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(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – California makes an eerie transformation this October when regions throughout the state offer haunted events, festivals and a variety of ghost walks – all part of the Golden State’s host of spooky Halloween activities. For deals throughout California this fall visit

“California offers the ultimate in Halloween haunts,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beteta of the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC). “From scary theme park attractions to pumpkin and harvest festivals, along with frightening tours, visitors flock to California every fall for our ghoulish tricks and treats.”

In Santa Clara, California’s Great America, part of the San Francisco Bay Area Region, offers its first-ever Halloween Haunt, taking place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening October 3 through November 1. This special ticketed event includes haunted mazes, such as CarnEvil, billed as the most gruesome carnival in town, where park-goers face their worst childhood fears as demonic clowns terrify guests; themed attractions, including Camp GonnaGetcha, which takes on a dark, twisted side once the sun goes down; and themed scare zones, including Underworld Alley, where the deceased awaken from their graves. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo presents its annual Fright Fest every weekend from October 4 through October 31. It’s daytime trick-or-treating and kid-friendly fun, but in the evening the park morphs into a shadow land of ghosts with haunted mazes and scare zones. In San Jose, the bizarre Winchester Mystery House offers spooky Flashlight Tours October 18, 25 and 31 of  the historic 160-room Victorian mansion, thought by many to be haunted by Sarah Winchester, whom many believed built continuously on the home to confuse the spirits of Winchester rifle victims. Ghoulish and giddy behavior is part of the fun as kids in costumes trick-or-treat throughout San Francisco’s PIER 39 and its Pumpkin Pandemonium on October 26. For entertainment of a different sort, visitors can head to San Rafael October 25-26 for Marin’s Glorious Glass Pumpkin Harvest, which features more than 2,000 blown glass pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors.

Halloween makes a splash at SeaWorld San Diego, part of the San Diego County Region, during its Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld celebration. This family friendly program takes place October 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26 and 31 through November 2, and features trick-or-treat stations, a “Sesame Street”-themed Halloween show, a special Halloween-themed sea lion show and interactive Halloween characters along the pathways of the park. In Carlsbad, LEGOLAND California joins in the Halloween fun October 4-5, 11-12, 18-19 and 25-26 with its 10th annual Brick-or-Treat Celebration. Children ages 12 and under can trick-or-treat with a souvenir goodie bag along the Brick-or-Treat Trail, a kid-sized cul-de-sac of spooky LEGO homes with fun and creepy creatures. A daily costume contest and huge, 4-foot-tall LEGO jack-o’-lantern round out the fun. On November 2, Oceanside celebrates Dia de los Muertos by transforming its downtown streets into a Mexican plaza with more than 30,000 marigolds, used to create “ofrendas” or altars as memorials. Guests enjoy music, dancing and food. The 2nd Annual Pumpkins at the Park, held October 25-26 and November 1-2, transforms the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park into a safe, family friendly Halloween adventure with costume contests, trick-or-treating, spooky storytelling and creepy crafts.

In Atascadero, located in the Central Coast Region, the Central Coast Zoo Society invites all mummies, ghouls and goblins to the Charles Paddock Zoo October 31 for its annual Halloween extravaganza, the Zoo Boo. Guests come dressed up and join in on the fun as the zoo transforms into a frighteningly friendly place. The Museum of Ventura County showcases its popular Dia de Los Muertos Community Celebration, held November 1 at the Albinger Archeological Museum in Ventura with traditional folk craft projects, face painting and live music. Families can also try their hand at decorating sugar skulls and masks and making papel picado banners, papier-mâché butterflies, paper flowers or skeletons.

Travelers can experience the Governor’s Mansion State Historic Park in Sacramento, part of the Gold Country Region, in a whole new light with a Mansion After Dark tour on October 24-25. During this “lights out” adventure, guests will enjoy bats, pumpkins, coffins and Halloween ghost tales in the dark. Supernatural activity has long been reported at the historic Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill, as well as the 153-year-old Murphys Historic Hotel in Murphys, which was declared California’s second most “active” site in January 2008 according to a California Haunts Paranormal Investigation Team using digital video cameras, meters, wireless audio and three psychics. California Haunts is coming back November 1 to lead a Murphys Most Haunted Tour to investigate six active buildings and the cemetery from the 1800s.

The annual West Hollywood Costume Carnaval, in West Hollywood and part of the Los Angeles County Region, is returning for its 21st year October 31. Described as the “World’s Largest Street Party,” the event attracts more than 500,000 participants and offers live entertainment, celebrity appearances and “let your hair down” revelry. Issuing a dare to live your worst nightmare, Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City has ratcheted up the intensity level to present Halloween Horror Nights 2008, scheduled for October 3 through November 1. This year’s event pairs Hollywood’s top entertainment scenic and special effects artists with a cast of thousands to create terrifying new experiences, such as a Terror Tram excursion that features a stopover at the infamous Bates Motel and a bloodcurdling new “Nightmare on Elm Street” maze. Guests can also discover creatures lurking in the ocean’s depth at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Scarium, October 25-26 in Long Beach. It’s an educational event for the whole family with eerie animals, a children’s costume contest, spooky storytelling and magic shows.

Visitors to the Jelly Belly Factory Tour in Fairfield, located in the Central Valley Region, will get a special Halloween treat October 22-31 as they detour through the Jelly Belly Haunted Swamp, with crocodiles, mummies and a singing skeleton pirate. There is also the Munchkin Masquerade, a children’s costume parade, on October 25. In Suisun City, the Western Railway Museum’s Pumpkin Patch Festival features Pumpkin Patch Trains on weekends, October 11-26. Guests step back in time aboard an electric express train for a scenic 5-mile ride to Gum Grove Station, with its old-fashioned pumpkin patch, hayrides and homemade baked goods. Raisin’ Hell Ranch in Madera offers three attractions October 17 through November 2, including a creepy Haunted Corn Field maze.

Witches and talking Tufas, the unusual rock formations that grace Mono Lake’s shores, provide educational fun for families at the Halloween Moonlight Walk at Mono Lake, October 13, located in the High Sierra Region. California State Park rangers describe the mysteries within one of California’s most bizarre natural landscapes, as fantasy characters appear to the delight of everyone. Visitors to Truckee can experience a spooky Halloween by booking a room at the River Street Inn or the Truckee Hotel in hopes of hearing a creaking floorboard or catching a ghostly glimpse of former Truckee residents known to have occupied these historic buildings long ago. In Groveland, the Groveland Hotel at Yosemite National Park is definitely haunted. At least, that is the conclusion of the NorCal Paranormal Investigators. Having done two separate investigations with “ghost tech” equipment, they have documented the presence of three ghosts. Built of adobe during the 1849 California Gold Rush, the hotel once functioned as a residence and gaming hall. Today, it is a charmingly haunted inn well-known for its Southern hospitality and great food.

Now through November 2, Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure parks in Anaheim, part of the Orange County Region, have become a one-stop destination for entertainment, whimsical décor and a lively mix of Disney characters in Halloween costumes, along with not-so-scary fun, such as special shows and storytelling. Inspired by the innovative animated film Tim Burton’s “Nightmare Before Christmas, Disney’s Haunted Mansion Holiday comes to life when Jack Skellington and his friends create holiday mayhem at the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park makes its Jekyll and Hyde transformation, now through November 1, into what has become known as Halloween Haunt. This special event, in its 36th year, features 13 horrifying mazes, seven sinister stage shows, three frightening scare zones and 1,000 monsters lurking in the fog.[Back to Press Releases Main]