The Halloween that won’t be

I love San Francisco during Halloween time. Vampires prowl Nob Hill, witches turn up everywhere around town, and you can find yourself wondering if some of the old houses in San Francisco rumored to be haunted just might be! For many past October 31sts I’ve gone over to San Francisco to get into a Halloween feeling before heading home to deal with the little extortionists knocking on my door after dark. I learn what’s in with kids and what’s not anymore from the costumes they wear each year. Sadly, people who enjoy the Halloween routines in October, like me, will miss that this year. These are few Halloween time photos I’ve posted during past Halloween seasons, complete with ghosts, witches, and a few haunted houses. I’ll also include a few Halloween events I’ve attended, and a few I may not have enjoyed had I have gone. (Thumbnail images)

We’ll start out at the old Armory on Mission Street between 14th and 15th Streets. This “fortress” was constructed just before World War One as an arsenal. The October I did my comparison picture here, a fright show exhibit called ‘Inferno’ ran through October as a Halloween attraction. The young lady who was working for me at the time went to experience it and told that it was horrifying to the point of being repulsive! That was good enough for me to be glad I missed out on that.

Two Halloweens ago, what might have been a similar attraction to the previous one was on display in the old Mint Building on 5th and Mission Streets call the ‘Terror Vault’. I didn’t go to that either; not because I was afraid, I can face anything if I have enough Xanax, I just wasn’t in the mood, and that sounded like something you really had to be in the mood for.

The top comparison pictures are on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Hornet, docked in Alameda,  in April of 1945 and several Octobers ago during Fleet Week. (Fleet Week is another October tradition cancelled this year)

One of the best Halloween parties that I have attended several times is the “Monster’s Ball” on board the Hornet, one of the best public Halloween gatherings in the Bay Area.

Now we’ll get to the witches, and there are plenty of them casting spells around San Francisco during October, like these two at the Embarcadero Center in October of 1989. My comparison picture was in October of 2018.

Also in October of 2018 was a comparison photo I did of a witch with a very long….. something, hanging out on the building where the old San Francisco Academy of Art University on Sutter Street used to be. I couldn’t get a date on the old SF Chronicle picture.

You’ll see plenty of ghosts around town too. This was a picture I took looking through the Pier 43 Arch in 2015. I still can’t figure out why I didn’t see her when I took the picture.

Let’s move on to a few old houses rumored to be haunted. Like this house on the corner of Fulton and Scott Streets at the northwest corner of Alamo Square. I don’t know if it’s haunted or not, but it should be.

The old mansion On California Street once owned by Gertrude Atherton is supposed to be haunted, as well. Hmm, there she is again!


If the old Laguna Mansion at Laguna and Jackson Streets in Pacific Heights is haunted, as is said to be, It would be haunted by the ghosts of old spies. There were many of them lurking around this house when it was the German Consulate just before World War Two broke out.


A spooky looking orange Ferry Building just before Halloween in 2010: The orange fits in good for the occasion, but it was for the San Francisco Giants who were only a few days away from winning their first World Series championship.

The San Francisco Kinetoscope Parlor near 8th and Market St. circa 1900. The kinetoscope arcade attraction invented by either Thomas Edison or Louis Le Prince, depending on which country you’re from, is a one person attraction where the viewer looks down into a glass scope to watch a moving picture. There are still several working kinetoscopes on display at the Musée Mécanique Arcade in Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf, closed at this time because of the COVID 19 Pandemic. However, what I like best when I go there, especially at Halloween, is taking on Uncle Fester from the Addams Family in the 3000 volt challenge, which isn’t as easy as it seems when this thing is operating correctly. (Museum of Modern Art Film Library)

One thought on “The Halloween that won’t be

  • Gads! Halloween is my all time least favorite Holiday! I can remember it in San Francisco only once. I was not there during Halloween, but, as you know, Halloween used to be a month long event. I remember those guys in the habits of nuns and roller skates. It was creepy. I suppose that San Francisco does Halloween better than any other town. However, San Jose does Dia de los Muertos better than any other town, and that is a much more tolerable Holiday. Actually . . . I prefer the traditions and concept of Dia de los Muertos, without all the junky stuff.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.