Although LA isn’t exactly known for being THE place to be for Halloween, rest assured we still have 203524 different events going on at any given time to celebrate the holiday, not to mention the entire month of October. This is the time of year we start pulling out our cozies for the 65-70 degree weather, grocery stores stock up with candy, Halloween decorations start peppering the city, and out comes anything and everything “pumpkin”. Even though there are no leaves falling, and lets be honest it’s not getting all that cold out, we still love to pretend we’re in the midst of a change in weather pattern and can celebrate Fall with the best of ’em. Despite our fail on Autumn, LA still loves Halloween activities, and we freakin love October.
Here are 13 ways to celebrate this wonderful month and this wonderful Fall holiday, in some ways only LA can:
1. Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. Theeeyyy’rrreee Baaaaacckkk.
There’s really only two indications of Fall in Los Angeles: September 22nd, because the news and our dads tell us it’s the Fall Equinox, and that one day the Pumpkin Spice Latte turns back up at Starbucks. You know Fall is around here somewhere in LA, so why not force that feeling of Fall nostalgia on a warm October day with a warm and fuzzy beverage. …mm pumpkin flavored things… that taste nothing like pumpkin. “Whatever” we say!
2. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.
If you have a penchant for scaring the crap out of yourself, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios is the place to go. This year is extra special as they’re hopping on the Zombie bandwagon and recreating and setting a scene from AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’. I thought big scary men with chainsaws were bad… I don’t know if a bunch of people who want to eat my guts sounds any more comforting. But sweet, ZOMBIES.
3. Visit the Worlds Most Unexciting Pumpkin Patches
I’ve been in search for the kind pumpkin patches I used to visit as a kid in Northern California where there was fog, crisp air, trees, hay, long gravel roads, nostalgia… well, they don’t exist in LA. It probably comes as no surprise that LA’s “pumpkin patches” exisit on busy streets and require valet parking, but hey? They still have the bare necessities: pumpkins and ponies. Going to one of these patches just to laugh and shake your head in disapproval is great fun, they’re mostly so depressing that it’s almost endearing. Especially if you, like me, come from a place where fall and nature indeed exists, you will understand my sentiment. And of course there’s nothing that says “welcome to Halloween time in LA” like purchasing an over priced pumpkin from a patch surrounded by a chain link fence. Ahhh yes, good times.
4. Throw A Pumpkin Carving Party
When you’ve purchased your pumpkins, which I assure you you should do in a group, it’s time to do something with ’em. I’ve hosted a pumpkin carving party at my house for the past 3 years, yes there were male guests too, and I’m asked every year if we’re doing it again. Carve some pumpkins, watch some Harry Potter, bake some pumpkin seeds, take some pictures, and have a grand ol’ time. Maybe even throw in some seasonal beer and baked items for good measure.
5. Concerts In Costume
Want to dress up but don’t exactly know what to do or where to go in LA? Check out local concert listings for the end of October; Scenestar, Goldenvoice, and Ticketmaster can help you with listings. I’ve been going to shows around Halloween for the past few years and it’s a great way to celebrate if you’ve got an itch to get out and do something but don’t exactly have a Halloween event or party to attend. I’ve been to quite a few shows where a costume contest is part of the night, AND even the band has come out dressed up in costumes too. Go as yourself or go in costume, either are acceptable. It’s LA for Gods sake, do what you want because luckily there will always be someone who looks crazier and more enthusiastic than you. Shows around Halloween this year include Unmasquerade at Avalon on October 23, New Found Glory and Alkaline Trio October 26th at Club Nokia, Eek at The Greek (Theatre) on October 27th, and Father John Misty at the Wiltern on November 2nd; and of course many more.
6. Rob Zombies Great American Nightmare
If there’s one human on the face of the earth that knows horror, gore, and the holy weird holiday that is Halloween, it’s Rob Zombie. If you’d like to experience first hand all of his most terrifying inner thoughts and nightmares, Rob Zombies Great American Nightmare at the Pomona Fairplex, or “Fearplex”, is your destination. Of course it wouldn’t be Rob Zombie without musical guests too so acts like The Vandals, Andrew W.K., and the Zombie himself are headed to the Fearplex to round out the American Nightmare. I am personally incredibly curious about the whole thing, “3 sick twisted haunted houses” almost had me, but to be honest I can’t handle one haunted house let alone three. This event only exists in Los Angeles, so for you adrenaline junkie Angelenos this is a must attend event.
7. Bake Things.
I dont know what it is about October, maybe it’s the abundance of pumpkins and apples, or being over trying to look “bikini ready”, but it’s certainly become the month of baking and induldging in tasty warm treats. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, apple crisp, apple pie… just a few necessary things to make in honor of the beginning of Fall to satisfy your sweet tooth and impress others with your mad Pinterest inspired baking skills.
8. Go To Disneyland For Halloween Time
So it may be a drive from LA, a whole hour tops, but Halloween Time at Disneyland has to be one of the most sweet and silly ways to get into the October/Halloween spirit in Southern California. Even if you go just to ride Space Mountain ‘Ghost Galaxy’ which features a bunch of goofy “flying” skulls on fire, or the incredibly unexciting yet undoubtably adorable ‘Nightmare Before Christmas Haunted Mansion’ “ride”, you will surely feel like a kid again and have a blasty blast doing it. Without getting the sh*t scared out of you of course.
9. Drink Autumn Inspired Cocktails
LA is the HBIC (head bitch in charge) when it comes to craft cocktails. We love “mixology” around these parts and creating seasonal drinks that require strange and unique ingredients only fuel a creative bartenders cocktail fire. Figure if we can make and eat Fall inspired foods… we can drink Fall inspired beverages? Sotto and Corner Door, to name a few, are featuring a few of these seasonal concoctions on their menus, but I promise you, walk in to any bar in LA that can clearly conjure up some magic and more than likely they will be able to make you a special Autumn beverage to warm your insides. Literally and figuratively.
10. Watch the ’13 Nights of Halloween’ On ABC Family Channel
My boyfriend said and I quote, “you’re the only person who would ever watch ‘The 13 Nights of Halloween’.” I say “au contraire”. For us 20 somethings, NOTHING brings on the sweet feeling of nostalgia for October and Halloween like watching movies such as Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Practical Magic. We can’t go trick or treating that’s for damn sure, so filling the nostalgia void with quality Halloween-movie-marathon time is about on par. For me at least. The ‘1st night of Halloween’ starts this Saturday; get ready to get in touch with your inner kid, cozy up with a blanket, heck grab some candy and enjoy some classic Halloween movies.
11. HARD Day of the Dead
There’s a lot of kids these days who just wanna dance. They just want to put their furry raver boots on, bathe in a lil glitter, and go cray cray. Well luckily for these party animals, HARD Events knows how to fill their needs; once again this year they will host “Day of the Dead” at the LA Historic Park where the party will continue. Nov 1st and 2nd, when you’re just not quite done with Halloween, DJs like Skrillex, Calvin Harris, and Deadmau5 will be spinning beats in honor of LA’s finest Halloween party people. If the costumes and people don’t make your jaw drop in shock, just wait till you see the production and sets. This is one serious, ‘Day of the Dead’ party not to be missed.
12. See A “Scary” Movie At The Hollywood Forever
The Hollywood Forever Cemetary is one of the most iconic, most surreal, and not to mention most awesome places LA has to offer. Between putting on concerts and events, the Hollywood Forever and Cinespia feature films of all kinds, but mostly oldies and classics. October is one of the best times of year to catch a weekend movie as it’s the time of year they show classic Halloween films. This Saturday the 19th, for example, they will be showing An American Werewolf In London, and next Saturday the 26th they’ll be showing The Craft. I cant think of a cooler, more LA way to celebrate October and Halloween than in an old cemetary watching a movie, stuffing your face with candy corns, bundled up on a lawn with fellow Angelenos. Get tickets fast though, this is a very popular activity!
13. Be A Part Of the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival
This is unquestionably the most quintessential, Los Angeles/ Hollywood, Halloween party. You thought the Rose Bowl was a parade… wait till you check out the thousands of people parading down Santa Monica Blvd in WeHo on Halloween night. There’s a lot of peculiar people in LA, and then there’s also just a lot of people who like to party and dress up, but you will never see anything quite like the procession of scantily clad girls and gays struttin their stuff in outrageous outfits down SMB. If you’re looking for a party, or just looking to spectate Hollywood’s residents at their finest, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival is the time and place.
We’ve got two more weeks here in sunny Los Angeles to spend the rest of this Indian Summer in true October/Halloween fashion; that means two more weeks get in the spirit and experience at least one of the above if you are an Angeleno. But don’t feel left out if you are not an Angeleno, we’re all actually incredibly jealous of your leaves and crispier air. None the less, at least we all have pumpkins and Halloween, right? Happy October to us!