Entertainment & Events

Haunting Halloween events begin Friday

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Let the fright nights begin (Photo by Kasia/flickr via Flickr)

Let the fright nights begin (Photo by Kasia/flickr via Flickr)

Don’t wait until October rolls around for Halloween fun.  Ghosts and goblins are creeping into town this Friday, September 25 with the opening of the Haunted Hotel downtown, the Haunted Trails at Balboa Park, and the Scream Zone at the Del Mar Race Track.  San Diego knows how to do Halloween right, and it’s only perfect that the festivities begin early; the more time for scaring, the better.

Being a past patron of the Haunted Hotel, I can only say this is one of the best Halloween experiences in town.  This isn’t any ordinary neighborhood scare fest, so forget about cardboard cutouts and “spooky sounds” on tape.  These guys know the true meaning of fright.

After stepping into the Haunted Hotel, you’ll be happy you came with friends.  They can be sacrificed first.  This scene is not only heart wrenching, but your whole body is on high alert the entire time. The further you walk, the faster you hope to reach the exit.  In the back of your head you may know everything is fake, but in that moment the actors and setting provide the perfect combination of scare tactics.

This is definitely not for the faint-hearted; small children or potential heart attack sufferers need not enter. The Haunted Hotel is located at 424 Market St. in the Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego.

Halloween being early (Photo by Beth Rankin via Flickr)

Halloween begins early (Photo by Beth Rankin via Flickr)

People who experience the Haunted Trails at Balboa Park always come back having to tell someone, “You have to go.”

Have you ever walked across any empty parking lot late at night, or ended up passing through a park or field in the dark with little to no lighting?  If you haven’t or want to experience the same “I’m going to pee my pants if something jumps out at me” feeling, then the Haunted Trails is a must.

It holds the same intense adrenaline pumping scare factor as the Haunted Hotel, but since it’s outside, at night, in the open, it brings an uncomfortable lurking monster in the darkness feeling to it.  Have a soundtrack to “Jeepers Creepers” playing in the car on your way home and you won’t be able to sleep all night.  The Haunted Trails begins at Juniper Rd. and Balboa Dr. in Balboa Park.

More Halloween activities after the jump.

The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Race Track is a three-in-one horror spectacular.  This year offers new blood-curdling scenes in the House of Horror, the Haunted Hayride, and The Chamber.

The House of Horror moves their victims through a variety of themed rooms filled with spine tingling sights, heart-stopping sounds and never ending scares lurking around every turn and corridor.  After escaping, fright-finding adventurers can jump into the Haunted Hayride where riders subconsciously huddle together on a tractor-pulled hay wagon while being stalked by ghosts, zombies, and other skin tingling creatures while riding through the haunted barn area on the backside of the Del Mar Race Track.

If the Scream Zone wasn’t enough for Halloween junkies, they can end their trip through The Chamber which features the largest “spinning tunnel” in San Diego, and a ghost from south of the border who is looking for her lost children called La Llorona.  With endless twist and turns, dead ends are impossible to avoid in this labyrinth.  The Del Mar Race Track is located at 2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard along the coast in Del Mar.

Join in on the world record (Photo by Esparta via Flickr)

Join in on the world record (Photo by Esparta via Flickr)

All of these events begin on September 25 and continue scaring until Halloween, except for the Haunted Hayride at the Scream Zone, which begins October 3.

On September 26, the Scream Zone will attempt to set a world record with the largest gathering of Jason Voorhees characters ever assembled.  To become a part of the world record, Jason Fans can register at the Scream Zone beginning at 5:30 p.m on Saturday.  The first 500 people to register will receive a free Jason mask and machete to take home with them, and will be included in the official photo that will be submitted to Guinness World Records.

Ticket prices range from $14.99 to $27.99 depending on each event and add-ons available such as line jumping or combo packages.  To get more information, dates, times, or buy tickets to the scariest events in San Diego, lurk to www.hauntedhotel.com.

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