The Greater Los Angeles Area contains an overwhelming multitude of Halloween events in all shapes and sizes – everything from small-scale amateur efforts to major professional attractions. There are so many that we have divided them into categories and devoted specific pages to them. However, before rushing to these categories, let’s take a moment to examine the big picture.
Los Angeles Halloween Events Overview
Though October entertainment evokes images of labyrinths filled with costumed characters leaping out of the darkness, there is actually a far wider range of Halloween Events in Los Angeles, and sometimes the less obvious ones are the most interesting. Some have the longer shelf life: a popular stand-alone haunted house might run throughout October; a major Halloween theme park could launch in mid-September; but a virtual reality haunt could start in August, and popular theatrical productions can endure through November and even December, while Halloween-themed museum exhibits may continue into the following year.
In short, there are myriad Los Angeles Halloween Events to enjoy for weeks and even months before and after October; it’s just a matter of deciding which menu items to pick from the vast smorgasbord.
Which seasonal attractions are right for you? That’s not for us to say, but we can provide the information needed to make your own informed decisions. On this page, we provide:
- Halloween Event Updates containing news which may not be reflected on category pages.
- Halloween Event Categories & Definitions – a list followed by explanations of which events are assigned to which pages.
Haunt-seekers unsure about what type of event interests them can check out A Halloween Haunts Master List, which aggregates entries from all categories in alphabetical order. Eclectic fright fans interested in the highest-quality events can check out our recommendations in Best Halloween Attractions in L.A.
Otherwise, scroll down to see our Recent Updates and Category Listings for Los Angeles Halloween Events.
Los Angeles Halloween Event Updates
Read the latest posts about Halloween 2020 for news that may not be updated to category pages yet.
Los Angeles Halloween Events: Categories & Definitions
We separate Los Angeles Halloween Events into the following categories, explained below:
Defining these categories can be tricky: if you walk through a maze with actors performing written dialogue, does that qualify as a haunted house or a play? Here we explain the distinctions.
- The Halloween versions of these year-round entertainment centers tend to dominate the season. We define the term rather loosely, to include major events that are not, technically, theme parks, such as Queen Mary Dark Harbor and and Warner Bros’ Horror Made Here: A Festival of Frights. Basically, a large, permanent venue with enough mazes, shows, rides, tours, and food options to provide an entire evening of entertainment qualifies for inclusion. Click here for our recommendations about which ones to attend.
- This category includes haunted houses and hayrides that pop-up just for the Halloween season, along with a few in permanent locations. These are usually single, stand-alone attractions, but some feature multiple walk-through mazes. Some are for profit; others are community events or fundraisers. To be included here, a haunted house must be deemed the sold or primary attraction; a walk-through maze that is part of a larger event will typically be listed as part of that event, probably under the Festivals and Fun category.
- As the name suggests, this category is restricted to Halloween haunts set in people’s homes; other amateur or non-profit efforts, such as fundraisers in community centers, are included in the Mazes and Rides category, even if they are presented by home haunters. Home Haunts are often decorated yards, but some include walk-through mazes similar to professional haunted houses. Yard Displays may run for days or weeks prior to Halloween. Walk-through haunts with live actors tend to operate for a few days at most, on or around October 31.
- This is a broad category comprised mostly of outdoor events: street fairs, pub crawls, block parties, costume carnivals, scavenger hunts, and organized trick-or-treating. Some of these festivals may feature mazes and rides not listed in that category. Also included here are some immersive events and pop-up bars. Events in this category tend to be one- or two-night-only affairs, on Halloween Night or the prior weekend.
- Here you will find Halloween-themed art shows, historical exhibits, and haunted tours. Along with traditional presentations (SugarMynt Gallery’s Haunted Haddonfield), this category includes immersive art installations (I Like Scary Movies) and outdoor displays of carved pumpkins (such as Night of the Jacks). Museum and Gallery exhibitions tend to capitalize on the Halloween season by opening in October, but some last for weeks or months afterward.
- Fright film festivals and all-night horror movie marathons in October. This category is restricted to special films programming in the Los Angeles area, not nationwide releases. We emphasize events that are movie-specific; horror films included as part of another event, such as a convention, may not be listed here but will show up under whatever category is appropriate for the main event; for instance, the month-long Haunted Little Tokyo festival, which screens horror films outdoors on Fridays, is listed under Halloween Festivals and Fun.
- Scary plays and theatrical performances are listed here, whether they are staged in theatres or other venues, such as museums or cemeteries. Immersive and/or interactive theatre is included here – this type of presentation has become increasingly popular as traditional haunted house attractions are drive out of the market by competition from theme parks. To be included as interactive theatre, the event must have a narrative; immersive experiences with costumed characters but no story are filled under Festivals and Fun. Perhaps more than other categories, Halloween Theatre is frequented by one-off productions: there are about half-a-dozen organizations that present annual Halloween shows, but many local theatres will presents horror-themed plays during October.
Kid-Friendly Halloween Fun:
- Listed here are events appropriate for young trick-or-treaters, some of which may be included under other categories. These may be small Halloween haunts taking place as a sort of “sideshow” at year-round attractions open for normal business, or they may be full-blown theme park attractions such as Disneyland Halloween Time and Legoland’s Brick-or-Treat. We also include adult-oriented haunted attractions that feature kid-safe matinee performances.
Graveyard of Halloween Haunts:
- Haunted Houses that have gone to the great cemetery in the sky (though upon occasion, they may return from the grave)