It’s reaching the end of October, but you still don’t have any plans on the calendar? 

Luckily, cities across Orange County will be hosting their own ghoulish events, whether it’s trick-or-treat activities for the kids, movies in the park, spooky mazes, dancing and music. There’s something in store for anyone who’s trying not to be stuck passing out candy on Halloween night. 

While the end of October marks the night of Halloween, the beginning of November calls for the celebration of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. 

Día de los Muertos is a two-day Mexican holiday celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 of every year. This holiday is widely celebrated in Mexico, as it acknowledges the cycle of life and death. 

During these two days, it’s believed that spirits are able to return home and spend time with their loved ones. Relatives prepare for their return by lighting candles, making offerings such as the deceased’s favorite dishes, and setting up ofrendas (translated from Spanish to “altars”) with pictures or symbols of their loved ones in their honor. 

Back with another roundup of Halloween and Dia de los Muertos events, the Voice of OC has you covered no matter the occasion. 

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The Rodriguez Show: Halloween Fest 2022 (21 and older)

When: 7-11 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: 1207 E 2nd St., Santa Ana
Tickets: $22

“The Rodriguez Show,” a local hip-hop podcast radio show in Santa Ana since 2015, started Halloween Fest two years ago as an online event, when Halloween was about a week before the 2020 presidential election. 

They “wanted to get together for a purpose,” said Cesar Rodriguez, host and producer of the “The Rodriguez Show.”

“We just thought let’s make it a thing to make people aware that they need to vote, and then also let’s have a good time and put on a little show for everybody,” he said. 

“The Rodriguez Show,” the self-proclaimed “best hip-hop show in OC,” hosts local performers at the annual Halloween show. Credit: Photo courtesy of The Rodriguez Show/Brian Gomez

Rodriguez and Armando Cuazitl Jr. “DJ Mandoh,” co-host and DJ of the “The Rodriguez Show,” have held events for the past seven years of the show, including anniversary events for their podcast. Though planning Halloween Fest 2022 was straightforward, the two recall the hardships from the show’s three-year anniversary event. 

“We asked everybody that we knew if they wanted to perform and everybody said yes, so we had four or five hours, but we had 25 people to perform. And I was like, ‘All right, back to back to back,’” Rodriguez chuckled. 

After the three-year anniversary event, the two realized that they needed to be a little more intentional and curate the people who will perform. Now, seven years in the making, they know the do’s and don’ts of what’s going to work and have a team of people to help get them there, he said. 

Though “The Rodriguez Show” is the self-proclaimed “best hip-hop show in OC,” attendees will be hearing more than hip-hop music at the event including rap, psychedelic rock and cumbia through local performers and DJs who will be playing live at the event. 

“It’s all about just having a great time overall. People love all types of music, and that’s kind of how we blend all in together,” DJ Mandoh said. 

Attendees can come to watch local artists get down on stage or check out vendors set up at the event too. Those who are best dressed will have the chance to win a $100 prize from the costume contest. 

Dark Harvest: Shady Pines Asylum

When: Through Oct. 31
Where: 5702 E. La Palma, Anaheim
Tickets: $25 and up

Looking for some real thrills and scares? Then look no further than the “Dark Harvest: Shady Pines Asylum” maze in Anaheim. 

Guests will walk through Shady Pines Asylum overlooking a mental institution where things don’t seem how they should be. The asylum’s Dr. Bodkin claims that investors (the guests) have helped make big steps in their cancer serum research; guests witness these scientific breakthroughs and are invited to walk through the newly renovated west wing. 

Sounds easy enough. But not when the asylum is being overrun by the mental patients. 

This year’s haunted experience is in collaboration with Pirate’s Cave Productions, another local haunt in Orange. 

Adam LeBlanc, Dark Harvest owner, remembers being obsessed with making mazes and scaring people growing up (even though LeBlanc can barely take a scare himself). Now LeBlanc takes that creativity and manifested it into a full-scale, local, independent haunt. 

Around for the past seven years, the Dark Harvest didn’t always go by that name — it was originally called the Fleshyard Haunted Maze. The Fleshyard Haunted Maze became a full-scale commercial haunt in 2015 and stayed like that for next five years until its final haunt in 2019, according to the website. 

But that wasn’t the end of the Fleshyard Haunted Maze. 

In 2020, the maze was revitalized under a different name: Harvest of Horrors. The haunt was located at Frosty’s Forest Pumpkin Patch in Chino. Then the haunt was reborn again, using the same lot in Anaheim that The Fleshyard used to be held, from there the haunt was officially renamed “Dark Harvest.”

Mexican Day of the Dead Festival

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 6
Where: Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana
Tickets: Free

Every year the Bowers Museum hosts its Mexican Day of the Dead Festival, inviting community members who are familiar with the culture and those who are not to learn and celebrate Día de Los Muertos. 

“It’s always fun seeing people who aren’t familiar with these things or have a misconception, (but) they come and they really enjoy it,” said Genevieve Barrios Southgate, director of community programs at Bowers Museum. “Then it becomes a tradition for their family to come every year. And some of them go home, and they make an ofrenda, because now they understand what it’s all about.” 

The event welcomes over 3,000 attendees and will feature live music and dance, as well as art and special foods like tamales, Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto (translated from Spanish to mean “bread of the dead”). 

“The thing I always look forward to at every festival is just seeing the people enjoy themselves so much and see that families who might not be able to go to Disneyland or some other place,” Barrios Southgate said. “They can come here for free and you know, free art projects, free music, free dancing.” 

Performances will be given by classical guitarist Joel Aceves, Mariachi Anacatlan and the Mariachi Kids, Relampago del Cielo Folklorico, Los Cuates and Xipe Totec, Danza Azteca.

“My philosophy is to show the beauty and the history of the traditions of different cultures, and ethnicities,” Barrios Southgate said. 

Aside from the performances, activities for the family such as calavera mask and sugar skull decorating will be at the event. 

The Bowers Museum will have about 30 face painters who are student artists — some from the Orange County School of the Arts and Northwood High School in Irvine. A popular activity at the festival, Barrios Southgate said, attendees can choose between small designs, half face painting or full and intricate designs. 

Día de los Muertos Celebration in Fullerton

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 2
Where: Fullerton College, 321 E. Chapman Ave., Fullerton
Tickets: Free

Every year Fullerton College hosted its annual Día de los Muertos celebration, but when the pandemic hit — the event had to take a brief break. Now, Fullerton College and the Cadena Cultural Center will be reviving the Día de los Muertos celebration on Nov. 2 at the Fullerton College Quad and it’s open to the public.

“We are honored at the opportunity for the Cadena Cultural Center to bring back such an important campus tradition where students and communities from many cultural backgrounds can honor their loved ones through this cultural event,” said Cadena Cultural Center coordinator Gilberto Valencia in an interview with Fullerton College

The event will feature free food, music, face painting, coloring activities and a couple of altar displays. An altar created by the campus community will be put out for the rest of the community to admire. But there will also be a community altar on display for visitors to place pictures of their loved ones upon. 

Performances of traditional Aztec and ballet folklorico (some of the dancers being alumni at Fullerton College) will also be at the event — these dances are used to honor and pay homage to their ancestors. 

“The event has had such long-standing traditions with Ethnic Studies, including the support from Ethnic Studies faculty emeriti and co-founders of FC’s Día De Los Muertos Jerry Padilla and Adela Lopez, along with professor Dr. Amber Gonzalez. We are thankful for their trust and guidance in our center to take over this event,” Valencia said in the same interview. 

More Halloween and Día de Los Muertos Events 

Listed by city.

ALISO VIEJO: Aliso Viejo Fall Fest

When: 6-9 p.m. Oct. 31
Where: Compass Bible Church, 150 Columbia, Aliso Viejo
Tickets: Free

ANAHEIM: Anaheim Fall Festival & Halloween Parade

When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 29; parade at 7 p.m.
Where: Downtown Anaheim, Center Street Promenade
Tickets: Free

BUENA PARK: Cops N’ Goblins Fall Trick or Treating Spooktacular

When: 2-6 p.m. Oct. 31
Where: Buena Park City Hall, 6650 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
Tickets: Free

BUENA PARK: Knott’s Scary Farm

When: Through Oct. 31
Where: Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
Tickets: $69 and up

COSTA MESA: OC Boo Ha Ha — A Haunted Oktoberfest (21 & Up)

When: 7 p.m. to midnight Oct. 29
Where: OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa
Tickets: $47.50 and up

DANA POINT: Spooky Seas at Ocean Institute 

When: 5-9 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point
Tickets: $15 and up (free for children under 2 years old)

DANA POINT: Culinary Cookout — Día de los Muertos Festival

When: 6-9 p.m. Nov. 2
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, 1 Ritz Carlton Drive, Dana Point
Tickets: $190

FULLERTON: Día de los Muertos Festival 

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 30
Where: The Muckenthaler Cultural Center, 1201 W. Malvern Ave., Fullerton
Tickets: Free

HUNTINGTON BEACH: Spooktacular Halloween Kids Club 

When: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Oct. 31
Where: Bella Terra, 7777 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach
Tickets: Free

IRVINE: Día de los Muertos/Halloween Trick or Treat

When: Oct. 29-30
Where: Pretend City Children’s Museum, 29 Hubble, Irvine
Tickets: $19.95

LA HABRA: Halloween Block Party 

When: 5:45-8:15 p.m. Oct. 28
Where: Crossroads Church, 222 N. Euclid St., La Habra
Tickets: Free

LA PALMA: Halloween Carnival 

When: 3:30-6 p.m. Oct. 30
Where: Central Park, 7821 Walker St., La Palma
Tickets: Free

LOS ALAMITOS: Día de los Muertos Fiesta

When: 2-10 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: St. Isidore Historical Plaza, 10961 Reagan St., Los Alamitos
Tickets: $35 altar display contest

MISSION VIEJO: Movies in the Park: “Beetlejuice”

When: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: Cordova Park, 26931 El Retiro, Mission Viejo
Tickets: Free

MISSION VIEJO: Día de los Muertos Celebration

When: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 1
Where: Saddleback College, Fine Arts Courtyard/McKinney Theatre, 28000 Marguerite Pkwy., Mission Viejo
Tickets: Free

NEWPORT BEACH: 5th Annual Halloween Spooktacular

When: 3-6 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: Mariners Park & VJ Community Center, 1300 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach
Tickets: Free

ORANGE: Halloween Zoo-Tacular at the OC Zoo

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: OC Zoo, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange
Tickets: $2 and up

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA: Halloween Family Festival

When: 2-5 p.m. Oct. 31
Where: Central Park, 30842 La Miranda, Rancho Santa Margarita
Tickets: Free

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO: SCC Kids “Not So Spooky Halloween Party”

When: 10-11:30 a.m. Oct. 30
Where: South Coast Christian, 31501 Avenida Los Cerritos, San Juan Capistrano
Tickets: Sign up online

SANTA ANA: Noche de Altares

When: 1-9 p.m. Nov. 5
Where: Flower Street & Civic Center, Santa Ana
Tickets: Free

SEAL BEACH: Trick or Treat on Main 

When: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 31
Where: Main Street, Seal Beach
Tickets: Free

TUSTIN: Wonka’s Halloween Howl

When: 3:30-5:30 p.m. Oct. 31
Where: Columbus Tustin Recreation Center, 17522 Beneta Way, Tustin
Tickets: Free

VILLA PARK: Villa Park Halloween Fest

When: 4-7 p.m. Oct. 29
Where: Villa Park Town Center, 17767-17871 Santiago Blvd., Villa Park
Tickets: Free

WESTIMINSTER: Trunk or Treat & Movie Night

When: 4:30-9 p.m. Oct. 28
Where: Westminster Civic Center, 8200 Westminster Blvd., Westminster
Tickets: Free, but must RSVP at link

WESTIMINSTER: Día de los Muertos

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 30
Where: Westminster Memorial Park & Mortuary, 14801 Beach Blvd., Westminster
Tickets: Free, but must RSVP at link

YORBA LINDA: Trails & Treats Halloween Hike

When: 9-11 a.m. Oct. 29
Where: Travis Ranch Activity Center, 5200 Vía de la Escuela, Yorba Linda
Tickets: $10 per family, pre-registration required

Kristina Garcia is a contributing writer for Voice of OC Arts & Culture. She can be reached at kristinamgarcia6@gmail.com.


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