Get an Early Start to Halloween in LA

Terrifying haunts to family-friendly events

Halloween Horror Nights 2022 at Universal Studios Hollywood
Halloween Horror Nights 2022 | Photo: Universal Studios Hollywood

If there’s one thing that can be said about Los Angeles, it’s that this city loves Halloween. There is no shortage of events to take locals and visitors through the weeks leading up to the fall holiday, from family-friendly trick-or-treating to terrifying haunts for teens and adults. In between, there are horror movie screenings, themed garden strolls, spirited cocktails and spooky puppets.

The party has already started, so get your tickets as soon as possible, since many events will sell out.

Halloween Horror Nights - Universal Studios Hollywood (through Oct. 31, 2022)

Pop culture frights abound at Universal Studios Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights. Step inside The Weeknd’s mind, get up-close to classic Universal Monsters, and relive the terror of films from Halloween to Nope in addition to live shows and scares throughout the park. Purchase your tickets online, where there are various different packages available, and download the theme park’s app before you visit to keep tabs on wait times for attractions.

Fright Fest 2022 at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Fright Fest | Photo: Six Flags Magic Mountain

Fright Fest - Six Flags Magic Mountain (through Oct. 31, 2022)

For the after dark crowd, Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain offers five haunted houses, multiple scare zones and three shows, including the new pirate-themed production “The Rising,” as well as the all-you-can-eat “Spirits with Spirits” happy hour from 6 to 9 p.m. Note that the haunted houses and happy hour both require separate tickets from your regular entrance pass and there are several ticket packages to choose from online. Looking for something a little more child-friendly? The daytime Kids Boo Fest offers creepy bites and a trick-or-treat trail through Bugs Bunny World.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (Sept. 23 - Oct. 31, 2022)

This Halloween season, Griffith Park becomes Midnight Falls, ruled by the Witch of the Woods and her spirited minions. One of L.A.’s most popular October events, the Haunted Hayride is anticipated to sell out on weekends close to Halloween, so if that’s when you’re planning to go, get your tickets online in advance. If you’re averse to lines, splurge for either the VIP (shorter wait time) or Platinum (no line) pass. If you’re heading down to the hayride with 15 or more people, inquire about group rates. Guests are warned that the event might be too much for children 12 and under.

Shaqtoberfest - Queen Mary (Sept. 29 - Oct. 31, 2022)

Shaquille O’Neal puts his stamp on this year's Halloween festivities at the historic Queen Mary with Shaqtoberfest, a month-long celebration that includes events tailored for both kids and adults. During the daytime, Diesel’s Pumpkin Patch will offer trick-or-treating and play areas for the kids. At night, it’s home to a light show and a dance mix from Diesel, Shaq’s DJ alter ego. Similarly, areas like the Lost City Boardwalk and Shipwreck Graveyard will be open for trick-or-treating during the daylight hours before the freaks come out at night. Tickets are selling fast, so snatch yours online before they're all gone.

Hallowe’en Spooktacular at Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Hallowe’en Spooktacular | Photo: Bob Baker Marionette Theater

Hallowe’en Spooktacular - Bob Baker Marionette Theater (Sept. 24 - Nov. 6, 2022)

For a whimsical Halloween outing with the kids, head to Bob Baker Marionette Theater in Highland Park. The 63-year-old puppet theater keeps the entertainment spooky yet family-friendly for its Hallowe’en Spooktacular, filled with more than 100 puppets, including glow-in-the-dark skeletons and an appearance from Frankenstein’s monster. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear costumes, particularly over the weekends of October 22-23 and October 29-31, when the theater will host its costume parades. Tickets are now on sale for the show’s run, which begins on September 24.

"Urban Death Tour of Terror" at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group
"Urban Death Tour of Terror" | Photo: Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group

"Urban Death Tour of Terror" - Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group (Sept. 30 - Oct. 31, 2022)

Located in the NoHo Arts District, Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group presents Urban Death Tour of Terror on Fridays and Saturdays through October, as well as on Sunday, October 30 and Halloween itself. NOTE: graphic content, trigger warnings and full nudity. Ages 17 and over.

There's also an all-ages version of the haunted maze and spooky show, with performances at 7pm on Saturdays, October 30 and 31. For more info and tickets, visit the ZJU website.

Carousel at Haunt O'Ween
Photo: Haunt O'Ween

Haunt O'Ween (Sept. 30 - Oct. 31, 2022)

With nine environments spread out over 200,000 square feet, Haunt O’Ween promises spooky entertainment for all ages, including trick or treating, face painting, rides and games. Guests can roam the grounds, which are decked out with over 35,000 pumpkins, for as long as they like and partake in activities like the Beyond the Grave Rave dance-off or Moonlight Magic DIY Potion Bar. A bonus for this family-friendly event: children under 2 can get in for free and pets are allowed so long as they’re on a leash.

Downtown Repertory Theater "WITCH!"
"WITCH!" | Photo: Downtown Repertory Theater

"WITCH!" - Mountain View Mausoleum (Sept. 30 - Nov. 6, 2022)

In the centuries that have passed since the Pendle Witch Trials rocked Lancashire, England, the event has inspired books (including Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman), film and art. It’s also the basis for WITCH!, an immersive experience presented by Downtown Repertory Theater at Mountain View Mausoleum in Altadena. Guests will likely be separated from their companions during the course of the experience, and they may be accused of witchcraft.

Tickets on sale at Eventbrite. Note that this event involves a lot of walking, so dress accordingly.

Boo at the Zoo (Oct. 1-31, 2022)

Throughout October, the Los Angeles Zoo will be a costume-friendly space for families to get into the Halloween spirit with themed photo ops, live shows and animal pumpkin feedings. Boo at the Zoo is also an educational experience, where nature lovers of all ages can learn about the world’s flora and fauna, as well as find out more about conservation and environmental preservation efforts.

Creature Features 2022 at Brain Dead Studios
Creature Features 2022 | Brain Dead Studios

Creature Features - Brain Dead Studios (Oct. 1, 2022)

Start October with Creature Features - a 12-hour marathon of horror flicks brought to you by the founders of Secret Sixteen, Friday Night Frights and Museum of Home Video. These film fanatics have teamed up to screen a secret lineup of six horror features on 16mm film at Brain Dead Studios, located in the former Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax. The marathon will take viewers from 2pm on Saturday, October 1, until the wee hours of Sunday morning. Tickets are on sale at the Brain Dead Studios website.

"Ghostbusters" Movie Party - Alamo Drafthouse (Oct. 2, 4 & 6, 2022)

Alamo Drafthouse’s Movie Party series gives fans the chance to watch their favorite films with each other in a space where you can be vocally enthusiastic as the action builds on screen.

Fans of the original Ghostbusters (1984) can join in the fun with Movie Party screenings on October 2, 4 and 6. Party favors include glow-in-the-dark necklaces, Stay Puft marshmallows and, of course, slime. Tickets are on sale at the Alamo Drafthouse DTLA website.

Carved - Descanso Gardens (Oct. 7-31, 2022)

Fall’s bounty takes shape at Carved, a family-friendly event taking place at Descanso Gardens for three weeks in October. Highlights include hundreds of carved pumpkins lining the Camellia Forest; the IG-ready pumpkin house, hay maze, black light experiences, artists sculpting pumpkins, and a special Día de los Muertos installation at the Amphitheater.

Timed entry tickets are available online, with discounts for Descanso Gardens Members. NOTE: Carved tickets do not include daytime entry to Descanso Gardens.

Magic Lantern Show at the Philosophical Research Society
Magic Lantern Show | Photo: Philosophical Research Society

The Philosophical Research Society (October 2022)

The October calendar for Los Feliz esoteric knowledge institution The Philosophical Research Society is packed with screenings, lectures and events digging into horror, magic and tradition:

  • Oct. 7: Horror buffs will want to check out Magic (1978) starring Anthony Hopkins, featuring a pre-screening ventriloquist performance by Karl Herlinger.
  • Oct. 14: Director Kier-La Janisse will introduce a screening of her 2021 documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror. Janisse will appear for a Q&A after the movie.
  • Oct. 22: A screening of 1960 Italian horror flick Mill of the Stone Women will be introduced by author Mitch Horowitz.

On Friday, October 28, PRS presents “The (Somewhat) Sinister, (Mostly) Supernatural Halloween Magic Lantern Show” featuring vintage projectors and hand-painted slides. Taking place on October 29, “A Night in Hell with Martin Olson” promises an evening of "comedic tomfoolery, vampire ventriloquism, satanic songcraft, and spooky magic."

Tickets for all events are on sale at the PRS Eventbrite page.

Cinespia presents "Carrie" at Hollywood Forever
"Carrie" (1976) | Photo: Cinespia

Cinespia (Oct. 15, 22 & 29, 2022)

Is there anything more seasonally appropriate than watching scary movies in a graveyard? Long-running local film series Cinespia leads film buffs towards Halloween with its October horror flicks at Hollywood Forever Cemetery: The Thing (1982) on October 15 and the original Carrie (1976) on October 22. On October 29, Cinespia heads to the Los Angeles Theatre in Downtown LA, a fittingly opulent venue to screen Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992).

Cello player at House of Spirits: Vaughan Hall
House of Spirits: Vaughan Hall

House of Spirits: Vaughan Hall (Oct. 15-31, 2022)

House of Spirits is a 21+ Halloween experience that invites you to explore a 90,000 square-foot haunted mansion, featuring tarot readings, strange roaming specters, secret games, and more. This year’s event, “The Legend of Vaughan Hall,” is based on the spooky history of Ireland’s Loftus Hall, as well as Irish folklore and mythology. Guests are encouraged to dress in costume or themed attire.

Tickets are now on sale for House of Spirits, taking place at Casa Vertigo in Downtown LA on Thursday-Sunday from October 15 to 31. Tiers include five mini-craft cocktails or French chocolate truffles paired with your cocktail flight.

Cemetery Lane at Heritage Square Museum
Photo: Cemetery Lane Trick-R-Treat

Cemetery Lane - Heritage Square Museum (Oct. 19-23 & Oct. 27-30, 2022)

Produced in partnership with Heritage Square, the living museum of LA's 19th and early 20th century architecture and history, Cemetery Lane gives the whole family a chance to trick-or-treat amongst Victorian homes over the course of 13 themed stops. Cemetery Lane runs on consecutive weekends, October 19 through 23 and October 27 through 30. General Admission tickets are available online for Nighttime and Daylight Hours (till 5pm). Children under 2 are free.