Costumes and treat-filled bags are the typical staples of Halloween. It’s practically a patriotic duty to get the kids dressed up, keep them under a watchful eye and then screen their goodie bags at the end of the night for anything unsafe or unhealthy.
But from dancing at a masquerade ball to chowing down on Zombie Balls (a new type of donut courtesy of Psycho Donuts), there’s more to do than just trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. There are haunted houses, sing-along film screenings, costume contests with cash prizes, spooky symphonies, silent auctions, drink specials and more.
Get in the Halloween spirit with our guide to the best Halloween events in the South Bay.
Halloween Weekend Party
Oct. 28, 29 and 31 at Tres Gringos Baja Cantina
Tres Gringos hosts a three-day party extravaganza for Halloween weekend. October 28 is the Night of the Living Dead: come dressed as a zombie and pay no cover. October 29 is the Halloween Costume Party: come dressed in costumes with happy hour from 4-8pm. October 31is the Heaven & Hell Party: Tres Gringos teams up with next door neighbor San Jose Bar & Grill to throw an open patio party. Doors open at 8pm.
Fahrenheit Halloween Bash
Oct. 29 at Fahrenheit Restaurant and Lounge
On Saturday, October 29, Fahrenheit Restaurant and Lounge Fahrenheit transforms into a Halloween-themed venue with their 6th annual Halloween Bash featuring over $1,000 in prizes: $300 for Best Costume, a VIP Bottle Package for Sexiest Costume and a VIP Dinner Package for Best Couple. Charly Fusion & DJ Melvis man the decks.
Long Gon Bon Halloween Show
Oct. 29 at Britannia Arms Cupertino
AC/DC tribute band Long Gon Bon—one of the best cover bands in the area—kicks off the Brit’s anniversary week along with great drink prices in honor of their 30th anniversary.
Halloween Improv Killer Thriller
Oct. 29 at Made Up Theatre
Made Up Theatre puts on a spooky improv show loaded with scary Halloween-themed improv games and a special fully-improvised thriller story. Come dressed up to enter a Halloween costume contest and win awesome prizes. In honor of Steve Jobs and all others who have lost their lives to cancer, Made Up Theatre is donating 50% of all ticket proceeds during the month of October to the American Cancer Society.
Sep. 30-Oct. 30 at California’s Great America
Halloween Haunt is an in-your-face scare experience complete with six spine-tingling haunted mazes, four themed scare zones, four head-turning live stage shows and one gruesome themed attraction, plus the park’s collection of world-class thrill rides. Halloween Haunt is Northern California’s biggest and scariest Halloween event. Guest costumes, masks and face paint are not permitted for safety reasons.
Winchester Mystery House
Sep. 30-Oct. 31 at Winchester Mystery House
In addition to the popular Flashlight Tours, for the first time, guests “Fright Nights” will have the exclusive opportunity to experience the all-new “Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze,” an interactive, multi-sensory gateway between Heaven and Hell. For a lifetime, Sarah Winchester built, built, and rebuilt her house to avoid a treacherous curse and escape her husband’s legacy of damnation. Those who perished by the Winchester rifle are seeking revenge, and are now ready to sacrifice souls before midnight strikes. Visitors experience bone-chilling creatures and blood-curdling moments as they find themselves trapped inside the mansion empowered by the undead.
Haunted house at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
Well, wait no longer! Come and face your fears now starting Oct 14th 2011! Face two of the most horrifying haunted house attractions that will keeping you moving.. er, we mean.. running for over a quarter of a mile of terror! Yes, that’s right! Two highly detailed haunted attractions that are sure to make your own haunted dreams come true! Don’t come alone as our ghouls like that!
Oct. 28 at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center
The Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center is super excited for their annual Halloween Dance, “Masquerade Ball,” on Friday, October 28. Featured at this year’s dance is a haunted house along with dancing, food, music, photos, and plenty of chances to hang out with friends as well as meet new people. Open to all LGBTQIAP folks ages 13-20. School or state ID required.
Trek Or Treat
Oct. 28-30 at The Retro Dome
Watch three Star Trek Movies at the Retro Dome’s special “Trek or Treat” weekend. Showing The Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock and the 25th anniversary of The Voyage Home, the theater is also hosting a pre-show that will include a trivia game and costume contest.
El Dia de los Muertos
Oct. 29 at the San Jose Museum of Art
San Jose Museum of Art’s Community Day: El Dia de los Muertos celebrates the joyful holiday with a day of hands-on art making, live music, dance performances, storytelling, and more from 11am-5pm on Saturday, October 29. This holiday brings families and communities together to share their love and respect for their departed loved ones. The event is free.
Good Sam Halloween Carnival
Oct. 29 at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church
The Good Sam Halloween Carnival features games for kids, a costume parade, prizes, food, live music and more. Good Sam’s Engagement Team has set its sights on this year’s Halloween Carnival as a way to engage friends and neighbors in serving the community. Individuals and small groups are asked to take on a task and then involve their friends and neighbors in completing that task. There are also new attractions such as a live band, a magician, a bounce house and possibly a petting zoo.
San Jose Chamber Orchestra
Oct. 30 at Le Petit Trianon Theatre
Join the San Jose Chamber Orchestra as they perform a spooky set of tunes from film as well as contemporary concert composers to celebrate this Halloween season. The program, featuring the Del Sol String Quartet, includes Leyendas - An Andean Walkabout by Gabriela Lena Frank, Suite from Pyscho by Bernard Hermann and Ibbur (possession) by Dan Wyman.
Halloween In Japantown
Oct. 31 at Wesley United Methodist Church
Halloween in Japantown features performances by the SJ Taiko, as well as safety presentations by Ken Takaka, member of SJ Taiko and the San Jose Police Department. Kids are encouraged to dress in costumes and go trick-or-treating through the Japantown neighborhood.