A San Diego Halloween at the Sofia Hotel
The nights here in San Diego may not exactly be on the crisp side, and our abundant palms aren’t putting on a leaf-peeping show, but that doesn’t mean the Halloween spirit isn’t in full bloom in America’s Finest City. If you’re joining us at the Sofia Hotel during this hauntingly fun stretch of the calendar, here are some of the holiday events—on a varying spectrum of spooky—to consider hitting up during your Downtown San Diego stay!
Dia de los Muertos in San Diego
The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration—Dia de los Muertos—is a wonderful tradition rooted in pre-Columbian festivities and also colored by the Christian practices of All Saint’s Eve, All Saint’s Day, and All Soul’s Day (the October 31st – November 2nd window of Allhallowtide). Today widely practiced in the United States as well, the Day of the Dead encompasses both personal observances—setting up ofrendas (altars) to honor deceased loved ones and friends, visiting cemeteries, sharing meals—and organized public ones, at both of which you’re liable to see plenty of beautifully rendered calaveras (skulls) and calacas (skeletons) and no shortage of marigolds: the Flowers of the Dead.
With its vibrant Mexican-American population and multicultural energy, Greater San Diego puts on more than one awesome Dia de los Muertos party. On Saturday, October 26th, for example, you’ve got several quite close to the Sofia—the Sherman Heights Dia de los Muertos, the City Heights Dia de los Muertos, and the North Park Day of the Dead Festival—as well as the Encinitas Dia de los Muertos Celebration a lovely drive or train ride up-coast. Expect great food, arts-and-crafts, live music, and more!
Speaking of Day of the Dead, it’s the subject (as you probably know) of the massively successful 2017 Disney/Pixar film Coco. On October 26th, the San Diego Symphony will provide the live musical score (composed by Michael Giacchino) for a screening of the movie, which has all-ages appeal. As a special treat, guitarist Federico Ramos, who performed on the original soundtrack recording, will be taking part.
Hit the Town, Halloween-Style, in the Gaslamp Quarter
With accommodations at the Sofia Hotel, you’ll find yourself right on the doorstep of one of the most popular and dynamic neighborhoods in Downtown San Diego: the Gaslamp Quarter. This vivacious district happens to be an all-around Halloween hotspot, with a whole slew of Halloween parties on tap, the scary movies (The Blair Witch Project, Hostel, etc.) of the “Nightmare on Fifth Avenue” series at Theatre Box, and live music and DJ sets at more than a few clubs. Get the full lowdown here!
Halloween Festivities Among the Animals
You’ll find Halloween fun on tap among a live menagerie at two of the San Diego area’s top attractions. Over at the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, HalGLOween offers a bunch of family-friendly delights for its last weekend of October 25th through the 27th, with live performances, games, costumed characters, and seasonally themed animal shows.
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Birch Aquarium, meanwhile, will be holding its 20th Haunted Aquarium bash on the evenings of October 25th, 26th, and 27th, with Scripps scientists on hand to share some of their thrilling undersea research, thrilling looks at such Halloween-appropriate creatures as skeleton shrimp, sea spiders, and glow-in-the-dark deepwater organisms, and a slew of arts-and-crafts activities, plus live tunes from Billy Lee & the Swamp Critters.
Balboa Park Halloween Family Day
Costume parades and contests, spooky crafts and carnival games, a Day of the Dead altar, a Thriller-style dance party—heck, even some educational pumpkin-dropping experiments—are only some of the highlights at the 11th annual Balboa Park Halloween Family Day, underway from 11 AM to 4 PM on October 26th.
If your Halloween tastes tend toward the scare-your-socks-off side of the meter, San Diego certainly has much to offer. In Balboa Park, for example, the Haunted Trail—ranked among the top 10 haunted house attractions in the country by CNN—will lead you along its scare-ridden path, with such bone-chilling characters as the Faceless Boy, Pennywise, Michael Myers, and assorted “steampunk chainsaw-wielding clowns” there to welcome you.
San Diego haunted attractions don’t come any bigger, meantime, than The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds: an aptly named affair, what with such realms as the House of Horror, the Haunted Hayride, and the Chamber testing your courage.
Things get a bit “realer” over the Whaley House Museum, which as usual extends its hours during Halloween to give its guests more opportunities to explore what many claim is the most haunted house in the U.S. A bevy of specters are said to frequent this history-soaked place, including the outlaw “Yankee” Jim Robinson hanged at this spot as well as the lingering Whaley family itself.
Enjoy Luxury Halloween Lodgings in San Diego at the Sofia Hotel
From a ghost tour at one of San Diego’s historic landmarks and heart-pounding traverses of devilishly schemed-up scare zones to lively Dia de los Muertos celebrations and family-friendly festivals, do Halloween right this year on a San Diego getaway to the Sofia Hotel!