The air is crisp, the sun is waning, and the kids are back at school: it’s fall! There’s a lot to love about San Diego in the fall, especially the spooky, sudsy fun you can have! You have weeks to perfect your Halloween costume, but you can get inspired and scared right away! You can get your spook on with the haunts and ghouls downtown as soon as it gets dark this weekend! And if you’re more a fan of beer and biergartens than boogeymen, there are three Oktoberfests in just the next three weeks! Enjoy all the spooky, sudsy fun San Diego has to offer this month!

Spooky October Fun

The Haunted Hotel

Haunted Trail

  • What: “Located in San Diego’s world-famous 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 Haunted Trail & eXperiment Maze are not for children under 10 or the faint of heart. Experience an outdoor terror that is simply too big to house indoors! This year, Horror Icons have taken over the Haunted Trail! Freddy, Michael Myers, The Nun, and it’s Friday the 13th EVERY night as Jason has pitched a tent at Camp Crystal Lake. Follow the red balloon…”IT” will lead you to blood-drooling PennyWise the Dancing Clown. The Ghoul Bus has made an unplanned stop in Derry, Maine and Georgie is trapped inside. Enter the upside-down world through the crowd favorite Stranger Things house, and get snowed on at the Island of Misfit Toys!”
  • When: September 28th through October 31st
    • Twenty-five percent off Opening Night, September 28th
  • Where: At the corner of Balboa Drive & Juniper in Balboa Park
  • Tickets: $25. VIP Fast Pass: $37
  • More info:

Sudsy Oktober(fest) Fun

La Mesa Oktoberfest

  • What: “Since 1973, La Mesa Oktoberfest has been attracting over 100,000 people from across San Diego and Southern California for three FREE days of elevated family-friendly entertainment, tons of top notch German food, live music, and of course, beer! Plus, brat eating contests, musical chairs, yodeling contest, creative cocktails, non-stop DJ beats and giant board and more! La Mesa Oktoberfest isn’t just your typical food and drink celebration, it’s an elevated experience for all ages. Bring the whole family out for a weekend of family-friendly activities at the German Kinder Karneval, featuring a towering Ferris wheel, rock-climbing wall, massive inflatable slides, interactive art, brat-eating competitions, scavenger hunts and even more new features like the wiener/dachshund dog race and fashion show! Celebrating its 45th year, La Mesa Oktoberfest continues to top its traditions and bring Bavarians of all ages an unbeatable free weekend in a German paradise.”
  • When: September 28th through 30th
  • Where: La Mesa Village, Spring Street at La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa, 91941
  • Tickets: Free to enter. Biergarten VIP Pass: up to $45
  • More info:

Encinitas Oktoberfest

Ocean Beach Oktoberfest

  • What: San Diego’s Wildest Oktoberfest. The Reader calls it, “The 14th annual Ocean Beach Oktoberfest. This two-day eclectic, beach-side festival will include a variety of exciting activities, contests and entertainment with proceeds benefiting local non-profit organizations. Festivities kick off Friday from 3-11 p.m. with the beer garden, live music and games. The Jose Sinatra’s two-day corn hole tournament will begin Friday with preliminary rounds from 3-6 p.m. The fun picks back up 11 a.m. Saturday morning with the corn hole tourney finals, OB Brewfest featuring OB Microbrews and a selection of German beers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. benefiting the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station, live music, and the much-loved annual competitions, including the Sausage Toss Competition, bratwurst-eating contest, stein-holding contest, and more, all with a cash prize! Saturday will also include a free beach-side all-ages stage area with performances organized by Rock & Roll San Diego, along with a food and craft vendor area on the Veterans Plaza lawn.”
  • When: October 12th at 3pm, and October 13th at 9am
  • Where: Newport Ave and Abbott St, Ocean Beach, San Diego, 92107
  • Tickets: Free
  • More info: