Hello, sweet autumn — so nice to have you back. While it’s difficult saying goodbye to those carefree summer days and balmy nights, California in the fall is always a treat. Take it or leaf it, we rustled up some fun SoCal fall getaway suggestions, including family-friendly apple picking, Day of the Dead fest, a WeHo Halloween Carnival, Knott’s Scary Farm and, of course, there’s still plenty of time to celebrate Oktoberfest — prost!
Featured Photo: Courtesy of @hwdforever
Peak Apple Pickin' Time!
If you’re longing for a piece of New England right here in Southern California, then historic Oak Glen is the perfect place to visit. Located about two hours outside of Los Angeles on the way to Palm Springs, Oak Glen is home to dozens of apple orchards which cover its cool, sloped hills with blossoms during the spring and fruit in the fall. Everywhere you turn you’ll see Riley’s: Riley’s Apple Farm, Riley’s Farm Fort Cross Orchard, Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho. This is because the Riley family homesteaded a farm back in 1978, and then expanded, and expanded again. All of them are wonderful seasonal businesses offering apple picking of many varieties, along with other fruits and flowers. In the evening, throw your cowboy boots on for barn dances and gospel singers, cider pressings and all kinds of apple-y good fun for the whole family.
Day of the Dead — Hollywood Style
One of my favorite places to go in Los Angeles — hands down — is the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Beautifully landscaped and steeped in fantastic Hollywood lore, this gorgeous cemetery feels more like a lush secret garden than a creepy burial ground. But every year, Hollywood Forever is transformed into the nation’s largest Dia de los Muertos celebration as they welcome, honor and celebrate the memories of all the beloved souls on the grounds. The Annual Dia de Los Muertos celebration on October 29 will commemorate the spirits of the dead with processions, arts and crafts, music and dance exhibitions, spiritual shrines and even a costume contest for the best traditional Calaca (skeleton) costume.
Let’s face it: Halloween is fun anywhere, but it’s especially fun at the Halloween Carnaval in West Hollywood. More than 500,000 revelers come from far and wide to participate in the world’s largest Halloween celebration. Taking place on Santa Monica Boulevard from 6pm to 11pm on October 31, it is truly one of the most amazing spectacles you’ll see with every manner of crazy, eccentric, sexy, outrageous costume on display. The big attraction of the evening is the Costume Contest and crowning of the Honorary “Queen of the Carnaval.” The night also includes exciting live entertainment, food vendors, pumpkin-carving contests and more.
All of Southern California’s amusement parks have great Halloween festivities, but Knott’s Scary Farm (a.k.a. Knott’s Berry Farm) is one of the oldest and most fun. For more than 40 years, this jam, jelly and preserve-themed park has been putting on the best Halloween show in town, now until October 31. Haunted attractions, shows, “scare zones” and rides along with roaming monsters are why Knott’s Scary Farm is not recommended for children under 13.
Prost — it's Octoberfest!
In October, everyone’s German. The longest-running Oktoberfest in the LA area is at Alpine Village restaurant and market in Torrance. This beloved event features a German Oom Pah Pah band, chicken dancing, sing-alongs, and, of course, German food and beer. Alpine Village’s Kraft Bierfest offers hard-to-find taps and limited editions for serious suds fans.