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San Diego Guide to Halloween 2011

Monster Bash, Spooktacular and Much More

Sea World

Sea World

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  • Sea World
  • Scream Zone
  • Haunted Hotel
  • Legoland
  • San Diego Flagship Halloween Cruise
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Halloween's origins go back to an ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was commemorated on October 31, when the Celts believed ghosts of the dead would be returning to Earth.

The holiday eventually made its way to other parts of the world and started gaining popularity in America during the 1800s. Today, Halloween is one of the most enthusiastically celebrated events of the year, and adults revel in the celebration as much, if not more than children do. There will be plenty of workplaces in San Diego on Halloween where employees will show up in costume. Of course, if you have to go a bank, kindly take your mask off first.

Most trick-or-treaters don't know that when they ring someone's doorbell in costume looking for treats, it is a centuries-old tradition. The Scots and Irish called it "guising," kids in costume going door-to-door for coins or food. The first incident of guising in North America reportedly took place in Kingston, Ontario, in the early 1900s.

Trick-or-treating didn't become common in the United States until the 1930s, which was coupled with the burgeoning popularity of Halloween costumes. However, Halloween has graduated to becoming a huge social event for all. Here are some suggestions for local October 31-related fun.

Manchester Grand Hyatt, 1 Market Place, downtown: Getting a discounted room rate at one of San Diego's finest hotels is anything by a scary proposition. Now through December 31, get 30 percent off a three-night stay. Kids 12 and under also receive a free breakfast at Lael's Restaurant. 619-232-1234, manchestergrandhyatt.com.

Sally's Seafood on the Water, Market Place, Manchester Grand Hyatt: From October 28-31, Sally's is offering specials on sushi, brought to you by Master Sushi Chef "Kaz" Kim. A Carnivore roll, Voodoo roll or Spider roll, plus a glass of wine, is only $20. One of the same rolls with Miso soup and free edamame is $15. 619-358-6740.

Scream Zone, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar: One of North County's scariest spots will be in operation October 13-16, and every night through Halloween. 7 pm-midnight Fridays and Saturdays; 7-11 other days. Prices vary. Military and group discounts are available. 858-755-1161, www.thescreamzone.com.

SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular, 500 SeaWorld Dr., San Diego: SeaWorld's ode to October 31 takes place every weekend this month. Attractions include Return of the Pirates 4-D move, Penelope's Pumpkinfish Patch and The Search for Captain Luck's Treasure, a walk-through adventure. Event included with park admission. 619-226-3929, seaworldsandiego.com

Balboa Park Halloween Family Day, October 29, 11 am-3 pm: Over a dozen museums in the park will be offering free admission for kids 12 and under. Storytelling, crafts, special tours, a costume contest for pooches are just a few of the dizzying amount of offerings. Children in costume who come to the Balboa Park Visitors Center with an adult get a free gift. www.balboapark.org.

Legoland California, 1 Legoland Dr., Carlsbad: Plenty of Halloween action is going down here, every Saturday in October. There's the Brick-Or-Treat Trail, offering candy, healthy snacks and other stuff, a Mail Order Monsters show and fireworks at 9 pm each Saturday. Prices vary. california.legoland.com, 760-918-5346.

Haunted Hotel, 424 Market St., Gaslamp District: Through Halloween, come explore Freddy Krueger's workshop, see where the Hellevator takes you and try to dodge the virus outbreak in the Zombie office, among other scary fare. 6 pm-1 am. www.hauntedtrail.net or call 619-231-0131 for ticket information. 

Haunted Trail of Balboa Park, 6th Avenue and Juniper Street, at Marston Point, Through October 31, closed Monday and Tuesday except for Oct. 24, 25 and 31 San Diego's only all-outdoor haunted attraction issues a warning to potential guests: "The Haunted Trail is a stroll through the park you'll never forget... experience an outdoor terror that is simply too big to house indoors.'' Yikes. A new feature this year is a maze called "The eXperiment.'' www.hauntedtrail.net for ticket information.

Monster Bash, Gaslamp Quarter, Oct. 29, 6 pm-midnight, entrance at 6th Avenue and Market: This eight-block scene is where the true party people will congregate. Sure, there will be the requisite vampires, costumed folk, but also DJs, music and action at 10 bars and three stages. The evening of debauchery concludes with a costume contest, with the winner pocketing three grand. $25-30, 21 and older. sandiegomonsterbash.com. 619-233-5008.

San Diego Flagship Halloween Cruise, October 29, boarding 9 pm, cruise 9:30 pm-12:30 am, 1050 North Harbor Dr.: For something different, put on your costume and do Halloween on the bay. There's dancing, music, a free boarding cocktail and a costume contest. $35 general admission, $55 VIP package. 619-234-4111, www.flagshipsd.com.

Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, October 31, ESPN, 5:30 pm: For those ready for some Monday Night Football, watch to see if the Chargers can put some fright into their long-time divisional rival. 

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