Hallow's Eve Eve at Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

The posh hotel offers trick-or-treating for the tots and a crab boil for the grown-ups.

THOSE ATMOSPHERIC INNS... that are famous for their third-floor hauntings and the cold spot in the bar and the mysterious hum in the lobby and the strange lights in the ballroom have become famous for their phantoms, whether the phantoms said to frequent there really and truly exist or not. But other hotels can get in on the ghoul game, at least once a year, by throwing a lively Halloween bash. Or, in the case of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, a just-before-Halloween bash, one that lasts for two nights and offers a bit of not-too-frightful fun for both grown-up guests and trick-or-treating tykes as well. 

NO HOTEL GHOSTS SHALL BE SUMMONED... for the Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30 to-dos, unless those guests materialize dressed up as ghosts. The Oct. 29 affair involves afternoon pumpkin carving and, later on, trick-or-treating at the ranch. And if you make for the Mimosa Cottage, a pretty structure on the property, from 6 to 8 o'clock in the evening, you may encounter a "a spooky house of horrors." Helping to put this all on, along with The Inn? Rancho Santa Fe's Village Vibrance Committee.

THE FRIDAY NIGHT FUN TIMES... also involve the Mimosa Cottage haunted house, but there's a savory twist: A Bayou-style Cajun seafood boil, complete with shrimp, andouille sausage, crab, crawdads, and more spice-it-up add-ins. There shall be aioli, too, and remoulade, and everything needed to make this a traditional feast. Kids, too, are invited to the supper shenanigans, and the whole macabre-merry meal'll spread out on the Inn's picturesque lawn (along with a pop-up "Graveyard Bar"). Adults are sixty bucks a pop and children's dinners are $25.

SO... can you do a spooky hotel even if you don't have a famous ghost, the kind of ghost that is featured on all the cable channels and in the guidebooks? Of course you can, for a night or two at least, around Halloween. The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, with its classic lines and historic buildings, is a fine setting for a phantom-y night, no third-floor ghost hunts or cold spots in the bar required.

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