Halloween pandemic-style: Safe Spooky Events in Southern California

With most traditional Southern California haunted attractions closed this year, and the CDC advising against trick-or-treating, you may looking for alternate ways to celebrate the holiday.  Below are some SoCal seasonal activities still in operation, listed in order from least to most socially-distanced.  (Confirmed family-friendly activities denoted with an (FF), though others may also be suitable for children—call ahead to confirm.  All events abide by state and local Covid-19 safety guidelines.)

Scary Escape Rooms: Several of your favorite spooky escapes have resumed operation, including Zoe at Escapade games, Zombie Lab at Infinity Escape, and Hex at Crossroads.

Drive-Through Haunts (some monster/guest interaction): The Bite LA: Halloween Food Crawl and Creature Safari at the Legg Lake in El Monte (FF), The Gentle Barn’s Haunted Barnyard: Land of Nightmares in Santa Clarita.

Pumpkin Patches: Mr. Jack O’Lanterns Pumpkins in Fairfax (FF); Fall Harvest on the Farm in Moorpark, which also has a petting zoo and wagon ride; the 2020 Pumpkin Farm in Irvine featuring drive-through pumpkin picking (FF).

Themed Outdoor Walking/Shopping/Food Experiences: Taste of Fall-O-Ween at Knott’s Berry Farm (FF), Halloween at Descanso in La Canada Flintridge (FF), Boo at the Zoo in Santa Ana (FF).

Scavenger Hunts: Things That Go Bump in the Night in Claremont, where kids can also learn about nocturnal animals (FF).

Large, Private Escape Rooms: Red Lantern Escape Rooms has a spooky but family-friendly escape with all-private games that takes place in a 1,000 square foot warehouse, so players have plenty of space to themselves (up to 250 square foot)

Outdoor History-Based Tours and Events: Boyle Heights: Most Haunted—listen to ghost stories as you visit locations of paranormal history; Oh, What a Beautiful Mourning…An Outdoor Victorian Mourning Faire in Montecio Heights

Drive-In Horror Movie Shows: Beyond Fest in Montclair, 20th Annual Screamfest LA Horror Drive-In Festival in Malibu, Secret Movie Club: Parking Lot Theater in Glendale, Starlight Drive in Movies in Brea, Huluween Drive-in Burbank,

Drive-Through Haunts (no monster/guest interaction): Nights of Jack, a driving tour through hand-carved and illuminated pumpkins in Calabasas (FF); Halloween Driving Howl in Alhambra, Urban Legends Haunt in Costa Mesa.

Virtual Spooky Escape Rooms: Of course the safest events are those you can participate in from home.  There are several online escape rooms perfect for the season, ranging from the slightly-spooky The Hardin House Mystery—a retro Nancy Drew-style game from Red Lantern Escape Rooms (FF), to the jump-scares-a-plenty The Last Experiment by Escapade Games.

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