A guide to Halloween haunts in Hillcrest and beyond
Published Thursday, 23-Oct-2008 in issue 1087
According to Hallmark, Halloween is the third largest party day in the United States behind New Year’s Eve and Super Bowl Sunday. In the GLBT community the day has been adopted as the unofficial national gay holiday and has a reputation for uninhibited mayhem and wild, sensual fun.
Because Oct. 31 falls on a Friday this year, there will likely be many more fabulously frightening people roaming the streets in costume, seeking out both tricks and treats. Hillcrest hotspots will be brimming with celebration and most will feature special Halloween events and draws, including costume contests, drink specials and plenty of eye candy.
The frighteningly fun mayhem will stretch out over the next couple weeks and go well beyond the bars and clubs. Here is the Gay & Lesbian Times guide to Halloween haunts and festivities in Hillcrest and beyond.
Halloween events throughout San Diego
Thursday, Oct. 23
Harvest Howl: Join the community for a howling good night of food, drink, live music and fun with friends and colleagues in support of The Center’s Youth Housing Project. Harvest Howl will be presented by MARYAH (Metro Area Real Estate Professionals for Young Adult Housing) at Top of the Park Penthouse from 6-9 p.m. There will be a hosted bar for the first hour and entertainment provided by Ria Cary. Tickets are available for $40 in advance or $50 at the door. Become a host for only $250 and receive two front-of-the-line tickets. For more information, visit
GSDBA October Mixer: Save the date for the Greater San Diego Business Association’s October Mixer at the San Diego Repertory Theatre from 5:30 -7:30 p.m. The San Diego Repertory is presenting a performance that evening of Water and Power at 8 p.m. Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while mingling with San Diego’s GLBT business leaders before the show. Tickets are $29, which include the evening’s performance and a $9 donation to The San Diego LGBT Community Center. The mixer is free with the purchase of a ticket to the show. The price of the mixer is $10 for members and $15 for guests. For more information, visit
Saturday, Oct. 25
Family Matters Halloween Carnival and Costume Contest: Join Family Matters for an evening of fun at the spooktacular Halloween party at The San Diego LGBT Community Center from 4 - 7 p.m.! Enjoy carnival games, arts and crafts, along with Halloween movies and dinner. There will be activities for all age groups and spooky, festive fun for everyone in the family. Don’t forget to come in costume. Prizes will be awarded for the funniest, scariest, cutest and most original and best family costumes. Admission is $5 and children under 5 years old are free. For more information, visit
Tuesday, Oct. 28
SDPOZabilities Hallo-weenie Roast: San Diego POZabilities (SDP), a supportive network of HIV-positive men and their friends that connects members through diverse social events in a safe, welcoming environment, will host a Halloween-themed bonfire. SDP will provide the weenie roaster, the weenies, the fixin’s, and the creepy crawlers. Bring an HIV-positive friend, a spooky scary side to share, some clean wood for the fire, and a camp chair. The Hallo-weenie Roast will be held in Bonita Cove in Mission Bay, from 7 - 11 p.m. For more information, visit
Wednesday, Oct. 29
Horror Movie Series – Silence of the Lambs: The Birch North Park Theatre will present Silence of the Lambs at 8 p.m. as part of the October Horror Movie Series. Admission to the show is free for those who purchase dinner at the accompanying Hawthorne’s Restaurant and Lounge. Otherwise general admission is $9 and cost for students and seniors are $7. No persons under 17 will be admitted without parent or guardian. For more information, visit
Thursday, Oct. 30
Gentlemen’s Martini Night Annual Halloween Party: The Gentlemen’s Martini Night Annual Halloween Party will take place in the Emerald Plaza Building at the Westin Hotel from 6 to 9 p.m. This year’s theme is the Wizard of Oz and attendees are encouraged to come as their favorite character from the movie. All costumes are welcome, but not required. The night will include a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and featured drink. Additionally, GMN will be hosting its first runway costume contest and many other special features along with live coverage from “Let’s Play Downtown.” There is a $10 cover charge for this event. For more information, visit
Friday, Oct. 31
Nightmare on Normal Street: Come see how Hillcrest does Halloween at Nightmare on Normal Street from from 7-10 p.m. The San Diego LGBT Community Center’s annual Halloween celebration runs on Normal Street between University Avenue and Blaine Street in Hillcrest. This year’s celebration will be for those 18 and older and will include a costume contest with more than $1,000 in prizes. The parade of costumes will be emceed by Nicole Murray-Ramirez. Guest costume judges will include Monique Marvez from Monique and the Man on 100.7 JACK FM. DJ Steven Oliveri will spin and the Rich’s go-go boys will be performing throughout the night. A $5 donation will be accepted at the entrance to support The Center’s programs and services. For more information, visit
Hillcrest Youth Center’s Halloween Celebration: Haunt the halls of Hillcrest Youth Center (HYC) with your best costume on Halloween night for the thrilling, annual party. All the ghosts come out for one of HYC’s biggest celebrations of the year and insist that you attend. Performances, food, candy, contests and ghoulish mayhem take over the night. Dare to see why HYC’s Halloween party is the most anticipated event. For more information, visit
Monster Bash: All dressed up with nowhere to go? Monster Bash is an annual Halloween party that happens in Downtown San Diego from 6 p.m. to midnight. The main gate for this annual 21 and older event is located at Seventh Avenue and Market Street. Costumed revelers by the hundreds descend upon Downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter for this annual Halloween gathering, where top local bands supply tunes, food booths provide sustenance and alcohol venders provide the standard block-party drinks. Plus, ticket holders can slip in the door of many Gaslamp clubs and restaurants without paying a cover charge, then, gorge on exclusive Bash-related food and drink specials. Headlining the Halloween block party this year will be the Disco Pimps, the Trips and Electric Valentine. Additionally there will be a costume contest that boasts a $3,000 prize. Tickets are sold at Moose McGillycuddy’s in the Gaslamp and cost $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event. For more information, visit
Horror Movie Series – The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The Birch North Park Theatre will present The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 8 p.m. as part of the October Horror Movie Series. Admission to the show is free for those who purchase dinner at the accompanying Hawthorne’s Restaurant and Lounge. Otherwise general admission is $9 and cost for students and seniors are $7. No persons under 17 will be admitted without parent or guardian. For more information, visit
Saturday, Nov. 1
The Night After Halloween Party: FlawLes, the city’s Lesbian Lifestyle movement, will host its premium event of the fall season. The Night After Halloween Party will be held in the hip East Village at the Say Lula Salon. Say Lula’s swank city setup offers a fresh and sexy stage for the inaugural FlawLes Halloween event. The evening of treats, tricks, cocktails, hair models, and autumn indulgence will be headlined by musical guest LDR and the Kates. The band, fronted by indie rocking community favorite Lauren DeRose, kicks off its west coast tour in front of its hometown before taking to life on the road. A special guest DJ will be spinning beats long into the night after the band heats up the party. Doors open at 8 p.m. The cover is $10 at the door. Say Lula Salon is located at 955 South 16th St. in Downtown San Diego near Petco Park. For more information, visit
San Diego’s premier haunted attractions
The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park
Located at Marston Point just east of Sixth Avenue and Juniper Street, ghosts, goblins, monsters and more lurk throughout the Haunted Trail of Balboa Park. As guests wind past graveyards, past menacing trees and down dark, scary trails at San Diego’s favorite outdoor haunted attraction, it is certainly “no walk in the park.” Surrounded by the complete darkness, there is no telling what may be lurking in the trees or bushes. This haunted house has a different theme every year with a variety of surprises throughout the trail.
The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park is open through Saturday, Nov. 1
Hours: Friday and Saturday 7 p.m. to midnight; Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday 7-11 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 27 and Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 7-11 p.m.
Tickets are $14.99 at the door or available online.
For more information, visit
The Haunted Hotel
The doors to the Gaslamp District’s Haunted Hotel creaked open for the 2008 Halloween season in September, kicking off the Haunted Hotel’s 16th and scariest year yet. Horror movies rule this year’s Haunted Hotel where guests check in and experience the terror of many horror movie favorites.
The Haunted Hotel is open through Saturday, Nov. 1.
Hours: Friday and Saturday 6 p.m. to 1 a.m ; Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday 7-11 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 27 and Tuesday, Oct. 28 from 7-11 p.m.
Tickets are $14.99 at the door or available online.
For more information, visit
Del Mar Scare Grounds
The Del Mar Scare Grounds is a great place for families and children to come to for some Halloween fun. Home to The Scream Zone, which is San Diego’s largest and scariest haunted attraction, the Scare Grounds is a mini fair that encompasses more than five acres at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and includes carnival rides and games, as well as several eerie experiences throughout the ghoulish grounds.
The Scream Zone features a huge House of Horror with rooms filled with terrifying scenes and scares lurking at every turn, a one-of-a-kind Haunted Hayride through the haunted barns on the race track and The Chamber with the largest spinning tunnel in San Diego
The Del Mar Scare Grounds is open nightly, Thursday, Oct. 23 through Saturday, Nov. 1; 7 p.m. to midnight; Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 to 11 p.m., all other days.
Admission Triple Haunt: House of Horror, Haunted Hayride and The Chamber for $27.99 per person
Admission Double Haunt: The Chamber plus House of Horror or Haunted Hayride for $18.99 per person
Admission Single Haunt: House of Horror or Haunted Hayride for $14.99 per person
For more information, visit
Real San Diego haunted spots
The Whaley House
Few houses in San Diego are as historically important as the Whaley House, which stands silently watching over San Diego Avenue as it has done for a century and a half. Every day visitors come from around the world to tour the historic museum. It contains so much history within its walls, that even the non-believer will enjoy the tour.
In addition to being the Whaley Family home, it housed a granary, the County Court House, San Diego’s first commercial theater, various businesses including Thomas Whaley’s own general store, a ballroom, a billiard hall, school, and polling place. Significant events, such as the siezure of the court documents and records in 1871, and the suicide of Violet Whaley in 1885 profoundly affected Thomas and Anna Whaley. These events, as well as the hangings which occurred on the property before the house was constructed, have suffused the Whaley House with an air of mystery and added to its reputation as something more than just California State Historic Landmark #65.
For believers and skeptics alike, the house draws them back time and again, in search of those elusive ghosts.
The Whaley House is located at 2476 San Diego Ave., Old Town San Diego
October hours: Monday and Tuesday from 1 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Daytime admission is $6 and evening admission is $10. Discounts are offered for children and seniors.
For more information, visit
El Campo Santo Cemetery
El Campo Santo Cemetery was a Catholic cemetery that was started in 1849. Many early founding San Diegans were buried in this Cemetery. It is presently only a fraction of its original size, containing now only 447 visible graves. This cemetery once included the area that is now the commercial district of Old Town, and all the land up to Old Town Avenue.
La Casa de Estudillo
This 175-year-old house’s long, Spanish-style corridors open onto bedrooms reportedly haunted by a priest, among others. A brown-robed spectre has been seen near the chapel. Listen for prayers. They may not be yours. Fall hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit
Horton Grand Hotel
This location in one of San Diego’s oldest hotels sports some of the most active hauntings in the city, crediting resident ghost “Roger” with much of the fun. Reports range from rattling bed frames and odd sounds to rapid temperature changes and flickering lights. For more information, visit
San Diego Maritime Museum
From the Star of India’s fallen sailors to the mysterious man who accidentally blew himself up in the men’s room of the Berkeley 100 years ago, the San Diego Maritime Museum is a year-round habitation for seafaring ghosts from all over the world. It’s quite the international fright-fest.
Daily hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit
Hotel Del Coronado
Somehow this gorgeous seaside hotel, which has been around since 1888 has become nearly as well known for the mysterious death of at least one lady guest and the disappearance of another. Yet, they are both still seen wandering the hall of the Hotel Del frequently. For more information, visit
The Comedy Store
It doesn’t have to be old to be spooky. La Jolla’s Comedy Store boasts moving barware and other odd occurrences. For more information, visit
Halloween club and bar events
Wednesday, Oct. 29
Halloween at Bacchus House: Musica y Pasion Latina costume contest with $500 cash and prizes. Contest begins at 9:30 p.m. DJ Ruben Casa at 11 p.m.
Dreamgirls Halloween Show: The Dreamgirls Halloween Show will officially kick things off for Halloween weekend at Urban Mo’s Bar and Grill. This show promises to be their scariest and most hilarious show of the year. The show will start promptly at 8 p.m., and there will be a $5 cover to attend.
Thursday, Oct. 30
#1 Fifth Ave. Halloween Costume Contest: Best Costume $200, most original costume $100, sexiest costume $100. Judging begins at 10:30 p.m.
Halloween Psyche ’90s Night at Bacchus House: Flash back to the ’90s with 90 cent cover and drink specials, plus a chance to win Madonna tickets at this special Halloween event that will also include a costume contest with $500 cash and prizes.
Kickers Country Halloween Contest: Mo’s own Trixie will host the Kickers Country Halloween Contest. All those who enter have a chance to win cash and prizes, including $200 for first place, $150 for second place, and a $50 bar tab for the man, woman or queen who takes third. The contest will start at 10 p.m., so be sure to arrive early.
Friday, Oct. 31
Baja Betty’s Halloween Costume Contest: More than $1,000 in cash and prizes. Registration begins at 7 p.m. and the contest starts at 7:30 p.m.
Bourbon Street Halloween Costume Contest: The annual Halloween Costume Contest at Bourbon Street will include more than $2,000 in cash and prizes, with the grand prize winners receiving a cruise for two.
Halloween Salvation: Rich’s will host Hillcrest’s biggest Halloween club party as the official Nightmare on Normal Street After Party headquarters starting at 10 p.m. Los Angeles’ DJ Alexander will be on the turntables for the event that includes a costume contest with $1,000 cash and prizes, a haunted house and ghoul–ghoul boys.
Hocus Pocus at Numbers: Once you’ve finished your Jäger shots at Nightmare on Normal Street, meet up with other costumed women at G-Spot at Numbers for a night of “Hocus Pocus!” There will be free Jell-O shots, a fabulous contest, Lipstik Inc. dancers and more!
SKIN Night Halloween Contest: Urban Mo’s will host the SKIN Night Halloween Contest. If sexy, hot, and half naked is your costume of choice, you are encouraged to attend. As with the previous night, Trixie will once again host a costume contest at 10 p.m. sharp, with cash and prizes to be awarded to first, second, and third place winners.
Saturday, Nov. 1
Dia de los Muertos Brunch: Come celebrate the Day of the Dead at Baja Betty with a special all you can eat brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Poltergeist Party: Come celebrate the 25 Anniversary DVD release party at Bourbon Street for the classic thriller Poltergeist.

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