Weekend: Scary Nights at Knott’s Scary Farm

One of the biggest and been-around-iest of the fright fests debuts, with dastard frights aplenty.

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Knott's Scary Farm

Knott's Scary Farm opens: If you've been doing anything for 46 years, you can bet that you've probably polished your pastime to perfection. Though "polished," which suggests a bright gleam, isn't quite the right word for this annual and beloved fright fest from Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park. Think "murky" and "shadowy" and "prone to summoning screams," which shall happen if you enter any of the new mazes (the space-set "Dark Entities" is one) or the historic Ghost Town, which, yes, may have ghosts, and definitely monsters. The murky/shadowy dates for 2018? On select nights, from Sept. 20 through Oct. 31.

Smithosonian Magazine Museum Day: Calling upon one of the many institutions that are part of the Smithsonian? A brain-growing exercise, to be sure. Finding your way to a free ticket on Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, which happens in cities across the nation near the start of fall? Also a mind-enhancing pursuit, and one that can be done closer to home, if you don't live in our nation's capital. Around Southern California there are several participating museums, including Laguna Art Museum, Los Angeles Maritime Museum, and more. Just secure that ticket, though, ahead of time.

Retrocade Experience: Sometimes getting to your train in time involves a bit of strategic thinking, for sure. But what would it be like to actually play games, as in arcade-style machines, at a train station, with two hours of free play involved? You'll find out, should you follow the glowing dots to Union Station on Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23. That's where a number of old-school machines will be set up, for people to enjoy, and a Pac Man tourney will go down, or, rather, around and around each day from 5 to 7 o'clock. Find details on what games'll show, where to go, and info on the first come/first serve wristbands.

Outdoor Music Amazingness: So you love sound flows, stirring ditties, and music in all of its forms? Stay tuned, for a trio of tantalizing, ear-nice events are just ahead. TARFEST again roars at the La Brea Tar Pits, delivering an afternoon of free live music from a host of indie-sweet bands on Saturday, Sept. 22. If you like warbling along with films you know by heart, it's the way-way-popular Sing-A-Long "Sound of Music" at the Hollywood Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 22. And if you love opera AND the ocean, be at Santa Monica Pier on Sept. 22 for Opera At The Beach, a live broadcast of the LA Opera's "Don Carlo" from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

It's Pumpkin Patch Time, People: You may know that the tot-fun pumpkin patch opened at Irvine Park Railroad on Sept. 15, but Sept. 22 delivers a titan-sized twist on the theme: The Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Even if you don't have a sizable squash to enter, you can still stop by and watch (entry is free and parking has a fee). And in Irvine? Hello Kitty and her pals are part of the sweet and squashy scene at Tanaka Farms, where the annual pumpkin patch will debut on Saturday, Sept. 22. More pumpkin-y times are to come around SoCal, but giant pumpkins and Sanrio superstars are ruling the first day of autumn 2018.

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