Pumpkin patches will draw families in this weekend. Photo by Chris Stone

Costumes. Check. Makeup. Check. Blood – fake, people, fake! – well, that depends on your get-up of choice this year. Halloween may be on Oct. 31, but there are oh-so-many scary choices on the greater San Diego party circuit this weekend – and for all ages too.

El Cajon hosts the free HauntFest from 5 to 10 p.m Friday on Main Street from Magnolia to Avocado avenues. The event includes a costume contest, carnival, pumpkin patch and music on two stages.

Bet none of those films will be about spooky seas. Leave that to the Haunted Aquarium – better known as the UCSD Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The venue hosts the Sea Monster Mash from 6-9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, featuring spooky species and slime and swamp critters! (Really. Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters will perform) There will be a little science on the side too. Admission costs $25 online or $30 at the door.

Point Loma Nazarene University opens up for the 16th annual Fall Festival, featuring wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, music, artisans and more. The free event takes place from 10a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Make sure to be there from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for food from participants in Taste of Point Loma.

A Dia de los Muertos altar.

On the heels of Halloween comes Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s celebration of loved ones lost. Mission San Luis Rey opens up from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday for traditional dancing and entertainment and a classic car show. There will be colorful altars for photos, flowers and candles in remembrance, and an interactive chalk cemetery for more salutes.

CicloSDias shuts down points along Adams Avenue from Hamilton to 44th streets from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Bikers, strollers and skaters can have the lanes all to themselves, car-free, so it’s possible as organizers argue “to create a whole new healthy, sustainable and vibrant city street experience.” Given the timing, costumes, of course, are encouraged.

Finally, the family can enjoy a pumpkin patch, city-style at Waterfront Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The free event includes pumpkins, naturally, and craft tables to make them over into the Jack-o’-Lanterns they all aspire to be.

– Staff reports

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