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October Guide 2017: Halloween and More in San Francisco

family friend events san franciscoHere are our top picks for family-friendly things to do in San Francisco this month. Be sure to scroll down to see events happening all month long, and don’t forget to check out our guide to pumpkin patches and trick-or-treating map. If you find yourself on the Peninsula, check out things to do in the area from Mid-Peninsula Moms Blog, and Wine Country Moms Blog has you covered for trips up north.

Know of something else fun going on around town? Email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below! 

October 1 

Pet Pride Day, 1200 15th St: Join SF Animal Care & Control and Rescue Row partners in a new location @ 1200 15th St. for​ ​SFACC’s 24th Annual Pet Pride Day. Come to this fun-filled afternoon of FREE adoptions and family-friendly activities. RSVP on Eventbrite. Free. 12:00 – 5:00 PM

Chinatown Autumn Moon Festival, Grant Ave.: Celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival with food, shopping, Dragon Parades, cultural events, children’s activities, and more! Free. 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

SF Giants Fan Appreciation DayAT&T Park: The regular season comes to a close for the Giants vs. The Padres. Nervous about taking little ones to a baseball game? We’ve got tips on how to do it, and don’t forget they have a stroller check in the ball park. Every Sunday, kids and their parents are invited to run the bases immediately following the game. The line to do this may look long, but it moves quickly! 12:05 start.

Shakespeare in the Park, McClaren Park, Jerry Garcia Amphitheater: In 2017, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival celebrates 35 years as the Bay Area’s acclaimed provider of free and accessible Shakespeare performances and education programs. For this historic year, SF Shakes will present Hamlet for the first time. Don’t miss the closing performance today. Free. 2:00 PM 

YMCA Learn to Ride Program, Presidio Main Lawn:  Let YBike’s awesome instructors teach your kids how to ride a bike at Off the Grid Presidio Picnic. Bikes and equipment provided. All ages welcome. No pre-registration required; just drop by, the south end of Main Post Lawn. 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Free

Story Time and Family Walk, SF Botanical Gardens Library, 1199 9th Ave: Every first and third Sunday of the month meet in the cozy children’s book nook for lively readings of nature-themed stories. Afterward, families can enjoy a special docent-led family Garden walk that brings the stories to life. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Suitable for children aged 4-8. 10:30-11:30. Free for SF residents.

Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean Up, Ocean Beach: Meet across from the Beach Chalet at Stairwell 17 to volunteer to help clean up Ocean Beach. Buckets and other supplies will be provided. Clean up happens every first and third Sunday of the month and no advanced registration is required. 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Sunday Streets, Excelsior: Come to the season finale of the car-free neighborhood fun in the heart of the Excelsior from Avalon/Theresa to Geneva on Mission, with fun, FREE activities for the whole family to enjoy all along the way. Activity Hubs will be located on Mission and Cotter as well as Seneca and Mission. 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM

October 4

Big Truck Day, McLaren Park: The San Francisco Recreation and Parks department is hosting a free event where children will get to interact with real vehicles, do other fun activities, and listen to the Assistant Fire Chief read a story. Free. 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

Grease Sing Along, Castro Theatre: Join fellow fans of this classic film at the iconic Castro Theatre and sing along to your heart’s content. Costumes are always welcome. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. 7:00 PM

October 5

Grease Sing Along, Castro Theatre: Join fellow fans of this classic film at the iconic Castro Theatre and sing along to your heart’s content. Costumes are always welcome. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. 7:00 PM

Union Street Harvest Wine Walk, Union st. This tasting event will include merchants offering wine samples inside their stores throughout Union Street from Gough to Steiner and on Fillmore Street from Union to Lombard. Purchase on-site tickets for $25 or advance tickets for $20 via the website. The on-site tickets sales location is 2040 Union Street (across from the Metro Theater). Please note: The last sale of tickets is 7:30 PM. 4:00 – 8:00 PM

Fleet Week, Pier 39: Fleet Week is the Bay Area’s opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of our Nation’s armed forces. This spectacular event features a parade of ships, ship tours and an impressive air show that includes the Blue Angels. PIER 39 joins the celebration with live entertainment from local and military bands, interactive exhibits, military vehicles and displays, and more. Check the website for a schedule of events.

October 6

Grease Sing Along, Castro Theatre: Join fellow fans of this classic film at the iconic Castro Theatre and sing along to your heart’s content. Costumes are always welcome. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. 7:00 PM

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park:  Don’t miss this iconic San Francisco musical festival featuring over 90 acts on 7 stages. free. 12:00 – 7:00 PM

Fleet Week, Pier 39: Fleet Week is the Bay Area’s opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of our Nation’s armed forces. This spectacular event features a parade of ships, ship tours and an impressive air show that includes the Blue Angels. PIER 39 joins the celebration with live entertainment from local and military bands, interactive exhibits, military vehicles and displays, and more. Check the website for a schedule of events.

October 7

Bay Day Anchor Events: hereVarious locations: Ignite your love for the Bay and feel inspired to protect this natural, local resource through immersive, Bay-themed educational and recreational activities. Learn more about the celebration . 

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park:  Don’t miss this iconic San Francisco musical festival featuring over 90 acts on 7 stages. free. 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Fleet Week, Pier 39: Fleet Week is the Bay Area’s opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of our Nation’s armed forces. This spectacular event features a parade of ships, ship tours and an impressive air show that includes the Blue Angels. PIER 39 joins the celebration with live entertainment from local and military bands, interactive exhibits, military vehicles and displays, and more. Check the website for a schedule of events.

October 8

Inner Sunset Flea Market & Merchant Hop, Irving St. @ 9th-10th: The market is open on the second Sunday of every month through October and is full of family fun, food, and finds. 10:00 to 4:00 PM.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park:  Don’t miss this iconic San Francisco musical festival featuring over 90 acts on 7 stages. free. 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Fleet Week, Pier 39: Fleet Week is the Bay Area’s opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of our Nation’s armed forces. This spectacular event features a parade of ships, ship tours and an impressive air show that includes the Blue Angels. PIER 39 joins the celebration with live entertainment from local and military bands, interactive exhibits, military vehicles and displays, and more. Check the website for a schedule of events.

Columbus Day Parade, Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach:  The City’s oldest civic event and the nation’s oldest Italian-American parade and community celebration winds its way from Fisherman’s Wharf to North Beach. Free. 12:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Palestinian Culture Day, San Francisco County Fair Building, 1199 9th Ave: Enjoy folk songs and dance, a traditional bazaar and food, and kids’ activities. Children under age 12 are free. 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

October 11

Hanging with HeroesRecess Urban Recreation: Come meet Captain American and Wonder Woman at our next Mommy and Me playdate at Recess in Potrero Hill. Pizza and snacks will be provided. For children ages 0- 4 years old. $10 per child.  Purchase tickets here. 4:00 – 6:00 PM 

October 13

KidsFest at the Zoo, San Francisco Zoo: Join one of the most popular family events where you and your kids will enjoy special wildlife presentations, music, face painting, and fun activities. Members receive a discount on admission. 6:00 – 10:00 PM

October 14

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

October 15

Asian Street Market, SOMA StrEat Food Park: Experience flavors from Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, India, and beyond all at one event! Peruse local pop-up shops, dive into arts and crafts for the kids, and much more! Proceeds will benefit Jean Parker Elementary School. Children 12 and under are free. 11am – 5pm.

Story Time and Family Walk, SF Botanical Gardens Library, 1199 9th Ave: Every first and third Sunday of the month meet in the cozy children’s book nook for lively readings of nature-themed stories. Afterward, families can enjoy a special docent-led family Garden walk that brings the stories to life. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Suitable for children aged 4-8. 10:30-11:30. Free for SF residents.

Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean Up, Ocean Beach: Meet across from the Beach Chalet at Stairwell 17 to volunteer to help clean up Ocean Beach. Buckets and other supplies will be provided. Clean up happens every first and third Sunday of the month and no advanced registration is required. 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

October 21

Potrero Hill Festival, 20th St: Potrero Hill, iconic neighborhood extraordinaire, is hosting its 28th annual festival – an exciting street fair on 20th Street with music, food, crafts, rides and activities for young and old alike. Free.

Wharf Fest, Little Embarcadero from Jefferson to Taylor St:  The ultimate festival to celebrate San Francisco’s historic waterfront district is here. This year’s festival will include a chowder cook-off competition, exhibitors, and fun family activities and entertainment. Free. 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

Sherman Elementary School Pumpkin Fest, Cow Hollow: Sherman’s Annual Pumpkin Festival is a fabulous carnival filled with wagonloads of games, crafts, BBQ food, desserts, a giant jumpy slide, and even a haunted house hosted by Sharks Until Dark Staff! This fundraiser is fully organized and staffed by volunteers and sponsored in part by our generous community donors. We’ll see you there! 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

October 22

Fiesta on the Hill, Cortland Ave., Bernal Heights: This fun filled family event features local food vendors, musicians, artists, and kid activities. 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

October 27

Scaregrove, Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove: This mobile Recs and Park event will have a costume parade, haunted house, hayrides, carnival rides, games, and food.  3:00 – 9:00 PM 

Fish-or-Treat!, Aquarium of the Bay: Watch Aquarium scuba divers as they perform tricks and carve pumpkins underwater in the Nearshore Tunnel each day from 1:15-2:00pm! Then head to the “Scare Lab” where you will meet spooky sea creatures, dissect ghostly squids, and experiment with eerie dry ice. Count the pumpkin-colored “Scari-baldis” or snap a shot of Rockfish munching on pumpkin treats – an unusually healthy form of enrichment for the bottom dwelling fish. Wear your costume to the Aquarium and receive $5 off your ticket! $10-25

October 28

BOO at the Zoo, San Francisco Zoo. Come to this “not-too-spooky” Halloween family festival. Dress up for the daily costume parade and contest at 11:00 AM, visit the trick-or-treat stations around the zoo, and watch the animals enjoy pumpkin treats.

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

SuperNatural Halloween Party, California Academy of Science: Grab your favorite costume and have yourself a ghoulishly good time as you trick-or-treat your way through the Academy at night among spooktacular animals and spine-tingling specimens! 5:00 – 6:30 Early Admission, 6:30 – 9:00 PM, General Admission

BalBOOa Fright Fest, Balboa St between 33rd and 39th Ave: Each year on the Saturday before Halloween the neighbors and local merchants around Balboa St. come together for a scavenger hunt, costumer contest, and autumn carnival at Lafayette school. 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM. Free. 

Polk Street Pumpkin Festival, Polk St from Union to California St.: Meet us at the beginning of the parade or join us anywhere along the route along Polk Street from Union Street to California Street! Free to kids of all ages and all pets! Join us for pumpkin decorating and games from 3:30 pm-6:00 pm at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 1755 Clay Street between Polk Street and Van Ness Avenue. Pumpkin decorating is free but please register so we can have enough pumpkins on hand. To register and see a map of the parade route and the spooky participating merchants, go to colehardware.eventbrite.com or call 415-432-2665. Free. 3:30

Fish-or-Treat!, Aquarium of the Bay: Watch Aquarium scuba divers as they perform tricks and carve pumpkins underwater in the Nearshore Tunnel each day from 1:15-2:00pm! Then head to the “Scare Lab” where you will meet spooky sea creatures, dissect ghostly squids, and experiment with eerie dry ice. Count the pumpkin-colored “Scari-baldis” or snap a shot of Rockfish munching on pumpkin treats – an unusually healthy form of enrichment for the bottom dwelling fish. Wear your costume to the Aquarium and receive $5 off your ticket! $10-25

Ghiradelli Square Halloween Festival, 900 N Point St: Hostec by Maker Studio SF, all are welcome at oto enjoy music, face painting, balloon art, caricatures, magic and more. The first 100 lucky kids get to decorate a pumpkin for free. Costumes are highly encouraged when trick or treating in our shops. Share your photos with us using #ghirardellisquare. 12:00 – 4:oo PM.

October 29

Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean Up, Baker Beach: Meets on the last Sunday of each month, join the group at the picnic table near the beach entrance to volunteer to help clean up Baker Beach. Buckets and other supplies will be provided.  No advanced registration is required. 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

BOO at the Zoo, San Francisco Zoo. Come to this “not-too-spooky” Halloween family festival. Dress up for the daily costume parade and contest at 11:00 AM, visit the trick-or-treat stations around the zoo, and watch the animals enjoy pumpkin treats.

ZootoberFest, San Francisco Zoo: Each weekend features a fun hay maze, festive photo ops and the Zoo “Brew” Haus at Depot Cafe with German themed cuisine and music.

Halloween Hoopla, Yerba Buena Gardens: The Halloween Hoopla features interactive performances and games for kids under 10 and their adults and the return of the Yerba Buena Pumpkin Patch! The program features live music, performances and craft activities. Compete in the annual Mummy Wrap and more games. Remember to bring your camera for the Hoopla Photo Booth! The program culminates in the eagerly awaited Halloween Costume Parade, where everyone is welcome to show off their Halloween finery. Free. 2:00 – 4:00 PM.

Spooktacular Halloween Party & Trick-or-Treat, Japan Center Malls: Enjoy old-fashioned fun at this Halloween Party! Trick-or- Treat in the malls, and play games, decorate pumpkins, bouncy house, arts and crafts, face painting & removable tattoos. And more!  Free. 12:00 – 4:00 PM

North Beach Halloween Extravaganza, Joe DiMaggio Playground: Enjoy this annual event in a beautifully remodeled playground. The signature in-playground Trick or Treat Street is back, plus a haunted house, performers from Circus Bella, crafts, food, and bouncy houses!  Grab your friends and neighbors, get your creativity flowing, and sign up to be a part of this unique experience.  Check out the Trick or Treat Guidelines to learn how to participate! Free. 2:00 – 5:00 PM

Main Street Mamas Halloween Parade, Marx Meadow Drive: Dress up the kids and join in the fun at this annual party and parade. $15. 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Senator Scott Wiener’s Pumpkin Carving Contest, Noe Valley Courts, 24th & Douglas:  Show off your family’s carving skills at this community event. Free. 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

Noe Valley Spooktacular, Noe Valley Town Square: This first annual event will feature a Hay Maze,Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride, Photobooth, Just For Fun Halloween Art Project, Face Painting, Live Entertainment, Cotton Candy Stand, Kids Costume Contest, Pet Costume Contest, and Beer Garden (beginning at 5:30). Free.  2:00-8:00 PM 

West Portal Elementary Fall Pumpkin Festival, 5 Lenox Way: Join this fundraiser for the school and have fun playing games, bouncing on a jumpy slide, running an obstacle course, buying a treat at the bake sale, plus a petting zoo, face painting, ballon art, and chili contest.Email Janette Najar at [email protected] with questions. 11:00 AM – 4:0o PM

Fish-or-Treat!, Aquarium of the Bay: Watch Aquarium scuba divers as they perform tricks and carve pumpkins underwater in the Nearshore Tunnel each day from 1:15-2:00pm! Then head to the “Scare Lab” where you will meet spooky sea creatures, dissect ghostly squids, and experiment with eerie dry ice. Count the pumpkin-colored “Scari-baldis” or snap a shot of Rockfish munching on pumpkin treats – an unusually healthy form of enrichment for the bottom dwelling fish. Wear your costume to the Aquarium and receive $5 off your ticket! $10-25

Frozen Sing Along, Castro Theatre: Join fellow fans of this classic film at the iconic Castro Theatre and sing along to your heart’s content. Costumes are always welcome. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. 12:00 PM

October 30

Fish-or-Treat!, Aquarium of the Bay: Watch Aquarium scuba divers as they perform tricks and carve pumpkins underwater in the Nearshore Tunnel each day from 1:15-2:00pm! Then head to the “Scare Lab” where you will meet spooky sea creatures, dissect ghostly squids, and experiment with eerie dry ice. Count the pumpkin-colored “Scari-baldis” or snap a shot of Rockfish munching on pumpkin treats – an unusually healthy form of enrichment for the bottom dwelling fish. Wear your costume to the Aquarium and receive $5 off your ticket! $10-25

October 31

Moscone Tiny Tot Halloween Parade, Moscone Recreation Center, 1800 Chestnut St: Dress up your little ones (ages 1 to 5) and join the fun at this annual parade. Free. 10:00 AM

Fish-or-Treat!, Aquarium of the Bay: Watch Aquarium scuba divers as they perform tricks and carve pumpkins underwater in the Nearshore Tunnel each day from 1:15-2:00pm! Then head to the “Scare Lab” where you will meet spooky sea creatures, dissect ghostly squids, and experiment with eerie dry ice. Count the pumpkin-colored “Scari-baldis” or snap a shot of Rockfish munching on pumpkin treats – an unusually healthy form of enrichment for the bottom dwelling fish. Wear your costume to the Aquarium and receive $5 off your ticket! $10-25

Trick-or-Treating, around San Francisco: Check out our interactive map of where to trick-or-trick in the city.

Throughout the Month

Pumpkin Patches:  Check out our list of pumpkin patches all over the Bay Area. 

Museum of Ice Cream, 1 Grant Ave: Expect to see lots of Instagram pictures from this pop-up museum.  Tickets must be purchased in advance and are already sold out, but you can sign up for their newsletter to keep tabs on additional ticket releases. Children under 3 years are free. $38 per person.

The Color Factory, 575 Sutter St: This two-story interactive pop-up exhibition celebrates color and material, featuring work by a collection of artists and collaborators. It’s a must-see, but plan accordingly. Tickets must be purchased in advance (sold out at time of publishing) and strollers are not permitted inside. Join their newsletter to stay up to date on new ticket releases. $32 per person. Children under 2 are free. Open 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM every day except Wednesdays.

Conservatory of Flowers Light Show, Golden Gate Park: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the building will be lit up in psychedelic colors from now until October 21st.  to JFK Dr, and JFK Dr between Bernice Rodgers Way and Transverse Dr. 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Free Museum Admission Days: Every month, participating museums, including the California Academy of Sciences, Exploratorium, de Young Museum, and Conservatory of Flowers offer free admission on designated days.

Every Sunday

Off the Grid at Presidio Picnic, Main Parade Ground:  Bring your picnic blanket and hang out. With so many delicious food trucks to choose from, you’ll want to spend time sampling them all. 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Union Square Live, Union Square: From April through October, there will be live performances in the plaza at 2:00 PM. Free.

Golden Gate Park Band, Spreckels Temple of Music: Each week the band will perform music from a different theme, through October. 1:00 – 2:30 PM

Every Monday

Chinatown Walking Tour, Portsmouth Square: Learn about the history and daily lives of the largest Chinatown outside of Asia on this tour hour walking tour of the neighborhood. Meet at the parking garage elevators on the park level ten minutes before the tour begins. 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM. Free.

Every Wednesday

Union Square Live, Union Square: From April through October, there will be live performances in the plaza at 6:00 PM. Free.

Tots and Tails Story Time, SPCA 2343 Fillmore St: Visit the SPCA’s 2nd floor conference room for animal-themed stories and a tour of the Pacific Heights adoption center.  Recommended for children 5 years old and younger. 2:00 PM. Free.

Every Thursday

Presidio Twilight Off the Grid, Presidio Main Parade Ground: The Bay Area’s largest community campfire runs every Thursday with a large selection of international cuisine, live music, sunset activities, and the ambiance of San Francisco’s national park for a one-of-a-kind experience. Lantern-lit cabanas and fire pits underscore the “picnic at dusk” atmosphere and are available to all guests on a first come, first-served basis at no cost. Additional event activities include traditional games such as bean bag toss, hula hoops, and giant Jenga. 5:00 – 9:00 PM. Free.

Every Friday 

Off the Grid at Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd: Come for an early dinner with the kids. They’ll love the music and lively setting. You’ll love the good food and drinks. 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Pier 39 Celebrations, Pier 39: In honor of Pier 39’s 39th anniversary, the Pier will host difference events every Friday until October. 

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Children’s Performance, Children’s Garden, 799 Howard St: The kids will love seeing a different entertainer every Friday. Will it be a clown, puppeteer, or musician? Join the fun and find out! 11:00 – 11:30 AM. Free.

Every Saturday

Chinatown Walking Tour, Portsmouth Square: Learn about the history and daily lives of the largest Chinatown outside of Asia on this tour hour walking tour of the neighborhood. Meet at the parking garage elevators on the park level ten minutes before the tour begins. 10:00 AM. Free.

 

 

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2 Responses to October Guide 2017: Halloween and More in San Francisco

  1. Alison Loomis October 24, 2017 at 2:46 pm #

    Fish-or-Treat! at Aquarium of the Bay, October 27-31: Watch Aquarium scuba divers as they perform tricks and carve pumpkins underwater in the Nearshore Tunnel each day from 1:15-2:00pm! Then head to the “Scare Lab” where you will meet spooky sea creatures, dissect ghostly squids, and experiment with eerie dry ice. Count the pumpkin-colored “Scari-baldis” or snap a shot of Rockfish munching on pumpkin treats – an unusually healthy form of enrichment for the bottom dwelling fish. Wear your costume to the Aquarium and receive $5 off your ticket! $10-25

    • Rebecca Lang
      Rebecca Lang October 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks, Alison! We’ll add this above.

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