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The Best California Theme Parks to Celebrate Halloween

The Best California Theme Parks to Celebrate Halloween

Gather your boo crew and put on a brave face—you’re about to spend one happy Halloween at the best theme parks in California.


5 min read

October 05, 2021

The Golden State’s theme parks go all out for Halloween. With month-long celebrations, spooky happenings, and plenty of ghouls, ghosts, and gore, Halloween in California is unlike any other. Offering a nice blend of wholesome family fun—complete with collecting candy, carving pumpkins, and legit spooky season frights—the Halloween theme parks in California are the places to be on October 31st to come face-to-face with horror movie villains and have more jumpscares than a blonde girl in a slasher.

What are you waiting for? Don your costume, gather your boo crew, and put on a brave face—you’re about to spend one happy Halloween at the best theme parks in California.

Hear every bloodcurdling shriek. Feel every spine-tingling terror. Get ready for the haunted houses of SeaWorld’s Howl-O-Scream.

SeaWorld San Diego: Howl-O-Scream and SeaWorld Spooktacular

SeaWorld Halloweens are famous in California for the highly-anticipated, family-friendly, annual SeaWorld Spooktacular. With candy, costumes, Sesame Street characters, and an array of spooky surprises, Halloween at this theme park is a blast for the little ones. SeaWorld invites kids to trick-or-treat, explore decorated Halloween trails, and meet all sorts of colorful characters wandering about its decorated premises on weekends starting September 18 to October 31.

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While a classic SeaWorld Halloween is always merry and fun, this theme park in California is also introducing a new attraction this year geared towards a more mature audience. The Howl-O-Scream is a separately ticketed event—beginning September 17 and running through Halloween night—that invites you to meet the face of your fears. Painting the SeaWorld premise with a sinister smile, Howl-O-Scream features six scare zones, four roaming haunts, thrilling rides and coasters, and terrifyingly awesome performances you just can’t miss.

Don your favorite costume for a frightfully fun night of characters, tricks, and treats for guests of all ages. Photo courtesy of Disneyland.

Disneyland Resort: Halloween Time and Oogie Boogie Bash

Similar to SeaWorld Halloween, the return of Disneyland Halloween is also highly anticipated each October. The family-friendly Halloween Time is returning this year in full force and running from September 3 to October 31. Put on your costumes and join the fun to see your favorite characters, walk through the Haunted Mansion Holiday, check out the Pumpkin Festival on Main Street, and enjoy other not-so-spooky surprises. Some of your favorite rides will also be getting a Halloween makeover, so watch out!

A more exclusive, separately ticketed event called Oogie Boogie Bash is also gracing the Disneyland Halloween calendar this year. You get to enjoy after-hour access to a frightfully fun night of characters, parades, tricks and treats, photo ops, immersive trails, and more candy than you can carry. What more could you ask for in a Halloween theme park in California?

Six Flags will once again unleash an army of Fright Fest demons, ghouls, and crazy fanatics. Photo courtesy of Six Flags.

Six Flags: Fright Fest

Fright Fest is coming back to Six Flags this year! Also known as Six Flags Hallowfest, this spooktacular night of horrors is one older Halloweeners are more likely to enjoy. Find haunted attractions, scare zones, themed rides, and mazes, with live entertainment and shows guaranteed to make your blood run cold.

Have a ghostly Six Flags Halloween celebration at either Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Northern California or at Six Flags Magic Mountain in SoCal—both are equally fun and full of awesome, on-theme surprises. 

P.S. Both locales are hiring monsters to perform for Fright Fest. Think you can put on a killer act? Sign up and spend your Halloween in California in a ghostly and sinister way. 

Don’t miss the spookiest, kookiest trick-or-treating party of the year at Legoland. Photo courtesy of Legoland.

LEGOLAND: Brick-or-Treat

Brick-or-Treat at Legoland is the only strictly kid-focused Halloween event happening at a theme park open in California this year. Taking place every single Saturday in October, this fun night of kid-friendly horrors invites guests to stick around after dark and join the many festivities which include (but are not limited to) rides, trick-or-treating, live entertainment, dance parties, Halloween decor, and more. 

If you come dressed in your ghoulish best, you’ll have the chance to participate in the Costume Contest Parade. Kids under 12 have the chance to win a title in Best Homemade Costume, Best Group Costume, or Best LEGO Costume. Good luck and have a fang-tastic evening at this Halloween theme park!

You’ll want to bring plenty of friends with you to share the screams and watch your back as you all make your way through terrifying mazes.

Universal Studios Hollywood: Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Pictures is probably responsible for your biggest horror movie scares in the past. If you’re up for the idea of running into your favorite (or maybe least favorite?) silver screen monsters in person, head to Universal Studios Los Angeles on select nights between September 9 to October 31 and prepare to scream… a lot.

Back with a vengeance, the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights is an event you won’t want to go to solo. At this Halloween theme park, you’ll scream at the top of your lungs as you make your way through terrifying mazes, face frightening creatures in scare zones, and lose yourself in outrageous live entertainment by characters from The Exorcist, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Haunting of Hill House, and more horror faves. When advancing through the premises of this Halloween theme park in California, remember the golden rule of horror movies—never split up from your gang; monsters lurking in the shadows like to target people on their own.

It’s important to note that Universal Studios Halloween Horror Night is not recommended for children 13 and under—it might get too intense, so leave the kiddos at home.

Knott's Scary Farm is the largest and most haunting Halloween event in Southern California. Photo courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm.

Knott's Berry Farm: Knott's Scary Farm

Another absolutely terrifying, recommended-for-adults-only Halloween theme park event is Knott’s Scary Farm. Taking place on select dates between September 16 through October 31, this eerie event is branding itself to be Southern California’s largest and most haunted Halloween event—it’s a place “where nightmares never end…” Yikes.

You’ll find the usually cheery Knot’s Berry Farm fully transformed on Halloween. Unimaginable jumpscares, fearsome thrills, haunted mazes and rides, sinister shows, and more than a thousand terrifying creatures lurking in the fog and hiding in every corner—would you dare to go solo? 

While at this Halloween theme park, you’ll have the opportunity to munch with the monsters at the Boo-Fet, watch the freak show at the CarnEVIL, witness illusions at the Bird Cage Theater, scream your heart out at the Dark Ride: Castle of Chaos, and take part in many more nightmarish activities—we don’t know about you, but we’re biting our nails. 

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