How to Celebrate Halloween in San Francisco

Ali Sullivan

How to Celebrate Halloween in San Francisco 

Discover the best ways to celebrate Halloween in San Francisco with this spooky guide. From haunted tours to festive events, find the perfect Halloween activities for a ghoulishly good time.


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Get ready to embrace the spookiest season of the year in one of the most vibrant and bewitching cities on the West Coast—San Francisco! 


Halloween in the City by the Bay is a thrilling and spirited affair, with a multitude of events and activities that cater to ghouls, ghosts, and revelers of all ages. From spine-chilling haunted houses to eerie cemetery tours, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the season of tricks and treats. 


But as you embark on your hair-raising adventures, you’ll need a cozy, budget-friendly haven to rest your weary bones. Look no further than ITH Pacific Tradewinds hostel, a welcoming abode nestled in the heart of San Francisco’s eclectic Chinatown. 


Join us as we delve into the enchanting world of Halloween in San Francisco and discover how you can make the most of your holiday visit. 

San Francisco Ghost Tours

Exploring the haunted history of San Francisco through a ghost tour is an extraordinary way to celebrate Halloween. San Francisco is known for its rich history and intriguing past, including tales of haunted locales and restless spirits. By embarking on a ghost tour, you not only immerse yourself in the city’s eerie and mysterious side but also get to experience Halloween in a spine-tingling, unique way. These tours often take you through dimly lit streets, historic neighborhoods, and notorious spots where ghostly sightings have been reported. Expert guides share spine-chilling stories and legends, bringing the city’s haunted history to life. 

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Zoo Boo at San Francisco Zoo (Slothoween 2023

Heading to the San Francisco Zoo Boo event is a fantastic way to celebrate Halloween during your visit to the city. This family-friendly affair transforms the zoo into a spooky wonderland, perfect for both kids and adults. As you stroll through the zoo’s enchanting pathways, you’ll encounter festive decorations, themed exhibits, and entertaining activities designed to celebrate the Halloween season. One of the highlights is the chance to see the animals in the evening, when they often exhibit unique behaviors under the cover of darkness. 

Halloween Pub Crawls

Participating in a Halloween-themed pub crawl in San Francisco offers a lively and festive way to celebrate the holiday during your visit. The city’s diverse neighborhoods and vibrant bar scene come alive with Halloween spirit during this time, making it an ideal occasion for revelers and partygoers. San Francisco’s pub crawls often feature creatively themed costumes, spooky decorations, and specially crafted cocktails to get you into the Halloween mood. As you hop from one participating bar to another, you’ll have the chance to meet locals and fellow travelers, all while enjoying the lively atmosphere of the city’s nightlife.

halloween pub crawl in san francisco

Halloween at the California Academy of Sciences

Spending Halloween at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is a fantastic way to celebrate the holiday and create unforgettable memories during your visit to the city. This unique event combines science, education, and Halloween festivities for an experience like no other. The California Academy of Sciences hosts a special Halloween-themed night, usually called “NightLife,” where you can explore the museum after hours. The museum transforms into a Halloween wonderland with a scientific twist during this event. You can enjoy spooky but informative exhibits, interactive displays, and themed activities.

Haunted Ships at the USS Hornet

The USS Hornet, an Essex-class aircraft carrier that served in World War II and the Vietnam War, is known for its rich history and, some say, paranormal activity. During the Halloween season, the USS Hornet offers special haunted tours that take you deep into the bowels of the ship, where you can explore eerie and reportedly haunted areas that are typically off-limits. These tours provide a spine-tingling experience filled with ghost stories and historical insights.

Halloween Costume Parade

What better than getting dressed up in a costume for Halloween? The Halloween Costume Parade, which typically takes place in the city’s Castro District, is a colorful extravaganza of costumes, music, and celebration. Thousands of participants and spectators gather to showcase their elaborate and often outlandish costumes, making it one of the most iconic Halloween events on the West Coast. Whether you choose to join the parade or simply observe, you’ll be surrounded by a kaleidoscope of costumes and an infectious sense of joy.

Dia de los Muertos

Extending your stay to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in San Francisco is an excellent way to enhance your Halloween experience during your visit to the city. Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican tradition that beautifully complements the Halloween festivities in San Francisco. In the Mission District of San Francisco, you’ll find elaborate Dia de los Muertos altars, processions, and vibrant street art installations that pay tribute to the deceased. One of the highlights of Dia de los Muertos is the annual procession, where participants dress in traditional calavera (skull) makeup and attire. This event includes traditional music, dance, and a strong sense of community, just like San Francisco does.

halloween in san francisco dia de los muertas

As the witching hour approaches and Halloween descends upon San Francisco, the city comes alive with thrilling events. Whether you’re seeking spine-tingling scares or family-friendly fun, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the season. And for the perfect place to rest your weary bones after a night of festivities, look no further than ITH Pacific Tradewinds Hostel—a welcoming and affordable haven in the heart of the city. Book your stay now and make the most of your Halloween adventure in San Francisco.