Best Halloween Events in SF

Forget the Halloween party on a boat where you have to pay a $50 cover before the party even begins. If you’re looking for something sophisticated or spooky or you just want to boogie we’ve got you covered.   

Something Sophisticated

Bruce Conner show at the SFMOMA
Nothing’s haunted about the new exhibition, per say, but Conner’s works will evoke fears both real and imagined. You’ll be in fear and awe of the power of nuclear bombs while watching Conner’s 37-minute film “Crossroads.” The room full of “Angels” has a ghostly feel and Conner’s many photos of punk rockers look like some sort of documentation of a haunted house (down to his “Frankie Fix” collage).

It’s elevated spookiness. 

Creatures of the Nightlife
Find out the science behind werewolves, vampires and zombies, including what brought Frankenstein to life and how to survive a zombie attack. Touch human brains and get a zombie make-over. And then there’s also the drag show and costume contest hosted by Peaches Christ—it’s everything you could want from your Halloween celebration.

Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch
First opened in 1979, this family-friendly patch is one of the only patches left in city limits. Tucked into the side of the Twin Peaks hill, there’s a hay maze and plenty of pumpkins varietals to choose from. 

Shocktoberfest: Jack the Ripper
The Thrillpeddlers present "horror, madness, spanking and song" to mark the 125th anniversary of Jack the Ripper's murders in London. The evening also includes three short acts and a lights-out spook-show finale.
At the Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 10th St., San Francisco 94103. Tickets $30, 35. For "mature audiences." 

Something Spooky

Presidio Pet Cemetery
Below the Doyle Drive viaduct, you’ll find a little graveyard surrounded by a white picket fence. This is the Presidio Pet Cemetery, the resting place of the pets of military officers who were positioned in the Presidio. Some have names, other are just pet. It’s kind of creepy, especially under the rush of the freeway above.

The Ghost of Stow Lake 
There are lots of haunted corners in the city, but Stow Lake’s White Lady takes the cake. The story goes that a woman had taken her baby for a walk in the stroller. While she sat at a bench near the water, another woman came by and the two fell deep into conversation. When the woman turned to leave, her baby and the stroller where gone. In a panic, she asked everyone around the lake if they had seen her baby until the sun began to set. She was last seen walking into the water. Now, Stow Lake is pretty shallow but there have been reports since of seeing a woman in white wandering around the lake at night. And if you say “White Lady, White Lady, I have your baby” she will appear. Be careful though—you might be haunted forever after that encounter.

Escape Hell in the Armory
Combine a haunted house with an escape room game and you’ve got Hell at the Armory. Down in the basement of headquarters, you’ll find some raunchy, kinky and downright scary tactics used in this escape game. No phones allowed and make sure to where clothes you don’t mind coming away with a little fake blood on. We should also note that this experience is not safe for kids—or anyone who’s even slightly uncomfortable with nudity or kinky stuff in the bedroom.

You’ve been warned. 

Halloween International Ball
This salsa-focused ball includes free lessons at 9 pm and a live salsa band. Samba dancers, drummers, DJs and a costume contest, too.
At the Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St., San Francisco 94110. Tickets $25 and up.

Just Want to Boogie

Halloween Booootie
House band Smash-up Derby and a slew of DJs perform, and a midnight costume contest dangles cash prizes. The first 300 party-goers in costume get a free Halloween Booootie CD.
At DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., San Francisco 94103. Tickets $15-30.

Want to get dolled up in a costume and dance your butt off? Get in line at Badlands in the Castro. While there’s usually a wait to get in, the bar is loaded with costumed party goers (mostly gay men—hey, it is a gay bar) and blaring 90s music with music videos to match.

Well drinks are cheap, which is good because half of them might end up on the floor.