East Bay Halloween Events Guide
Make the most of All Hallows' Eve with these costume ideas, tours of local spooky spots, and more frightening fun.
It’s that time of year again, when ghosts and ghouls come out into the crisp fall air in search of tricks, treats, graveyard tours, and … wine? Here are the top Halloween offerings for kids, grown-ups, and anyone who loves a good old-fashioned scarefest.
Tiptoe through Dublin’s Pioneer Cemetery and its creepiest old buildings during Ghosts of Dublin tours, held October 19 and 26. Or join Discover Diablo for a Halloween-themed hike through the Black Diamond Mines site—which includes the allegedly haunted Rose Hill Cemetery—on October 27. ci.dublin.ca.us, savemountdiablo.org.
If one East Bay community goes all out for the holiday, it’s Pleasanton. On the two weekends leading up to Halloween, the Museum on Main hosts Ghost Walk tours through the city’s spookiest spots—plus an exhibition, called What Are You Afraid Of?, that explores human-kind’s phobias. museumonmain.org.
The Firehouse Arts Center gets in on the frightening fun too, by presenting a scary-story series (October 23 through 27), where the Creatures of Impulse improv troupe brings the audience’s nightmares to life. firehousearts.org.
Houses of Horror
Some haunted houses—including Benicia’s Haunted Depot—will tone down the fright factor for little ones by request, and turn it up for everyone else. Berkeley’s House of Screams, meanwhile, includes a separate, not-so-scary area for younger children. beniciamainstreet.org, cityofberkeley.info.
For more elaborate horror shows, leave the kids at home and head to the truly terrifying Pirates of Emerson theme park at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, the Cursi House of Screams in Concord, or Fear Overload Scream Park in San Leandro. piratesofemerson.com, cursihouseofscreams.com, fearoverload.com.
Dress-Up for Grown-Ups
Korynn Knight, manager of Berkeley’s Party Heaven store, predicts that lots of local families and couples will dress as characters from Pixar’s The Incredibles this year. And with so many polit-ical figures running afoul of the law, prisoner accessories are also sure to sell well. Expect to see plenty of Black Panthers, Deadpools, and royal wedding guests too. partyheavenberkeley.com.
Melania Trump’s “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket is prime for a Halloween twist: To do it yourself, paint any slogan on the back of an anorak. Or visit the Day of the Dead art exhibit at Hayward’s Sun Gallery (October 12 onward) for cultural costume inspiration. sungallery.org.
Vampires and Vino
Two of the East Bay’s best Halloween parties take place in Alameda: the legendary Monsters Bash at the USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum and the Rock Wall Wine Company’s Hallowine shindig. But choose wisely: Both events occur on October 27. uss-hornet.org, rockwallwines.com.
• On October 24, the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex, in Alameda, terrifies audiences with Stephen King’s Misery. Then, on October 31, zombie fans can catch the ultimate indie fright flick, Night of the Living Dead. alamedatheatres.com.
• Oakland’s New Parkway Theater screens the I Believe in Halloween documentary on October 23, and the 1978 horror classic Halloween on October 27. thenewparkway.com.
• Rialto Cinemas in Berkeley and El Cerrito are showing Frankenstein Encore—a filmed 2011 stage play directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch—on October 22 (El Cerrito), October 24 (Berkeley), and October 31 (both). rialtocinemas.com.
• Vine Cinema and Alehouse in Livermore presents a long list of spooky movies in honor of the holiday, including the avian thriller The Birds (October 11), the satirical Young Frankenstein (October 25), and Hitchcock’s original Psycho (November 1). vinecinema.com.
Children can explore the gourds and pick out future jack-o-lanterns at the East Bay’s many pumpkin patches. G&M Farms in Livermore puts on a stellar display complete with a corn maze. Speer Family Farms throws a pumpkin extravaganza at Alameda Point, complete with bounce houses, pumpkin launchers, and a petting zoo. The Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm is a swell site too. gmfarms.com, speerfamilyfarms.com, cvpumpkinfarm.com.
When doling out treats, remember that nut allergies are on the rise. Keep youngsters safe by offering nut-free candy like Skittles, Rolos, or Tootsie Pops. Or, go for a non-sweet (but kid-approved) handout. Think glow sticks and jewelry, mini-flashlights, or temporary tattoos.
Pre-Halloween Family Fun
• Through Sunday (this weekend and next), Fremont’s Railroad Museum at Ardenwood takes kids on a train ride through a spooky—not scary—“haunted” forest. Buy tickets well in advance! spcrr.org.
• Danville Fall Fest lets kids show off their costumes in a children’s parade. 10 a.m., starts at 300 Hartz Ave., danvillefallfest.com.
• Glinda the Good Witch leads a toddler costume parade in Orinda. 1 p.m., Orinda Community Center, cityoforinda.org.
• Lindsay Wildlife Experience, in Walnut Creek, invites costumed kids to interact with animals—live and taxidermy, creepy and cuddly—and participate in Halloween-themed activities at its Howl-ooo-ween bash. 5:30–8 p.m., lindsaywildlife.org.
• Business districts and recreation departments in Lafayette, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek host trick-or-treating events. Check local listings for more information. lafayettechamber.org, pleasanthillrec.com, walnutcreekdowntown.com.
• A Trunk or Treat event sets up shop in downtown Martinez. downtownmartinez.org.
• Pixieland in Concord throws its Halloween Spooktacular, complete with Ghost Train rides. pixieland.com.