Halloween Rides on Ghost Trains & Haunted Boats for LA Kids
So you've already been to the pumpkin patches, and you're ready to take Halloween to the next level - you're ready, in fact, to put it in motion. Well, we know six different ways to take this haunt on the road - or the sea - with everything from an old-fashioned train ride through fields of pumpkins, to a spooky tour through a haunted ship, to a terror-filled hayride through fields of zombies. Whatever Halloween means to your family, you can make it a ride at one (or more) of these vehicular annual haunts.
Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch
Daily September 20 - October 31, 2014
Admission free; Each activity $5
1 Irvine Park Road
Irvine, CA 92862
This train isn't haunted, but it spends 12 minutes meandering autumnally among the pumpkins. In addition to the Pumpkin Train, kids can jump in a moon bounce, go on a hay ride, play carnival games, get their faces painted, and pick pumpkins at Irvine Park Railroad (most activities $5). Be sure to check the coupon page before heading over.
The Pumpkin Patch is located just behind the train station, and admission is free, but the County of Orange charges a gate entrance fee ($5) to drive into Irvine Regional Park.
Zombieland Dinner Train
Select dates October 4 - 26, 2014
Adults $49; Children (ages 4-12) $34
351 Santa Clara Street
Fillmore, CA 93015
Slightly off the haunt-beaten path, Fillmore & Western Railway invites families to creep aboard a vintage train for a spooktacular adventure that includes dinner, storytelling, and a search through a remote, zombie-filled pumpkin patch. Costumes are encouraged, and advance reservations are required.
Every Sat & Sun in October
Adults $20; Children (ages 4-12) $12; (ages 2-3) $10; Infants in lap free
Another offering by Fillmore and Western each October is the Pumpkinliner, a daytime family ride on a vintage train to the railway's own pumpkin patch. There's nothing spooky about this ride at all - just a wholesome family outing on a Halloween-themed train to a pumpkin patch that feels wonderfully far from town.
Weekends October 17-November 2, 2014
5202 Zoo Drive
LA, CA 90027
Families with young kids looking for spooky rides through Griffith Park line up annually to ooh, aah, and eek on the Los Angeles Live Steamers' Ghost Train. The unique, seven and a half gauge ride-on train gets a big dose of witches and goblins for the season, as well as flashing lights, creepy skeletons, and eery tableaux. Kids must be at least 34" tall to ride; brave kids of three, uncynical kids of ten, and grown-up parents of everyone in between squeal with glee as the train spirits them away.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
Thu-Sun (+ some Wed) October 3-31, 2014
Griffith Park (Old Zoo)
4730 Crystal Springs Ave.
LA, CA 90027
This is not your mama's hayride. The Haunted Hayride, a vehicular source of thrills and chills not for the faint of heart, causes adult screams through Griffith Park each year. This is an event best shared with teens and no one younger - but boy will your teens think you're cool. If you have kids of different ages, the Halloween carnival set up at the ride's starting point offers options for family members not ready to be scared witless.
Queen Mary's Dark Harbor
Weekends October 2 - November 2, 2014
$20 and up (best prices are online)
1126 Queens Hwy
Long Beach, CA 90802
The motion here is only side to side - or perhaps straight down to the ocean floor depending on which maze you're in. There is no young kids' version of this haunt, but kids 12 or older who like to be scared will love braving the ghosts and zombies of the deep with their cool, slightly freaked-out parents. The historic, purportedly haunted Queen Mary hosts this Halloween Terrorfest on board ship in its Long Beach port, featuring several spooky mazes that wind their way through the hull and bowels of the ship. There is even an add-on tour through the art deco cruise liner's most famously ghost-infested sections. More mazes and fun spill over into the area around the ship, including the adjacent event dome, with oodles of food and drink options, too. Costumes are not permitted.
Originally published October 2, 2012