The Los Angeles area goes all out for Halloween and since it’s the home of movies and celebrities, kookiness and fun are on over-drive. Our weather is temperate and as a Los Angeleno, I can tell you that October in Los Angeles is one of the best times to visit. It’s still warm enough to wear summer-like clothes but not so hot it’s stifling. We don’t have to worry about snow or even rain ruining the festivities.
During October in Los Angeles, there are several fright-filled Halloween events you may get a kick out of. Some are grand-kid appropriate and others are definitely adults only.
Celebrate and honor the Dead
The Mexican holiday Day of the Dead takes place throughout the city on multiple days from late October through early November. One of the best places to experience it is at the Día de Los Muertos Festival on Olvera Street in Downtown LA. Families gather together to pay tribute to their loved ones wearing intricate makeup and elaborate costumes. You can have your face painted by expert face painters, enjoy authentic Mexican food, entertainment, blessings, and ceremonies.
Watch movies in the dark at the graveyard to the stars
Hollywood Forever Cemetery has outdoor movie nights all year long but on Halloween, they show the scariest ones. The cemetery is the final resting place of many celebrities including Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Cecil B. DeMille, Mel Blanc, and Hattie McDaniel. It’s located directly behind Paramount Studios. What a perfectly morbid place to watch John Carpenter’s Halloween or Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein.
Other scary movie theaters that will make your hair stand up
October in Los Angeles is the time when scary movies are shown all over the city. To find where they are playing, click here.
Watch Halloween Movies on the rooftop of the Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood. They will be playing classics like Beetlejuice, The Mummy, Carrie and more.
Party with the ghostly crowd
Frightening apparitions, bloody monsters, and every sort of goblin appear from the ether and dance the night away at vintage Los Angeles hotels, nightclubs, and theaters. Don’t miss “The Witching Hour” at the Black Rabbit Rose, which is a historic building in Hollywood built-in 1917. Conjurers will hold you spellbound as they reveal the supernatural secrets of Old Hollywood. An occasional spirit may even show up to make your spine tingle.
The Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles hosts a vampire-themed Halloween ball each year at their Spanish Gothic-style Theatre. And in Hollywood, the famous Egyptian Theatre also puts on an annual Halloween themed event. (Find this event and other LA Halloween parties here)
Join a devilish block party at Haunted Little Tokyo. Enjoy music, food, and entertainment between Central and San Pedro St. It’s a free event. Walk in the pumpkin patch, play games, watch blood-spilling movies, take a haunted walking tour, and trick or treat.
Another annual Halloween party hot spot is at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd. Each Halloween they host a party with a different theme. Click here for all their current events. Hollywood Blvd goes bonkers during Halloween and parking is at a premium so you may want to stay at the hotel or one that’s within walking distance if you’re here for a visit.
The largest Halloween street party in the world takes place at the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival. The costumes are mind-blowing. Be prepared to dance, drink, and definitely walk on the wild side.
Haus of Creep is a 75-minute multi-sensory exhibit of creepy LA. It’s both nightmarish and surreal. Wander through over a dozen installations that will scare your socks off. 20 horrific characters will guide you through the experience that includes deranged puppets, dark spaces, a sultry lounge, and more.
Attend a creepy funeral
Heritage Square Museum does an annual Halloween Mourning Tour. – You will join a funeral party to see how Edwardians grieved their dead. Heritage Square is a cluster of eight old Victorian homes that have been restored. They have a variety of events and programs throughout the year.
Jump out of your skin with zoo animals
The Los Angeles Zoo hosts Boo at the Zoo – I wrote a while back about Zoo Lights, which takes place during the winter holidays, but in October you can enjoy spooktacular fun that includes live shows, special animal feedings, and themed photo ops on the weekend. Don’t forget your costume.
Walk among zombies in the park
Each year, Griffith Park sets up the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride at the Old Zoo. As you walk through the gate Purgatory you will enter the haunted village. There you can take part in interactive shows and take a ride on undead horses at the Scary-Go-Round. There are psychic shops, otherworldly boutiques, a terrifying House of Shadows and trick or treats.
See stranger things at movie studios
Universal Studios Hollywood celebrates Halloween Horror Nights where you can get lost in blood-curdling mazes, take horrifying rides, and visit creepy attractions. While you’re at it, hang out and have dinner at Citywalk. Warner Bros Studios will have you howling with fear at their Horror Made Here – a Festival of Frights. And don’t miss Paramount Studios After Dark Tour – Tales of the Other Side.
October in Los Angeles is lots of fun but no matter what you want to do in the city, at any time of year, you can always get up-to-date information by visiting DiscoverLosAngeles.com
These buildings are said to be haunted and they’re fun to hang out with.
- The Hollywood Palladium – 6215 W. Sunset Blvd., Hollywood – Look for a man who is walking around his house that used to be there before the Palladium was built.
- The Hollywood Pacific Theatre – 6433 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood -If you can get into the basement you will freak out for sure.
- Frolic Room – 6245 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood – Some crazy scary things happen in the ladies’ room.
- The Pantages Theatre – 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood – Look for the ghost of Howard Hughes who had an office there.
- The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – 7000 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood – If you rent Cabana 213 you may see a ghost with no feet.
- Boardner’s Bar – 1652 N. Cherokee Ave., Hollywood – The Black Dahlia used to hang out there.
- The Silent Movie Theatre – 611 N. Fairfax Ave, Beverly Grove – The husband of the couple who created it died from chemicals used to preserve the silent films. A man got involved with the widow and ended up inheriting it, but his boyfriend had someone murder him.
Go trick or treating
I did a walking tour of the Victorians in Angelino Heights. One of the homes was the filming location for the TV Show Charmed. All the residents go all out decorating and dressing up and as many as 3,000 kids show up to trick or treat. They must have to buy a ton of candy.
In the outskirts
Nights of the Jack at King Gilette Ranch in Calabasas – This is an interactive and family-friendly event with a Halloween-themed light show in the trees, pumpkin carver, gift shot, top LA food trucks, a “Speakeasy Bar” with Halloween cocktails and fun for the entire family. 2019 event partners with Nickelodeon and features “SpongeBob Squarepants” characters. Runs through the month of October.
Knotts Scary Farm – The quintessential Halloween experience that has been running since I worked there in the early 1970s. Bring the grandkids and scare the wits out of them. Get a deal on tickets on Living Social.
Queen Mary Dark Harbor – Fear lives here. Board the old Queen Mary ship in Long Beach and walk through Monster mazes, have a drink in a secret bar, enjoy entertainment and thrilling rides. Nothing scarier than a ghost ship, right? Get a good deal on tickets at Living Social.
Look your Ghoulish Best
Of course, you’ll need a creepy costume if you’re going out to a Halloween event. Try shopping at Magnolia Park in Burbank. It’s easy to find street parking and there are all sorts of vintage and costume shops to choose from. Some come from nearby movie studios. The best assortment is on Magnolia Blvd between Hollywood Way and Buena Vista.
This post was updated 9/27/2019