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Attractions That Will Fill Your Ghoulish and Spooky Needs

artwork by Stephanie Carreto

artwork by Stephanie Carreto

Daniella Jurado, Staff Writer

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   What would October be without Halloween? Black cats and witches, graveyards and ghosts,  jack o’ lanterns and spiders — these are all elements that make you think of the gothic holiday that is celebrated every October 31. But what about the celebrations leading up to it? Fortunately, in San Diego there are many spooky attractions that promise to fill your ghoulish needs.

   Let’s start off with the San Diego Embarcadero — visit the Star of India for a lantern-led tour through the ship called Haunted Tales Aboard The Star of India. Make sure you get there on October 28 by 10:00 p.m. The first tour starts at 6 p.m. and the tours continue every 15 minutes. For only $18, you can learn about the Star of India’s haunted past ( Having been built in 1863, you can be sure that the ship has many stories to share, some that are still a mystery. Learn about what happened to John Campbell’s soul after he fell to his death from the rigging. Step aboard the world’s oldest active sailing ship and enjoy a little bit of its history with a creepy twist.

   Moving on to the most well known, The Haunted Trail in Balboa Park is a popular spooky site. “It’s really fun to go with all your friends and get scared,” said Junior Julia Hagstrom. According to the official website of all of America’s haunted houses and attractions, around 8,000 guests visit The Haunted Trail each year ( Located at the corner of Balboa Drive and Juniper, The Haunted Trail opened on the night of September 29 and will continue through October 31. The Haunted Trail is San Diego’s only all-outdoor attraction and general admission tickets are $25. General admission tickets include the eXperiment maze and the main mile-long trail. If you don’t feel like waiting in line, depending on the night, you can pay an extra $10 to $15 to get a Fast Pass (

   The Haunted Trail is open from 6:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. except on the night of October 30 when it opens at 7:00 p.m. This year, October 13 landed on a Friday, which is something that hasn’t happened in 11 years. So, The Haunted Trail wanted to celebrate the occasion by making it Friday the 13 every night at the attraction. This means that Jason will be waiting for you by his tent at Camp Crystal Lake. Oh and remember the movie that came out last month about the clown and the red balloon? Pennywise will also be there, right by the Ghoul Bus. Annabelle has possessed the farmhouse and Krampus will terrorize you the whole way along with the help of his snowmen. If you choose to attend this year, you will be able to come face-to-face with all these and many other legendary horror villains, such as Leatherface, Freddy, and Michael Myers. Do you think you can make it through the whole Trail? Go find out!

   Not really into The Haunted Trail? No problem. Another attraction you can go to, which is so good it has been ranked as number two on the list of the Top 13 Haunts in the United States, is The Haunted Hotel. The Haunted Hotel has also been featured on The Travel Channel’s show America’s Scariest Haunts. Yes, this attraction is located at the corner of Fourth and Market in the downtown Gaslamp Quarter which can be a difficult place to find parking. However, the Haunted Hotel has partnered up with Ace Parking and are offering a $5 for three hours parking deal. All you have to do is go to The Haunted Hotel’s official website for the link to reserve your spot and make sure to park in the Gaslamp City Square Garage (

   Just like The Haunted Trail, The Haunted Hotel also opened its doors on September 29 and will stay open until October 31. General Admission tickets go for $19 and if you want to go through a shorter line at the entrance, you can get the Fast Pass for $10 more. On October 27 and 28, The Haunted Hotel will be open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. On October 29 it will only go until 11 p.m. and on October 30 it will go from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Finally, on the night of Halloween, The Haunted Hotel’s hours are from 6 p.m. to midnight. Enter the Hellevator and see if you can handle the plunge into darkness, walk down the Zombie-infested alley, ride the Clown Subway into madness, and try to make your way through the inbreds’ territory at the Hillbilly Swamp. Go celebrate the 25 year anniversary at the longest running haunted hotel in San Diego (

   Choose whichever attraction pulls you in the most, or maybe go to more than one. Regardless of whether or not you like to dress up and trick-or-treat on Halloween, it’s always fun to go out with your friends and have a ghostly time. In San Diego, there’s an attraction for everyone. Maybe you’d prefer the least scary, Haunted Tales Aboard The Star of India, where you take a trip around a haunted ship. Or perhaps, take it a step further with The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park — you’ll definitely jump a few times when a clown comes running your way. Finally, there’s the one that’s not for the faint-hearted, The Haunted Hotel, the one you won’t forget.

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Attractions That Will Fill Your Ghoulish and Spooky Needs