Halloween the California Way

When trick or treating begins to lose its luster or the kids just want an additional scare this year, haunted tours are the next step for Halloween lovers. Make it a family affair and bring the kids on a haunted tour, authentic or manmade for some real thrills.

One of the most iconic haunted mansions in the United States, The Winchester Mystery House boasts an annual candle-lit tour spooking visitors September through October.

Now offering 26 evening tours, grown from the previous year’s 20, the brave explore by flickering candlelight the haunted mansion, Sept. 14–15, 21–22, 28–29, and Oct. 5–7, 11–14, 17–21, 24–31. Prices vary by day and month, $16–49.

For those who caught this tour before, expect an all-new route and story to keep you on your toes. The mansion boasts 160 rooms in the authentic Victorian home complete with antique furnishings, Gothic details and architecture all captured in a frozen state of decay.

Located in San Jose, California, the Winchester Mystery House is a popular attraction, so advance tickets are recommended.

Knowing Universal Studios’ production value and attention to detail, it’s safe to say the annual haunted tours and events are always an epic fright fest waiting to happen. Located in Southern California, this tour is known to be one of the most frightening of the bunch.

Universal Studios Halloween Nights

Universal Studios Halloween Nights © Peter Etchells | Dreamstime.com

This year, Halloween Horror Nights announced the incorporation of The First Purge, Tick ’r Treat and Stranger Things added to the list of frightful inspirations, but that’s it. Interested guests sign up for updates as the event comes together or watch the video for a sneak peek of what’s in store.

Thousand Oaks, California, is the location of Reign of Terror, boasting more than 23,000 square feet of frights, including 105 rooms to explore and eight spooky attractions. Explore the last Saturday in September or plan for Halloween. The haunted house is also open every weekend in October, so take your pick.

Over in San Diego, the Haunted Hotel and Trail offers some variety for the truly brave. Explore the creepy hotel in the popular downtown Gaslamp district or take to the city’s online outdoor attraction in Balboa Park, including a maze and haunted walks.

Still in San Diego County, Del Mar’s Scream Zone haunt offers dark entertainment from the House of Horror to the Haunted Hayride and KarnEvil.

Too scared to go in yourself? No problem, hang outside for free and wait for the kids in the Spirit Lounge bar or enjoy local food vendors and photo ops around the haunted grounds.