Halloween Happenings in County Parks

Are you ready for eerily entertaining experiences in parks? You’ve come to the right place! The County Parks and Recreation team has planned 10 ghoulishly great events to celebrate the Halloween season.

We kick things off with the 17th annual Spooky Trails event at Hellhole Canyon on Oct. 16 – where visitors can take a short trek through scary scenery, participate in costume contests, play games and win prizes, attend a birds of prey demonstration and enjoy a family-friendly movie after the sun sets: “Sonic the Hedgehog”. The first 100 kids will receive a free pumpkin! The fun runs from 4 to 8:30 p.m.  

San Elijo’s Not-So-Scary Estuary and San Dieguito’s Fall Festival are combined this year for one super-combo event at San Dieguito County Park on Oct. 17. Our Hawktober hosts will be there with resident raptors at 11 a.m. and costume contests start at noon. Hands-on activities include crafts, games and animal encounters. You won’t want to miss this staple event in Solana Beach! 

Get dressed in your otherworldly best; all three of community centers are hosting Halloween festivals! Hosts will have music, food, games and giveaways. Add these trick-or-treat destinations to your calendar and enjoy a night of non-frightening family fun: Spring Valley’s event is on Oct. 22 and the Fallbrook and Lakeside events are on Oct. 23.

It’s alive! Following a pandemically-induced virtual event in 2020, this year’s Dia de Los Muertos celebration on Oct. 30 at Rancho Guajome Adobe will resume in person, at the park. Activities take place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with admission ranging from $0 to $4. Peruse decorated altars, try your hands at papel picado and other crafts, enjoy food, listen to music, cheer on Ballet Folklorico dancers, and be awed by the Catrin and Catrina parade! This cauldron of color and culture is a fall favorite. 

Here we grow again; this year’s Waterfront Pumpkin Patch is bigger and better than ever with free pumpkins for kids (while supplies last), inflatables, crafts, games, food trucks and other seasonal festivities! The pumpkin patch will be open 2 to 5 p.m. and will be followed by a hilarious Halloween hit: “Hocus Pocus”!

What do creepy animals and creatures of the night have in common? Twin events at two County parks! Once the sun sets on Oct. 30 at 5 p.m., brave visitors to Potrero County Park can join staff on a 1.5-mile quest for nighttime wildlife. Dos Picos County Park is hosting a similar hike... Join rangers for a haunting 1-hour search for nocturnal animals from 6 to 7 p.m. Both events will be solely outdoors; dress warmly in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring a flashlight.

What about Halloween Day? If you’re heading to the hills on Oct. 31, Dos Picos County Park is planning a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt at 10 a.m. in addition to trick-or-treating for campers from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Stop by the ranger station to get all the devilish details. Even Santa Ysabel Nature Center is getting in on the action, with an all-supplies-provided cookie making workshop on the patio at 10 a.m.!      

Learn more about these and other event in County parks and facilities at

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