Xpress Halloween 2020 Resource Guide

Jazzmene Lizardo

As the spookiest day of the year approaches, celebrating Halloween safely and through socially distanced events is offering up new dilemmas this year for fans of the holiday. However, events still enjoying a happy Halloween are forming to alleviate the chilling fears of letting the holiday pass by. 

The San Francisco and Los Angeles areas are filled with upcoming events that are both scary and precautions of COVID-19. With family-friendly events ranging from drive-thru pumpkin patches, neighborhood events and pandemic-friendly mazes, the Xpress Halloween 2020 Resource Guide was created to help find what to do on Oct. 31 and maintain a safe distance for this year’s spooky Halloween enjoyment.

Candy corn was invented in the 1880s and was originally called “chicken feed.” It became a Halloween classic in the late 1940’s after World War II. Its fall colors and widespread advertising made it a Halloween staple. (Alyssa Brown)

Halloween Fun on Fourth 2020

Halloween Fun on Fourth 2020 is a Halloween event held in Berkeley running through Oct. 31. Guests of all ages can come in costumes and take pictures with displays of Halloween designs while also maintaining six-foot distance and the wearing of masks at all times. On Oct. 30 and 31, the Halloween Fun on Fourth 2020 will also include a halloween light show that guests can enjoy from the comfort of their own cars.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, Urban Legends Haunt

Delaney Greaves, a former scare character at Knott’s Berry Farm and a self-professed Halloween junkie, is attending two Halloween events this year: the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride and the Urban Legends Drive Haunt.

“Based on what I know from articles online, both events are similar in how they work,” Greaves said. “I also know the Haunted Hayride has been getting a lot of good reviews on having roaming actors that scare the guests from outside their vehicles while show moments are happening.”

The Grim Reaper originated in Europe during the 14th century in the time of its worst pandemic, the Black Death, believed to be the result of the plague. The skeleton is a symbol of death, representing the human body after decay, the robes are what religious figures wore at funerals and the scythe is an agricultural tool used by harvesters symbolizing the plucking of humans from the Earth when they die.(Alyssa Brown / Golden Gate Xpress) (Alyssa Brown)

For something scarier and less family friendly, head to the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, located in San Dimas. A “drive up” maze and drive-in, guests will drive through a maze with haunting performances of bone-chilling characters. Guests can expect gimmicks such as characters scaring you through your car windows. The event includes a screening of a short horror film prior to your journey through the maze.

Urban Legends Haunt, located in Costa Mesa, is another drive-thru maze with scare characters, but the experience is a bit more theatrical in its delivery, as the maze includes a narrative for those passing through it. 

Greaves, who has never been to the Urban Legends Haunt, is avoiding all spoilers before she gets to see the event in person. 

“I’m excited to see how different haunts chose to adapt to the current state of the world. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had time to enjoy Halloween on my own terms rather than working an event myself, so I think it’ll be an interesting time what we all make of it,” Greaves said.

San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour

This year goes beyond drive-thru mazes as it offers a plethora of virtual events for those who might feel safer in the comforts home. San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour is one such event, as it has gone virtual. The event is led by Christian Cagigal, creator and host of the event, who narrates stories of the most haunted places across the Bay Area, including Pacific Heights and the Balclutha masted sailing ship. This event includes more than what was previously offered on his regular tours, as Cagigal also tells the stories of more intimate experiences to keep the frights coming.


Frosty’s Forest and Pumpkin Patch

Located in Chino, Frosty’s Forest and Pumpkin Patch lets its guests navigate through a four-acre corn maze as frightening characters make safe but terrifying jump scares. Rita Rivas, a scarecrow for this year’s maze, is still following COVID-19 safety

regulations while still making sure to entertain guests. Scarers are temperature checked daily at the corn maze.

“We still have to keep our distance like we have in the past years,” Rivas said. “But now it’s a six-feet distance instead of five feet.”

When it comes to horrifying guests, Rivas stated that now they must be louder when scaring the guests while also finding ways to incorporate masks into their costumes. For Rivas this entails using a design that imitates a scarecrow mouth  

“We do have some challenges incorporating masks with our look. We may have to paint the mask to match our make up or wear a face mask underneath our regular scare masks” said Rivas. 

Stay at home

Carving pumpkins began in the 19th century in Ireland where people would carve faces into turnips and onions to ward off evil spirits. When Irish immigrants moved to the US, they began carving pumpkins instead as they were native to the region sparking the classic Halloween tradition. (Alyssa Brown / Golden Gate Xpress) (Alyssa Brown)

Alyssa Harrell, a passionate Halloween enthusiast in San Fernando Valley, is choosing to not participate in any public outings this year because her parents are immunocompromised. However, she will be celebrating by holding her own neighborhood movie night every night of October.

Each weekend of October, Alyssa and her neighbors watch Halloween-themed movies such as “BeetleJuice,” “Hocus Pocus,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Ghostbusters,” all the way until Halloween. 

“It’s typically about 20 of us who sit six-feet apart, and it’s open to anyone in our neighborhood, as long as they abide by social distancing guidelines,” Harrell said. 

Although Harrell knows that public attractions are now more readily available, she believes that she will not have a good time. She went on to state that she feels it is  “less fun going to an attraction [and] sitting in my car alone, rather than having a friend to be with.”

Greaves echoed this sentiment and said that people were and are making the most of the present situation.

“Everyone I know that are as involved in Halloween as I am are disappointed to some degree,” Greaves said. “But we’re hopeful to make really good comebacks next year.”