Sure, Halloween and the month of October bring us scary ghouls, monsters and ghosts (and here in one the most haunted cities in the country, there are a lot to encounter). But for those of us who want a less spooky holiday, there are also plenty of family-friendly events featuring the other things we love about the holiday: trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and storytelling.
We rounded up more than 20 events happening in communities throughout the Bay Area so you and your family can have a safe and candy-filled Halloween. Enjoy!
October 13 – 30, 2018, various times | Chadbourne Carriage House in Williams Historical Park
A tradition since 1969, The Candle Lighters Ghost House turns The Chadbourne Carriage House in Williams Historical Park into a family-friendly Halloween celebration for more than two weeks during the month of October. Inside, you’ll find activities like pumpkin carving contests, scarecrow building contests, scary story contests, crafts, games and more!
October 20 – 21, 2018, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Bay Area Discovery Museum
This year, the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s annual two-day Halloween festival is inspired by the ghost towns of the wild west. Festive programs and activities will engage the entire family and proceeds from each ticket will benefit the museum’s mission to transform research into early learning experiences that inspire creative problem solving.
October 20 + 27, 2018, 2 – 10 p.m. | Tara Firma Farms
This year’s Pumpkin on Pikes hosted by the Tara Firma Farms Institute offers live music from The Vivants, a BBQ dinner available for purchase, and a free pumpkin included with admission. Following tradition, you’ll get to carve that pumpkin, display it on a pike in the cornfield, and watch as the crowd of Jack-O-Lanterns illuminates the field by night.
October 21, 2018, 12 – 4:30 p.m. | Oakland Museum of California
Oakland Museum of California is celebrating Day of the Dead for the 24th year with traditional Day of the Dead festivities, including altar building, face painting, folkloric dance to mariachi, traditional Mesoamerican arts and cooking, and so much more. For the full schedule and information, click here.
October 26, 2018, 2 – 5 p.m. | Lesher Center for the Arts
Kicking off at Lesher Center for the Arts in downtown Walnut Creek, join the costumed goblins, superheroes, princesses and witches for a night of trick-or-treating from business to business! From 2 – 5 p.m. on Friday, everyone is invited to this free and whimsical event, but please remember to bring your own candy bag.
October 26, 2018, 4 – 11 p.m. | Mill Valley Recreation Center
Mill Valley’s trick-or-treat event is happening at the Mill Valley Rec Center on October 26th. The all-night event includes trick-or-treating from decorated car trunks, free live music, activities, face-painting, a magic show, a Dia De Los Muertos celebration, and a free screening of Coco!
Available only for members of the Parks Conservancy, this event invites families to Crissy Field for an easy interpretive walk around the Crissy Field Marsh, followed by a campfire with ranger-led Halloween stories, songs and s’mores. For more information on the event and on a Parks Conservancy membership, click here.
Get those costumes on and bring the whole family down to Pleasant Hill Park on Friday evening from 6 – 8 p.m. Collect candy from community members who have decorated their vehicles for this fun, spooktacular event, then check out the fun crafts and activities! Each child will go home with a goodie bag and heaps of treats donated by our community.
October 27, 2018, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. | Randall Museum
The Randall Museum will be filled with spooky and non-scary delights for the Halloween season. On Family Halloween Day October 27th, they’ll offer crafts, games, trick-or-treating, live music and entertainment, pumpkin carving and more!
For just $10 general admission and $5 admission for Fairyland members, you can party with Children’s Fairyland in Oakland this Halloween. Come in costume and enjoy unlimited rides, parades, goodie bags, pirate school, crafts and more!
In the East Bay, the Oakland Zoo is celebrating Boo at the Zoo with trick-or-treating, crafts, face painting, a dance party and a spooky train. It’s all included with regular zoo admission and kids in costume even get a free ride ticket!
From 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, Deer Hollow Farm will offer haunted barns and a festive dark forest, children’s activities and crafts, the farm animals we’ve come to love, and plenty of Halloween games. For just $7 admission, you can explore this 160-year old working farm in the middle of Silicon Valley while it’s filled with holiday fun! If you’re in costume, admission is only $5 and kids under 1-year-old are free.
For the 29th year in 2018, Farley’s is hosting San Francisco’s Pet Parade. Beginning at 1 p.m. at the corner of 18th and Arkansas Streets, costumed pups and their parents will march up 18th and costumes will be judged at Texas Street outside of the cafe. For more information, RSVP to the event on Facebook.
This free, family-friendly event is Mountain View’s celebration of Halloween happening from 1 – 3 p.m. on Saturday. Come in costume and experience all the community fun for yourself, complete with games, crafts and prizes.
October 27, 2018, 5 – 9 p.m. | California Academy of Sciences
At the California Academy of Sciences, they’re hosting a trick-or-treat night among spooktacular animals and spine-tingling specimens. Complete with a Silent Disco in the Steinhart Aquarium, magic shows, live animal entertainment, crafts, face painting and more, it’ll be a night to remember for the whole family. General admission begins at 6:30 p.m. and costs $55 for adults and $40 for children. If you want even more fun, buy tickets to the Werewolf, Vampire and Mummy Party beforehand!
October 27 – 28, 2018, 6:15 – 9:45 p.m. | Hidden Villa
For two days this Halloween, you can join the festive fun at Hidden Villa. The nonprofit educational farming organization has put together an enchanted trail where your family can collect treats and encounter fun characters. Then, finish your journey with hot cider, treats and entertainment that includes a professional magician! For more information on both Friday and Saturday admission, check out the calendar of events.
October 28, 2018, 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Pixieland Amusement Park
Offering even more fun this Halloween, Pixieland Amusement Park is hosting their Spooktacular on October 28th complete with costumes, The Ghost Train and other spooky rides. Don’t forget to bring a treat bag to collect candy along the way!
October 28, 2018, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Strawberry Recreation District Gymnasium
For $9 per child and no charge for adults, you can join the fun and celebrate All-Hallows-Eve with Strawberry Recreation District. Complete with carnival games, a jump house, candy hunt and costume parade, it’ll be an exciting event for the whole family!
Yerba Buena Gardens’ 18th annual Halloween Hoopla is a kids’ show packed with Halloween fun. During the event, you can explore the Yerba Buena Pumpkin Patch, participate in the Halloween Costume Parade, and enjoy live, kid-friendly entertainment and shenanigans.
October 31, 2018, 1 – 2 p.m. | Creative Arts Building, Knuth Hall
Continuing a tradition of more than 25 years, the San Francisco State University School of Music has invited pianists Inara Morgenstern and Victoria Neve to perform Halloween-themed music on Halloween day! This free event is open to the public.
October 31, 2018, 4:15 – 8 p.m. | Downtown Sausalito
Sausalito is the place to be on Halloween day. Before trick-or-treating through downtown, you can go through the haunted house while it’s kid-friendly from 4:15 – 5:15 p.m. Then, enjoy the Firefighter BBQ at the Johnson Street Firehouse, march in the Halloween parade, collect candy through Trick or Treat Lane, and enter your pooch in the Howl’O’Ween Dog Costume Contest! For full details and schedule info, check out the website.
For the 23rd year, The Unity Council is hosting their Día de Los Muertos Annual Festival, a free, outdoor festival that brings over 80,000 people to the vibrant, culturally-rich Fruitvale neighborhood. Here, you can enjoy live music, family-friendly games, rides and activities, traditional Latin American artisans, and the stunning altar installations created by community members paying homage to Los Muertos.