Halloween in Santa Cruz will definitely look different this year, but if there’s anything we’ve learned in 2020, it’s how to reimagine the holidays and events we’ve grown to love.
From drive-through haunted houses and trick or treating to virtual costume contests and self-guided outdoor fun, there are a variety of opportunities to get you in the spooky spirit.
As always, wear your mask and be sure to read up on each event’s health protocols, including this joint statement of the Bay Area Health Officers.
Here are our top picks for celebrating Halloween 2020 in Santa Cruz, as well as Día de los Muertos.
Roaring Camp Harvest Faire
When: Weekends through November 1
Where: Roaring Camp Railroads
Riding a train through the forest is a treat in itself, but Roaring Camp has a few more tricks up their sleeve.
Picking out a pumpkin, crafting scarecrows, jack-o-lantern mask making, plus gold panning and blacksmith demos, make for a pretty fun Harvest Faire experience.
Evergreen at Dusk: Cemetery History Tours
When: Every Thursday in October
Where: Evergreen Cemetery
Cost: $15 General; $10 Members
Wander among the tombs of one of the oldest public cemeteries in California. Get to know the people who made Santa Cruz what is today during this 45-minute scavenger hunt/self-guided tour. Flashlights not required, but probably a good idea for those easily spooked.
Día de Muertos
When: Beginning October 15
Where: Online and outdoors
Once again, the MAH joins forces with Senderos to celebrate Día de Muertos, bringing our community a month-long series of virtual programs and self-guided outdoor experiences.
Learn about the history and traditions of Día de Muertos through live chalk drawings at Abbott Square, a Calavera face painting video tutorial, a video ballet folklórico performance, community altars at Evergreen Cemetery, and more.
Museum of the Macabre
When: October 27 – 29
Where: Zoom and Facebook Live
In honor of Halloween, The Museum of Natural History is exploring all things curious, scary, and strange with a series of virtual events.
Tune in to learn more about the art of taxidermy, exploring caves, and the macabre side of mushrooms.
13 Days of Halloween on the Wharf
When: October 19 – 31
Where: Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf
Get ready for Halloween with a spooky, family fun countdown! Head to the Wharf for 13 days of activities including the Great Pumpkin BINGO Hunt, a festive photo booth, and unique specials from Wharf restaurants and gift shops. Reserve your Great Pumpkin BINGO Hunt To-Go Kit online or by phone (831) 420-5273.
Scotts Valley Haunted House
When: October 22 – 24 and 29 – 31
Where: 555 Glenwood Drive, Scotts Valley
Cost: Tickets available online only
Scream for a good cause!
Scotts Valley Haunted House presents a drive-through, all-ages Halloween experience, guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of your neck while raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
This year’s theme: Halloween Lives Here.
Louden Nelson Mask Making Celebration
When: October 24 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Louden Nelson’s annual Halloween and Mask Making Festival lives on…online that is!
Join virtual activities including a film contest, family/household costume contest, the Thriller dance, and mask making.
Request your mask making to-go kits by calling 831-420-6177 or emailing email@example.com.
7th Annual Howl-oween Walk
When: October 30 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Where: Meet at Natural Bridges entrance at Delaware Ave.
Join Woofpack831 and Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter for a socially distant walk along Westcliff Drive to celebrate the Halloween spirit. All well-behaved owners and dogs welcome, but no dogs are necessary to participate. Come see the pups dressed up, as well as the humans!
Movie Night at Aptos Village County Park
When: October 30 at 6:00 pm; Movie begins 6:45 pm
Where: Aptos Village County Park
Cost: Free; Reservations required
Watch The Addams Family (2019) outdoors from your very own social distance circle–large enough to accommodate up to 6 members of the same household. Bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages. Dogs on leash are welcome to the event.
Halloween at the Boardwalk – SOLD OUT
When: October 31 from noon to 7:00 pm
Where: Santa Cruz Beach Boarwalk
Cost: $10 for trick or treaters
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. Celebrate Halloween Boardwalk-style! Those who plan to trick-or-treat can purchase a package which includes a collectible bag to fill with treats from Boardwalk food and shopping locations. Other perks include a MyBoardwalk Card for outdoor midway and arcade games, and a costume contest.
Sea Witches of Capitola 5th Annual SUP Gathering
When: October 31 at 10:30 am
Where: Capitola Beach
The Capitola Sea Witches are planning their 5th Annual Halloween Paddle Out. All costumed witches are invited to join the wicked, wet, socially-distanced fun, but please only experienced paddlers on the water.
Capitola Halloween Car Cruise
When: October 31 at 2:00 pm
Where: Capitola Mall
Dress in costume, decorate your car, and show off your Halloween spirit with a socially distanced, family-friendly cruise. Beginning at the Capitola Mall, cars will cruise through Capitola Village, and arrive at Jade Street Park for a drive-through trick or treat.
Seymour Center Halloween Celebration—Online!
When: October 31
Where: Virtual activities at home
Prepare for a spook-tacular virtual event! Learn how UC Santa Cruz researchers are uncovering the chilling mysteries of the deep sea. At-home Halloween activities will be available for download on Saturday, October 31.
Cinema Chaminade: Halloween Movie Night
When: October 31 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Where: Chaminade Santa Cruz
Sit back and enjoy a free showing of the family-favorite and cult classic, Beetlejuice, at the Chaminade. Limited seating in the Courtyard Patio begins at 5:30. Food and beverage will be available for purchase.
Watsonville Film Festival’s Day of the Dead Virtual Celebration
When: October 28 – November 1
Where: Streaming free at watsonvillefilmfest.org
The Watsonville Film Festival’s Annual Day for the Dead celebration goes virtual from Oct 28 – Nov 1. Fiesta Virtual de Día de Muertos 2020 will present a selection of Day of the Dead films, awe-inspiring performances by local singers and dancers, poetry, hands-on tutorials, panels, and discussions.