Make Monster Memories with Us

No tricks here - it’s all about treats when you visit a County park in October. From fall festivals with costume contests to spooky trails and movies after dark, we’ve brewed a magical cauldron brimming with park memories that are sure to get a hoot, howl or holler from your inner monster.

The first activity takes place Oct. 8 with a kick-off to the season at the Fall Festival at San Dieguito County Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event includes costume contests, zero-waste activities and crafts, games, interactive nature education and a chance to meet real birds of prey that are part of our Hawktober tour!

Our 19th annual Hellhole Canyon Spooky Trails event takes place Oct. 14, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Visitors can take a short trek through scary scenery, participate in costume contests, play games and win prizes, and cap the evening with an outdoor showing of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. PARTY PERKS: The Hawktober crew will be stopping by at 4:30 p.m. and the first 100 kids at the event will receive a free pumpkin!

Park staff and volunteers will be your spirit guides on a dark and macabre (yet completely safe) Haunted Trail at Oakoasis County Preserve on Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers if you dare to travel with us!  

Those in Ramona can get in on the haunted trail action the following weekend, at Dos Picos County Park on Oct. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. Anyone lurking about in south county can get spooked by their own eerily lit path at Potrero County Park on Oct. 21 from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Rangers at both parks have added extra not-so-scary activities to their party plans to thrill and fulfill park guests – so plan to make a night of it.      

Get dressed in your alter-ego best because our community and teen centers are hosting their own Halloween-themed parties. No RSVP is needed to have a ghoulishly good time enjoying the music, food, games, giveaways and costume contests at these thrilling locales:    

Come “pick” a perfect pumpkin by the bay to keep and decorate at the Waterfront Park Pumpkin Patch! The event is back Oct. 22 with free pumpkins for kids (while supplies last), music, inflatables, crafts, games, food trucks and other seasonal festivities! The pumpkin patch will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and public transportation is encouraged.

Dia de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—is returning to Rancho Guajome Adobe in Vista Oct. 28 at Rancho Guajome Adobe from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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!

There are also quite a few movies taking place in parks – the final films in the Summer Movies in the Park series. Titles include Hocus Pocus, E.T., Frankenweenie, The Goonies and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Learn more by visiting

Inclement weather may cancel any of the abovementioned events. Consider calling parks ahead of time to confirm details.

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