The Poor Planner’s Last-Minute Guide to L.A. Halloween 2016

Looking for some last-minute Halloween activities this weekend? Check out the huge variety of activities L.A. has to offer.

It’s Wednesday and you still don’t have any plans for Halloween weekend…or perhaps, you have too many plans to choose from? For us “young adults,” the pressure to go out and have a wild, memorable Halloween is fairly high—especially when you live in one of the biggest cities in the world. Sometimes, however, not planning will get you a night in with a bowl of ice cream and re-runs from your favorite television show (such was the results of my lack of ambition last Halloween season). If that idea excites you, please proceed to have a home body-happy night. If you’re looking to explore, here are a few unique ideas—not all of which include getting wasted in a costume.



Described as a 3D immersive horror experience, this interactive show follows the mind of a twisted artist from the 1970s. Set to explore the “dark side of humanity,” Erebus Burwyck’s shocking discoveries prompted an immediate disappearance shortly afterwards. Thus, a cult-like group formed in his absence. Located in Glassell Park, the show guides small groups through hidden scenes, intimate encounters and frightful situations to truly immersive themselves in the artist’s work. This ain’t your campy haunted house experience. For a true horror show, grab tickets ahead of time on their site at They’re selling out quickly!

Universal Horror Nights/Knott’s Scary Farm/Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor


Looking for something a little less serious and a little more frolicky? Try one of these long-running large-scale haunted maze extravaganzas. If you’ve lived in SoCal for longer than five years, it’s a good chance you’ve blazed through mazes in one or two of these parks. Universal Horror Nights takes you through a ton of mazes, all of which feature prime special effects, costume and makeup thanks to the park’s large resource of movie equipment. In addition to their usual rides, you have a chance to check out a modern dance show from America’s Best Dance Crew winners Jabbawockeez, “scare zones” and a Walking Dead attraction. Knott’s Scary Farm features a similar set up of mazes and scare zones, but adds an additional twist of a “spooky” early entry buffet and a chance to meet the queen of horror, Elvira, if you do a little shopping spree at her boutique. Regardless, you can still attend her “masquerade ball show,” complete with music, dance and comedy. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is the most low-key of the trio, providing attendees with a good five mazes to explore, a couple of which live inside the actual haunted Queen Mary ship. You can also stay in this hotel overnight, and chances are likely that a previous “attendee” from years ago will give you a truly haunting night to remember.

Happening in DTLA’s Speakeasy Halloween

Our gang is hosting an epic party in the sleek, glamorous Little Speakeasy in Downtown LA on October 30. This hidden gem, which plays up a New Orleans feel, will be serving up Cajun fare and prime specialty cocktails for guests as a live DJ spins some tunes all night. Goodie bags go out to the first 100 guests, free beers for the first 25 guests and prizes will be given out to the best costumes. Best part of the evening? You’ll have the chance to participate in a Thriller dance-off at midnight. RSVP on

Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas at the Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl’s incredible 2016 lineup continues with the return of a live orchestral performance of the constant tribute to Halloween, Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack Skellington will be acted out live by none other than the film’s original voice, Danny Elfman. Other Nightmare veterans are scheduled to make an appearance, so grab a picnic (one that is glass-less and alcohol free inside the venue) and a blanket to stay warm during this nostalgic experience all through Halloween weekend.

Boo at the Zoo


Wanna get extra cute over Halloween weekend? Boo at the Zoo has been in full force the entire month of October, a bundle of adorable costumes, animals, pumpkin carvings and crafts. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this huge list of activities planned for attendees (although it might help to bring your niece or nephew in full pumpkin attire), from musical monster mash-ups to special pumpkin feedings with the animals and even fun explorations through creepy caves and graveyard safaris. For a list of the day’s activities and events, head over to

Dia de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

A yearly celebration, Dia de Los Muertos honors the dead and our ancestors who have moved onto a better life. Hollywood Forever’s annual Dia de los Muertos extravaganza combines both traditional and celebratory elements of the holiday with performances, traditional Mexican cuisine and crafts. Arrive in your finest Calaca apparel and check out the art exhibitions too. There’ll be a contest for the best dressed, hundreds of altar presentations and authentic Aztec rituals and dances all weekend long.

L.A. Comic Con

Holly and Will Blagg dressed as the alien from the movie "Preditor" taunts (l to r) Andre Thorseh, Tabitha Ricketts, Clara Ricketts, Erin Ricketts and Joanna Burke of San Diego who couldn't get Comic-Con Tickets.
Holly and Will Blagg dressed as the alien from the movie “Preditor” taunts (l to r) Andre Thorseh, Tabitha Ricketts, Clara Ricketts, Erin Ricketts and Joanna Burke of San Diego who couldn’t get Comic-Con Tickets.

Leave it to the proud nerds of Los Angeles to host their annual comic con during Halloween weekend! Although the event is not Halloween-related, you can still dress up as your favorite character and browse through the hundreds of booths dedicated to pop culture, comics, and everything in between. In addition to these booths, you’ll also have a chance to check out some unique artist panels and grab autographs with your favorite creative minds and characters too. Comic legend Stan Lee and the previously mentioned Elvira Mistress host this pop culture party at the LA Convention Center from October 29-30.

Festival Supreme


A final un-related yet equally entertaining weekend event to consider is Festival Supreme, a prime list of comedians and musical comedy that invades the Shrine Expo Hall and Grounds. The festival is in its biggest year of lineups yet – Huge, renowned acts like Flight of the Conchords, Fred Armisen, Mac Demarco and Maya Rudolph showcase their talents to make you laugh, cry and sing along. Started by Tenacious D’s Jack Black and Kyle Gass this festival is a playground of laughter that you don’t want to miss on October 29.

Writer, coffee guru, audiophile, and L.A. native with a B.A. in Literary Journalism from U.C. Irvine. Other side passions and endeavors include public radio, hiking, and playing big Japanese drums.
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