Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Halloween in San Diego: 12 Recommendations for International Students (PART 1)



San Diego is the best Halloween city in the United States. The perfect October weather allows everyone to celebrate both indoors and outdoors, while our friends in Northern California and on the East Coast are already starting to freeze in the autumn and winter weather conditions there.

I've been teaching English and TOEFL to international students for years in San Diego, living in San Diego even longer, and celebrating Halloween even longer than that. Over this time I've learned some valuable lessons about how to make sure that everyone is aware of super-fun and safe Halloween events for international students. As always, I want to make sure that San Diego International Students have the knowledge to enjoy this fantastic cultural event in the USA. Here are my twelve Halloween recommendations for you and your friends this year:

1. Wear a costume. Really.

Dressing up in a funny costume may seem embarrassing at first, but I have surveyed hundreds of students in my time as a teacher. Students who wear costumes have a lot of fun and they tell all of their friends back home about all of the Halloween good times they experienced. Students who don't wear costumes frequently regret it after Halloween is over. Believe me. Costumes don't have to cost a lot of money and don't have to be complicated. There are a lot of options that are not embarrassing at all, but are still a lot of fun. For example, a baseball player could be a great costume that's not embarrassing, not complicated, not expensive, and totally comfortable. Here's a good little list of costume shops and Halloween stores in San Diego.

[RELATED PHOTO ALBUM: Halloween Store Scavenger Hunt for Connect English Students]

2. Decide early which events you'd like to visit.

Don't wait until Halloween weekend to make your plan. There are many, many events happening around town. One of my biggest regrets of Halloweens past is having to argue with my friends on Halloween night about which event will be better. It's much smarter to decide a few days before the weekend. Here is a 2013 San Diego Halloween events list for international students and for locals:

Through October - The Haunted Trail, The Haunted Hotel & The Scream Zone

Saturday, Oct. 19th - The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Kensington)

Friday, Oct. 25th - Rock 105.3 Boo Ball (Balboa Park)

Friday, Oct. 25th - Trick-or-Treat on India Street in Little Italy (for kids)

Saturday, Oct. 26th - 7th Annual October Gaslamp Zombiewalk (Gaslamp)

Saturday, Oct. 26th - Monster Bash (Downtown)

Saturday, Oct. 26th - Hard Rock Hotel Halloween 2013 (Downtown)

Saturday, Oct. 26th - Titanic Masquerade (boat cruise on San Diego Bay)

Saturday, Oct. 26th - Halloween @ The Prado* (Balboa Park)

Wednesday, Oct. 30th - San Diego Experiences' "Zombies on the Dance Floor" at Fluxx (Downtown) THIS IS AN 18+ EVENT! :-)

[RELATED PHOTO ALBUM: Halloween Party 2012 at Connect English]

HALLOWEEN NIGHT - Thursday, Oct. 31st - 91X Boos Cruise (San Diego Bay)

HALLOWEEN NIGHT - Thursday, Oct. 31st - Halloween PubCrawl San Diego (Gaslamp)

Friday, Nov. 1st and Saturday, Nov. 2nd - Dia de los Muertos (Old Town)

*These events will be updated regularly, so visit this page again for more information, dates and locations.

3. House parties are good, but officially sanctioned events are safer and are still a lot of fun.

Organized events around town have security staff and are properly planned so that they can accommodate large numbers of people. If you go to a house party, be prepared for long bathroom lines and the possibility of the police arriving and telling everyone to leave. Most organized events are pretty centrally located, too. This means that they're easy to reach by public transit, and taxis are easier to find afterward.

4. Organize your transportation plans early.

Make sure you have a designated driver or a bus/trolley/taxi plan. Do not drink and drive (ever!). There are so many people walking around town, and so many police. Don't take your chances. It's too easy to hurt yourself, your friends, or even strangers if you decide to drink and drive. There are plenty of safe ways to get around on Halloween if you plan just a little bit. Talk with your friends and decide who will be the sober driver, or plan with them to use San Diego MTS services to reach your destination. Also, research the schedules of buses and trolleys because the schedule changes after midnight on most days for many routes. Many parties in Downtown San Diego offer special admission deals that include discounted hotel rooms nearby so that you don't have to worry about returning to your house after their Halloween party.

5. Keep a few taxi service telephone numbers in your phone.

Taxi companies are very busy over Halloween weekend. Frequently it will take more than an hour to arrange for a pick-up. If you have three or four numbers saved in your phone, you'll be able to get home easily.

Here are some taxi company phone numbers that you can program into your phone now:

Orange Cab - (619) 223-5555
USA Cab - (619) 231-1144
Yellow Cab - (619) 444-4444
San Diego Cab - (619) 226-8294
Or download the Go Fast Cab app on your smart phone. It's great!

6. Don't wear costumes with masks.

Do you like to eat? Do you like to drink? Do you like to talk? Do you like to see? Do you like to breathe? Imagine how difficult all of these things are when you have a mask covering your face. It's especially sad when the mask really completes the costume, but the person has to keep the mask pulled up over the top of their head most of the time so that they can breathe. You may find some excellent-looking masks at the Halloween store, but believe me: you'll regret choosing them.


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