Parks and Rec

Fall into Fun with Parks in October

Haunted trails at Hellhole Canyon

County Parks and Recreation will host more than two dozen frighteningly fun Halloween happenings across the county this month. Consider this your spirited guide to County Parks in October! From haunted hikes to festive films and creepy crafts, you’re guaranteed to have a ghoulishly good time.

Events are family-friendly and for all ages. Some are even in the daytime. Most are free, though some have parking fees.

Inclement weather may cancel some of the outdoor events.

Haunted Hikes

Find out what lurks in the shadows after dark. Take a hike along a spooky trail at one of four County Parks this month. You’re almost guaranteed to get goosebumps on these treks.

Wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes. Bring a flashlight, and children should bring a parent.

All haunted hikes are free.

Parking is limited, so please carpool with fellow ghosts and goblins.  There is a $3 parking fee at Dos Picos.

Date Location Activities
Oct. 12 Hellhole Canyon County Preserve spooky trail: 4 to 8 p.m.
pumpkin decorating: 4 to 6:30 p.m.
costume contest: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
movie in the park: 6:30 p.m.
Oct. 12 Oakoasis County Preserve haunted trail: 6 to 7:40 p.m.
stargazing: 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 Dos Picos County Park hike: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Oct. 26 Sweetwater Regional Park hike to Morrison Pond: 7 to 11 p.m.

Scary-Cool Halloween Carnivals

Beware: If you attend a Halloween carnival at a County community center, you will have a wicked good time. County Parks is throwing family-friendly parties at all three community centers. Come dressed to impress for an evening full of safe and fun trick-or-treats, music, food, games and prizes.

Date Location
Oct. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. Fallbrook Community Center
Oct. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m. Lakeside Community Center
Oct. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. Spring Valley Community Center

Hawktober

It’s not just October – it’s Hawktober. County Parks is hosting several bird demonstrations this month with hawks, falcons and owls. If you dare, this is your chance to meet these skilled predators up close and learn about the birds of prey that live in your neighborhood.

Date Location Fee
Oct. 5 from 5 to 6 p.m. Sweetwater Regional Park Free for campers; $3 parking fee
Oct. 6 from 10 to 11 a.m. Rancho Guajome Adobe Free
Oct. 12 from 10 to 11 a.m. Dos Picos County Park Free for campers; $3 parking fee
Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center Free
Oct. 19 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Otay Lakes County Park $3 parking fee
Oct. 20 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sycamore Canyon/Goodan Ranch County Preserve Free
Oct. 26 from 10 to 11 a.m. Ramona Grasslands County Preserve Free
Oct. 26 from 1 to 2 p.m. San Dieguito County Park $3 parking fee
Oct. 26 from 5 to 6 p.m. Lindo Lake County Park Free
Oct. 27 from 5 to 6 p.m. El Monte County Park $3 parking fee

Movies in the Park

This is no trick. Summer Movies in the Park continues with fangtastic films for Halloween. Pack your own treats. All movies start 15 minutes after sunset.

Date Location Movie
Oct. 11 Waterfront Park “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
Oct. 18 Flinn Springs County Park “Hocus Pocus”
Oct. 19 Otay Lakes County Park “Beetlejuice”
Oct. 25 Heritage County Park “Gremlins”
Oct. 26 Agua Caliente County Park “Monsters, Inc.”
Oct. 26 Lindo Lake County Park “Hotel Translyvania 3: Summer  Vacation”

Not-So-Scary-Estuary

Have a howling good time enjoying the lagoon during Not-So-Scary Estuary Family Fun Day. Kids can march in a Halloween costume parade and stop by activity stations. Organic fruit and lemonade will be served. Park at Mira Costa College and take a free shuttle over to the lagoon.

Can You Say Nocturnal?

Don’t be afraid of the dark! Join a ranger on this easy, fun adventure to discover the “the dark side” of Flinn Springs County Park. You’ll learn about the animals that prefer to venture out after the park is closed. Wear sturdy closed-toed shoes with good tread and dress accordingly. Bring a small flashlight. Please, no dogs as they will scare away the wildlife.

Día de los Muertos

Celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) at Guajome Adobe in Vista. The historic adobe will come alive with festive entertainment, foods, arts and crafts, altars, a cultural parade, and self-guided tours.

  • Location: Guajome Adobe
  • Date: Oct. 26
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Fee: $4 ages 13 and older, $2 ages 4 to 12, free ages 3 and under

Fall Festival

Experience the season close to the coast at the Fall Festival at San Dieguito County Park. This activity-packed event will be frighteningly fun. Planned activities include sack races, face painting and even a pumpkin seed spitting contest. Don’t forget to wear your costume.

Creepy Crawlies

Do creepy crawlies give you the heebie jeebies? Face your fears this month; get up close to some live animal ambassadors at Borrego Springs County Park. Park rangers will show off snakes, spiders and other creatures that go bump in the night during an educational demonstration.

Waterfront Pumpkin Patch

With a little Halloween magic, Waterfront Park will transform into a giant pumpkin patch for the day. While supplies last, children can pick a pumpkin to take home or to decorate at craft tables. Paid parking lots are near the park, but park rangers encourage attendees to pick ride-hailing service or public transportation. The County Center/Little Italy trolley stop is located one block east of the Waterfront Park.

  • Location: Waterfront Park
  • Date: Oct. 27
  • Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Fee: Free
Michelle Mowad is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact