Have no fear, your Santa Cruz Halloween Guide is here!
We’ve got midnight movies, costume parades, haunted houses, and early trick or treats—all leading up to the big day, which happens to fall on a Wednesday this year.
Here’s a day-by-day listing of all the Halloween-themed events this month. Check back weekly for updates:
Midnight Movies at the Del Mar Theatre
Nothing like a midnight movie at the Del Mar to get into the Halloween spirit, especially with such classics playing this month as Scream and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- Donnie Darko 10/5
- Pan’s Labyrinth 10/6
- A Nightmare on Elm Street 10/12
- Scream 10/13
- The Exorcist 10/19
- The Silence of the Lambs 10/20
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show 10/26 & 10/27
Thursday, October 11
Halloween Fashion Show at Camouflage
When: October 11th from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Where: Camouflage in Downtown Santa Cruz
Camouflage’s biggest party of the year will feature soul-sucking sips, naughty nibbles, great raffle prizes, and live models showcasing several different Halloween looks to inspire your holiday. Take in a Burlesque performance and be one of the first 69 customers to receive a Kama Sutra goodie bag.
Friday, October 12
Santa Cruz Bike Party – Lost Boys & Girls Ride
When: 10/12 at 7:00 pm
Where: The Bike Church, 703 Pacific Ave.
Want a truly only in Santa Cruz experience? Get to know the Santa Cruz Bike Party and participate in one of their 7-10 mile long rides with music and dance breaks along the way. This Friday’s theme is The Lost Boys and vampires, glampires, vampire hunters, or other creatures of the night of all ages and biking experience levels are welcome to join.
Saturday, October 13
Youth Rock Concert and Halloween Costume Contest
When: 10/13 from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Flynn’s Cabaret (formerly Don Quixote’s)
This Halloween family event features twelve youth bands, big raffle prizes, a costume contest, and a cause—proceeds and donations will support the Be Natural Music Scholarship Program which provides financial assistance to kids in the music program.
Thomas and Percy’s Halloween Party
When: 10/13-14, 10/20-21, 10/27-28
Where: Roaring Camp Railroads
Cost: $21 – $25
Straight from the Island of Sodor, Thomas the Tank Engine and his buddy Percy are hosting a Halloween party that includes a 20-minute train ride, storytelling and video viewing, temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, a pumpkin patch, and photo ops with Sir Topham Hatt!
Sunday, October 14
Floating Pumpking Patch
When: 10/14 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Simpkins Family Swim Center
Cost: $8.00 adults/$6.00 children & seniors/$5 per pumpkin
Bring the whole family for an afternoon of swimming, games, waterslide fun, and pumpkin picking with a twist from the floating pumpkin patch. There will be prizes, popcorn, pumpkin decorating, and costumes are encouraged.
October 19 – 31
13 Days of Halloween on the Wharf
When: 10/19 – 10/31
Where: Santa Cruz Wharf
Trick or treating on the wharf is always a fun tradition, but why not start celebrating early—13 days early, to be exact. There will be a kick off night with hot apple cider and games, live music, and a pumpkin carving demo by resident sand artist Bill Lewis. Other festivities leading up to Halloween include a Zombie night featuring Thriller dancers, a scenic photo booth, Great Pumpkin BINGO Hunt, and Wharf specials at shops and restaurants.
Saturday, October 20
The Missing Arm of William Waddell
When: 10/20 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Cost: Free, Day use parking $10
Bring a flashlight for this guided walking theater experience in the redwoods and prepare yourself for the spooky and slightly silly haunted tale about Big Basin’s last lumber mill owner and his fateful encounter with a grizzly bear. Afterwards, enjoy ranger apples cooked around the campfire and more storytelling fun. The trail is stroller and wheelchair accessible.
Tuesday, October 23
Annual Pumpkin Decorating Bonanza
When: 10/23 from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Where: Felton Farmers’ Market
Free pumpkin decorating for the whole family! Rodoni Farms generously donates pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, and the materials to decorate will be provided. We’re talking veggies, string, pipe cleaners, buttons, googly eyes, you name it. Enjoy face painting, live music, a scavenger hunt, and the usual seasonal suspects—lots of fresh, organic produce.
Wednesday, October 24
Haunted Candy Houses
When: 10/24 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Dream Maker Creative, Felton
Cost: $40 – $45
Why wait til Christmas when you can decorate your own haunted gingerbread house for Halloween! Dream Maker Creative is offering this fun workshop for kids—ages 8+ can be dropped off, and ages 5-7 can attend with an adult chaperone. Be sure to check out their website for more Halloween craft events.
Pumpkin Carving Night
When: 10/24 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Mission Hill Creamery
Come in and carve pumpkins with friends and family. You provide the pumpkin, Mission Hill provides the tools, space, helpers, and, of course, their delicious ice cream ($1 off!).
Friday, October 26
4th Annual Trunk or Treat
When: 10/26 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office
Trick or treating with a twist: instead of house to house, kids can go from parked car to car to collect treats. There will also be games, prizes, bounce houses, food, face painting, and a performance by Watsonville Taiko.
88 Keys Halloween Concert
When: 10/26 at 12:30 pm
Where: Samper Recital Hall at Cabrillo College
Cost: Free event but tickets are required
No tricks, just treats in the form of a spooky, family-friendly Halloween concert put on by the music students at Cabrillo College. This is a Santa Cruz Life favorite for all ages!
Food Trucks and Free Movie in the Park
When: 10/26 Dinner 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm; Movie 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm
Cost: Free entry; Canned good donations welcome
Kick off the weekend with a fun family night at Skypark. Enjoy food truck fare, a beer and wine garden, live music, and a fun movie in the spirit of Halloween, Hotel Transylvania 2. The food truck lineup includes Saucey’z, Holopono, Drunkmonkeys, Mattia Pizza, G’s Mexicantacos, and Aunt LaLi’s Mobile Cafe.
October 25 – 27
16th Annual Scotts Valley Haunted House
When: 10/25 – 10/27 from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: 555 Glenwood Drive, Scotts Valley
Cost: $10 or $35 for a group of 4
Scream for a good cause! Scotts Valley High School will raise the hair on the back of your neck while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year’s theme: Wonka’s Factory. Not recommended for children under 10.
October 26 – November 4
A-Haunting We Will Go
When: 10/26-10/27 & 11/2-11/3 at 7:00 pm; 10/28 & 11/4 at 2:00 pm
Where: San Lorenzo Valley Performing Arts Center
Cost: General Admission $12, Student/Senior/Staff $10
“A-Haunting We Will Go” is a hilarious mystery-comedy about a haunted hotel where a terrible curse has been tormenting the ghosts of three sisters for over a century. Now, the night before the inn is scheduled to be blown to smithereens, the famous producer Norma Corwin decides to spend one last night alone in the hotel. It doesn’t go the way she expects as people keep showing up to ruin Norma’s loneliness. As events unfold, it becomes doubtful that Norma and the others will survive the night.
Saturday, October 27
Gault Elementary School 70th Annual Halloween Parade and Carnival
When: 10/27 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: Gault Elementary
The Gault Elementary Halloween Parade & Carnival has been a favorite community tradition since 1948! All of Santa Cruz is invited to this fun, family-friendly event. The day begins with a costume parade on Soquel Ave. followed by the carnival at Gault Elementary.
Halloween Festival and Haunted House
When: 10/27 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center
Halloween spirit is an understatement at Louden Nelson. There will be mask making activities, mystery touch tanks, a Thriller zombie flash mob dance, and a haunted house. Costumes highly recommended! Get a sneak peek of the “Stranger Things” Haunted House on Friday the 26th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Thrill the World Santa Cruz 2018
When: 10/27 at 3PM sharp!
Where: Louden Nelson Community Center and more
Every year, on the Saturday before Halloween, night creatures call and the dead start to walk in their masquerade. So basically, a zombie flash mob Thriller dance. There are plenty of opportunities to learn the dance all month and participate in a world-wide simultaneous Thriller Dance at various venues throughout the county. Family and zombie-friendly!
Spooky or Not Spooky
When: 10/27 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Cost: Free, Day use parking $10
A special Halloween-themed walk geared for children- it’s 1 hour and easy! Explore the forest’s cobwebs, burls, holes and other mysterious natural features and help decide if something is spooky or not spooky.
Free Pumpkin Carving
When: 10/27 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Boulder Creek Library
Feel free to BYOP – bring your own pumpkin – or choose one provided by the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries-Boulder Creek Chapter. Carving tools and refreshments will be available.
Haunted Harbor Trick-or-Treat Event
When: 10/27 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Harbor
Trick or treating turns into an eerie adventure at the Harbor, where little ghouls and goblins can jump aboard the pirate-commandeered water taxi and collect Halloween treats from shops and restaurants.
Annual Halloween Monster Bash at Palomar Ballroom
When: 10/27 from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Where: Palomar Ballroom
Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
You can expect plenty of bumps in the night at Palomar’s Annual Monster Bash, including Cha Cha lessons, dance performances, social dancing, and a monster mash. Get your costumes ready for the contest!
Museum of the Macabre
When: 10/27 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Cost: Pre-sale (Before Oct. 27): $13 General Admission | $8 Students & Museum Members
At the Door: $15 all tickets
Explore all things mysterious and macabre at the Museum of Natural History after dark. Come in costume and enjoy cauldron-concocted cocktails, freakish nibbles, and strange museum curiosities. This year’s event celebrates the art of taxidermy and will showcase live demonstrations and artful displays.
The Messiahs Rockin’ Halloween Wing~Ding
When: 10/27 at 8:00 pm
Where: Michael’s on Main
Cost: $10 adv./$10 door Dance – ages 21 +
Get dressed up and join the dance party and costume contest at Michael’s on Main! Need some motivation? Best Costume wins $100.00 cash, second place wins dinner for two and tickets to a concert, and there are prizes for Scariest Costume, Most Colors in a Costume, and Sexiest Costume.
October 27 – 28
A Spooky Halloween High Tea Time
When: 10/27 and 10/28 from 11:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Where: Buttercup Cakes
Halloween High Tea Time is back featuring spooky desserts in addition to Buttercup’s seasonal menu.
Sunday, October 28
Capitola Village Children’s Halloween Parade
When: 10/28 Line-up begins at 1:30. Parade starts at 2:00 pm
Where: Parade winds through Village and ends at Esplanade Park
The Capitola Village Children’s Halloween Parade begins near the Capitola Police Department, and works its way down Capitola Avenue to the Esplanade stage where refreshments will be served. Enjoy trick or treating at Village shops after the parade.
Santa Cruz Día de los Muertos
When: 10/28 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: El Rosal Bakery
The bakery that brings you the best tamales in town, is hosting an exciting festival and Día de los Muertos celebration. There will be jump houses (plural!), piñatas, face painting, traditional sugar skull decorating, Ballet folklórico and Aztec dancers. A fun, cultural event for the whole family!
Halloween Classic Car Show
When: 10/28 from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: East Lake Village Shopping Center, Watsonville
This event is open to all year cars, trucks, and bikes. There will be raffle prizes, a costume contest, and trick or treating!
Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt: Santa Cruz Noir
When: 10/28 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Where: The MAH
Cost: Free, Drop-in event
Solve the mystery of who murdered notorious Santa Cruz private investigator Harlow Lindsay through an interactive, real-life game of Clue. The clues will lead you to the weapon of choice, the location of the crime, and the murderer.
Halloween: Tuesday, October 31
Halloween Baby Bash
The regular Wednesday Mini Mint Mama Meetup falls on Halloween so you know what that means…costume contest! Dress up your babes, walk along East Cliff, and invite your friends to join the party.
2018 Howl-O-Ween Puppy Parade
When: 10/31 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Where: West Cliff Drive starting at Natural Bridges
Woofpack831 is hosting their annual Halloween Puppy Parade! Come see the pups dressed in their devilishly delightful Halloween get-ups. You might even see some humans in costume, too. If you would like to join in the fun, meet at the Natural Bridges entrance on Delaware at 1:00 p.m. Parade departs toward West Cliff at 1:15 pm. All well-behaved owners and dogs welcome.
When: 10/31 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Downtown Santa Cruz
Head to Downtown Santa Cruz between 2:00 – 5:00 with your little ghosts and goblins for trick or treating at local businesses on Pacific Ave. Even if you don’t go for the candy, the people/costume watching is well worth a mid-afternoon trip to downtown.
Trick or Treat on the Wharf
When: 10/31 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Wharf
Enjoy safe and sane trick-or-treating on the wharf and meet some costumed characters while you’re at it. Businesses will be handing out treats between 4:00 – 6:00 pm on Halloween.
Trick-or-Treat at Capitola Mall
When: 10/31 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Where: Capitola mall
Haunted House & Halloween Fun
When: 10/31 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Mountain Arts Center
Don’t miss Halloween fun, creepy illusions, and spooky artwork at the Art Center’s first Haunted House. Enjoy treats and a few tricks with art and science.
Redwood Monster Bash
When: 10/31 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Roaring Camp’s Hall, Felton
Head to the enchanted redwoods and dance Halloween night away to Ginger and Juice and the Joint Chiefs! Take in a very electric intermission show and costume contest, and enjoy free appetizers and drinks. Event is 21+
Sea Witches of Capitola 3rd Annual SUP Gathering
When: 10/31 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm
Where: Meet at Capitola Beach Bandstand
The Capitola Sea Witches are planning their 3rd Annual Halloween Paddle Out. All are invited to attend, but please only experienced paddlers on the water. Don your best witchy costume and join the wicked, wet fun!
Halloween with SambaDá – 20 Year Anniversary Celebration
When: 10/31 8:00 pm Doors / 9:00 pm Show
Where: Moe’s Alley
Cost: $15 Advance / $20 Day Of
A full-on dance party—it’s SambDá, what else would you expect? In celebration of their 20th Anniversary, they will be joined by guest artists that have been part of the SambaDá family over the years.Get your tickets early for this one!