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October 19, 2017

30-Plus Spooky Things to Do For Halloween in San Francisco

Coming to San Francisco? We’ve got more than 30 frightful favorites for you to enjoy this Halloween, Oct. 31, 2017.

Be sure to also stop in at one of our official Visitor Information Centers: on the lower level of Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market St.; on the Cellar level of Macy's Union Square; or at the California Welcome Center at PIER 39 for more suggestions on fall fun.

Dates and events are subject to change. Because of ongoing fires in Sonoma and Napa counties, we recommend confirming all details with event sponsors.

Madame Tussauds
A fun family outing at any time of the year, Madame Tussauds is a great Halloween stop. Learn the macabre origins of its legendary wax figures’ origins and about Marie Tussaud’s work on death masks during the French Revolution, which has inspired over 200 years of history. Marvel at the costumed celebrities and noted personalities on display, ready for your selfie close-up.

Tactile Dome
This beats the bowl of peeled grapes meant to simulate dismembered eyeballs. At the Exploratorium’s legendary Tactile Dome, visitors are never quite sure what's there as they feel their way through twisting passageways, chutes and rooms, guided only by their sense of touch.

San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walkng Tour
San Francisco's first ghost tour is a hstorical walking tour of the Pacific Heights neighborhood, one of the few neighborhoods to survive the 1906 earthquake and fire. The guide walk traverses tree-lined streets in a residential area replete with grand Victorians. You'll learn about famous figures in San Francisco history - how they lived, how they died and the reports of their hauntings ever since. It's guaranteed to be 90 minutes of unearthly fun! 

San Francisco Dungeon
It’s your unlucky day at the San Francisco Dungeon! Every superstition in the book is put to the test this Halloween season at The San Francisco Dungeon. Neither rabbit feet or lucky pennies on the ground will be able to ward off these omens of bad luck scattered throughout the underground attraction: broken mirrors, open umbrellas and black cats. This run of bad luck continues through Nov. 5, 2017.

7D Experience 
The scare factor gets amped up for Halloween and this month the 7D Experience at PIER 39 has a double-bill of fright in their rotation of interactive fun which combines elements of a rollercoaster ride with the competition of laser blasting: "Werewolves" and "Zombies." 

Winchester Mystery House
As autumn winds swirl, full moons rise, and black cats come out to play, it's time to book a visit to the legendary Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. One of America’s most legendary haunted mansions, the Winchester Mystery House now features Halloween Candlelight Tours. In a chilling and Gothic atmosphere, guests to this all-new immersive experience have only themselves, flickering candlelight and their imagination to guide them through the storied 160-room Victorian mansion noted for its “activity.”

San Francisco City Guides
Throughout the month of October, City Guides San Francisco offers their free (donations welcomed) Ghost Walk at City Hall. Disinterred remains, assassinations and other ghostly lore form the focus of this tour, plus little-known facts such as the cemetery that once covered Civic Center.

San Francisco Zoo & Gardens
It’s officially fall, and San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is celebrating with “ZOOtoberFest”, featuring entertainment for all ages.  Every weekend in October, kids can explore “Harvest Hollow,” navigate San Francisco’s largest hay maze (a 5,000-square-foot structure made from 600 bales of hay), and play outdoor games. The “Zoo Brew Haus” at The Depot Grill will be pouring a great selection of beers and serving a full smorgasbord of German-inspired dishes.

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater!
Don’t know your Marina di Chioggia from a Rouge Vif d’Etampes? Check out this helpful guide from CUESA, operators of the thrice-weekly Ferry Plaza Farmers Market at the Ferry Building, which will be brimming with fall produce and locally made products for the holidays. 

Haunted SF Ghost Tour
Offered by Wild SF Walking Tours, this macabre, 1.5-hour tour through the hotels and streets of downtown San Francisco includes a visit to the Westin St. Francis, the Curran Theater, Glide Memorial and the Tenderloin. Get spooked by after-dark tales of mysterious deaths, famed ghosts, ruthless villains and more. Not recommended for children.

Union Square
From a “horror story’" at the Clift Hotel to “beneFright” at the Shelton Theater, Union Square will be brimming with Halloween fun — well, truthfully, more tricks than treats with taunts and haunts a plenty throughout the district.

Presidio of San Francisco
Hone your pumpkin-carving skills at the Main Parade Ground of the Presidio of San Francisco on Oct. 21, 2017 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tools and pumpkins will be provided while supplies last; registration is requested. 

Conservatory of Flowers
On the cusp of Halloween on Oct. 26, 2017, a one-of-a-kind murder mystery unfolds in the Victorian glass house, which is one of the oldest structures in San Francisco. Come in costume and crack the mystery of who killed Dr. Michael Orrhiza.

Creativity Explored
Wild and wooly new interpretations of female monsters from film, folklore and mythology inhabit “Bride of Monster,” the latest exhibit at Creativity Explored. On view through Nov. 18, 2017, the small group show offers works ranging from repurposed mannequin heads to bold, graphic renderings of yokai (supernatural monsters) from Japanese folklore.

Another Hole in the Head Horror/Sci Fi Film Fest
A film festival celebrating horror, sci-fi, fantasy and a broad spectrum of related cinema from around the world, Another Hole in the Head opens on Oct. 25, 2017 with a new collection of scary short films produced by Bay Area filmmakers. The cinematic mayhem continues through Nov. 8, 2017 at the New People Cinema in Japantown. 

California Academy of Sciences
On Oct. 26, 2017, head for the California Academy of Sciences for an evening of Halloween fun. Tickets sell out quickly for “Creatures of Nightlife,” when the Bay Area Science Festival and Peaches Christ Productions transform the Academy into a spine-tingling, supernatural tribute to ‘80s horror movies. Ages 21-plus and ID required for entry to event.

The Walt Disney Family Museum
It’s “HallowScreen” at The Walt Disney Family Museum. Airing on select days throughout the month of October, this special selection of Disney’s spooky cartoon shorts will be shown at the museum. Shorts include works created from 1929 to 1952 and feature breakthrough animation techniques and some of Disney’s most beloved characters including Pluto, Mickey and Mr. Toad.

San Francisco Brewers Guild
Beers and bounty at the Ferry Building Marketplace, featuring the results of linking home brewers, commercial breweries and local chefs/restaurants with local farmers, is just one of the events on the San Francisco Brewers Guild's October events calendar. 

Seasonal Favorites
Check out 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat English-style ale, available from October through December in six pack cans and on draft, or Anchor Brewing's Coffee Porter made with Four Barrel Flash-Chilled Coffee. Now that's the way to start your morning! Always a hit on Instagram, the adorable pumpkin-shaped dim sum at Crystal Jade in the Embarcadero Center are filled with a sweet red bean paste. Humphry Slocombe is scooping up pumpkin hazelnut ice cream and Ghirardelli Chocolate has the perfect upgrade for a traditional s’more: Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Caramel. The fire rings at Ocean Beach are ready and waiting! 

BATS and the (Improvised) Twilight Zone 
For Halloween, Bats Improv travels back to 1959 to The Twilight Zone on the evenings of Oct. 20 and 27, 2017. Between the wild suggestions from the audience and the nimble minds of the BATS crew, it promises to be a run of ghoulish merriment.

The Speakeasy
On Oct. 26, 2017, the spirits that haunt The Speakeasy will rise once more. With frighteningly delicious cocktails, gypsy fortune tellers, and a ghost band all embracing the spirit of 1923, this is San Francisco’s premier Halloween party. Don’t be alarmed if you run into a séance hidden in a secret room or a cobweb blocking a doorway. We’ve even heard the laughter of the little boys and girls who once inhabited the space. This year, expect the unexpected!

Stern Grove Scaregrove
On Oct. 27, 2017, Scaregrove returns to Stern Grove, 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard, from 3 to 9 p.m. This year’s event will feature a costume contest and parade, haunted houses, hay rides, giant inflatables, food and live entertainment. 

Pier 70 – LoveBoat Halloween
For their last year at Pier 70, LoveBoat Halloween offers more than 70 DJs, entertainers, world-class production artists and stage performers on Oct. 27 and 28, 2017. The lineup includes “The Polish Ambassador,” Berlin’s “Purple Disco Machine,” and even Grammy-nominated Mason Bates, stepping out of the concert hall to DJ the patented tech house that made him a fixture of the Chicago warehouse scene.

Presidio Officers’ Club
Celebrate the ghostliest night of the year in the haunted splendor of the Presidio Officers’ Club on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. Sway to the spellbinding retro sounds of the Ely Brothers & The Doubletake Band, enjoy trick or treat twirls by the San Francisco Jitterbugs, and compete in the creepy costume contest. Diabolical specialty spirits will be whipped up by the resident pros at Arguello. For ages 18 and over. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 

Monster Ball and Haunted Hornet Tour
This Halloween, have a hauntingly good time aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum during its annual Monsters Ball beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 (707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, Alameda). In addition to music by Lee Presson and DJ Rockin’ Raul, there will be a costume contest, zombie sick bay crawl and haunted fo’c’sle tour.

Boo at the Zoo (San Francisco)
Leave the rubber masks at home so as not to frighten the animals, Oct. 28-29, 2017, at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. Come dressed up in a Halloween costume and trick-or-treat around the Zoo. Take a trip through the Haunted Nature Trail, have a creepy crawly critter adventure at the Insect Zoo, and check out the popular Pumpkin Stomp & Chomp, where the animals get some tasty pumpkin treats from their keepers. 

Boo at the Zoo (Oakland)
Stroll the Zoo in costume and collect yummy treats. Ride the spooky boo train and join the dance party. Plus, get your face painted, make treats for the animals, and see how the animals at Oakland Zoo celebrate Halloween, Oct. 28-29, 2017.  Kids in costumes receive a free ride ticket.

The Costume Dash 5K
Coming to Golden Gate Park on Oct. 29, 2017, the San Francisco Costume Dash 5K will be a great prelude to Halloween. Starting at 8:30 a.m., the race takes place entirely in Golden Gate Park. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes and top finishers at a post-race awards ceremony. The fun will continue with an after-party in the park. 

Yerba Buena Gardens
The 17th annual Halloween Hoopla at Yerba Buena Gardens on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, from noon-2 p.m., will feature interactive performances and games for kids under 10 and their adults. The Yerba Buena pumpkin patch will return and the program will culminate in a Halloween costume parade. Entertainment includes Unique Derique and Chelle! & Friends. The Children’s Creativity Museum will be providing a fun and spooky LED Skelecups activity.

San Francisco Symphony
Watch Mel Brooks’ hilarious classic, Young Frankenstein, and enjoy an evening of musical thrills with pianists Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe performing haunting music and film accompaniment on Oct. 29, 2017 at 7 p.m.

Halloween Haunt at Great America
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29, 2017, Great America takes scares to a new level. This year features Demon: Re-Ignited, with the classic roller coaster returning to its glory with an array of lights, fog and a blood red waterfall. One of the Bay Area’s premier Halloween events features eight haunted mazes, five skeleton key rooms, live shows, scare zones and hundreds of monsters. Not recommended for guests under 13. Halloween Haunt opens at 7 p.m.

California’s Great America Pumpkin Fest
The Great Pumpkin Fest at California’s Great America runs Saturdays and Sundays through Oct 29, 2017. The Great Pumpkin Fest is fun for the entire family and has become a Bay Area tradition. From noon to 4 p.m. during The Great Pumpkin Fest, guests 12-and-younger can race through a hay maze, decorate mini pumpkins, color Peanuts™ pictures, dance in a foam pit and more. They will also enjoy wearing their costumes and Trick-or-Treating with the Peanuts™ gang. 

Six Flags Fright Fest
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s annual Fright Fest is back for select days through Oct. 31, 2017. Enjoy thrills and activities for the whole family throughout the day and come back for a truly frightening evening of fun after the sun goes down. Fright Fest offers a wide variety of places to get your scare on including several haunted houses and scare zones located throughout the park.

Grace Cathedral
On Nov. 3, 2017 Grace Cathedral will be transformed into a grand movie palace for a special Halloween screening of the chilling silent horror classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with thrilling accompaniment by virtuoso organist Dorothy Papadakos. Showings are at 7:00 and 9:30 p.m.

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