Autumn Events to Fall Into

Fall is finally upon us, which means it is time for the Halloween decorations, fuzzy socks, spooky movies, and pumpkin everything. Santa Monica College students may be pondering what to do in Los Angeles this fall. You can get an adrenaline rush at LA’s local theme parks which are filled with haunted houses, mazes, and spine-chilling attractions. For festive fun, check out some family-friendly pumpkin patches that provide more than just the purchase of a pumpkin. If you love apples, take part in everything from apple picking to churning apple butter at local orchards. Oktoberfest is held every fall season, so dress up and if you’re of age, enjoy an ice cold beer. For those that appreciate the fresh air, take a stroll through the breathtaking trails in the greater Los Angeles area. Get started here with just a few of the great seasonal activities LA has to offer.

1. Theme Park Halloween Nights

Halloween Horror Nights is held every night at Universal Studios from September through November. Stephanie Hawkin, an interactive design major at SMC said, “It was terrifying in the best way!” She comes from South Africa—a country where Halloween is not truly celebrated, but when she heard about Halloween Horror Nights, she had to go.

Creeping creatures and zombies with chainsaws hide behind shadows and fog around Universal park, startling patrons at every turn. Hawkins said, "you cannot show fear because if you do, they will target you." Universal brings their most twisted, bloodcurdling ideas to the drawing board to create the most frightening Halloween event in Southern California. This year’s event consists of eight horrifying experiences based on the most scream-worthy television shows and films. FX’s American Horror Story: Roanoke, Stanley Kubrick’s The ShiningSAW: The Games of JigsawAsh vs Evil DeadInsidious: Beyond the FurtherTitans of TerrorThe Horrors of Blumhouse, and AMC’s The Walking Dead all have attractions at the park this year.

The fear goes on with The Titans of Terror Tram hosted by Chucky and a live performance by the Jabbawockeez. For general admission, it will cost up to $95 on a normal night, but planning ahead and purchasing tickets online can save attendees up to $26 off the original price.

Knott’s Berry Farm is another theme park that hosts a night time Halloween event. Titled Knott’s Scary Farm, the park transforms itself into a gruesome Halloween celebration with over 13 skin-crawling attractions such as haunted mazes, rides, and live shows. This year’s theme is “Nightmares Never End” and with a scary number of creatures, zombies, and evil clowns running about, it’s certainly where nightmares begin. There’s more scare zones then safe zones, so have your eyes wide open because you never know what’s lurking in the corner. Due to the enormous amount of terror, Knott’s Berry Farm requires all visitors to be at least 13 years old or older. This fearful event takes place September 21 through October 31, with admission as low as $42.

TIP: Purchase online and you can save up to $33.

2. Pumpkin Patches

"Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch in Culver City is your traditional pumpkin patch. It’s a miniature carnival, with games, face painting, a petting zoo, and tarot card readings," says Stephanie Abusten, a film production major at SMC.

Open October 6 through October 30, the patch hours are Sundays through Thursdays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mr. Bones puts together it’s spectacular event which brings in visitors from all over the Los Angeles area. All pumpkins are priced according to the size, but they come in a variety of shapes and styles. Mr. Bones is a pet friendly environment as long as each furry pooch is cleaned up after. As far as grub goes, there are food trucks and a concession stand with food and drinks available. For entertainment, there is a live band that plays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Abusten says going to a pumpkin patch is always something she wants to do in the fall, but they’re not typically found in LA.

On Wednesday, October 25, Downtown Santa Monica Farmers Market holds an All You Can Carry Pumpkin Patch event from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. or while supplies last. For just $5 you can walk away with as many pumpkins as you can carry down the 25-foot runway. Unfortunately, this is a solo effort which means no help can come from family, friends, or equipment.

3. Apple Picking

Just an hour outside of Los Angeles, in the heart of apple country, Oak Glen welcomes guests to hand-pick apples, enjoy a ride on the horse-drawn wagon through the apple orchards, eat savory baked apple treats at one of the family restaurants, and learn a thing or two at the historical Oak Glen School House Museum. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Oak Glen also hosts an Apple Butter Festival with apple butter making, games, crafts, carriage rides, and music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 28 through Nov. 30.

4. Oktoberfest


One of the oldest, largest, and longest-running Oktoberfest in California takes place every evening September 8 through October 28 in Alpine Village, located in Torrance. Alpine Village's Oktoberfest was voted top ten best Oktoberfest in the U.S by USA Today. People come from all over to take part and dance the night away in the authentic folk festival with customary Oom-Pah-Pah bash bands. Fill your belly with traditional German cuisine and quench your thirst with a refreshing German beer brewed by Warsteiner. Costumes are highly encouraged to add to the ambiance of the evening. You have to be at least 21 years or older to take part in this beer festival of fun, but ages 12 years and under are welcome on Sundays. Hours are Fridays from 6 p.m. to midnight, Saturdays from 5 p.m. to midnight, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance fees range from $10 to $25, and free for children 12 and under on Sundays.

5. Hiking

Los Angeles’ Flint Wash Trail is shaded by sycamore and oak trees, meaning there is an abundance of fallen leaves on the ground that creates the perfect fall atmosphere. Although the hike does not have a wilderness vibe due to the surrounding city of La Cañada Flintridge, the nice shade makes for an enjoyable stroll.

If you’re more interested in seeing the colors of fall, Franklin Canyon Park at the center of Los Angeles, between San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills is for you. It has 605 acres and over five miles of hiking trails with remarkable views along the way. Some of Franklin Canyon Parks popular trails include the Hastain Trail, a 2.3-mile hike round trip, Discovery Trail, a 0.3 mile hike round trip, and Berman Trail, which is only one mile. There is a multicolored display of leaves and an astonishing mountaintop skyline throughout the trails. Many bird-watching and wildlife viewing opportunities will be presented if you keep a good eye out. When in need of a break, there are picnic tables covered by large trees so you can catch your breath, grab a snack, and stay out of the sun. Franklin Canyon Park also includes a large three-acre lake, a good place to stop and feed the fish or just enjoy the view.

These are just a select few of the plethora of activities that LA has to offer. Whether it’s running from spooky Halloween creatures in a theme park, participating in pumpkin patch festivities, picking fresh apples, joining in the music and laughter at Oktoberfest, or taking a nice hike through the Los Angles trails – there’s ton to do here in our city!