southwesthalloween feature
Escape Halloween, photo credit, Ivan Meneses
By Lauren Wong

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to get to planning. Halloween isn’t just for kids. I hate that as we grow older, the magic of the holidays seems to disappear. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for new things, new experiences; anything to bring back that excitement, and I want to share that with you. 

That being said, I’ve put together a list of events happening in the Southwest. I tried to feature a wide range of things so that hopefully everyone can find something that interests them. If not, there’s so many more a quick Google search will help you find. 

Since most major cities, if not all, have annual Halloween bar crawls I won’t be featuring any of those here, but if that’s your scene, I’m positive you’ll find one near you to join in on. Note that no events in Arizona will be featured in this article, go to the previous post to find those.

So, happy spooky season, let’s get ready to celebrate!

When: Select dates Sept. 16 - Oct. 31
Where: SeaWorld, San Diego, CA
Cost: Tickets start at $39.99

Once the sun goes down, everything changes at SeaWorld San Diego park. Suddenly, creatures of all kinds emerge from the darkness to give you the scare of your life. The park will be full of Scare Zones, Haunted Houses, and ScAREAs. 

New additions this year include Scare Zones Clown Gauntlet and Sea of Souls. New Haunted Houses include Circus of the Damned, and Area 64: Alien Outbreak. And, finally new ScAREAs include the Carnival of Chaos and Vampire. There will also be a new show, Darkness Falls, where “a chilling, suspenseful theatrical spectacle [will be] sure to haunt and thrill all those who dare to take a ride.”

When: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Oct. 22
Where: Camperworld Hot Springs, Garland, UT
Cost: $25 Scuba Entry Fee

This event really caught my eye because I have never heard of such a thing. When you think of scuba diving, never would pumpkin carving come to mind as a pairing. Brought to you by Idaho Dive Pirates, participating in this event will earn you your very own “Underwater Pumpkin Carving Recognition Card.”

So, how it works is everyone will bring their own pumpkin, something to share in a potluck, and their scuba gear. You’ll bring everything over to Camperworld Hot Springs and get ready to jump in the water with your carving tools and get to work on your masterpiece. Additionally, there will be prizes and contests.

When: Oct. 28 - 31
Where: St. Mary’s Art Center, Virginia City, NV
Cost: Rooms start at $175

Spend the night with ghost investigators as you try to connect with those who once occupied this 1875 building. Those ghost investigators, W.I.G.S. (Women Investigating Ghost Sightings), are the ones who will be exploring with you and hosting the event. All of the proceeds from the event will be going back towards St. Mary’s Art Center to cover all the restoration and repairs they do to preserve this gem.

St. Mary’s Art Center has a long history. Originally it was built as a hospital for Cornstock miners. After being abandoned for years, Father Meinecke saved it from being demolished in 1964. 

All you have to do is book one of their rooms from Oct. 28 – 31, and you’ll be in for a night of fright. And, hopefully you’ll get a chance to connect with the spirits that have lingered here. This isn’t a set up haunted house, this is the real deal.

When: 4 p.m. Oct. 28 - 2 a.m. Oct. 29
Where: National Orange Show Event Center, San Bernardino, CA
Cost: 2-Day GA starts at $209.95, 1-Day GA starts at $139.95
photo credit, Ivan Meneses

This is an EDM festival like no other. Not only do they have world-renowned headliners taking the stage from Marshmello, to Subtronics, Alesso, Martin Garrix, Tiesto, and more, but it’s all encompassed in a scary craze. You never know what’ll be lurking around the corner.

photo credit, Jose Murga

At the center of Escape Halloween, you’ll find Crazy Town, a place full of “mysterious characters and unseen supernatural forces.” While in Crazy Town you can stop by Poison Ivy (an exotic pharmacy) for an enchanted drink. You can go grocery shopping at The Butcher, but beware, this isn’t your traditional grocery shop. Once inside you’ll be surrounded by hanging body bags as DJs play eerie music. A perfect way to get you in the shopping mood! (For traditional food and beverages, visit The Well). There’s a silent disco, Dance Macabre, shows at Fire Organ where you can sit back and watch as the organ turns into a “fire-breathing and roaring monster,” that will surely send “shivers down your spine.”

photo credit, Keiki-Lani Knudsen

If the headliners aren’t entertaining enough (playing across their four Halloween themed setups), there’s also lots and lots of art. You’ll find everything from three-dimensional superstructures to glow-in-the-dark environments, and technological feats of light, sound, and fire. You’ll find a variety of performers from fortune-tellers, to contortionists and more. Get ready for a fright filled night with some of your favorite DJs.

When: Oct. 28 - 29
Where: Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, NV
Cost: Tickets start at $65 (VIP Passes available for purchase, as well as tickets for each individual event)

There are three main events that’ll take place during the Sin City Halloween Ball; Thriller, the main Sin City Halloween Ball, and After Life. 

Thriller kicks off the festivities on Friday, Oct. 28, bringing everything 80s, 90s, and classic hits to the Palms Casino Resort. Known for being a top Friday event of Halloween weekend, Thriller is coming back for its 14th year anniversary at the iconic KAOS club.

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Next up on the lineup is the Sin City Halloween Ball, coming back for its 26th year. Travel Channel has previously named the event as “One of the Top 10 Events in the World,” so, it’s safe to say you don’t want to miss out. There will be performing acts, DJs, drinks, costumes, and more, as they promise to bring even more to this year’s Ball.

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photo credit Sin City Halloween Ball

And, if that wasn’t enough, get your tickets for the afterparty, After Life, the nightclub of the living dead. Party until dawn with their headlining DJs.