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By Breeana Greenberg
Autumn in South Orange County means an array of fun events throughout the month of October—some spooky, some educational, but all family-friendly.
The Friends of San Clemente Foundation will lead off the list of fall festivities starting next weekend with its Carnival Colossal and Food Truck Festival from Oct. 13-16. The event features live entertainment, rides and a strong man and strong woman competition.
The festival will take place at Vista Hermosa Sports Park from 6-10 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13, and from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Oct. 14. The carnival will open at noon on both Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16, and will close at midnight and 10 p.m., respectively.
The following weekend, on Oct. 22, the City of San Clemente will host its “Pumpkin Splash,” where attendees of all ages can enjoy Halloween-themed activities in and out of the pool at the San Clemente Aquatic Center. Participants will also receive a pumpkin to decorate while supplies last.
Kids can also start their trick-or-treating early along Avenida Del Mar later that same day for the San Clemente Downtown Business Association’s Treat Street. Participating businesses displaying a purple balloon out front will pass out candy to costumed children from 4-7 p.m.
A few days later, on Oct. 24, the city will also host a Red Ribbon Parade and National Night Out celebrating healthy choices. The Red Ribbon Parade will begin at 4 p.m. Avenida Del Mar will be closed from South El Camino Real to North Calle Seville until 7 p.m.
Getting the Halloween weekend festivities started off right, Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens will launch its Casa Creepy Haunted House, which will run from Oct. 27-29. Those brave enough to step into the historic Casa will walk through 2.5 acres of the “most haunted mansion on the block.”
“Werewolves, vampires and ghosts are waiting behind every corner of our historic home, and you can bet on plenty of creepy-crawlies in the gardens,” the Casa warns, noting that the Haunted House “is suitable for most families with children ages 8 and up.”
Admission is $15 for those 13 and up, and $10 for those 12 and under. More information about the Haunted House and buying tickets can be found at casaromantica.org/casacreepy.
And just before everyone enjoys their haul of candy treats, the city has planned its inaugural Monster Dash 5K and Creepy Crawl for kids on Oct. 29. The event, starting at the Community Center on Avenida Del Mar from 7-11 a.m., will feature a costume contest and fun run, as well as treats for all ages.
In Dana Point, the city has already launched its “Spooktacular” Porch Decorating and The Great Pumpkin contests, where residents and children can get in the Halloween fun for a chance to win prizes.
Through Oct. 24, Dana Point residents can dress up their porches or yards with Halloween-themed décor and enter photos of their completed design to possibly win $300 in gift cards to local Dana Point businesses.
And Dana Point children up to 12 years of age can also decorate pumpkins to try to win a special Halloween gift basket. Those looking to participate in either contest should submit photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“While the days may be getting shorter, the fun of Halloween is just around the corner,” Dana Point Mayor Joe Muller said. “Staff has planned a full slate of activities, providing both sweets and scares, and the opportunity to show off your creativity with decorations celebrating the season.”
On Oct. 22, the City of Dana Point’s Recreation Division will partner with Dana Point Police Services to host a Halloween Spooktacular and Trunk or Treat. The Dana Point Community Center will be decked out with an elaborate Halloween maze, games, crafts, entertainment and treats for children from 2-8 p.m.
And from 2-7 p.m., Dana Point Police Services will offer candy for kids during the Trunk or Treat portion of the night. Police Services will have displays for families to visit, with opportunities to meet the Bloodhounds, Bomb Squad, K-9 Unit and Mounted Patrol.
A kids’ costume parade is also scheduled for 6 p.m. with prizes. Refreshments and food will be available for purchase from food trucks.
During Halloween weekend, on Oct. 29, the Dana Point Recreation Division staff, dressed in costumes, will distribute treats to children up to 12 years old on the Spooky Treat Trolley. The Halloween-themed trolley will make stops at Pines Park from 3:30-4 p.m.; Sunset Park from 4:30-5 p.m.; Dana Woods Park from 5:30-6 p.m.; and Sea Canyon Park from 6:30-7 p.m.
As for the day of Halloween, Oct. 31, those taking a stroll around the harbor will likely spot a group of “witches” and “warlocks” paddleboarding. Participating paddleboarders looking to celebrate the holiday are scheduled to meet at Baby Beach at 9 a.m.
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
In San Juan Capistrano, the Mission will display its Día de Los Muertos Altar through Oct. 30. The 18th century historic Sala will be the home of the Día de Los Muertos display, a spot to honor loved ones by placing their names on the altar or ofrenda.
And over the Halloween weekend, Oct. 28-29, the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society will also host guided walks down the historic Los Rios Street. The annual Halloween tradition is open for all ages. Attendees will hear from “ghostly visitors” and spooky, family-friendly stories.
Adult admission is $24.50, and the cost for children is $12.50. Tickets can be purchased at sjcghosttour.com.
Those interested in attending the various events in the three South Orange County cities can visit danapoint.org, san-clemente.org, or sanjuancapistrano.org for more information.
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at email@example.com