Posted on October 13, 2023 by Claire Marcus
With fall in full swing and winter just around the corner, excitement for the holidays is palpable here in Conejo Valley. Whether you’re looking for spooks and scares ahead of Halloween, a chance to stay active before indulging in some Turkey Day delights or an evening out to get you into the spirit of winter cheer, there’s something to be found in Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and the surrounding areas. Read on to see which seasonal events you should add to your itinerary on your next visit.
Feeling brave? This terrifying Thousand Oaks tradition isn’t for the faint of heart or sensitive of souls, but it’s well worth a visit. As the largest walk-through haunted house in Southern California, the Reign of Terror, located at Janss Marketplace, houses more than a hundred custom rooms across ten different sections, each with its own unique, spine-chilling theme. Expert scare actors leap at you from the shadows while larger-than-life mechanical monsters lurk around every corner. Reign of Terror is a no-phone zone, so there’s no way to know what to expect until you venture inside, meaning there are always new and surprising thrills to be found. This year, Reign of Terror unveils their newest, biggest production yet, complete with twisted special effects, huge, never-before-seen creatures and a Forest of Fear. This famous Thousand Oaks landmark, voted the #1 haunted house in the country by the Yelp National Review Board, is a must-stop this Halloween season.
For something a little less hair-raising, but no less fun, head to Nights of the Jack in the Santa Monica Mountains. Within this strange, shadowy wonderland is a dazzling light show, made up of haunting jack-o’-lanterns. Gather up your family and friends for an evening of laid-back Halloween fun as you wander this self-guided walking trail, hot cider in hand. For the kids, there are tons of fall treats to enjoy, and for the adults, the Spookeasy Bar offers a seasonally-inspired cocktail menu. Once you have finished the walking trail (and snagged plenty of photos), you can head over to the pumpkin carving area and watch expert carvers turn simple pumpkins into intricate works of art. The event is open to all ages, and runs the entire month of October. Plan to get your tickets ahead of time, as they will not be sold at the door. Fun fact: this event tends to be a bit of a celebrity magnet, so keep an eye out for any Hollywood superstars that might be strolling by!
Each year through the month of October, Underwood Family Farms transforms into a buzzing hub of fall activities for Halloween lovers of all ages. Stop by on a weekday to stroll through the farm’s impressive pumpkin patch, searching for the perfect pumpkin to take home with you, and snap that perfectly Instagrammable pumpkin patch pic. Included with weekday admission is the opportunity to explore the various Halloween displays scattered across the farm’s fifty acres, wagon rides, access to play equipment, a corn maze and more. Weekday admission is $14 and sold exclusively at the gate. On the weekends, the festival offers even more. Each weekend in October has a different theme and exclusive events, such as live music, animal shows and exciting demonstrations. Upcoming is Antique Tractor Weekend, featuring tractor parades and dozens of unique tractors, Wild West Weekend, for cowboys and Old West enthusiasts, and All About Pumpkins Weekend, which is, of course, all about pumpkins! Make sure to get your tickets online before heading out to these exciting weekend events, as tickets are not sold at the gate. If you get your tickets ahead of time, admission is $26, and for day-of purchases, admission is $28. Keep an eye on Underwood Farm’s website to check the full list of activities and entertainment available on your visit.
Fans of Broadway, fans of soul and fans of Halloween are invited to dance the night away at this Studio 54-themed Halloween bash. For this party, you’ll want to go all out: the costume contest offers prizes totaling $750 in cash and gift cards. Awards will be handed out in various categories, such as “Scariest,” “Sexiest” and “Travolta Look-Alike.” Super Soul Groove, Southern California’s premier dance party band, will be providing a soundtrack of crowd favorites throughout the night. The energy is sure to be electric, so come by in your best costume to get your groove on.
Before you settle down for an afternoon of football, parade-watching and a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast, why not spend your morning breaking a sweat and contributing to a good cause? Sign the whole family up for the Turkey Day Dash, a treasured Thousand Oaks tradition making its return this year after being on hiatus since 2020. All proceeds from the Dash will be shared with local youth programs. In addition to direct Dash proceeds, participants and those cheering them on are encouraged to donate to any cause represented at the race. Sign up and join a team, or start your own team to raise money for a cause you feel passionate about. Each runner will receive some fun Turkey Day Dash swag, and will be eligible to win prizes!
Holiday Road – Santa Monica Mountains
Experience the magic of Christmas, Southern California style. Holiday Road, returning to the Santa Monica Mountains this winter, is a large, interactive walking trail lined with spectacular holiday attractions the whole family will love. Larger-than-life light displays line the road — with plenty of places to stop and take photos, of course — holiday tunes fill the air, courtesy of live carolers and local artisans offer stunning handcrafted gifts. As you stroll, you can pick up a holiday treat from any of the food trucks surrounding Holiday Road, and the adults can enjoy seasonal cocktails, local craft beers or a lush glass of wine. This magical walking experience runs from November 24th through December 27th, so you have the whole season to plan an outing. Make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time and arrive to your arrival window promptly.
Once the weather turns colder, everyone, even the most Scroogelike of people, loves a classic holiday tune. Join the New West Symphony and Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday on Saturday, December 2nd to experience an evening of holiday music like you’ve never heard. You might know Holliday from her iconic role as Effie Melody White in Dreamgirls, the show that earned her a Tony and later launched her solo recording career. She later won a Grammy award for her debut single, the Dreamgirls number, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Prepare to be dazzled as Holliday’s iconic vocal style takes your favorite holiday tunes in a new, soulful direction, accompanied by the talent of New West Symphony violinist Alyssa Park. On the program is a blend of symphonic classics, old and new traditions and holiday favorites, combining to create an incredible showcase of Holliday’s talent.
The Nutcracker – Thousand Oaks
Pacific Festival Ballet is proud to present the 29th season of The Nutcracker, a stunning holiday tradition that showcases the talent of some of Thousand Oaks’ most accomplished dancers. Whether it’s your first time seeing this classic play or your fiftieth, the beautiful stage design, soaring orchestrations and, of course, the intricate choreography will leave you awestruck. There’s even a 100% chance of snowfall drifting over the audience during the production. In addition to the extremely talented cast, this production will feature Tiler Peck and Roman Meija, principal dancers of the New York City Ballet, as guest performers in the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier, respectively. Get your tickets now and prepare to be dazzled.
An Irish Christmas – Thousand Oaks
For a spectacular, high-energy display of classic holiday carols as well as traditional Irish dancing, head to the Bank of America Performing Arts Center for An Irish Christmas, presented by Kerry Irish Productions. Join the cast of Riverdance principals and World Champion Dancers for an evening of Irish yuletide traditions, including butter-making, chasing the wren and much more. There’s no better way to get into the holiday season than by celebrating international traditions alongside the ones we know and love.
Head to the Ronald Reagan Library to see a beautiful display of 26 decorated Christmas trees, each representing a country the late president visited during his time in office. The exhibit opens on Veterans’ Day and runs through January, so there’s plenty of time to peruse every stunning tree displayed there. These trees exhibit the wide variety of cultures that Reagan visited and appreciated in his time, from colorful Caribbean ornaments to crystalline Nordic decorations. An elegant recreation of the Reagans’ White House tree is the star of the exhibit, fully decked out in “Reagan Red” decorations, as well as dozens of hand-blown glass ornaments. The exhibit will also feature a “Gold Star Family Memorial Tree,” honoring those whose lives were lost in service of their country. Gold Star families are encouraged to bring their own ornaments and add their memories to the tree, so everyone visiting the exhibit can pay respects to the country’s fallen heroes.
With a host of seasonal events available throughout the entire holiday season, Conejo Valley offers exciting experiences no matter which month you visit. Experience another side of Southern California and book your stay today. Need some activity inspiration? Check out our interactive Wine & Brewery Map, which allows you to sip your way through Conejo Valley’s premier wineries and breweries.