Long Beach

Ultimate Halloween Event List: 35+ Best Celebrations in LA for Free or Spooky Fun

Why are most of the Halloween events below free? We spend on the Halloween costume (and a second one if we buy too early), and the pumpkin (and a second one if we buy too early), and the Halloween candy (and oh do we pay if we buy too early)—has anyone else reached their limit with spending money on this mother-of-all kids' holidays? We've sniffed out a whole bunch of free spooky fun, plus a few of the key Halloween activities that might be worth paying a little extra for. The following 35+ events are the Halloween parties not to miss—the scream of the crop!

Free Admission Days at 20+ Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

What's better than a day at a museum? A FREE day at a museum! If you have a large family, museum tickets can add up fast—which gets particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free. 

Things To Do in LA this Weekend: Boo at the Zoo, Children's Book Fest, Mark in the Park

It's beginning to look a lot like pumpkins, everywhere I go. And so it begins! The Harvest. The Corn Mazes. The Patches. We are on a crazed, giddy run to the end of the month.

But don't get spooked! Yes, there are scary things afoot. Yes, you can choose the dark and shadowy path. But you can also choose to welcome the season with laughs (and science!). You can fear the night or you can get in on the fun. Halloween is what you make it, and LA makes it easy to choose family-friendly. Or not.

Public service announcement for purists who wait to celebrate Halloween until, well, Halloween: There's still lots to do! This weekend sees festivals Greek and Southeast Asian, Manhattan Beachian and Encinoish. You can buy a ticket to the 20s, catch a plane, train, or (very small) automobileThe streets of Los Angeles are open wide, and you can make your mark in Grand Park. So go out there and scare up some fun.

Keep reading for our favorite treats for this weekend, no trick!

Free in October: 25 Totally Free Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles this Month

October sees the arrival of spooky season here in Los Angeles, which means you're already committed to spending on costumes and candy. If you don't have a lot of spare cash to spend beyond the trick-or-teating, no problem; there's still plenty of free fun to be had by the whole family. From Halloween happenings to sweater weather shenanigans, you can hit the town without hitting the bank. Here are just a few of the free events happening this month—look for more free fun on our ultimate Halloween event list.

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor: Are Your Kids Ready for this Scary Halloween Haunt?

No parent likes to contemplate it, but the day will come for our kids when trick-or-treating is no more. If your family is as hooked on Halloween as ours is, you'll want to find a way to keep the magic going, even once your baby starts to look really big to other people (particularly people opening their doors at night). Filling this void is the main reason for the many seriously spooky big kid haunts around the Southland—haunts like Universal Horror Nights, Knott's Scary Farm, and Dark Harbor. But how to transition? You can't just hit the brakes on collecting candy with Elsa and suddenly start running from chainsaw wielding zombies.

The first time I visited this haunt, I had a theory that Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary might be the perfect tween transition to a different way of celebrating All Hallows' Eve, and I committed so fully to this theory that I booked our whole family (and some friends) for an overnight on the haunted, haunting ship. And guess what? It worked! Three tweens I know had the time of their lives screaming with the spooks all night at the Queen Mary. The evening was enormous fun, and I think a few things we did to prepare helped stack the deck in favor of success.

Kids Eat Free: 21 LA Restaurants with Free Meal Deals for Families

Kids eat free: three little words that make a restaurant dinner feel possible. Even if we suspect that a box of mac and cheese and a couple of chicken fingers have lured us into buying a $10 margarita, how can we regret that margarita if it comes with a free kids' meal?

We’ve put together a list of restaurants throughout the Los Angeles area that offer free meals for kids at least one night a week (and up to four!). The restaurants vary from local joints to national chains, from the Valleys to the beaches, from Italian to Hawaiian, and from seafood to steakhouses—enough to satisfy picky and non-picky eaters.

Also check out our lists of birthday freebies with more free meals for kids (and adults!), and, of course, some kid-friendly happy hours on the Westside, in Silver Lake and Los Feliz, and in Orange County.

Halloween's Best Ghost Trains and Spooky Rides for LA Kids

So you've already been to the pumpkin patches, and you're ready to take Halloween to the next level; you're ready, in fact, to put it in motion. We know several deadly ways to take this haunt on the road before it's time to trick-or-treat, with everything from an old-fashioned train ride through fields of pumpkins, to a spooky tour through the bowels of a haunted ship, or even a scream-filled hayride through fields of zombies. Whatever Halloween means to your family, you can make it a ride at one (or more) of these vehicular annual haunts. After all, the family that hunts down armies of zombies together stays together.

Best Pumpkin Patches for LA, Ventura, & Orange County Pumpkin Picking

Ready to talk pumpkin patch? Yes, the time has come to surrender to the Great Pumpkin—who is, frankly, spoiled for choice around the Southland in Halloween season. We would never presume to call one pumpkin patch more sincere than the others, but LA’s pumpkin patches (and pseudo pumpkin patches) run a satisfying gamut from small to large, folksy to commercial. Whether you're hoping for a hit-and-run Halloween photo or a day's outing in autumnal reverie, your pumpkin picking destination is below...

Free in August: 28 Free Things To Do with Kids in Los Angeles

End of summer is a time when the pocket book starts feeling light, so it is also a time to feel thankful we have lots of free things to do in Los Angeles. Whether you want to hit the beachdance the day away, or catch a show, there's nothing to stop you, short of heatstroke. So why not gather up the fam and squeeze those last drops out of your summer fun, because if you do what we tell you to, you won't need to spend a dime. 

Free (or Super Cheap) Archery Classes for LA & OC Kids Who Love Bows and Arrows

A fair number of kids who see Brave or The Hunger Games end up curious about archery, and a fair number of their parents end up scratching their heads and saying, "Where do we do that??" Gymnastics, swimming—that's easy. But where to bring a would-be archer to string a bow and shoot some arrows? Less obvious, perhaps, but not as hard as you might think. And the even better news? It's usually free!

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