Outdoor Fun

A SoCal Garden's Wee Haunted Houses Add October Charm

South Coast Botanic Garden's October approach is adorable, unscary, and out in the open air. How many seasonal scenes can you find?

Manny Martinez

What to Know

  • Palos Verdes Peninsula
  • "The Haunted Hunt" is included with garden admission; ask for a map at the visitors services window
  • Through Oct. 31, 2021

Haunted houses, at least in our collective imagination, are big.

Did we say "big"? We meant huge, ginormous, the sort of crumbling and colossal piles of brick and stone that boast belfries, separate wings, conservatories, and a sweeping staircase that fills three stories (though probably four or five).

But here's something happy, if you've got younger Halloween fans in your home, the sort of tots who like slightly spooky things in an outdoor, sunlit setting: Haunted houses don't have to include dozens of shadowy rooms and web-filled hallways.

Sometimes they can be sweet, small, and just there to delight us, without the screams and startles.

South Coast Botanic Garden is delivering on this gentle-of-heart, low-key Halloween vibe as October 2021 begins.

Nope, the Palos Verdes Peninsula destination didn't set to building a bunch of oversized structures, but rather several diminutive displays that capture some of the fun, and few of the frights, of the upcoming holiday.

So here's your merry mission, if you visit the 87-acre property through Oct. 31, 2021: How many can you find?

"The Haunted Hunt" includes bijou buildings that have the general appearance of a traditional haunted house, but you might also come across eerie scenes set against a natural backdrop, or even a birdbath that's dressed for the eekiest time of year.

This is not a prize hunt, but rather one that gives visitors to the expansive area, which includes several themed gardens featuring flowers, pathways, and magnificent Moreton Bay fig trees, a chance to keep an eye out for something sweet and seasonal.

Oh yes: There's a map, if you'd like some assistance on your hunt, so ask for one at the visitors services window.

There's no additional ticket required. If you're at South Coast Botanic Garden through Halloween 2021, you can go a-hunting for these unscary and adorable haunted houses.

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