Here in Orange County, there’s a lot to do in the weeks before Halloween for adults, kids, and even the family pet. Here are our top picks of the festivities.
Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel’s Howl-O-Ween
Thursday, October 27
1 Ritz Carlton Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
Halloween goes to the dogs at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel. Grab a costume for your four legged friend and head over to one bark-a-riffic yappy hour. This special dog celebration features a costume party for the pooches and a great selection of wines from Mutt Lynch Winery for their owners to enjoy.
4:00 to 7:00 PM
Thursday – Monday, October 26 – 31
Irvine, CA 92614
For the 12th consecutive year, this unassuming residential home smack dab in the middle of Irvine is transforming itself into a bone-chilling homage to the spirit (and spirits) of the Old West. Guests who dare to pass through this creepy venue beware: they may have the misfortune of running into the facially scarred specter of pioneer Jedediah Smith.
October 26 – 30: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
October 31: 6:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Thursday – Monday, October 26-31
The Empty Grave
321 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92802-3612
Terror awaits you at this massive, 50,000 square foot haunted house, located at the Anaheim GardenWalk a few blocks east of Disneyland. Spooky animatronics, cutting edges special effects, and live actors converge to create a chilling evening of madcap entertainment.
7:00 PM – Close
$13.00 per person
$20.00 for two
Friday – Saturday, October 28 – 29
Soka University of America’s Halloween Fair & Haunted House 2011
Soka University of America
1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656
Children of all ages can come to the school’s recreation center and enjoy various seasonal games and activities, while older children and teens can dare to check out the campus’s scary, imposing haunted house.
5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Boo at the Zoo- Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park
Friday – Sunday, October 28 – 30
1801 East Chestnut Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Families will trick or treat throughout the zoo and participate in some not very scary activities. There will be animal encounters, storytelling, crafts, a haunted house for the older kids/teens, a costume parade and much more.
5:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Children under 2: Free
Friday – Saturday, October 28-29,
Haunted Garden at the Arboretum
1900 Associated Road, Fullerton, CA 92831
This beautiful garden preserve turns into a frightfully fun maze filled with spooky sights and creepy delights. The end of the guided tour through the eerie pathway is marked by an entertaining area filled with various games and activities.
6:30 – 8:30 PM
$12.00 per person
$10.00 for students (with ID)
$8.00 for children under 12
Halloween Zoo-tacular at the OC Zoo
Saturday, October 29
Orange County Zoo
1 Irvine Park Road
Orange, CA 92869
This Halloween Extravaganza is fun for the entire family. There will be crafts, scavenger hunts and of course trick-or-treating. There will be animal interactions, storytelling, and face painting. The first 100 children (ages 12 & under) in costume will receive a free gift! You can also watch as your favorite animals feast on pumpkins and other “scary treats”. Once you are done head over to the Irvine Park Railroad for train rides, pony rides, hay rides, and carnival games.
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Free with $2.00 admission
Saturday, October 29
Howling Hund’s Halloween PAWTY
Old World Village
7561 Center Avenue
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Dressing up for Halloween literally goes to the dogs here. Put your pooch in his silliest or scariest costume and bring him down to Surf City’s popular Old World venue for a chance for some fabulous prizes. The event will also feature small dog races and Oktoberfest-themed cuisine.
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
$12.95 per person
Dog races and costume contests have a separate fee
Saturday, October 29
Anaheim Fall Festival & Halloween Parade
Center Street Promenade
Anaheim, CA 92805
Ever since 1924, this annual classic has been a popular place for people of all ages to enjoy the season Halloween calls home as well as the spooky holiday itself. Live entertainment, game and food booths, a craft fair, and a children’s costume contest create a festive atmosphere that be capped off by the early evening procession.
6:00 PM – Parade begins
Sunday, October 30
Pumpkins and Pancakes: A Children’s Halloween Extravaganza
South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Give your kids a special Halloween treat by bringing them to this exquisite event held at the legendary South Coast Plaza. The tykes will be able to enjoy a gourmet pancake breakfast, face painting, a petting zoo, hair feather artists, and several other fun-filled activities. Plus, it’s for a good cause, with proceeds benefitting Casa Orange County, CHOC Children’s Foundation and Orangewood Children’s Foundation.
8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
$30.00 per person if ordered by noon October 28, 2011
$25.00 for groups of 10 or more if ordered by noon October 28, 2011
$35.00 per person at the door
Free for children under 2
Discovery Science Center’s Bug Invasion
2500 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
Bugs and every form of creepy crawlers invade the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana this Halloween. During the month of October spiders and other bugs call the Discovery Science Center home with interactive exhibits, a 4-D Maze, and creepy fun for the entire family. On the weekends you can decorate your own pumpkin, enjoy a traveling insect and reptile show, crafts and plenty of buggy fun.
Aracely Worley is a mom and a writer who publishes the blog Daytripping Mom.
Rich Manning is an Orange County writer who blogs at Foodie a Go Go.