12 Halloween Events in San Francisco to Get You in the Spooky Spirit
From costume parties to immersive haunted houses, creepy cruises, and compelling cocktail concoctions, here are SF’s spookiest Halloween events.
Spooky season is officially upon us, which means a month of non-stop pumpkin patches, haunted houses, cauldrons of bubbling concoctions, terrifying amounts of candy, and magical masquerades, all culminating in one of the biggest weekends of the year: Halloween. From haunted houses to chilling cocktail pop-ups at our favorite bars to dog-friendly and family-friendly haunts, here are 13 events that would thrill even the most soulless, blood-sucking member of the living dead.
Friday, October 7 through Saturday, November 5
The Mint, SoMa
Your blood will curdle in the best way possible at this fully immersive haunted house meets theatrical experience full of (literal and metaphorical) twists and turns, terrifying characters, and (at night when the performance is rated R) nudity, gore, and strong language. It all takes place in the vault of The Mint, where you’ll partake in a seance that opens a hole to a supernatural world where you’ll interact with demonic spirits and more. Down some liquid courage at Fang Bang, the 80’s New Wave/goth vampire-themed pop-up bar with Halloween-themed cocktails and members of the undead.
Cost: $55 to $75
Various dates from Friday, October 14 through Saturday, November 5
Do you like scary movies? What about scary movies-turned-drag horror parodies set to hit songs of the ‘90s? We thought so. Get your tickets for “SQREAM,” a slasher sing-along/queer whodunnit musical that spans all of OASIS, SF’s fantastic bathhouse-turned-gay nightclub. It’s campy, sexy, gory, and nostalgic all wrapped up in one show. And it features some of this town’s most fabulous drag queens, including D'Arcy Drollinger, Snaxx, Jordan Bridges, Lisa Frankenstein, Coco Merrell, Manuel Caneri, April Deutschle, Beth Miles, and more.
Cost: Tickets start at $30
Select nights starting Friday, October 7 through Monday, October 31
Winchester Mystery House, San Jose
This bizarre maze-like estate is full of architectural curiosities and known to be haunted, and that’s on display more than ever during October, when you can partake in “Unhinged: Nightshade’s Curse,” an evening at Madame Nightshades’s Mystic Carnival and the House of Mystery, a traveling carnival where food, drinks, and roaming sideshow entertainment await, but all is very much not what it seems. The walk-through haunt is a real-life paranormal thriller full of screams and scares. Calm your nerves at the Spookeasy Bar before or after.
Cost: GA tickets start at $65.
Celebrate Halloween on a boat
Friday, October 28 and Saturday, October 29
There’s literally nothing more terrifying than being stuck on a boat, which makes a costume cruise an ideal way to get into the Halloween spirit. There are several boat parties to choose from, including Hornblower’s Halloween Cruise Party, a three-hour cruise with four floors of live music and seven bars; the Masquerade Halloween Yacht Party aboard the Cabernet Sauvignon Yacht, a three-hour cruise with a hosted bar (for VIPs), and three decks with three dance areas, with cocktail attire and masks required; a Speakeasy Party Cruise aboard the Fume Blanc, a three-hour cruise on a boat decked out in Roaring ‘20s style with dancing and a partially open sky deck; the Titanic Masquerade on the San Francisco Spirit, which includes three hours on the water with two DJs on two floors; and a Halloween Fright Night Cruise, a three-hour midnight cruise with dancing and prizes for the best costume.
Cost: Prices vary, but tickets start around $55.
Friday, October 28, Saturday, October 29, and Monday, October 31
Check-in bars: Russian Hill, Marina, and North Beach
Don your best Halloween costume and head to this pub crawl with over 50 participating bars, including R Bar, Shanghai Kelly’s, Wreck Room, Silver Cloud, Blue Light, Westwood, and more, all of which will have beer, cocktails, and shot specials. Don’t feel like walking between all of the locations? Or think maybe walking might get a little challenging? There will be party buses to take bar hoppers to different locations on the map.
Cost: Tickets range from $15 to $35 depending on when you buy them.
Sunday, October 30
Berber, Russian Hill
Brunch is going to the dogs for Halloween at Berber, SF’s best Moroccan restaurant, where you and your pup can show off your costumes while enjoying a three-course brunch for you and a two-course brunch (featuring Jeffrey’s organic dog products) for your dog. Go all out because the best dog costume will win a $250 gift basket from PetCamp and a basket full of treats from Jeffrey’s).
Cost: Tickets are $39 (includes food for you and your four-legged friend).
Select nights from Friday, September 30 through Monday, October 31
Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton
If one immersive haunted experience isn’t quite enough, head to the Pirates of Emerson Haunted Themed Park at the Alameda Fairgrounds, where you’ll be able to walk through not one, not two, but four different terrifying and theatrical haunted houses where your nightmares will become real through encounters with demented dolls, the Pirates of Emerson, Halloween Hell, and the SeeSawz Circus.
Cost: Tickets start at $38 and are only available online. All tickets are for timed entry and will likely sell out in advance.
Tuesday, October 4 through Saturday, October 29
Kona’s Street Market, SoMa
Kona’s Street Market is transforming into an immersive Halloween haunt for the month of October, complete with magic potions and creepy concoctions to satisfy all of your cocktail cravings.
Cost: Admission is free; drinks average around $16.
Friday, October 21–Saturday, October 22 and Thursday, October 27–Saturday, October 29
Haas-Lilienthal House, Pacific Heights
Normally, this 11,500-square-foot Victorian home is open for tours so people can learn about Queen Anne homes and 19th century living, but for five nights in October, it transforms into a mansion of mayhem where you’ll still learn about the home but with some terrifying surprises along the way. Enjoy libations and snacks in the Ballroom saloon before or after.
Saturday, October 29
The USS Hornet, Alameda
This spooky dance party is guaranteed to be a hit, if only because for one spine-chilling night, the USS Hornet transforms into the most haunted ship in America. Get carried away by music from The Cocktail Monkeys, who will play everything from classic rock to today’s hits, and be sure to go all out with your costume because first prize takes home $300 cash.
Cost: $30 with food and drinks available separately.
Do the time warp at the Rocky Horror Picture Show
Saturday, October 29 and Monday, October 31
The Balboa Theater, Outer Sunset; and The UC Theater, Berkeley
Dress up and sing along for this cult classic that will have raucous late-night showings at The Balboa on Saturday night and Halloween proper. Prefer your Rocky Horror experience with a little more bawdiness? Barely Legal has you covered (or not covered, as it were) with a sexy live show on Halloween that includes everything you love about the movie, including audience participation.
Cost: $15 for shows at The Balboa. GA for the live show at UC Berkeley starts at $16.50
Saturday, October 29
The Power Exchange, Tenderloin
There are people who like sexy costumes, and then there are those who attend SF’s annual Naughty Halloween Ball, who prefer no costumes at all. The Power Exchange’s legendary Halloween party is for anyone who wants to exercise, not exorcize, their inner exhibitionist. You can wear anything from a “three-piece suit to your birthday suit,” with fetish-wear and lingerie encouraged.
Cost: Tickets start at $40