halloween orange pumpkins

How to Spend Halloween in Oceanside

By Aaron Peasley

The weather may still be balmy here, but Oceanside is no slouch when it comes to celebrating fall and, especially, Halloween. Buildings are festooned with chilling decor, residential streets turn into mini haunted villages, and even the surfers get their freak on, swapping board shorts for skeleton-print wetsuits. Here are a few ways to get into this year’s fun, Oceanside-style.


You won’t have to leave the resort to experience Oceanside’s ghoulish side. Our ever-popular Little Seabirds program includes creative and memorable ways for younger guests to have a beachside Halloween. Throughout October, our curated activities include rock monster painting, spooky scavenger hunts, pumpkin painting, and creepy sand art. On Halloween night, trick-or-treaters are unleashed at 4:30 pm. 


Just three blocks away from The Seabird, Oceanside’s year-round market gets wicked and weird for this once-a-year party the Thursday before Halloween. Ghosts and goblins of all ages are welcome: The costume parade commences at 6pm, and the main stage will showcase local performers and sets by DJ Steve O as well as a contest in search of Oceanside’s “most blood-curdling scream.” BYO earplugs. Thursday, Oct. 28.


Given our proximity to Mexico, it’s no surprise that O’siders are accustomed to the unique traditions of Día de los Muertos, from papel picado (paper banners) and marigold garlands (traditional spirit offerings) to the ubiquitous skull iconography. Celebrating its 20th year, our local festival, held downtown at the corner of Pier View Way and South Tremont, attracts people of all ages. Kids can have their face painted in their favorite colors and learn about the chalk cemetery ritual, while parents delight in the culinary treats and vendors selling handmade arts and crafts. Sunday, Oct. 24. 


Transportation (it’s a 30-minute drive from the resort), an entry fee ($25 and up), and a little courage are the prerequisites to enter this hugely popular attraction in San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park. Designed for kids 10 and up and adults, the mile-long track runs through the historic gardens, with some unexpected sights along the way. An uber-theatrical homage to the old school hayride, the one of a kind experience begins once you make your way out of the “eXperiment Maze,” a portal to an underworld where futuristic special effects and professional actors create a ghoulish, intriguing and often hilarious experience. You’ve been warned. Through Oct. 31.


Locally in Carlsbad around 15 minutes from Oceanside, Legoland pulls out all the spooky stops during October. As well as Brick-or-Treat, which sees the perennially popular park open after dark, weekend ticket holders will be able to experience the park in a new light. Kids are invited to come dressed in costumes for (safely distanced) character meet-n-greets, and the entire family will appreciate the seasonal eating options and popular scavenger hunt. Through Oct. 31.


With its profusion of wineries, small farms and orchards, the San Diego area is set up for outdoor fall delights — no picnic basket required. Drop by Mr. Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkin Patch in La Jolla to scout organic produce, take on the maze, or learn the basics of pumpkin carving. Temecula Terror, which attracts an older crowd as well as families, is a new attraction featuring wine tastings, live music, and a series of themed pop-ups serving seasonal cocktails, local wines, and microbrews.