For the next few weeks, we're just going to pretend not to see those sparkly snowmen and jolly Santas and other cheery holiday decorations that popped up in big-box stores as early as September, because October is all about bats, skeletons and pumpkins. The proof? A lineup of pumpkin patches, Halloween carnivals, movie nights, concerts and shows taking place from now through Oct. 31 — although with Halloween itself falling on arguably the scariest day of the week, Monday, most events have crept onto the calendar a little earlier this year.
Here's a sampling of Halloween fun for little goblins and their families, plus some picks for grown-up ghouls as well.
Festivals and special events
Webb Ranch Pumpkin Patch: Fans of all things fall can pick up organic gourds of many different varieties at Webb Ranch's patch, including pumpkins for carving or cooking, and fall decor such as straw bales. Visitors can also stop by a haunted house, wander in a corn maze, enjoy bounce houses and an obstacle course.
Weekend visitors can also take part in hay rides, pick their own organic sweet corn and meet the residents of petting and reptile zoos. Reservations are required to take part in weekend activities (reservations are not required for pumpkin purchases only or for weekday visits).
Through Oct. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily at Webb Ranch, 2718 Alpine Road, Portola Valley. Weekday admission is $8 adults and teens 13+/$15 ages 2-12 (0-23 admitted free) and weekend admission is $18 adults and teens 13+/$32 ages 2-12 (0-23 admitted free). webbranchinc.com.
St. Raymond Pumpkin Festival: The festival returns after a two-year hiatus with games and activities, pony and train rides, bounce houses, face-painting, bungee jumping and carnival rides and a pumpkin patch. Friday also features a "boo-tique."
Oct. 14, 3:30-9 p.m. and Oct. 15, noon-5 p.m at St. Raymond School, 1100 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park. Admission is free. instagram.com.
Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival: The Bay Area fall tradition marks its 50th year. Beat the traffic and head to the Coastside early for the pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. either day.
The costume contest and Great Pumpkin Parade are Saturday, and the 44th annual Pumpkin Run (a kids' fun run, 5K, 10K and half-marathon) is Sunday morning. Visitors can pick up pumpkins of their own and enjoy pumpkin-infused treats, including chili, smoothies and beer.
Oct. 15-16, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Admission is free. Pumpkin Run registration ranges from $25-$55. pumpkinfest.miramarevents.com.
Orchard Days: Filoli celebrates the bounty of autumn with a series of weekend events set at the estate's Gentleman's Orchard. Each weekend has a different theme and features activities, creations by area artists and live music by local performers. Harvest celebrations from around the world are the focus of events on Oct. 15-16; pumpkins are the theme for Oct. 22-23 and the series wraps up with "Spooky Creatures of the Orchard" Oct. 29-30, a program that looks at the creatures, from mountain lions to bats, who can be found at nighttime around Filoli.
Oct. 15-16, Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30, 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. at Filoli, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside. Tickets are $15-$25; reservations are required. filoli.org.
HOWLoween: Wolf Awareness Week: Halloween is typically all about the scares, but Stanford University marks the spooky season with a week highlighting how special, rather than scary, our lupine friends are. Wolf Awareness Week returns for a second year with events exploring the important role wolves play in nature.
Even so, the week should bring a few hair-raising moments, particularly with a howling lesson (Oct. 18) that teaches the correct vocal technique for a truly impressive howl, followed by a group howl outside the Green Library; and "Our Werewolves, Ourselves," a look at the mythology of werewolves (Oct. 18). Other events include "Skull School," a talk comparing animal skulls and looking at the gray wolf's anatomy (Oct. 20); "The Return of the Wolf," a discussion about wolves' slow comeback to some parts of the United States (Oct. 20); and a screening (Oct. 21) of the 1994 horror/romantic comedy "Wolf," about a mild-mannered editor (Jack Nicholson) who acquires some cutthroat skills in navigating office politics after he's bitten by a wolf.
HOWLoween takes place Oct. 16-22 at various times at Green Library, 557 Escondido Mall, Stanford. All events are free and open to the public. events.stanford.edu.
Witches' Delight Carnival: A Santa Rita Elementary tradition for 60 years, the carnival supports the Santa Rita PTA and includes carnival rides, games, a cake walk and contest, a costume contest and more.
Oct. 22, 3-8 p.m. at Santa Rita Elementary School, 700 Los Altos Ave., Los Altos. Buy tickets in advance at santaritaschool.org.
Halloween Boo…k Exchange Party: Drop off old books at the Millbrae Library between 3 and 5 p.m. Oct. 21 and return the next day to pick out new titles. Costumes are encouraged, and prizes will be raffled off.
Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Millbrae Library, 1 Library Ave., Millbrae. The event is free. eventbrite.com.
Halloween Spooktacular: Redwood City hosts a family-friendly event with carnival games, a monster maze, creepy crafts, spooky photo backdrops, a mini pumpkin patch and prizes.
Oct. 22, noon-3 p.m. at Red Morton Community Center, 1120 Roosevelt Ave., Redwood City. Admission is $10 per child. redwoodcity.org.
Halloween Pub Run: Join Bay Area Run Crew for a special Halloween-themed pub run and October birthday celebration. All paces are welcome, and the run will end with food and drinks at Faultline Brewing Company in Sunnyvale. Runners are encouraged to wear costumes.
Oct. 27, 6 p.m. starting at Faultline Brewing Company, 1235 Oakmead Parkway, Sunnyvale. Route TBA. The event is free. eventbrite.com.
Spooky Times at Deer Hollow Farm: Families can explore haunted barns, enjoy games and activities and meet farm animals up close at this event hosted by the city of Mountain View and Friends of Deer Hollow Farm, a nonprofit educational farm at Rancho San Antonio preserve.
Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-noon at Deer Hollow Farm, 22500 Cristo Rey Drive, Cupertino. Admission is $7 per person/$5 with costume (proceeds go to support the farm's livestock). mountainview.gov.
Los Altos Hills Town Hall: On Oct. 28, the offices at Los Altos Hills Town Hall will host trick-or-treating — and local electeds may be on hand for the festivities. And through Oct. 31, visitors can drop by Los Altos Hills Town Hall to guess at the weight of a giant pumpkin on display. The closest three guesses will receive Los Altos Hills prizes. Pumpkin-guessers can use a form at losaltoshills.ca.gov/pumpkin to submit their estimate.
Trick-or-treating takes place Oct. 28, 2-4 p.m. and pumpkin guessing available now through Oct. 31 during regular business hours, both at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road, Los Altos Hills. losaltoshills.ca.gov.
Halloween at Hiller Aviation Museum: The Hiller Aviation Museum is transformed into a Haunted Hangar with spooky decorations. Activities include a Halloween Kids Carnival Oct. 22-23, where kids can paint a plane, and the Halloween Kids Festival the following weekend, Oct. 29-30, with a helicopter pumpkin drop.
Haunted Hangar display Oct. 22-31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 8 p.m. Oct. 28-30), Halloween Kids Carnival and Paint-A-Plane Oct. 22-23, 10 a.m. to noon, Halloween Kids Festival Oct. 29-30 from 10 a.m. to noon (pumpkin drop at noon). Hiller Aviation Museum, 601 Skyway Road, San Carlos. Museum admission is $19 per adult, $12 per senior (65 and up) and child ages 5 to 17, free for kids 4 and under. hiller.org.
Goblin Walk: Kids 7 and under accompanied by an adult can trick or treat down Laurel Street in their costumes by visiting businesses displaying the Goblin Walk sign.
Oct. 28, 4-5:30 p.m. on Laurel Street, San Carlos. Admission is free. facebook.com.
Jack O Jaunt: The city of Palo Alto hosts a pumpkin carving competition and display in which members of the community can vote on their picks for the scariest, cutest and most creative jack o'lanterns. Participants can carve pumpkins on their own at home or during a carving workshop.
Oct. 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (workshop takes place Oct. 28, 3-5 p.m., and costs $20 for materials) at Lytton Plaza, University Avenue and Emerson Street, Palo Alto. cityofpaloalto.org.
Menlo Park Halloween Hoopla: The city of Menlo Park hosts its annual Halloween carnival and parade. Participants are invited to dress in costumes and decorate their bikes or wagons for the parade, which will end at Fremont Park with a carnival featuring games, prizes, crafts, a raffle, entertainment and candy.
Oct. 29, parade begins at 11 a.m. at Maloney Street parking lot and concludes at Fremont Park, Santa Cruz Avenue at University Drive, Menlo Park. The carnival takes place until 2 p.m. Admission is free. beta.menlopark.org.
Mountain View Monster Bash: Families are encouraged to dress up in costumes for a day of spooky games, a twisty maze, stilt walkers, a Día de los Muertos celebration and more. Attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the festival. Also, visitors can meet Mountain View Voice staffers, who will be on hand at the Voice's booth.
Oct. 29,10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Rengstorff Park, 201 S. Rengstorff Ave., Mountain View. The event is free. mountainview.gov
Trick-or-Treat Extravaganza: Menlo Church hosts an event with trick-or-treat stations, an inflatable slide and a bounce house.
Oct. 29, 4-6 p.,m. at 950 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park. menlochurch.churchcenter.com.
Sunnyvale Pet Parade: The annual event held in honor of working and past city of Sunnyvale working K9s returns in person after going virtual. Featuring a costume contest and talent show.
Oct. 30, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Murphy Avenue, Sunnyvale. sunnyvalepetparade.com.
Hidden Villa Harvest Festival: The whole family is invited to come in costume to enjoy fall-themed arts and crafts, a costume contest, garden activities, visits with farm animals, explorations with naturalists, "Boo-Archery" and a live blacksmith demonstration. The event also includes festive music, an artisan market and food and drinks from local vendors.
Oct. 30, 10 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. at Hidden Villa, 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills. $20 per person. hiddenvilla.org.
A Boo-tiful Downtown Halloween: Trick-or-treating at downtown Los Altos merchants, followed by Halloween crafts and games in Veterans Community Plaza.
Oct. 31, trick-or-treating starts at noon; games start at 2 p.m. in downtown Los Altos. Free. downtownlosaltos.org.
Gamelandia Halloween Party: New Palo Alto game store Gamelandia hosts a party with a pet costume contest, gaming and candy.
Oct. 31, 4-9 p.m. at Gamelandia, 290 California Ave., Palo Alto. gamelandia.fun.
Belmont Movie Night: Head to Barrett Park in Belmont to watch "Hocus Pocus" to close out the city's Movies in the Parks 2022 series.
Oct. 14, 6:15-8:45 p.m. at Barrett Park, 1870 Ralston Ave., Belmont. Admission is free. belmont.gov.
Millbrae Goes to the Movies: Watch "The Nightmare Before Christmas" during a family-friendly evening in Millbrae.
Oct. 14, 6:30 p.m. at Millbrae Recreation Center Great Hall, 477 Lincoln Circle, Millbrae. Admission is free. facebook.com.
Menlo Park Costume Movie Night: The Menlo Park Library hosts an outdoor screening of a spooky movie geared for ages 12-18. Families are invited to bring snacks and a blanket to enjoy a movie under the stars. Audiences at the event will vote on which movie they want to see.
Oct. 19, 6- 8 p.m. at the Menlo Park Library, 800 Alma St., Menlo Park. Admission is free. beta.menlopark.org.
Fall Throwback Movie Series: The city of Mountain View hosts an outdoor screening of the original "Hocus Pocus." Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Movie may not be suitable for young children.
Oct. 21, movie begins at 7 p.m. or dark at Cuesta Park, 615 Cuesta Drive, Mountain View. Admission is free. mountainview.gov.
"Ghostbusters" in Burlingame: Bring your blankets, chairs and favorite movie snacks to the Washington Park baseball field to watch "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" on the jumbo inflatable screen.
Oct. 21, 7-8:30 p.m. at Washington Park, 898 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame. Admission is free. facebook.com.
Los Altos Halloween Family Fun Day, Movie Night: Los Altos Parks and Recreation has planned a full day — and evening — of Halloween fun for families on Saturday, Oct. 22, first with Halloween-themed games, crafts, stories and more at the Los Altos Community Center. In the evening, the city hosts an outdoor screening of "Monsters, Inc." at Grant Park. Guests should bring chairs, blankets and snacks.
Family Fun Day takes place Oct. 22, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Los Altos Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos. Movie Night takes place Oct. 22, 7 p.m. at Grant Park 1575 Holt Ave., Los Altos. Admission is free. For more information visit, losaltosca.gov.
Eatery events and offerings for adults
Halloween Drag Brunch: Faultline Brewing Company hosts an afternoon of drag performances with Amoura Teese, Sasha Devaroe, Jaymelah Moorea and Hera Wynn, plus food, drinks and a DJ.
Oct. 22, noon at Faultline Brewing Company, 1235 Oakmead Parkway Sunnyvale. Tickets are $15-$25. eventbrite.com.
Pumpkin Carving Party and Boos & Brews Halloween Party: Bring your own pumpkin to Taplands for its third annual family-friendly Pumpkin Carving Party Oct. 27, and come back Oct. 29 for the Boos & Brews Halloween Party with costumes, music and Halloween-inspired craft beer.
Oct. 27 and 29, times TBA at Taplands, 1171 Homestead Road, Santa Clara. taplands.com.
BraveMaker Halloween Costume Party: This adults-only costume party and contest features food, music, film screenings and an open bar for 21+, with proceeds benefiting Redwood City film nonprofit BraveMaker.
Oct. 28, 6:30-10:30 p.m. at the San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets are $25-$100. eventbrite.com.
Halloween Beer Friday: Devil's Canyon Brewing Company is hosting a Halloween bash with food, music, games and a costume contest for groups, individuals and duos.
Oct. 28, 4 p.m. at Devil's Canyon Brewing Company, 935 Washington St., San Carlos. Admission is free. devilscanyon.com.
Halloween Bash with DJ BT Blackmon: The Longboard Margarita Bar in Pacifica is hosting a Halloween party featuring DJ BT Blackmon and a costume contest with prizes.
Oct. 29-30, 9 p.m.-midnight at The Longboard Margarita Bar, 180 Eureka Square, Pacifica. No cover charge. eventbrite.com.
Halloween Bash: Calave is promising "haunting drinks and spooky nibbles" at its party Oct. 29, where costumes are encouraged but not required. They're also serving special cocktails like Devil's Margarita and Black Widow all month long.
Oct. 29, 4 p.m. to close at Calave, 299 South California Ave. #115, Palo Alto. calave.com.
Halloween Cocktails: Wild Onion Bistro and Bar at Hotel Citrine debuted its Halloween cocktail menu this week with options like Witches Welcome, which is neon green and served with dry ice and a gummy worm garnish to resemble a cauldron, and Black Sabbath (dark rum, absinthe, chai tea syrup, star anise and sparked cinnamon), in which the bartender drops cinnamon over a lit match to create sparks over the cocktail.
Throughout October at Wild Onion Bistro and Bar (in Hotel Citrine), 750 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto. hotelcitrine.com
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: In something of a time warp, the Bawdy Caste, made up of longtime Bay Area players, performs alongside a screening of the cult-classic horror movie musical spoof "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" at The Guild Theatre — now renovated into a concert venue, but previously the scene of "Rocky Horror" showings back in its movie theater days.
Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m. at The Guild Theatre, 949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Tickets are $19.99. guildtheatre.com.
Stanford Symphony Halloween Concert: The Stanford Symphony Orchestra and the Stanford Wind Symphony present their annual Halloween concert. The performance's second half concludes with a costume contest, with the winner serving as guest conductor for the final piece of the evening.
Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. at Dinkelspiel Auditorium, 471 Lagunita Drive, Stanford. Tickets are $13-$18 in advance/$18-$23 at the door. events.stanford.edu.
Hip-Hop Halloween: Monster's Ball: Halloween's creepiest creatures, including Frankenstein's monster and Dracula, show off their dance moves in a spooky hip-hop dance performance presented by Peninsula Ballet Theatre.
Oct. 29, 7 p.m. and Oct. 30, 1 p.m. at the Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets are $35-$65 ($5 discount for 65+ and 18 and under). peninsulaballet.org.
When Doves Cry: The Prince Tribute Halloween Show: Club Fox hosts a Prince tribute concert and costume contest.
Oct. 29, 9 p.m. at Club Fox, 2209 Broadway, Redwood City. Tickets are $25-$30. eventbrite.com.
Redwood Symphony Halloween Family Concert: The Redwood Symphony tradition returns after a three-year hiatus. In addition to a short, family-friendly performance, this event includes an orchestra tour and group conducting lesson and will feature the conductor and orchestra in costume. Audiences are encouraged to wear costumes.
Oct. 30, 3 p.m. at Cañada College Main Theater, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City. Tickets are $30-$35 adults/$15 children. redwoodsymphony.org.
Editor's note: Several local spooky celebrations are already sold out as of press time, including trick-or-treating Oct. 28 at the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo and Bats, Bats and More Bats! with trick-or-treating and an environmental program featuring live bats on Oct. 29 at Gamble Garden, which has a waitlist.