From spooky to silly, we’ve rounded up 15 Southland spots where you and your kids can chase down apparitions. Tiptoe through cemeteries, wind your way through haunted hotels, explore the depths of the Queen Mary and more. If you don’t believe in ghosts, you will…
(Surprise! Those aren’t real ghosts in our photo. Want to make your own creepy family ghost portrait like the one up top? Find easy instructions here.)
1. Haunted Fullerton Walking Tours
Through November 10: Teens (and adults) ages 13 and up can learn about Fullerton’s colorful history by visiting haunted spots, which may include the landmark Plummer Auditorium, the historic California Hotel, and the home of Fullerton’s first woman auto dealer. Even Fullerton’s Police Department is not without its own hauntings. All tours start with a “meet and greet” with members of North Orange County Paranormal Society, who will explain the latest advances in paranormal research and how researchers confirm or debunk ghost stories. Wednesdays and Thursdays, meet and greet, 5-6 p.m.; tours, 6-8:30 p.m. $15-18. Reservations are required. Special Monday, October 31, Halloween tour, $20-25.
2. Queen Mary Haunted Encounters Tour
With such a varied and intriguing past it’s not surprising that the Queen Mary has been voted one of the Top 10 Most Haunted Places in America by Time magazine. Get a detailed overview of the Queen Mary’s most haunted areas and paranormal hotspots. Explore the ship inside and out and hear stories about the ship’s most famous reported apparitions. Among the ghosts reportedly still hanging around are a sailor who died in the ship’s engine room, a “lady in white,” and children who drowned in the ship’s pool. One-hour tours daily at 12:30, 2:30, 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Included with First-Class Passport. The ship’s super-scary Dark Harbor attraction opens daily after dark, at 7 p.m.
3. Haunted Boot Hill in Irvine
October 14-15, 21-22, and 28-31: Boot Hill rises from the fog for it’s 17th year as Orange County’s most elaborate yard display. The unearthly spirits from the Old West town of Bridgewood will transform the residence at 16 Goldenrod into the old church and cemetery that once occupied this hallowed ground. 7-10 p.m.; Halloween night, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Free; donations accepted go CHOC. Parking available at Springbook Elementary School until 10 p.m. only.
16 Goldenrod, Irvine
4. Haunt at Heritage Hill in Lake Forest
October 14-15: Dare to be a part of the 9th annual Haunt at Heritage Hill, with a double dose of fright! The park will once again transform into a Haunted Adventure. This Halloween teen/adult (ages 12+, grade 5th and older) friendly event will include: The Haunted School House Fright Maze, and the scream zones including The Joker’s Side Show Maze, the Zombie Apocalypse, and Riding Hood’s Revenge, featuring more monsters than ever. Be sure to hit the dance floor with ghouls and goblins for the extreme DJ and light show. Don’t be spooked by the Haunted Teen Dance and Costume Contest! Feel free to join in the fun and come dressed as your favorite character or in costume, but no masks please. Friday and Saturday, 6-10:30 p.m. $8 per person.
25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest
5. Haunted High School in Cypress
October 21-22, 28-29 and 31: Dodge zombies as you take a tour through the classrooms and hallways of Haunted High, now in its 4th year. Friday, Saturday and Halloween, 6 – 9:30 p.m. Suggested donation of $5 for both mazes and $2 for a Humans vs. Zombies shootout. The “Zombie Photo Op”” is free of charge.
4321 Cerritos Ave., Cypress
6. Alien Invasion Ghost Haunt at Calico Ghost Town
October 21-23 and 28-30: Head to Calico Ghost Town, an old West mining town founded in 1881, for trick-or-treating, costume contests, pumpkin carving, kids carnival tent, stage shows, haunted attractions and more. The “killer” lineup includes the Kent Family Magic Circus, the Danny Magic Stage Show, an evening laser show and on Saturday nights, a Monster Mash Dance on Main Street. Make camping, cabin, or bunkhouse reservations online at www.sbcountyparks.com or by calling 800-86-CALICO. Friday-Sunday, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Adults, $15; kids (6-15), $10; under 5, free.
36600 Ghost Town Road, Yermo
7. Santa Ana Historical Cemetery Tour
October 22: Learn about the history of education in early Orange County, courtesy of actors from Orange County School of the Arts. This annual historic cemetery tour is an exciting and fun glimpse into the past. Small group tours, a lovely outdoor setting and close access to the actors make the tour an entertaining outing for the whole family. Saturday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Adults, $22; students (10+), $16; kids 9 and under, free.
Fairhaven Memorial Park, 1702 Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana
8. Scary Movie at Savannah Memorial Park
October 22: Head to Rosemead’s historic pioneer cemetery for its 2nd annual Scary Movie Night fundraiser, with costume contests, prizes, food and an after-dark screening of the original “Ghostbusters.” Bring your own chairs or blankets. Saturday, 7 p.m. $10 donation.
9263 Valley Blvd., Rosemead
9. Halloween and Mourning Tours at Heritage Square
October 22-23: Learn all about death and mourning etiquette during the Victorian era, the movement of Spiritualism, and how other cultures celebrate and remember their loved ones. The program is more family friendly on Sunday (only), as children ages 2 to 12 may come play period games, make 19th century harvest crafts, and listen to spooky stories. Saturday-Sunday, noon – 4 p.m. Adults $20, kids (6-12) $8.
Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer St., Los Angeles
10. Beyond the Grave Tours at the Homestead Museum
October 23: American attitudes toward death and memorialization changed dramatically from the 1840s through the 1920s. Learn about these changes as experienced by the Workman and Temple families as you tour the historic site and visit with costumed living history characters. Recommended for ages 9+. Saturday, tours depart every hour from noon – 4 p.m. Adults, $6; kids, $4; reservations are highly recommended, space is limited.
15415 E. Don Julian Road, Industry
11. Haunted Trail of Laguna Niguel
October 27-29: Up on the hill behind the Laguna Niguel City Hall, sits the old abandoned courthouse. A secret vault was recently discovered when a wall was opened, with Zombies from the 1800’s emerging from the depths of this historical time capsule. Groups of 10-12 will be escorted through the grounds, climbing stairs, and winding through the western mazes and tents from another time period. Zombie inmates will be taunting you to help them escape their eternal graves, doomed to visit the same judge, who ultimately incarcerates them for all of eternity. This event is very scary and not recommended for children under 8 years of age. There is a no refund policy, so parents should carefully determine if this is an age appropriate event. Scary music, black lights, fog machines, and strobe lights, with Zombies popping out of every corner of the trail. Groups of 10 are escorted through mazes and tents, creatures and monsters may pop-out! Recommended for ages 9 and up. Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 6:30-10 p.m. $13 per-sale, $15 at entrance.
Crown Valley Community Park, 9751 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel
12. Theatricum BOO-Tanicum in Topanga
October 28: The unique outdoor theater garden Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon transforms into the haunted BOO-tanicum, with a frightening maze and haunted house. Enjoy delicious food and spooky drinks, actors telling ghost stories, pumpkin and face painting, game booths and performances. Come on down if you dare. Perfect for ghosts and goblins of all ages. Friday, 4-10 p.m. $15; kids (5 and under), free.
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga
13. Halloween Mysteries Sleepover at the Natural History Museum
October 28-29: A ghastly canine has been hounding the Museum – you and your junior forensic society member are invited to help solve a most curious mystery at this Halloween-time sleepover. Can you help find the missing T. Rex bone and the spirited hound? Armed with your best forensic science techniques, explore the Museum and solve the clues. Activities will include: scavenger hunt, flashlight tour of the spider pavilion, secrets and legends ghost tour of the Museum, trick or treat stations and a dance party. Once the dancing is done, snuggle in for the night next to world-class dioramas for sweet dreams. Costumes are encouraged.
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles
14. Haunted House Cookie Decorating in Irvine
October 28: There is no better way to get ready for Halloween then by decorating a Cookie Haunted House. Chefs (5+) learn to make Royal icing and how to use piping bags. They supply all the materials (house, candy, and icing) for kids to be creative and decorate the ultimate Haunted House.Friday, 5:30-7:30 p.m. $49 per person. Lil’ Chef School.
15435 Jeffrey Road #132, Irvine
15. Historical Cemetery Tour in Long Beach
October 29: The Long Beach Historical Society hosts this tour of the Municipal/Sunnyside Cemeteries, with characters at various graves telling the histories of their occupants. Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – noon. Adults, $20; kids (5-18), $8; and kids ages 4 and under, $1.
Sunnyside Cemetery, 1095 Willow St., Long Beach
Want to hunt ghosts on your own? Check out this list of haunted spots throughout California. If you dare…