Want to get your heart racing and feel your stomach drop this Halloween season, then you need to visit some of the best haunted houses in Southern California. For some when they think of fall they think of pumpkin spice lattes, fall foliage, apple farms, and pumpkin patches. Though those are all beloved traditions of the fall season, one can’t help but also love the mystery and eerie feelings you experience the closer Halloween day gets.
Haunted Houses and Spooky Spots in California
If you are traveling to Southern California during the fall and feel the allure of all things spooky and spine-chilling then you are in luck. Southern California has no shortages of spooktacular Halloween events and haunted houses to visit.
Many attractions offer just some plain ol’ good Halloween fun. Then there are other attractions that are geared toward thrill seekers ready to break out in a cold sweat of fear. Finally, some places are truly haunted and should only be visited by those seeking extreme fear.
If you get scared easily or spooky just isn’t your thing then check out my list of more traditional things to do in Fall in Los Angeles here.
California Halloween Events and Theme Park Fun
Let’s start with some lighthearted fun thrills that you can experience this Halloween season. One of the best places to go for this is theme parks. Haunted Houses at theme parks are great for those that want to experience a haunted house but are not quite ready to pee their pants in fear yet.
One of the most popular theme park haunted houses in Southern California is Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood. This theme park has multiple themed haunted houses and terror tram rides that you can experience. So prepare to be sufficiently scared once leaving the park.
Film History Magic and Mystery
One of the best things about Halloween Horror Nights is that many of the haunted houses are themes based on various horror films that Universal Studios has released throughout the years. This is no surprise when you consider that these haunted houses are coming from the studio that brought us both classic and modern horror films like:
- Dracula (1931)
- Frankenstein (1931)
- The Invisible Man (1933)
- The Wolf Man (1941)
- Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
- Halloween (1978)
- The Mummy (1999)
- Get Out (2017)
Another great theme park haunted house is Knot’s Scary Farm at Knott’s Berry Farm. This is one of Southern California’s largest haunted houses and the whole park is transformed for the Halloween season. Not only are there haunted houses, but also haunted mazes, creepy circus-themed shows and even scare zones like “Ghost Town Streets” or the “ Gore-ing ‘20s”.
The “Gore-ing ‘20s” scare zone is a definite must-visit if you want to experience vintage horror frights. This scare zone is set in the 1920s during the prohibition era and definitely has 1920s speakeasy vibes. So put on your best flapper dress and enjoy the otherworldly musicians and the company of ghostly gangsters.
Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain is a must-visit haunted house in Southern California. This theme park on any given day is already known as the Thrill Capital of the World because it has the most world-class roller coasters than any other theme park in the world. So you can definitely bet that they take thrills very seriously, especially during the scariest time of the year.
Fright Fest is filled with many different haunted houses and scare zones that are sure to have you screaming in fear by the end of the night. A key thing to note is that many of the scare zones are carnival and clown themed. So BEWARE of any wandering carnies looking for their next victim.
Roller Coaster Thrills
If you love roller coasters then you are sure to love them during Fright Fest at night at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Experience these already thrill-inducing coasters in the DARK. Yup, that’s right in the dark, with no lights, in pitch blackness – meaning you have no idea what is coming and very little way to anticipate what’s next. This is definitely the ultimate way to face your fears of the dark.
Southern California Haunted Houses Spectaculars
Now, if you love haunted houses, but theme parks aren’t your thing then the next haunting attractions are for you. Here are some of the most famous non-theme park haunted houses in Southern California. These haunted houses are sure to offer just the right amount of shock for those brave enough to enter.
One of the most intense and horrifying – in the best possible way – haunted houses in Southern California is the 17th Door Haunt Experience. This haunted house is so intense that you do need to fill out a waiver before entering and is recommended for ages 16+. Let’s not forget that they also have a safe word- “Mercy” – in case that attraction becomes too scary to handle.
If the need for waivers and safe words wasn’t enough, they also warn that at some point in the attraction you may get very wet and that they do allow their actors to touch or grab you. Keep in mind that they will not intentionally hurt you and this is just to make the experience all the more fear-inducing.
Can you handle this haunted house?
Now you are probably thinking that all this doesn’t sound too frightening. That this haunted house, like all the rest, will only last 5-10 minutes. Well, it is worth noting that this is also one of the longest haunted houses timewise lasting about 34 min without any add-on. I mean it’s called 17th Door Haunt Experience for a reason. You will be going through 17 doors/rooms of this prison-themed haunted house.
If you opt to do their additional add-on experiences (which is highly recommended) the whole attraction lasts about 95 min. Now that is definitely one way to get your heart racing this Halloween season!
Do you have all travel necessities to make your stay unforgettable?
The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is one of the most popular Halloween attractions in Southern California and though it is technically not a “haunted house” it is a must-see if you are in SoCal this spooky season. This Halloween event not only features a hayride, but you can also experience the town square of Midnight Falls, the epicenter of celebrations.
Town Square of Midnight Falls
There the town of Midnight Falls has come back to life during the time of year when the veil between the living and dead is at its thinnest. Here you can interact with the townsfolk and take to die for pictures for Instagram or Facebook.
You can also visit the local mortuary hosting an open house where you can take a tour of the property. Just make sure to not wander away from the group or you may end up as their next Patreon. If you manage to survive through the tour and hayride then be sure to check out the ghoulish rock band “The Monte Revolth Show”. You may just make it out alive!
What type of haunted house list would this be if an Asylum haunted house wasn’t on this list? The All Saints Lunatic Asylum is all your dreams.. Ahem . . or should I say worst nightmares combined!
The fictional lore of this asylum adds so much to the experience. The asylum was forced to close its doors after losing it’s funding. Leaving staff and patients trapped with nowhere else to go. Now reopened for historical tours, enter at your own peril.
It is highly recommended to visit their website and explore the personal files and recovered footage of patients. You may just spot one of these patients on your ghostly tour of the asylum. The best thing about this attraction is that it is open all year round, so the ghoulish fun isn’t just limited to the fall season.
Haunted Spots in California
Now we can’t talk about the best-haunted houses in Southern California without actually talking about the best REAL haunted houses in SoCal. Whether you are a full-hearted believer or skeptic of the supernatural these spots are sure to be fright-inducing all the same.
The Queen Mary has been voted one of the top 10 most haunted places in America and it’s no wonder with its rich history. It was once a premium Ocean Liner, but during WWII the ship was used to ferry troops instead of tourists. The ship was eventually permanently docked in Long Beach in 1967. Then it was turned into a hotel and that is when strange and supernatural sightings began happening.
Over the decades there have been many claims of apparition sightings and unexplained events. On the ship, some spots are more haunted than others. The Queen Mary offers tours called Haunted Encounters of the most haunted locations on the Queen Mary and their history. Perhaps the most famous spot is Stateroom B340.
Stateroom B340 History
In 1948 a British passenger died due to an unknown cause in this room. Years later in 1966, a woman staying in this room claims that the sheets of her bed were pulled off of her while sleeping and that there was a man at the foot of the bed that vanished. That was just the beginning of strange occurrences for Stateroom B340. Due to this, the room was eventually closed to guests for many years. But it has since reopened for those guests brave enough to spend and survive the night.
The Whaley House has very important historical significance to old town San Diego in the 19th century. It was the first of its kind. It not only served as the Whaley family home, but was also San Diego’s first commercial theater, county courthouse, and general store. Through this, the Whaley family home became a central pillar of the town.
Tragedy Begins and Hauntings Continue
Shortly after moving into their home, the Whaley family had reported hearing heavy footprints in the house. The family had stated they believed the footprints belonged to the ghost of a man that was hanged on the property named James “Yankee Jim” Robinson.
The Whaley family also suffered many tragedies during their time in this house. One of the most notable tragedies was the violent suicide of one of the Whaley daughters. This event caused the Whaley family to build and relocate to Downtown San Diego. After being abandoned for nearly 20 years the family eventually decided to return. They lived and eventually died in their family home.
Many believe that the tragedies of the Whaley family play a significant role in its eerie history and the many paranormal activities that plague the house to this day. The Whaley House Museum is truly a haunted house in every sense of the word.
Your daily must-have's to make your life better!
Final Thoughts . .
Fall is one of the most mystical times of the year. It is filled with both mystery and fear for those who dare to explore it. These haunted houses in Southern California are definitely worth the visit. They are a must-do for anyone visiting SoCal during this spooky time of year. Whether you are looking for small thrills or the real haunted deal, there is something for everyone at every fear level to enjoy.
Need more haunting places to visit this fall season then you need my guide here of one of the most haunting places in the United States, Salem, MA.