the Christian holiday “All Hallows Eve,” or the night before All Saints’ Day (1 November).  The holiday was initially established by Christians who sought to combat paganism. Some of the more macabre aspects of Halloween have been softened over time. The harsher aspects associated with Halloween have morphed into more joyful traditions that welcome family and friends. However, Halloween’s associations with the frightening and strange remain strong today in celebrations worldwide, making it a favorite occasion for kids to enjoy!

Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve.

Ray Bradbury

Best Things to Do for Halloween with kids in the Bay Area

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
My little one in her favorite witch dress!

One of the best things about Halloween is that, over time, Halloween evolved into a secular holiday that is celebrated by people of all faiths. It is typically celebrated by dressing up in costumes, creating creative and spooky decorations, going trick or treating, and carving jack-o’-lanterns. Without much ado, let me present you with a list of spooktacular things to do for you this Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Trick or treat, bag of sweets, ghosts are walking down the street.

ANONYMOUS
From pumpkin patches to haunted houses, here is the list of the best things to do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area.#SanFrancisco #BayArea #Halloween Click To Tweet

1. Winchester Mystery House in San Jose

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
Winchester Mystery House in San Jose – One of the spookiest Halloween destinations!

The Winchester Mystery House is a bizarre and amazing place to visit on Halloween. The house is filled with spooky secrets and ghosts, and it’s the perfect place to get in the Halloween spirit. There are always lots of fun events happening at the house on Halloween. Whether you’re looking for a haunted attraction to explore or just want to see some cool Halloween decorations, Winchester Mystery House is definitely worth checking out!

Halloween event 2022 – Unhinged Nightshade’s curse

This year’s theme, Unhinged Nightshade’s curse, follows the story of Madame Nightshade, an enigmatic figure shrouded in mystery. Price – $65. Date – Until October 31st.

Address – 525 S Winchester Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

2. Pumpkins in the Park in San Jose

Pumpkins in the Park is a free annual event in early October celebrating the Valley’s harvest season and the perfect place to bring your kids for a fun and festive Halloween celebration! There is something for everyone at this event, from a pumpkin patch to performances and food trucks. Plus, you can enjoy scenic views of the Guadalupe River Park while your kids have a blast playing on the inflatable slides and obstacle course. So make sure to mark Pumpkins in the Park on your calendar for an enjoyable and memorable Halloween experience! Price – Free. Date – October 8, 2022, 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM.

Address – 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110

3. Goblin Jamboree – Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito

Celebrate the spooky season at Bay Area Discovery Museum for Goblin Jamboree for a hauntingly good time. This family-friendly Halloween event will surely get you in the mood for the festival. Explore the museum transformed into a spooky wonderland filled with games, activities, and treats. Kids can enjoy fun, spooky activities like a hay maze, slime banquet, and web weaving. They can also show off their costumes and participate in special programs like the Disglow Party and Spooky Science. With so much to do, Goblin Jamboree will be a blast for kids of all ages. So mark the date in your calendar and head to Sausalito for a spooktacular good time. Price – $25. Date – October 22 – 23, and October 26 – 30.

Address – 557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965

4. Halloween Experience at Gilroy Gardens

Visit Gilroy Gardens with kids – One of the best things to do this Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area

Gilroy Gardens is the perfect place to celebrate Halloween! This October, the park has been transformed into the world of BOO Alley, where visitors can meet the wacky characters from The Great Big BOO! Help them save Halloween and have a blast doing it!! There are plenty of activities for kids of all ages, including a haunted house, trick-or-treating, and much more. So visit Gilroy Gardens and join the fun! Price -$55. Date – October 1st through 30th.

Address – 3050 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020

5. California’s Great America

Halloween is a fun and spooky time for families to get together and celebrate. This year, there’s no need to go far to have a Howling Good Time! Visit California’s Great America for an immersive experience the whole family will enjoy. Their brand new Tricks & Treats event includes a trick-or-treat trail, spooky games and activities, special live entertainment, and delicious fall foods and drinks. Join the Halloween wonderland for a fun-filled day of mischievous tricks, tasty treats, bold adventures, fun activities, and more! Price -$39.99. Date – September 23 – October 30, 2022.

Address – 4701 Great America Pkwy, Santa Clara, CA 95054

6. Halloween Meltdown in Oakland

The Halloween Meltdown is the perfect place for families to enjoy a weekend of spookiness and fun. This year’s lineup is especially exciting, with live shows by Amyl & The Sniffers, Shannon & The Clams, Fuzz, Sheer Mag, The Spits, Lydia Lunch, and more. There will also be a costume contest with a $500 cash prize, so come in your best costumes and win some prizes! And don’t forget the haunted house – this year’s design will send shivers down your spine. Join a weekend of Halloween fun and live music at Mosswood Park in Oakland that you won’t forget. Price -$59. Date – October 08 and October 09, 2022.

Address – 3612 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94609

On Halloween you get to become anything that you want to be 

Ava Dellaria

7. Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

In the Bay Area, we are fortunate enough to have access to some of the best pumpkin patches around. One of my favorite places to go pumpkin picking is the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. This world-famous festival takes place every year on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival, one of my favorite Halloween events, is the perfect event for families and people of all ages to attend during the autumn season. There are plenty of activities for children, such as pumpkin patches, a costume parade and contest, a pie-eating contest, pumpkin carving, and many more! In addition, parents can browse through the various art and craft booths, sip and savor Halloween-themed cocktails and purchase gifts for friends and family members. The festival takes place in a beautiful location, so visitors can also take advantage of the autumn scenery. Don’t forget to collect a beautiful souvenir from this famous festival. Price – Admission is free. DateOctober 15-16.

Address – Historic Main Street in Half Moon Bay

8. World’s Biggest Pumpkin Sculpture 

What could be more Halloween-spirited than seeing the world’s largest pumpkin sculpture in the Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay during the Halloween season? This awe-inspiring work of art is on Permanent Display in the parking lot at Cameron’s Pub.

The sculpture is made of steel, cement, and ceramic tile, and it measures 11 feet high, 12 feet long, and weighs 10,000 pounds. It’s an amazing sight to see, and it’s sure to get you into the Halloween spirit!

Address – 1410 South Cabrillo Hwy. Half Moon Bay, California 94019

9. Rodoni Farms U Pick Em Pumpkin Patch in Santa Cruz

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
I picked two cute little pumpkins 🧡🧡

How about waking up on a beautiful fall morning and heading to the California coast for pumpkin picking at the picturesque setting of the Rodoni farm? At Rodoni Farms U Pick Em Pumpkin Patch, you will find plenty of pumpkins to choose from and enjoy hay bales, scary cutouts, fun photo spots, and a five-acre amazing corn maze. Once you pick your perfect pumpkin, spend some time on the other side of the road at a beautiful coastal bluff (one of my favorite spots on Highway 1). Soak in the scenery and breath in the refreshing sea breeze. Price – $5. Date – Sept. 24th–Oct. 31, 2022.

Address – 4444 Coast Road, Hwy 1 Santa Cruz, CA

10. Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch in San Jose

Visit Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch and enjoy classic fall activities like Hay Rides, Corn Maze, Pumpkin Blasters, and more! Price – Admission to the pumpkin patch is free, and attraction tickets can be purchased on-site. You can also buy a $30 per person Park Pass, which includes all attractions. Date – September 26th – November 6th

Address – 225 Laguna Ave, Morgan Hill, CA 95037

11. Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay

If you love visiting theme parks, you must see Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay, especially in October. It turns into a fall-themed wonderland. Lemos Farm is a great place for families to visit because they have a variety of attractions that everyone can enjoy. There are pony rides, train rides, a petting zoo, hay rides, and a haunted house. The haunted house features two scare zones: one for young children and one for adults and older children. Price – $15 for Adults and $30 for kids with access to all rides. Date – September 3rd – November 20th.

Address – 12320 San Mateo Road, Half Moon Bay, California 94019

12. Fear overload scream park in San Jose

Fear Overload Scream Park is the perfect place to go this Halloween if you are looking for a good scare. The Blind Asylum and the Undead Underpass are two nightmarish haunted houses that are sure to give you a good fright. They feature live scare actors and ghoulishly realistic sets, which makes them feel like real-life horror movies. If you are looking for a good scare this Halloween, then be sure to visit Fear Overload Scream Park. Price – $22-$32. Date – Till November 5.

Address -2086 NewPark Mall, Newark, Ca – 94560

The dead rise again, bats fly, terror strikes and screams echo, for tonight it’s Halloween.

Unknown

13. Boo at the Zoo in Oakland

Boo at the Zoo is a great way for families to celebrate Halloween. Enjoy this family-friendly Halloween event with a spooky animal-themed scavenger hunt. Remember to dress in costume to enter the social media costume contest. Price – $20 – $24 depending on the age. Date – October 22- October 31.

Address – 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA 94605

14. Steam Train Ride and Halloween Celebrations at Roaring Camps

Dress up for Halloween and join Thomas and Percy’s family-friendly Halloween party. Enjoy a 20-minute steam train ride and fun-filled activities for the entire family. Guests will also enjoy a variety of Thomas & Friends-themed storytelling and video viewing, temporary tattoos of Island of Sodor friends, arts, costume contests, Halloween crafts, a pumpkin patch, the opportunity to meet Sir Topham Hatt, and more. Price – $23 Date – October 15-16, 22-23, 29-30

Address – 5401 Graham Hill Road Felton, CA 95018

15. Blind Scream Haunted House in Santa Rosa

If you love exploring haunted attractions, especially during Halloween, you must visit Blind Scream Haunted House. The attraction features strobe lights, fog, moving floors, pitch darkness, strong smells, intense audio, lighting, and other special effects to tell the story of the three sisters, each one as evil as hell itself. Enter the house of Superstitions this Halloween and celebrate a scary-fun night. Price – $25 – $35. DateSelect open dates.

PS: This attraction is not recommended for Children 7 years and under.

Address : 8 Santa Rosa Plaza Santa Rosa, CA 95401

16. California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

How about some fright at the museum? A unique combination of fun, fear, and science during Halloween would be awesome. Isn’t it? At the California Academy of Sciences, join Super Natural – a family-friendly, scientifically spine-tingling Halloween event. There will be plenty of activities for people of all ages, including a silent disco in Steinhart Aquarium, trick-or-treat stations, magic shows, live animal demonstrations, and more. And for teenagers, there’s an exclusive teen lounge with arcade games and snacks. Price – $45-$60. Date – October 28, 2022.

Address – 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

Halloween wraps fear in innocence, as though it were a slightly sour sweet. Let terror, then, be turned into a treat…

Nicholas Gordon

17. Haunted Theme Park in the Alameda County Fairgrounds

If you’re looking for a spine-tingling, hair-raising experience, head to Northern California’s Premier walk-through Halloween haunt theme park. Wind your way through a world of suspense and terror, finding yourself trapped with a host of hideous characters lurking in the shadows. Price – $38 Date – September 30 – October 31, 2022 

Address – Valley Ave, Pleasanton, CA 94566

18. Discover the spooky tales of San Francisco’s past in a ghost tour

San Francisco is known not only for its cable cars and hilly streets but also for its number of haunted locations. If you are brave at heart and up for excitement, then embark on one of these ghost tours. It’s a tour of history, tragedy, mayhem, and ghosts. 

19. Into the Dark at the San Francisco Mint

If you’re looking for an unconventional and truly terrifying Halloween experience, Into the Dark is worth checking out. This interactive haunted experience is a part haunted house and part theater. You will be immersed in a story in this interactive haunted house that features haunted mazes, 4D effects, and live séances, so you can be sure that you’ll be in for a spooky good time. You will participate in a real-life seance that rips a hole into the supernatural world and takes them on a terrifying adventure! With only eleven people allowed in each group, it’s also relatively intimate, which only adds to the suspense. Price – $55 – $75. Date – Most nights through October 7th – November 5th.

PS: Guests must be 18+ for evening performances and 13+ for matinee performances.

Address: 88 5th Street, San Francisco

20. Camron-Stanford House in Oakland

A combination of knowledge, fun, and fear at Camron-Stanford House – A unique thing to do this Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area

Visit the Camron-Stanford House in Oakland on the shores of Lake Merritt and experience a haunting new exhibit, Ghoulish and Ghastly. Discover the origins of some of your favorite Halloween monsters and traditions. Explore how scientific progress, affordable printing, and religious inquiry contributed to the spread of the gothic horror genre and the creation of monsters–both real and fictitious–in 19th-century popular culture. Price – $5. Date – October 2  to November 6.

Address: 1418 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA 94612

PS: This budget-friendly activity is a must-do thing this Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I love Halloween, and I love that feeling: the cold air, the spooky dangers lurking around the corner

Evan Peters

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There are plenty of great events taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area this Halloween season. So get out there and have some fun! And don’t forget to plan your weekends ahead so you can make the most of all the spooky festivities. Whether you’re looking to scream, heighten your heartbeat, or have fun with your friends and family, there’s something for everyone in the Bay Area this Halloween season. So make sure to check out some of these great events. And last but not least, don’t forget to check your neighborhood’s Halloween decorations too!

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow in the moonlight!

What are your favorite Halloween activities? Leave a comment below if you have any questions, or DM me on Instagram @travelrealizations. ​Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

20 Best Things to Do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area #Halloween #BayArea #SanFrancisco Click To Tweet

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my guide to the best things to do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may also enjoy these Bay Area and California travel guides.

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Chirasree Banerjee

Hello. My name is Chirasree. I have been traveling for almost 11 years to places all over the world. I enter into a separate reality during my travels and enjoy the allure of escape from the mundane. I seek beauty through nature and human-made creations. Because beauty is powerful. I seek knowledge. I observe, absorb, and write about the places I visit and the profound realizations and inspirations that each place has to offer.

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4 Comments

  1. Sue

    Wow! Halloween is busy time 😉 I don’t have kids so Halloween has never been as huge for me but so many things you mention sound so much fun, I’m not sure if it would make a difference! Thanks for sharing & I hope you enjoy the celebrations this year!

  2. I have never experienced Halloween. But, I so much loved reading your post.

  3. Wow. You really did some
    Excellent
    Research on this one. Sounds like so
    Much fun! Thanks for the tips.

  4. Lisa

    How fun!
    I’ve never experienced a ‘real Halloween’, so I loved this post! I’d love to visit the US in October some year. Thanks for taking the time to write up this list.

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