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Bay Area Events Top Picks

Weekend guide for 10-28-05 to 10-31-2005 by the Hauntmistress

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The big weekend has arrived - it's Halloween!  Time to hit the haunted houses, go trick-or-treating, and attend the many Halloween events offered in the Bay Area - lots of them for free! Here are our picks of events you won't want to miss. Links to our calendar are provided for all the details you'll need in order to attend.  If you don't see anything that sounds fun to you (check your pulse, you may be dead - oooohh, spooky!) check our our calendar - for more fun events.  There are more than 200 events listed for Oct. 31st alone!

Friday - Monday, Oct. 28th - 31st

East Bay - South Bay - North Bay - Peninsula
San Francisco - Santa Cruz - Other

East Bay

The Pardee Home Museum in Oakland is hosting its annual Halloween at the Mansion from 6 pm - 9 pm on Friday. The mansion's all dressed up in its Halloween fines and you'll encounter the Cupola Crone, a freaky autopsy room, costume and screaming contests, flashlight tours of the haunted house, and more.  Costumes encouraged!

If you're in the mood for haunted houses, you cannot miss Pirates of Emerson in Fremont this weekend! It is one of, if not the, best haunted attractions in the Bay Area. Also check out the Piedmont Haunted House of Horrors on Saturday (also on Friday) for scary, not-so-scary, and very scary tours of the Haunted Hillside House of Horrors and also enjoy the Halloween Carnival.

In the mood for a little night music?  The UC Berkeley Choir Halloween Show offers a Friday night of spooky and comical entertainment with Cal's best a cappella and choral groups!

On Saturday, celebrate Halloween at Jack London Square at the 1st Annual Haunted Boat Parade! Magicians, dancers, games, prizes, giveaways, concert, and a costume contests for children, adults and dogs. All this in addition to a spectacular lighted boat show as scary, haunted water vessels pass through the night carrying the spirits of pirates who were lost to the sea!

What could be better than a Halloween party on a haunted ship! Halloween Monster Bash on the USS Hornet on Saturday offers dancing, costume contests and other treats!

Take the little ones to Fairyland in Oakland on Saturday or Sunday for Jack O’ Lantern Jamboree. Featuring a bigger-kids bouncer, face painting, balloon twisting, creatively crafted tunnels, various entertainment, costume parades, unlimited rides, pumpkin decoration, free give always, and more!

At the Concord Halloween Parade & Costume Contest on Sunday, families parade around Todos Santos Plaza for treats while judges look for the best costumes. Entertainment, pumpkin baking contest, Mayor’s Pooch Parade (pet costume contest), and more!

At the Albany Halloween Spooktacular on Monday, kids ages 0-12 and parents are invited to wear their costumes to this fun and spirited event full of games, crafts, and treats!

Halloween on Webster Street in Oakland on Monday features merchants passing out goodies for kids up to 12 years old who come trick-or-treating in costume between noon - 5 pm. During the afternoon there will be a pumpkin giveaway and costume contest!

South Bay

On Friday Trick or Treat in Downtown Campbell! This is a kid-oriented evening but offers fun for the whole family. There will be trick-or-treating at the shops Downtown, a costume contest, great music provided by a local DJ, and more! While you're in Campbell, Spooky, Spooky Night at the Ainsley House is giving flashlight tours of the 80-year-old historic house!

If you're in Milpitas on Friday, Ed Levin Park Halloween Haunt offers a night of spooky family fun. Play games, carve pumpkins, eat s’mores, and take a night hike around the pond. Costumes welcome!

On Saturday there's Pumpkin Carving at Emma Prusch Park. Kids learn how to safely carve a pumpkin for Halloween. Pumpkins and carving kits provided. Parents are welcomed to stay and help. For ages 6-12 years.

Watch the streets of downtown Morgan Hill turn into a bewitching, sometimes even ghoulish night as over 2,000 children turn out for Morgan Hill's Downtown Safe Trick or Treat!

Tickets are selling fast for the Halloween Flashlight Tour at the Winchester Mystery House so it's time to reserve your space this rare opportunity to explore the haunted mansion in the dark of night. Special entertainment and trick-or-treating in the garden will round out this wonderful night. 

North Bay

The Mill Valley Halloween Music and Magic Show on Friday begins with a rocking performance by the Cotton Candy Express and ends with a thrilling magic show that combines comedy, audience participation, and amazing magic!

On Saturday, Benicia Halloween Costume Contest & Parade on Main Street offers a great time for kids of all ages during the popular Halloween costume contest and parade. The local merchants on First Street get into the scary spirit of the holiday with treats for the kids and decorated windows for all to shop and enjoy. 

The Calistoga Bewitched festival offers a haunted house, horse-drawn ghost tour, palm reader, and more!

Its Family Halloween Weekend at the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa Saturday and Sunday! Celebrate “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” by making masks and candy rocks for your trick or treat bag.

The Haunted Lighthouse of Point Arena is holding its annual Halloween event featuring a mystery museum exhibit, séance des morts, haunted tour, and other spectacular surprises!

Come see all the little children in their Halloween Trick-or-Treat On  Fourth Street in downtown San Rafael on Saturday!

Bring the kids to Fairfield Halloween for a safe way to trick or treat!



It's time for Haunted Lake Halloween in Palo Alto on Friday and Saturday! Is Foothills Park actually haunted or is it your imagination? Bring the whole family for creepy live animal demonstrations, songs, ghost stories, recycled crafts, and a taste of the witches brew. Then venture out for treats!

There's a Halloween Party at the HMB Brewing Company on Saturday with music by Kid Anderson and John Nemeth! Come in costume!

Also on Saturday, don't miss the San Mateo Downtown Halloween Fun Fest! Join in the spooky fun while trick or treating with San Mateo downtown merchants. Activities include Radio Disney X-Treme Team, music, games, prizes, free pumpkin patch, face painting, jump houses, costume pageant, and raffle prizes! Then, on Monday at San Mateo Halloween Happenings kids ages 10 and under and adults are invited for a free evening of games and contests. Children are encouraged to dress up and bring a container equipped to hold plenty of goodies!

On Monday the Stanford Halloween Concert and Costume Contest, a Stanford University campus tradition, features the Wind Ensemble this year with a wild night of spooky tunes, general silliness, and the costume contest judged by the audience. The winner conducts the concert finale!

San Francisco

All week long the ghostly realm is as close as your walking shoes. Learn, up close and personal, the haunted history of San Francisco on the San Francisco Ghost Hunt and the Haunted Haight Walking Tour. The walk is less strenuous on the Haunted Haight Walking Tour and Tommy, your tour guide, will be conducting some awesome raffles this weekend! Tickets are going fast for all these tours so reserve today.

The Strybing Harvest Festival on Friday features harvest food and plants from local purveyors, activities for children, presentations by local farmers, docent-led evening strolls through the Garden, door prizes, live music, and more!

For the 21 and over crowd prepare to party for Halloween with Digital Underground at the Red Devil Lounge on Friday.  Remember the hit "The Humpty Dance"?

Also on Friday, prepare to part at Spirits and Boos 4 at Suede Last year's party was huge, haunted, and sold out. Costumes required; ages 21 and over.

At Boo at the Zoo on Saturday costumed kids can visit trick-or-treat stations around the Zoo, venture onto the “Haunted Nature Trail” featuring up-close encounters with live animals, ride the historic Little Puffer miniature steam train, and more!

At Pier 39 Pumpkin Pandemonium on Sunday kids 12 and under can visit the shops, restaurants, and attractions to gather their sweets. Pumpkin carving demonstrations and face painting will be available, as well as photos with frightful characters and other fun surprises!

Also on Sunday at Gardens Ghoullery Walk, kids under 10 and their families parade around the Rooftop Gardens at Yerba Buena in Halloween finery. Zeum, the Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center, and Mo's Grill provide free treats and discounts for trick-or-treaters in costume. Performers will provide entertainment throughout the day!

And don't miss the The Cannery's 28th Annual Halloween Festival featuring a costume contest, arts and crafts area, cookie decorating, special "mystery" guests, kids entertainment, and trick-or-treating in all The Cannery shops and restaurants!

Santa Cruz

Party in a reportedly real haunted hotel at the Brookdale Lodge Halloween Bash on Friday night! Featuring live music from Sane and Antidote! Dress as your favorite rock star!  There's a Costume Ball on Saturday too!

 Calling all ghosts, goblins, witches and pirates to the Capitola Village Children's Halloween Parade! Featuring ,trick-or-treat bags and balloons for all costumed paraders, Refreshments, face painting, pumpkin painting, and trick-or-treating at Capitola Village shops.

On Friday and Saturday nights stop by the haunt Scotts Valley Nightmare! With over 17 rooms of thrills and chills the screaming will seem endless. The nightmare is staffed with high school students whose dying wish is to hear you scream!

On Saturday, join the fun at the Catalyst Halloween Ball featuring Sambada with Universal Language. There will be a costume Contest with $500 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place. In the Atrium is a DJ dance party with DJ Osha B beginning at 10 pm. 21 and over only!


If you haven't shot a mini-pumpkin blaster at Dell'Osso Farms Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, you are missing out on some serious fun. Take a drive to Lathrop this weekend celebrate Halloween by hurling mini-pumpkins at targets!

The City of Carmel-by-the Sea is holding its 89th Annual Birthday Celebration and Halloween Parade on Saturday. Adults, children, and dogs are welcome to participate. Make sure you wear your costume!

Also in the southern Monterey Bay area Redwing's Horse Sanctuary is holding their annual Haunted Barn. Spookier than ever than ever, you'll have a great time and support people doing good work.

At Historic Folsom Trick or Treat on Saturday Sutter St. merchants displaying an “Orange Pumpkin” flyer in their window hand out goodies to the kiddies. Costume contest and scarecrow contest too!  Down the freeway, Old Sacramento Trick-or-Treat with select merchants also offers goodies and fun!

Again, if you still haven't found an activity, be sure to take a look at our calendar. There are literally hundreds of activities happening around the Bay!


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