5 Spooktacular Activities to Enjoy This Halloween Harvest Season in Greater Los Angeles and Beyond

Just because Greater LA’s Halloween might not look quite the same this year as it has in the past, doesn’t mean it can’t be just as fun… While the 2020 West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval might have been “axed” and trick or treaters will be standing six feet apart (with ALL costumes donning masks as opposed to just the mischievous few) there are still a myriad of spooky and entertaining activities for Angelenos and Southern Californians of all ages to embark on this harvest season.

From the classic Calabasas Nights of the Jack experience to a Day of the Dead Brunch at Las Palmas — as well as the Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze, here are over a dozen ways for families, couples, and socially distant friends alike to spend an LA 2020 Halloween.

1) Spooktacular Outdoor Events in Greater Los Angeles

San Fernando Valley Halloween Drive-In Nights at Westfield Fashion Square

Tickets start at $20, for the chance to watch classic Halloween flicks such as Edward Scissorhands and Poltergeist, on a 60-foot screen throughout the month of October.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride Live Drive Up Experience

The founders of L.A.’s famed Haunted Hayride have taken the hayride “off-trail” for a safe and reimagined haunted “drive up.” This original haunted and immersive experience features a multimedia story displayed on a 40-foot screen, as well as scary sets and characters that surround the theater and bringing the story directly to life. Tickets start at $49.99 per car.

DTLA Haunted Walking Tours

This “Haunted Tales” 2-mile walking tour with a local guide highlights the city’s most infamous tales and mysteries, introducing guests to the spooky ghost stories that haunt Los Angeles. Tickets are $25 for adults — and not for the faint of heart.

Nights of the Jack

This 25-minute drive-through experience at King Gillette Ranch in Calabasas features thousands of hand-carved and illuminated Jack O’Lanterns with tickets costing $69 per car.

Halloween at Descanso Gardens

This pumpkin-filled extravaganza will be offered throughout the month of October, where guests will safely wind their way through multiple socially-distanced, pumpkin-themed displays and hay maze. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes – and of course, masks – as they explore and enjoy autumn in the Gardens. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children.

2) Eerie Eateries

E.P/L.P. Rooftop’s Halloween Spectacular

The expansive outdoor rooftop restaurants in West Hollywood—E.P. & L.P. and the new Tulum-inspired pop-up Las Palmas—are both hosting socially distanced Halloween and Day of the Dead Weekender from Saturday, October 31 through Sunday, November 1 (which is the Day of the Dead).

With the largest and most socially distant rooftop dining experiences in the city, E.P. & L.P. is transforming its 5,500-square-foot rooftop level into a spooky, Halloween-themed restaurant for the weekend. Filipino-American Chef Sabel Braganza and Culinary Director Monty Koludrovic will feature affordable, individual small plates and elevated bar bites ($8 – $15) to accompany the rooftop restaurant’s festive cocktail specials, including a Bloody Spritz with blood orange juice, prosecco, Aperol, and bitters. Walk-in availability for parties up to six people from 12pm – 2am.

Day of the Dead Brunch at Las Palmas

West Hollywood’s new Tulum-inspired rooftop concept, Las Palmas, is bringing Día De Los Muertos celebrations stateside with its two-day Day of the Dead brunch series. From 12pm onwards on Saturday, October 31 andSunday, November 1, guests can enjoy a Yucatan-inspired menu (think: lobster quesadilla, breakfast tacos, and more) alongside a specialty Michelada in collaboration with Calidad BeerThere will be plenty of Instagram-worthy moments, including larger-than-life Calaveras and an orange backlit photobooth. Reservations are required, and can accommodate parties of four or six between 12pm to 4pm. Guests can call 310-855-9955 to reserve a socially distanced table on the rooftop.

Costumes are encouraged at both L.P. Rooftop and Las Palmas, and the restaurants have implemented stringent health and safety measures to ensure a safe and socially distanced Halloween including two-hour reservation blocks, hand sanitizer at all tables. Masks required when not seated, no mingling between parties, and temperature checks upon entry.

3) Hotels go (or stay) Haunted

Terranea Resort, Ranchos Palos Verdes:

Kids Club Family BOO Box

“Contactless” BOO Boxes are available to entertain guests with DIY tricks and treats from the comfort of their guestroom or private ocean view patio to celebrate Halloween onsite. With a house-made candy apple, two petite pumpkins to decorate, and additional Boo Bags to fill with candy and safely share goodwill with others there’s plenty of fun with a Halloween at Terranea. BOO Boxes ($125) are available for purchase at pointe discovery or online at www.terranea.com.

Spooky & Delicious Fireside Stories

Terranea guests may also enjoy a s’mores kit while sharing ghost stories around the fire at the 102-acre oceanfront oasis. With more than 228 outdoor fire pits and fireplaces located throughout the resort, there is always a warm seat to be found by the fire. S’mores kits are available for purchase in sea beans.

Coastal Haunted Hike

Terranea guests may also partake in a self-guided coastal Haunted Hike to witness the local legend of the “The Lady in the Light” at the nearby Pointe Vicente Lighthouse. Learn more about the local lore by visiting www.TerraneaLife.com

Ha-LOEWS-Ween at Loews Santa Monica

Loews Santa Monica is offering outdoor movie screenings and tarot reading to celebrate a spectacular and spooky Halloween weekend. On October 30, visitors can watch Hotel Transylvania at 8 p.m. on the pool deck — and on October 31, there’s a a double feature with Hotel Transylvania and Hocus Pocus kicking off at 6 p.m. Tarot card readings are being offered from 7:30-9 p.m. and tickets for both nights are $35 per person (or free if you’re a hotel guest). This includes reserved seating, popcorn, candy, and a soft drink. Call 310-576-3180 for reservations inquiries.

Spooky Pools at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells

Hyatt Indian Wells, which recently reopened following a major renovation and launched its waterpark, HyTides, (which offers dueling slides, lazy river, and a splash pad), is inviting families and couples to escape to the warm desert for an unforgettable Halloween weekend. HyTides will be playing a “scary” dive-in movie and offer extended spooky hours from 7-10pm and the waterpark will be decked out in spooky holiday decor. Kids will receive goodie bags with candy, and there’s even a pumpkin carving contest where guests can vote for their favorite pumpkin on Halloween.

4) Brewing (Booing) Up Something Special

Boomtown Brewery

Boomtown Brewery in downtown Los Angeles is open for socially distant dine-in service — to enjoy a boo and a brew this Halloween (mask required — the spookier, the better). Reservations MUST be made in advance, and all tabs must order food from their food vendors. There’s a max of six people with a two hour limit per table and again, masks must be worn at all times unless eating or drinking at the table. The brewery is enforcing six feet of social distance between other guests, and costumes are not only highly encouraged but practically required.

5) Day Trips From LA:

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa Full Moon Circle – Saturday, October 31, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Join holistic practitioner and Reiki Master, Tiffany Schrade, for an incredible Full Moon Ceremony and conclusion of the Women’s Health and Wellness Series on Halloween night at Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa.

Tickets are $50 for a drop in, or visitors can purchase tickets to Estancia’s all-inclusive pass for $169 (a $400 value) which allows guests to embark on a 16-day journey designed for women of all ages to come together as a community and connect more deeply with themselves and others and offers access to additional events, wellness guides, and daily at-home activities and recipes.

Courtesy of Estancia La Jolla

2020 Santa Ynez Valley “Scarecrow Fest

The Santa Ynez Valley, home to one of the California Central Coast’s renowned wine regions, will welcome the fall season as it kicks off its Annual Santa Ynez Valley (SYV) Scarecrow Fest and Contest on Thursday, October 1, 2020. This year’s Scarecrow Fest will for the eighth time, include the “SYV” communities of Buellton, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Santa Ynez, Ballard and the town that started the original Scarecrow Fest, Solvang.

The month-long Santa Ynez Valley Scarecrow Fest will run through October 31, 2020, during which time visitors and SYV locals are encouraged to play, stay and safely enjoy the seasonal scarecrow sights. The SYV Scarecrows, crafted by local businesses, individuals and organizations, will be showcased throughout the Santa Ynez Valley in the region’s main communities of Buellton, Solvang, Ballard and Los Olivos, as well as in Los Alamos and Santa Ynez.

Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze 

The Solvang Farmer Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze is still happening, as well — it’s running a pandemic-friendly version of the maze, with more pathway space carved out of the corn fields for greater social distancing while wandering through the maze.

Am I missing anything? Send me details on your Greater LA Halloween happenings at hellomollyannobrien@gmail.com and I’ll add it to my list.

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