Haunted Houses, Home Haunts, and Spooky Tours for Halloween in LA

Our house loves Halloween - no, really loves Halloween. We reconnect with neighbors as we hang ghosts in trees, weave skeletons into the jasmine, drape pumpkin lights along the fence, and smear cobwebs all over the shrubbery. Our normally zen rock garden becomes a graveyard, and last year's Halloween costumes become its inhabitants.

One way we feed our macabre creativity is by avidly checking out other Halloween addicts' handiwork; we love the ghost trains, festivals, and pumpkin patches, but the real beauty of living in the film capital of the world is that private haunted houses frequently rival the spectacle of the big theme park spooks. We've collected the scream of the crop below...

Best Neighborhoods to Trick-or-Treat for Los Angeles Kids

Trick or treat! Los Angeles moved down to fifth place this year in Zillow's Halloween list of the country's 20 best cities for trick-or-treating—but that's not slowing down anyone around here. The real estate website bases its trick-or-treat ranking on criteria like home value and crime rates. That's good, but what about special effects and Halloween decorations? If one figures in the number of film industry creatives living in a given metropolitan area, LA wins first place by a country mile. Speaking of country miles, if you've walked the distance between houses in the most expensive LA neighborhoods, you know that higher home value does not always translate to better trick-or-treating. What does? Well, keep your Halloween hats on, because we've got a list of some of LA and Orange County's most legendary trick-or-treat neighborhoods. I defy anyone in Philadelphia to beat these!

Say Boo at the Zoo: 5 LA and OC Zoos with Cool Halloween Events

Let the record show that there is more than one way to smash a pumpkin, and handing it to a hippo is definitely one of them. A gorilla does the job pretty well, too, as does a tiger, or—well, just about any other animal at the zoo. This discovery by our nation's zookeepers has led to a peculiar Halloween tradition—that we highly recommend!

Each year Southern California's zoos (and Griffith Park is only one of the options, as you'll see below) plan Halloween events, usually treating resident critters to their favorite delicacies stuffed inside pumpkins. For some, the delicacy may actually be the pumpkin itself (chomp chomp), while the more carnivorously inclined seem to view the pumpkins more as wrapping paper (smash smash). Either way, zoo animals smashing pumpkins ups the ante on traditional pumpkin patches. Check out all the beastly fun at Southland zoos this season.

Top Parks for Eagle Rock Preschoolers: 9 Prime Playgrounds near the 90041

Need a new place to play? There's a whole lot of green space to explore north of Downtown and east of Los Feliz. If your days involve entertaining a toddler or preschooler in the Northeast Los Angeles region, specifically Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mt. Washington, or even reaching up toward Glendale and Pasadena, you'll want to check out our list of the best local parks and playgrounds. Because moms cannot live by Griffith Park alone...

Weekday Picks: Celebrating Prime Pumpkin Season, Oct. 10-14

The calendar is a cornucopia of fall events, from pumpkin patches to fall festivals, from creepy crawlies at the zoo to hay mazes and tractor-drawn wagon rides. For more holiday ideas and inspiration, check out our lists of pumpkin patches and mazes, as well as this comprehensive guide of Halloween fun and activities throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. 

If escaping from the approaching holidays is more your speed, there are lots of activities to help you do that as well, including film screenings and theater performances. Head on over to the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar, as well as our picks for the month in our October GoList. Read on for some of the highlights for this week.

25 Fall Day Trips & Weekend Getaways for LA Families

Fall is in the air! Although Los Angeles is known as a city without seasons, we all know that it isn’t quite true. Pumpkin patches spring up under palm trees. Multi-million dollar mansions in Santa Monica morph into haunted houses. And nothing screams fall in the City of Angels more than walking into your local Starbucks and ordering up a no whip Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Fall is also a beautiful time of year to take the kids on day trips or away for the weekend. Colorful sunsets, cool afternoons, and a laid-back serenity are all traits we have come to love about autumn in Southern California. If the travel bug has hit and your children are good in the car, try heading to one of California's premiere spots, Carmel. There are also plenty of closer activities that are perfect for children and parent alike. So pack the car, grab some snacks, and head out to one of these twenty-five day trips and weekend getaways.

7 Scary Halloween Haunts for Spooking LA Teens, Tweens, and Adults

There is nothing like the wholesome thrill of introducing a Tigger-clad child to the joys of a night spent ringing neighbors' doorbells in return for candy. And what goes on at most of LA's theme parks in October is, indeed, nothing like that wholesome thrill. It may seem like Los Angeles celebrates a night that's all about children with an awful lot of entertainment that is clearly not for children, but these frightful haunts keep the Halloween fun going for older kids, for teens, and even for adults who indulge in guilty gruesome pleasures. But how to know which haunts are best for which ages? We've braved a few of them to share our reviews of just how scary is scary.

Looking for something not quite so scary, and a good deal cheaper? Check out these haunts that are mostly free and in private yards.

October GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids Halloween Month

Kids cannot live by Halloween alone—or can they? Just in case, we've included a couple of events on our October GoList that actually are not about Halloween. Just a couple. Of course, if Halloween festivals and pumpkin patches are what you're craving, they're with us all month long in abundance. Ghost trains and mega-haunts, too. But with all the activities October has to offer, a little guidance is definitely in order. Read on for our top (baker's) dozen October things to do in LA, Ventura, and OC. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletters, too; with so much going on, we'll have to!

Halloween Festivals and Theme Park Haunts for LA Kids

I have a mama friend who refers to this time of year as the High Holidays, and she's not talking about Yom Kippur. She's also not wrong; there really is no higher holiday on the kid calendar than Halloween. Southland families who enjoy a long slow build to All Hallows' Eve are fortunate, since Los Angeles and neighboring communities absolutely rise to the spirit of the occasion with more spooky celebrations, haunted happenings, and evil events per capita than any other urban area. Little ghouls and goblins have their pick of pumpkin patches, haunted houses, and ghost trains—but wait; there's more! SoCal theme parks get all creepy at this time of year, and the annual festivals below scream Halloween like nobody's business!

Rosh Hashanah: 6 Activities to Celebrate Jewish New Year with LA Kids

Whether you're Jewish, half Jewish, or just trying to figure out why your kids have a random day off school, you may want some suggestions for celebrating the Jewish New Year next week. Most LA area schools have a day off for Rosh Hashanah and/or Yom Kippur the following week (known, apparently, in biblical times as "Admissions Day"). We have some suggestions for family activities to ring in the year 5777; or, if the High Holidays are throwing a wrench in your week, we can suggest some camps that have your back on school holidays.


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