Parks and Rec

Halloween Happenings at Parks

Haunted trails at Hellhole Canyon

It’s frightening how much fun you can have at parks this month. The San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation will host a dozen chilling and thrilling Halloween events including haunted hikes, pumpkin parties and a day of the dead.

Don’t be a scaredy cat. All events are family-friendly, for all ages and some are even in the daytime. Most are free, though some have parking fees. Inclement weather may cancel some of the outdoor events.

Hellhole Canyon Spooky Trail

Hellhole_Haunted_Trail18Are you brave enough to visit Hellhole Canyon after dark? Take a boo-tiful hike along the preserve’s spooky trail to find surprises. Come dressed to impress – prizes will be awarded in a costume contest. Stay for a movie in the park–“Hotel Transylvania” will show in the amphitheater at 6:30 p.m. Every child will receive a pumpkin, while supplies last.

Haunted Trails Hike at Oakoasis

Haunted Trails at Dos Picos 3

Enjoy a ranger-led hike at Oakoasis County Preserve this month. Bring the whole family and a flashlight to see what lurks in the shadows along the trail, then stick around for a star party to see what creatures live in the sky above! Parking is limited, so please carpool with fellow ghosts and goblins to the festivities, or plan on parking across the street at El Capitan County Preserve. There’s an underground tunnel between the parks.

  • Where: Oakoasis County Preserve, 12620 Wildcat Canyon Road, Lakeside, CA 92040
  • Phone: 619-561-0580
  • Date: Oct. 14
  • Time: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
  • Fee: Free

Fall Festival

Fall_Festival_San_Dieguito_County_Park3Fall in love with parks at the Fall Festival. Play autumn-inspired games, get your face painted, paint a pumpkin, and enjoy some cider or coffee at San Dieguito County Park. Plus, you’ll be able to meet some of the creepy, crawly critters at an animal show.

Costumes are encouraged!

  • Where: San Dieguito County Park, 1628 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Del Mar, CA 92014
  • Phone: 858-755-2386
  • Date: Oct. 21
  • Time: noon to 2 p.m.
  • Fee: $3 parking fee

Family Discovery Days: Not So Scary Estuary

Fall_Festival_San_Dieguito_County_Park6Learn about the animals that inhabit the lagoon and nearby coastal waters at a Halloween-themed bash at San Elijo Lagoon. Discover that these animals are not-so-scary after all.

Take a hike along the trick-or-treat trail, enter a costume contest and dance along to a live music.

  • Where: San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, 2710 Manchester Ave., Cardiff, CA 92007
  • Phone: 760-634-3026
  • Date: Oct. 22
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Fee: Free

Dia de los Muertos

dia-de-los-muertosDia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is returning to Rancho Guajome Adobe in Vista. The 3,000-year-old tradition is a cultural holiday celebrated here, in Mexico and other parts of the world. Celebrants honor relatives who have passed away with small altars and gifts of their favorite foods, beverages, flowers and more.

Altars will be set up throughout the 22-room adobe ranch house. Outside, there will be traditional dancing, vibrant live music and colorful crafts for kids.

  • Where: Rancho Guajome Adobe, 2210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Oceanside, CA 92083
  • Phone: 760-724-4082
  • Date: Oct. 28
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Fee: Free – ages 0-3, $2 – ages 4-12, $4 – ages 13 and older

Haunted Trails Hike at Morrison Pond

Beware of the cobwebs and creatures that come out at night on a walk through the woods near Morrison Pond at Sweetwater Summit Regional Park. The hike is terrifyingly awesome. Bring a flashlight and be ready for an outdoor adventure!

Creatures of the Night (Hike)

Scorpion at AguaJoin ranger Kory for a glimpse into the desert darkness. Learn about the native wildlife inhabiting the park on a leisurely hike through the campground, keeping a keen eye out for bats, scorpions and other nocturnal creatures that go bump in the night.

  • Where: Agua Caliente County Park, 39555 Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849, Julian, CA 92036
  • Phone:  760-765-1188
  • Date: Oct. 28
  • Time: 7 to 8 p.m.
  • Fee: $3 parking fee/free for campers

Haunted Trails Hike at Dos Picos

Haunted Trails at Dos Picos 1

Visit Dos Picos County Park after dark. Find out if the park come alive once the sun sets during a hike along the Haunted Trails. Hikes are under a mile but cover some challenging terrain.

Wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes. Bring a flashlight and an adult. Trekkers should meet in the parking near the restrooms.

  • Where: Dos Picos County Park, 17953 Dos Picos Road, Ramona, CA 92065
  • Phone: 760-789-2220
  • Date: Oct. 28
  • Time: 6:30 to 9 p.m.
  • Fee: $3 parking fee

Lakeside Community Center Halloween Party

lakeside_halloween-596x373Dress in costume and bring the whole family for an evening full of music, food, ghoulishly delightful games and spooktacular prizes at Lakeside Community Center. Then, venture outside for some trick-or-treating along Lindo Lake.

  • Where: Lakeside Community Center, 9841 Vine St., Lakeside, CA 92040
  • Phone: 619-443-9176
  • Date: Oct. 28
  • Time: 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Fee: Free

Trick-Or-Treat Around Lindo Lake

Celebrate Halloween at Lindo Lake County Park. Trick or treat around the peninsula with over 30 booths, a bounce house, face painting and more. Stay for the eerie and cheery movie in the park—“Hotel Transylvania.”

  • Where: Lindo Lake County Park, 12660 Lindo Lake, Lakeside, CA 92040
  • Phone: 619-443-1666
  • Date: Oct. 28
  • Time: 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Fee: Free

Waterfront Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins596x373pxWaterfront Park will transform into a lively pumpkin patch with free pumpkins, crafts and entertainment just days before the big day—Halloween. Guests are encouraged to take public transportation. The County Center/Little Italy trolley stop is located one block east of the Waterfront Park. Every family will receive a pumpkin, while supplies last.

  • Where: Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-232-7275
  • Date: Oct. 29
  • Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Fee: Free

Fallbrook Community Center Halloween Party

Pumpkin carving

Skip the tricks and come straight to Fallbrook Community Center for a Halloween treat. The center will host a fang-tastic Halloween bash with yummy snacks, crafts, games and activities to delight attendees.

Don’t forget to dress to impress in your best costume for a chance to win a prize.

  • Where: Fallbrook Community Center, 341 Heald Ave., Fallbrook, CA 92028
  • Phone: 760-728-1671
  • Date: Oct. 31
  • Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Fee: Free

Spring Valley Community Center Halloween Party

Spring-Valley-halloween-event-3Scare up some fun this Halloween at Spring Valley Community Center, where Parks staff will host a ghoulish get-together for all ages with music, treats, activities and a costume contest.

This will be the most fun and festive Halloween celebration you’ve ever attended!

  • Where: Spring Valley Community Center, 8735 Jamacha Blvd., Spring Valley, CA 91977
  • Phone: 619-479-1832
  • Date: Oct. 31
  • Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Fee: Free
Michelle Mowad is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact