Benjamin Eastman

Halloween Nightlife, Parties and Cruises in San Diego – 2012

Crowds - San Diego Monster Bash

Halloween and nightlife go hand-in-hand. What other night can you go out dressed up in whatever you want and have people not even bat an eye at you? It’s the night that it’s OK to howl at the moon, wallflowers become the center of attention and venue decorations are overshadowed by the amazing and creative costumes of their patrons.

Not sure yet where you’re going to enjoy San Diego’s Halloween Nightlife this year?  Here are a number of options that you should seriously consider!

Andaz San Diego’s Maxim Devil’s Cut Halloween 2012 Party

Andaz San Diego's Maxim Halloween Party

Devilish Fun at Andaz San Diego’s Maxim Halloween Party

Maxim Magazine has chosen the Andaz San Diego as one of the few venues in the country to host one of their deliciously naughty Halloween parties – and you know the Andaz & Ivy Nightclub will deliver! The devil-themed underground Ivy Nightclub will feature the deliciously evil Lipstik dancers, while the rooftop will radiate a “heavenly,” vibe with white, modern energy. Those who can’t decide between heaven & hell, can congregate in the Ivy Wine Bar which will be transformed into Andaz’ own Garden of Eden – with an Adam & Eve theme. With 4 beautiful Maxim models circulating through the party meeting, greeting & taking photos with guests the evening will undoubtedly prove to be one for the record books!

Location: Andaz San Diego (map)
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Time: 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Tickets:  $50; Bottle service available

San Diego Monster Bash

Crowds - San Diego Monster Bash

San Diego Monster Bash

Perhaps the largest Halloween party in town is the 12th Annual Dos Equis XX Monster Bash block party taking place between 6th & 8th Street and Market & J Street. With nearly 20,000 revelers in attendance at last year’s Bash, this year is likely to be bigger and better! 3 stages of entertainment are sure to keep you party rockin’ all night – but don’t worry, there will be 10 bars situated throughout the venue to help you keep cool. While dancing to the likes of Flosstradamus or The Knocks, be sure to check out the over 50 sexy stage dancers and thousands of hot, costumed attendees. Debauchery and scandal will turn this party into a Halloween hotbed never before seen in San Diego!

Location: Gaslamp Quarter
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Time: 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Tickets: Pre-sale – $40; $45 at the door; $35 VIP Upgrade

The Titanic Halloween Masquerade

The Titanic Halloween Masquerade

For Halloween party-goers with a twisted sense of humor, why not sail aboard the Hornblower Inspiration on a Titanic themed party cruise? The decks will be full of ghosts & ghouls resurrected from the Titanic and after a few drinks at one of the many bars, you all will be partying it up like it is 1912!

Location: Hornblower Inspiration Yacht
Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Time: 8:30 PM to 1:30 AM
Tickets: Starting at $50

9th Annual Halloween Ball

9th Annual Halloween Ball at the Prado Flyer

Work night? What work night? For those wanting to continue to celebrate on the 31st, The Prado will once again feature Balboa Park’s sexiest Halloween party. Set in the gorgeous ballrooms and courtyard of The Prado, the Halloween Ball will feature 4 stages of entertainment (with headliners Manufactured Superstars) and over 20 bars.

Location: The Prado Restaurant at Balboa Park (map)
Date: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Time: 9:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Tickets: Pre-sale tickets:  $40, but prices will go up to $75

Of course there will be tons of other fun including a Halloween Party Cruise aboard the William D. Evans and other excitement at your local favorite nightlife spots like FLUXX (their current fluxuation is Fetish, and will have Lil Kim performing on Halloween night), Stingaree (Asylum theme with DJ Cobra on the 27th and Halloweird on Halloween night) and the Pussycat Dollhouse (Circus Bloodlust party on the 31st) – so there’s no excuse to not get out and let your inner devil out!

So throw on that sexy nurse or escaped convict outfit and head out for a ghoulishly great time!


Halloween Fun for Kids in San Diego

Princesses at SeaWorld San Diego's Halloween Spooktacular

Halloween isn’t just for the 31st anymore, especially if you have kids. Browse the list for fun things to do with your kids this Halloween season.

1. LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights

Cruise on over to LEGOLAND California for Halloween Fun.

Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is back for its one-of-a-kind party every Saturday Night in October from 5:00 to 9:00 PM. Several monstrously fun areas of LEGOLAND are open late for Party Nights, including Land of Adventure, Castle Hill and the Imaginati

Halloween fun for kids isn’t just on the 31st anymore. Browse the list for fun things to do in San Diego with your kids this Halloween season.

on Zone. Be sure the little ones come in costume; prizes will be given for Best Pirate, Most LEGO Themed and Most Creative. And visitors who stay until 9:00 PM will be treated to an awesome fireworks display!

Dates: Saturdays, October 20 & 27, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat Party Nights
> Kids Go Free to LEGOLAND California during October’s Kids Free San Diego

2. Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked!

Pirate Ship - Haunted Birch Aquarium - Shipwrecked

Haunted Pirate Ships and More at the Birch Aquarium

Ghouls and buoys of all ages are invited to spend a safe and “spirited” Halloween with the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Discover what lurks beneath the surface and soak up spooky science activities and explore the aquarium’s “wreckage” for sunken treasures. Kids can come in their costume for a chance to win great prizes!

Dates: Friday-Saturday, October 26-27, 2012
Cost: Members – $15, Nonmembers – $17, At the Door – $19
> Find out more about Haunted Birch Aquarium: Shipwrecked!
> Kids Go Free to the Birch Aquarium during Kids Free San Diego
(Offer for regular admission only, does not include special events)

3. Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld San Diego

Princesses at SeaWorld San Diego's Halloween Spooktacular

Who’s the Fairest Pumpkin Princess at SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular?

During SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular, kids can meet some spooky and not-so-spooky animals, pose for pictures with mesmerizing mermaids and trick-or-treat in a sea-inspired atmosphere.

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, October 20-21 & 27-28, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about the Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld San Diego
> Kids Go and Eat Free to SeaWorld San Diego during October’s Kids Free San Diego

4. Haunted Tales from our Seafaring Past

The Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego is place to be on for all aspiring ghosts, goblins and princesses to gether for some ghostly tales of enormous proportions. Creepy treats will be given to all who dare attend and kids are encouraged to wear costumes.

Dates: Friday-Saturday, October 20, 26-27, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Haunted Tales from our Seafaring Past at the Maritime Museum of San Diego

5. Balboa Park’s Halloween Family Day

Costumed fun in San Diego’s Historic Balboa Park

Head over to Balboa Park for a Park-wide Halloween celebration. There will be Halloween-themed family activities in the museums from 11:00 to 3:00 PM as well as booths along the Prado with activities.

Date: Saturday, October 27, 2012
Cost: Children 12 and under free at participating museums
> Find out more about Balboa Park’s Halloween Family Day
> Kids Go Free to 30 Museum in San Diego during October’s Kids Free San Diego
(Offer for regular admission only, does not include special events/exhibits)

Know of any more great Halloween fun for Kids in San Diego? Let us know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego: October 18-21, 2012

Star of India with lights at the Maritime Museum of San Diego

Spend another warm autumn weekend enjoying one of these great events in San Diego.

1. Haunted Tales of our Seafaring Past

Star of India with lights at the Maritime Museum of San Diego

Do you dare board the Star of India when the lights go out?

During this time of year, spooky things start to happen on the Star of India at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Climb aboard  for creepy treats, a hauntingly fun tour, ghostly tales and more. Your tiny ghouls and princesses are encouraged to come dressed up for a night of Halloween excitement on the water.

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about Haunted Tales of Our Seafaring Past

2. SEA Days at the Birch Aquarium – Got Water

Family learning about tide pools at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps

Learn about the importance of water during SEA Days.

Water is essential to life on our planet. Bring the whole family to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps to learn about urban runoff, water quality, and conservation concerns with hands-on exploration, special activities, and a chance to interact with Scripps Oceanography scientists.

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Cost: Included with admission
> Find out more about SEA Days at the Birch Aquarium – Got Water
> Kids Go Free to the Birch Aquarium with the San Diego Museum Council Kids Free Coupon

3. Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show

Holiday decorations for sale at the Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show

Get your handmade holiday decorations at the Harvest Festival in Del Mar.

For more than 40 years, craft lovers have converged at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the annual Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show. There will be food, music and plenty of unique handmade works from more than 300 arts and crafts people. It’s never too early to start your holiday shopping!

Dates: Friday-Sunday, October 19-21, 2012
Cost: Adults – $9, Seniors 62+ – $7, Ages 13-17 – $4 and Kids 12 and Under – Free
> Find out more about the Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show

4. Oktoberfest Celebration at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

San Diego Zoo Safari Park Sign

Travel to Africa, Asia and Germany in one day at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!

Spend the day exploring the exotic and wild animals for Africa and Asia before ending your adventures with a trip to Germany (while never actually leaving the park) during the Oktoberfest Celebration at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Enjoy live music, a delicious buffet of German-inspired specialties and a variety of German Beers (for those over 21).

Date: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Cost: For Oktoberfest Only, Adults – $39.95 and Kids 3-11 – $18.95
> Find out more about the Oktoberfest Celebration at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
> Kids Go Free to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park during October’s Kids Free San Diego

5. San Diego African Restaurant Week

Ethiopian Injera and Wat

Discover Ethiopian Injera (pancake-like bread) and Wat (stew) during San Diego African Restaurant Week. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

In its inaugural year, San Diego African Restaurant week invites everyone to experience African cuisine from Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Jamaica with a Prix Fixe menu including an appetizers, main course, and desserts at restaurants in the uptown neighborhoods. Throughout the week, there will also be cooking classes, traditional music and dance, and coffee ceremonies. Don’t miss the opening event at the WorldBeat Center on Friday, October 19 starting at 7:00 PM.

Dates: Friday-Sunday, October 19-28, 2012
Cost: Prix Fixe Menu – $15, WorldBeat Center Opening Event – $10
> Find out more about San Diego African Restaurant Week

6. Pumpkin Palooza at Suzie’s Farm

Pumpkins - Suzie's Farm Pumpkin Palooza

Find a great carving or cooking pumpkin at Pumpkin Palooza at Suzie’s farm.

With Halloween just around the corner, why not find the perfect pumpkin for carving or cooking at Suzie’s Farm’s Pumpkin Palooza (you can find plenty of other pumpkin patches here). The whole family can enjoy a day of pumpkin picking, music, organic food from popular food trucks and more.

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Cost: Entry is Free, Pumpkins priced by weight
> Find out more about Suzie’s Farm’s Pumpkin Pakooza

Know of another great event in San Diego this weekend? Let everyone know in the comments below.


Trick or Treating in San Diego, the Grown-Up Version

Smashing Pumpkin Martini

As little ghosts and goblins come out to play and traipse from house to house in their sugar-fueled quest on October 31, it’s hard for the grown-ups not to feel just a little bit envious. Just because we’ve grown older doesn’t mean we have outgrown our sweet tooths (well, some of us, anyway)!

If you’re looking for a little sweet indulgence this Halloween, fear not – San Diego offers some diabolically delicious holiday treats sure to delight those too old for trick or treating.


Smashing Pumpkin Martini

For pumpkin with a punch, try the Smashing Pumpkin Martini at the Grant Grill.

No trick here: Halloween cocktails have seized San Diego. This Halloween, adults can do some drink-or-treating around downtown by hopping between hot spots offering spooktacular cocktails.

At Whisky Girl, ghouls and guests can choose from the Wolfman, a chocolate martini with vanilla vodka, the Frankenstein with Malibu, melon, blue Curacao, pineapple juice and whipped cream, and the Dracula served with a single shot of rumplemintz, a splash of cream and grenadine.

At the Grant Grill in the US Grant Hotel, the Smashing Pumpkin martini is a delicious mix of pumpkin and star anise infused rum, Grand Marnier, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, saffron syrup, cardamom bitters and fresh meyer lemon.

If you’re not too squeamish, try the Femur Shot at Searsucker, a concoction of coconut, lime and vodka served in steer femur bones and designed to be sucked out, bone marrow style.

Crazy for Candy


Eclipse Chocolat truffles – a perfect addition to any grown-up trick-or-treat bag. Photo courtesy of Roger Tsen.

If liquid treats just won’t cut it and only the real thing will do, die-hard candy loving adults won’t be disappointed this Halloween.

Chocolate aficionados should head straight to Eclipse Chocolat in North Park. Exotic flavor combinations are offered daily, but seasonal specials include the Pumpkin Muscavado truffle and Spiced Pumpkin cupcake, a decadent chocolate cake filled with pumpkin butter and topped in a dark chocolate ganache and grains of paradise (said to taste like a mix between pepper, ginger and cardamom).

If waiting for Halloween to roll around each year is simply too long to wait to get your candy fix, at Alchemy of the Hearth in San Marcos, candy lovers can learn to make sweet treats at home with classes that teach the secrets to creating toffees, caramels, lollipops and even candy apples.

How will you indulge your sweet tooth this Halloween?

Robert Arends

5 to Try Spook-tacular San Diego Halloween Haunts

Evil Ringmaster - Scream Zone

Sinister welcome to the Scream Zone!

BOO-yah! It’s the most wonderful time of the year… yep, Halloween! San Diego celebrates the season with creepy cool events and fun-filled spots to seriously get freaked out. Word of warning: A few of these are not for the faint of heart. Translation: not for the kiddies (best to take them to LEGOLAND’s Brick-or-Treat instead 😉

1.  The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds

Haunted Hayride passenger about to scare an unaware victim at the Scream Zone

Haunted Hayride hijinks in the Scream Zone.

The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds features a Haunted Hayride (creepy clowns, zombies and aliens, oh my!), House of Horror (beware the chainsaw-wielding maniac!) and Chamberlabyrinth (I almost lost my balance in the giant spinning tunnel!) all wrapped into one big scare fest.

2.  The Haunted Hotel

Haunted Hotel Sign

The Haunted Hotel is now open for guests! Photo courtesy of Mike Rollerson.

The Haunted Hotel in the downtown Gaslamp Quarter is where horror movies come to life; as in you WILL meet Freddie Krueger and Jason from Friday the 13th face to face! This is San Diego’s longest-running haunted house and one of the Top 13 haunted houses in the U.S.!

3. Ghosts & Gravestones

Grave Digger - Ghost and Gravestones

There’s a plot…I mean spot waiting for you on the tour.

Take a ride on the dark side on San Diego’s original “frightseeing” tour, Ghosts & Gravestones.  Hop on a trolley of the doomed to discover the El Campo Santo Cemetery in Old Town (bodies are actually buried under Old Town Ave. – zoinks!), The Whaley House, America’s most haunted house (The Travel Channel) located on a former gallows site (double zoinks!), and the Maritime Museum’s haunted Star of India tallship and Berkeley ferryboat (SciFi’s Ghost Hunters filmed here!).

4. Haunted Trail of Balboa Park

A crashed bus at the Haunted Trail of Balboa Park.

The driver never made it through the Haunted Trail! Photo courtesy of Mike Rollerson.

Fog-shrouded Balboa Park with its gnarled grove of 100-year-old trees towering overhead is the site of the wickedly fun, mile-long Haunted Trail. It’s the great outdoors gone awry – very Blair Witch Project! Also features a manic maze called “The eXperiment.”

5. Scary Maze at Cottonwood Golf Course

Scary Maze at Cottonwood Golf Course Logo

Cottonwood Golf Course in East County goes into fright mode with its 10,000 sq.-ft. Scary Maze. Truth be told, this one’s more family-friendly. The object: find your way out of the maze while encountering “dead” ends and creatures of the night. There’s also a beer garden, live music, dancing, devilishly-delectable food and scary movie showings outdoors.

Happy (early) Halloween!

Sarah Weinberg

Haunted Hotel Deal for a Halloween Weekend at the Rancho Bernardo Inn

Haunted trail at the Rancho Bernardo Inn

We plan to hit the Halloween trail early this season and venture beyond our own neighborhood to experience a spooky yet family friendly getaway for locals and visitors alike. San Diego hotels are getting into the “spirit” of Halloween by offering special packages focusing on a ghoulishly good time for young children and their parents.

My kids are excited about our overnight visit to the Rancho Bernardo Inn on Halloween weekend to experience the Halloween @ the Inn Stay and Spook family package. My girlfriend did this last year with her kids and recommended the family activities including trick-or-treating, a not-so-scary haunted house, pumpkin decorating and even glow in the dark cocktails for mom and dad.

Halloween @ the Inn Activities

Kids Making a Witches Brew at the Rancho Bernardo Inn

Double, double toil and trouble

Kids will enjoy dressing up for a costume contest and being allowed to roam through the spooky carnival games at Rancho Bernardo Inn during Halloween weekend.

Haunted trail at the Rancho Bernardo Inn

Do you dare take the haunted trail

The ghostly grounds of the Rancho Bernardo Inn decorated for Halloween. The Inn’s themed family events are open to hotel guests purchasing the Stay & Spook package starting at $199 for a family of four, or locals can join in the activities scheduled Friday and Saturday from 5:00 to 8:00 PM for $17 per child (age up to 14 years old).

Kids picking pumpkins at the Rancho Bernardo Inn

Find the perfect Halloween pumpkin

Younger children will enjoy the pumpkin patch, a free “goodie pumpkin” at check-in, face painting and trick or treating.

Kids acting like flying witches at the Rancho Bernardo Inn

Fly, Fly my pretties!

With a focus on a friendly Halloween experience, and lots of treats and sweets, including s’mores, trick or treating and kid-friendly snacks like caramel apples and hot pretzels available for purchase, Halloween @ the Inn should prove to be one of the most fun Halloween parties we’ve ever attended!

Halloween @ the Inn Package Information

Rates starting from $199 per night. Additional kids $17 per night (ages 3-14). Rate valid for two adults and two kids. Some restrictions may apply. Available October 26 & 27, 2012.

> Book Your Spooktacular Halloween @ the Inn Weekend Today!

Brent Bernasconi

Find the Perfect Pumpkin Patch in San Diego – 2012

Pumpkins in a Radio Flyer at Suzie's Farm Pumpkin Palooza

> Check out the 2013 list of Pumpkin Patches in San Diego

Fall in San Diego means warm days, cool nights, Halloween fun and, of course, pumpkin patches! Browse the list below to find the perfect pumpkin patch near you.

Bates Nut Farm

Pumpkin Patch at Bates Nut Farm

Find the perfect pumpkin at Bates Nut Farm

Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center has been a Pumpkin Patch staple for as long as I can remember (the Bates family has owned the farm since 1921, and I have been going since the early 80s). Bates has plenty of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, tractor hayrides, a straw maze, pony rides and a petting zoo. During the weekends, why not get your face painted, try some rock climbing, and chow down on some BBQ and kettle corn while enjoying live entertainment.

Dates: September 27 – October 31, 2012
Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Varies, Ride Tickets start at $2. The Pumpkin Package for $9 includes 1 Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin, 1 tractor/hayride and 1 straw maze ticket.

Julian Mining Company Pumpkin Picking Patch

Take the family on a day trip to Julian for apple pie from Mom’s and pumpkins from the Julian Mining Company. Even more fall fun awaits with Indian Camp, Tomahawk throwing and farm animals. Upgrade to the Harvest tour and enjoy a hayride, fresh apple cider and a petting zoo. In for a fright? Well then ride on the Night Time Spooky Hayride: Tale of the Doomed Miner on October 20 & 27 at 7:30 and 8:30 PM.

Dates: September 29 – October 31, 2012 (Saturday-Sunday)
Hours:  10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Regular Admission: Kids 3 and under free, Ages 4-13 – $3, Adults – $5. Harvest Tour: Kids – $6, Adults – $9. Spooky Hayride: Kids –  $10, Adults – $15

Lavender Hill Pumpkins

Pumpkins at Lavender Hill Pumpkins

A variety of pumpkins at Lavender Hill Pumpkins

Looking for a no nonsense pumpkin picking outing? Then head to Lavendar Hill Pumpkins for a vast selection of pumpkins perfect for either carving or cooking.

Dates: September 29 – October 31, 2012
Hours: Weekdays – 2:00 to 5:00 PM, Weekends – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Varies

Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch

Kids with their Pumpkins at Mountain Valley Ranch

Pumpkins for everyone at Mountain Valley Ranch

Up near the small mountain town of Romana is the Mountain Valley Ranch Pumpkin Patch. Take some time to find the perfect carving or cooking pumpkin, get lost in the gigantic corn maze, launch an ear of corn out of a cannon, pet a few farm animals and add a few pictures of the kids on antique farm equipment to the scrapbook.

Dates: September 24 – October 31, 2012
Hours: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Cost: Varies (Cash Only)

Norris Amusements Pumpkin Patches

Tiger inflatable slide and pumpkins at Norris Amusements Pumpkin Patches

A whole day of fun at Norris Amusements Pumpkin Patches

Norris Amusements has North County covered with three locations in San Diego, Carlsbad and Escondido. Each location offers pumpkins and fun for the little ones with jumpees and carnival rides. Go to the San Diego or Escondido location on Tuesdays for Wristband Tuesday and enjoy unlimited rides. Make sure to pick up one of their coupons and save!

Dates: October 1 – 31, 2012
Hours: Varies by location
Cost: Varies, Wristband Tuesdays: San Diego – $20 and Escondido – $15

Oma’s Pumpkin Patch

Tower of Hay and Pumpkins at Oma's Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins ready to take home at Oma’s Pumpkin Patch

Over in Lakeside, Oma’s Pumpkin Patch is offering fun for the whole family. The child admission includes a Jack Patch pumpkin, a bottle of water, covered hay rides, a hay bale maze, petting corral, kid-powered games and a large play area with the climbable Cottonseed Mountain.

Dates: September 25 – November 3, 2012 – Tuesday-Saturday
Hours: 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Cost: $8 per child with one free adult per child. Additional adults are $4.

PB Pumpkins

Pumpkins, Hay and a Castle Jumpee at PB Pumpkins

Jump for Pumpkin Joy at PB Pumpkin Patches

City dwellers looking for pumpkins, gourds Indian corn and squash don’t need to go far thanks to PB Pumpkins three convient locations in Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Downtown (Downtown was closed for 2012). While pumpkin hunting, the little ones can enjoy a petting zoo, slides, jumpees, carnival games, a pumpkin carving and decorating station and more.

Dates: September 28 – October 31, 2012
Hours: Monday-Friday – 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM, Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Cost: Varies, Activity Tickets – $3

Pumpkin Station

Pumpkin Tower at Pumpkin Station

Find pumpkins of all sizes at Pumpkin Station

All aboard…one of the seven convient Pumpkin Station locations (including the two actual farms) throughout San Diego County. At the Pumpkin Stations, kids can peruse for the perfect pumpkin while enjoying the kiddie rides, slides, inflatable play centers and petting zoo. At their two farms in Rancho Bernardo and Bonita, little pumpkin carvers will find a living pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm animals and a tractor-pulled haywagon ride.

Dates: Vary by location
Hours: Vary by location
Cost: Free admission, ride tickets start at $1 depending on location

San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
Family Pumpkin Patch & Fall Festival

Stop by the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum for hands-on education (don’t tell the kids), pumpkins and fun. While the pumpkin patch is open Tuesday through Sunday, stop by on Saturday for live music, a pumpkin carving station, hands-on gardening and other craft activities. The Family Fall Festival, October 6 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, will feature live music, food and craft vendors, hands-on activities, a jumpee and more.

Dates: September 22 – November 4, 2012 (Tuesday-Sunday)
Hours: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: Pumpkin Patch – Free with admission, Fall Festival – Free-$10

Summers Past Farms Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch sign and pumpkins at Summer Past Farms

An picturesque pumpkin patch at Summer Past Farms

Head on over to Summer Past Farms Pumpkin Patch picking weekends for family fun including a jumpee, popcorn, corn-dogs and smoothies. On October 6, 7 and 13, the East County Breeders of Alpacas will stop by with their beautiful animals. The Alpine Education Foundation’s 3rd Annual Fall Festival will be on Sunday, October 21, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM and will include a jumpee, carnival games, laser tag, a carnival course, 4h display, crazy hair and face-painting, music, and plenty of food.

Dates: October 3 – 31, 2012 (Wednesday-Sunday)
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM,  Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Cost: Varies

Suzie’s Farm Pumpkin Palooza

Pumpkins in a Radio Flyer at Suzie's Farm Pumpkin Palooza

Bring something to help carry home your harvest at Suzie’s Farm Pumpkin Palooza.

Make a day of it in San Diego’s South Bay with pumpkin picking at Suzie’s Farm. Bring a wheelbarrow to carry home plenty of pumpkins for carving and cooking picked right from the fields, fresh produce, jams and more. While harvesting your pumpkins enjoy music, food and a sunflower maze. Don’t forget the camera!

Date: October 20, 2012
Hours: TBD
Cost: Free Admission, Pumpkins Vary

Robert Arends

20 Perfect Days to Play in Coronado!

Have you entered Loews Coronado Bay Resort’s 20 Days, Your Way” giveaway yet? If not, time is ticking… Last day for submissions is next Tuesday, October 25. Grand prize: 20 free room nights! It’s all to celebrate the resort’s big 20th Anniversary. Good luck!

So I was thinking, if I was eligible to enter and I WON, what would I do, not only at Loews’ resort, but around the picturesque island of Coronado? Fortunately, there’s a plethora of delightful and exciting activities to enjoy: arts & culture, fine dining, spas, outdoor recreation and much more.

Read on to see Robert’s 20 picks for 20 days on Coronado…


Stay in one San Diego’s Haunted Hotels and get a Room with a “Boo!”

Last week, I took you on a video tour of the haunts of Old Town, San Diego, where we visited haunted room 11 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. But the hotel hauntings don’t stop there- San Diego is full of hotel ghosts just waiting for you to pay them a visit. Looking for a real treat (or trick?) this Halloween? Check-in to one of these beautiful, historic and spooky places:

Is that Kate getting ready for her nighttime stroll?

The Hotel Del Coronado

The Grand Dame of San Diego hotels, The Hotel del Coronado, has a strange haunting of her own. Kate Morgan was the beautiful girl who spent 5 days at the hotel in 1892 waiting for a man who never arrived before she was found dead in a staircase with a gunshot wound to the head. For the past 120 years, guests have reported her forlorn beach strolls or caught glimpses of her ghost in hotel windows. This Halloween, look for Kate yourself with the hotel’s A Room with a Boo! package or attend the Hallo-wine & Spirits party on October 29th.

Why yes! It is!

Giving a whole new meaning to the word "veteran."

The Grande Colonial

Of course La Jolla’s oldest original hotel has a few resident ghosts as well. Opened in 1913, over the past century the European-style colonial hotel has been a gathering place for locals, Hollywood stars (Gregory Peck grew up in La Jolla- his father was the pharmacist next door!), and military men. These ghosts of WWII can still be heard traipsing through their old haunt- making particular raucous on certain military anniversaries.


5 to Try This Weekend in San Diego

1. TRASH, The New Children’s Museum: Features the work of 12 artists from around the globe focused on the kid-friendly and timely topic of trash. The exhibition encompasses each work of art, hands on art-making projects, school curricula, artist lectures, family workshops and special events. The exhibition opens with a free community block party on October 15 and 16.

2. US Grant Prohibition Party: San Diego’s original 1930’s heyday speakeasy will be holding an inaugural modern-day Prohibition party. Held in the space that connects an underground tunnel from the original speakeasy to the Port of San Diego where booze was once illegally smuggled. The event will take place during the hotel’s 101st birthday, October 16. The event is open to the public and will feature jazzy live music from the era with various food and crafty beverage stations.

3. Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld: Discover an ocean of Halloween fun at SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular every weekend in October. Catch silly and spooky shows including the Pirates 4-D movie experience. Then join in The Search for Captain Lucky’s Treasure in a walk-through adventure. Enjoy photo ops with your favorite friends from Sesame Street and trick-or-treat alongside huggable SeaWorld characters.

photo by Mike Rollerson

4. Haunted Trail of Balboa Park: The Haunted Trail is a stroll through the park you will never forget. Enter the mile long Trail through the twisted grove of pines and gnarled oaks. Visitors watch your back, you’ll never know which way the terror will hit you. True to form, the Trail is not for children under 10 or the faint of heart. Experience an outdoor terror that is simply too big to house indoors. Runs through October 31 (except Mondays and Tuesdays.)

5. Spooky Science at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center: Fall into Spooky Science at the Fleet! Learn about all things scary from glow in the dark Flubber to spider webs and shocking activities. Special activities are only $2 with admission. Creep into the Discovery Lab if you dare; available Saturdays in October only.