Travel Realizations

Celebrating Experiences

22 Best Things to Do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2023

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!

Pinterest Pin 22 Best Things to Do for Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area

Craving more Bay Area Halloween vibes? Check out these spook-tacular articles! 🎃👻

Halloween is an opportunity to be really creative.

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

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 2023 – Unhinged House Warming

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. Jack O’Lantern Jamboree!

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Families looking for a Halloween dance party that’s suitable for all ages are in for a treat at the Jack O’Lantern Jamboree!

This festive event invites children and their families to dress in their favorite costumes and dance the night away.

Guests can also get creative with fun craft activities and enjoy light refreshments to keep their energy up. No prior registration is necessary for this event, making it hassle-free.

Event Details:

  • Date: October 26, 2023
  • Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • Location: Embarcadero Room, Rinconada Library
  • Address: 1213 Newell Rd. Palo Alto, CA 94303
  • Suitable for: Babies (under 2), Kids (6-11), Pre-schoolers (3-5), Toddlers (18 mos. to 3 yrs)

Families of all sizes are welcome to attend this Halloween celebration, promising a night of music, dancing, and Halloween-themed fun that will leave everyone with cherished memories.

3. Halloween Haunt Light Show

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

History San José invites you to a thrilling Halloween adventure at History Park Children’s Halloween Haunt!

History Park will undergo a spooktacular transformation, offering a family-friendly Halloween experience like no other.

Visitors of all ages will have a blast exploring the historic houses, participating in engaging craft activities, and embarking on a thrilling trick-or-treating adventure.

The highlight of the evening becomes the traditional Light Show at 6:00 PM, casting an eerie glow over History Park and providing a fitting conclusion to this enchanting Halloween event.

The duration of this Halloween extravaganza spans 4.5 hours of non-stop Halloween fun.

Gather your family and prepare for an afternoon of haunted fun, crafts, activities, and trick-or-treating in the heart of San José.

Event Details

  • Date: Sat. Oct 28 
  • Time: 2:00 PM – 6:30 PM
  • Address: 635 Phelan Avenue, San Jose

4. Pumpkins in the Park in San Jose

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

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 14, 2023, 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM.

Address – 180 Woz Way, San Jose, CA 95110

5. 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 21 – 22, and October 25 – 29.

Address – 557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965

6. Halloween Experience at Gilroy Gardens

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations
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 – September 29 – October 31

Address – 3050 Hecker Pass Hwy, Gilroy, CA 95020

7. 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

8. Family Halloween Day – A Spooktacular Family Adventure

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

The Randall Museum invites families of all ages to join in on the Halloween fun at their annual Family Halloween Day event!

It’s a daytime extravaganza filled with Halloween activities suitable for the entire family. Get ready for a day of spooky, but not scary, delights that will make your Halloween season memorable.

Costumed revelers will discover unexpected surprises throughout the museum while enjoying some familiar favorites, including Creepy Crafts, Ghoulish Games, Trick-or-Treating, Live Music & Entertainment, Pumpkin Decorating, and much more!

Activities include:

  • Trick or Treat Trail
  • Live Entertainment
  • Squared Pumpkin Patch
  • Corn Husk Dolls
  • Plant Potions
  • Ghoulish Games
  • Creepy Crafts
  • Wooden Mask Making
  • Apple Twirls

Event Details

  • Date: Saturday, October 21, 2023 
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Address: Randall Museum 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA
  • Ages: Infant – 12 and their families (children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult)
  • Cost: Admission is FREE

Randall Museum’s Family Halloween Day promises a day filled with laughter, creativity, and Halloween-themed excitement for the whole family.

Don your costumes, gather your loved ones, and immerse yourself in the Halloween spirit at this unforgettable event.

Don’t miss the chance to create cherished memories and celebrate the season together!

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

Ava Dellaria

9. Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

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, one of the stunning coastal towns in California within a Short Drive from the San Francisco Bay Area.

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 14-15.
  • Address – Historic Main Street in Half Moon Bay

10. World’s Biggest Pumpkin Sculpture 

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

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

11. 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.

12. Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch in San Jose

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

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 25 – October 31, 2023.
  • Address – 225 Laguna Ave, Morgan Hill, CA 95037

13. Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

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.

Event Details:

  • Price – $15 for Adults and $30 for kids with access to all rides.
  • Date – September 2 – November 19, 2023.
  • Address – 12320 San Mateo Road, Half Moon Bay, California 94019

14. Halloween Dia De Los Muertos Family Fun Fest 

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Jack London Square, Oakland invites you to immerse yourself in the rich traditions of Dia de los Muertos with their FREE Halloween Dia de los Muertos Family Fun Fest event.

This event promises a colorful and culturally immersive experience, featuring a variety of captivating activities for all ages.

Highlights include chalk artists creating intricate and beautiful designs, lively mariachi music filling the air with festive melodies, engaging crafts to spark creativity, a thrilling costume contest to showcase your

Halloween spirit, and mesmerizing Mexican Folklorico dancers who will enchant the audience with their graceful performances.

This vibrant gathering will take place in the plaza near Plank and promises a colorful and culturally immersive experience

  • Date: Sunday, October 29, 2023
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
  • Address: 472 Water Street, Oakland, CA
  • Cost: Admission is FREE

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


15. 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 1- October 29 Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
  • Address – 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA 94605

16. Steam Train Ride and Halloween Celebrations at Roaring Camps

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

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.

17. Halloween Jam at Children’s Fairyland – A Magical Family Extravaganza

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California, proudly presents the return of Halloween Jam in a grand and magical way!

This year, they have conjured up six enchantingly themed days to ensure that your family experiences maximum fun at their most famous and festive fall affair.

Prepare for an extraordinary adventure with decked-out sets and rides, spine-tingling performances, and activities at the Emerald City Stage.

Encounter a delightful array of costumed characters, bounce around in the bouncy houses, and revel in numerous photo opportunities throughout the park.

But that’s not all! This year, treat stations will not only hand out special goodies but also host engaging interactive activities that will lead participants on a captivating journey around the park as they follow the tale of a spider family.

Don’t miss the highlight of Halloween Jam—the Monster Mash Parade!

It’s your little ones’ chance to showcase their creative costumes as they join the costume parade, winding through the park and concluding with a fashion show on the red carpet, surrounded by bubbles for the ultimate Halloween-spirited fun.

The Monster Mash Parade takes place daily at 12:30 PM and repeats at 3:00 PM, promising a bubbling over with eerie-sistible cuteness!

Themed Days:

  • Friday, October 20: Magic Friday
  • Saturday, October 21: Wizard Day
  • Sunday, October 22: Creepy Crawly Sunday
  • Friday, October 27: Magic Friday
  • Saturday, October 28: Pirate
  • Sunday, October 29: Silly Circus

Event Details:

  • Price: $18 per person, $9 per member, $5 Fairyland for All
  • Address – 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland

18. 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 27, 2023.

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

19. 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.

Event Details:

  • Price – $40
  • Date – September 29 – October 31, 2023 
  • Address – Valley Ave, Pleasanton, CA 94566

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

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

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. 

21. Trick or Treat on the Farm in San Ramon

Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, Travel Realizations

Enjoy a delightful autumn day at Fun On The Farm in San Ramon. Participants are invited to come in their Halloween costumes for a Trick-or-Treat adventure.

Explore the farm and visit different stations offering fun activities and tasty treats to take home. It’s a fantastic family-friendly event in San Ramon that promises Halloween excitement for all!

Event Details:

  • Date: October 21
  • Location: 7000 Bollinger Canyon Rd, San Ramon, CA 94583
  • Time: Saturday from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

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

Evan Peters

22. Halloween Hoopla – A Spectacular Kids’ Show

Mark your calendars for the 23rd annual Halloween Hoopla—a thrilling event filled with spectacular performances and activities designed for kids under 10 and their adults! Get ready for a spooktacular time on:

  • Date: Saturday, October 28
  • Time: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
  • Venue: Children’s Garden, Yerba Buena Gardens
  • Address: 799 Howard St., San Francisco, CA
  • Cost: Free

The Halloween Hoopla promises an unforgettable experience with an array of fa-BOO-lous fun, including:

  • Unique Derique, the hippest clown in town.
  • The Venezuelan Music Project’s ghoul-tastic music.
  • Laughs galore with Coventry & Kaluza.
  • A touch of mystery with Madam Z Palm Reading.
  • Craft and activity tables hosted by the Children’s Creativity Museum, the Museum of African Diaspora, and the Mexican Museum.

The highlight of the Hoopla is the grand finale, the Halloween Costume Parade with live music. All kids are welcome to join in, showcasing their best Halloween looks and adding to the festive atmosphere.

Halloween Hoopla is the ultimate destination for family-friendly frights and delights. Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a day of laughter, music, creativity, and Halloween fun with your loved ones.

It’s a celebration that promises cherished memories and smiles for everyone!

Similar Articles From Travel Realizations

Travel Realizations

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!


Sign up to get travel tips and advice for your next journey. 

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

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.

If you need this travel guide to Halloween in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, Pin It for later.

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.


Fall Colors in Paso Robles, California – A Weekend Getaway


A Spooky Halloween Adventure in Gilroy Gardens


  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
    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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén. Read our Privacy Policy and Affiliate Disclosure Policy.

Subscribe to Travel Realizations

Enter your email and be the first to get notified when I post an article.