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News 8 Throwback: Slices of San Diego’s Halloween history

No tricks here, these vintage videos will treat you to Halloween memories of America’s Finest City.

SAN DIEGO — Halloween in San Diego offers lots of festive ways to celebrate from the sweets of trick-or-treating for little ones to the spookiness and silliness of costume parties for not-so-little ones. These News 8 Throwback clips capture slices of Halloween history from all around San Diego spanning three decades.

No tricks here, these vintage videos will treat you to Halloween memories of America’s Finest City. And we also have a look back at some of our News 8 staff on Halloweens of yesteryear. 

The day before Halloween 1979, News 8 found some early festivities at Rady Children’s Hospital. Nurses and other staff members dressed up as everything from Mickey and Minnie Mouse to a patch of dancing pumpkins. Reporter Jim Gordon tagged along as patients dressed as a bunny, Mighty Mouse and more trick-or-treated at the hospital’s nurses' stations.   

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For Halloween 1979, a group of residents in a Scripps Ranch neighborhood turned their street into a haunted house for trick-or-treaters. News 8 then reporter Paula Zahn (who went on to anchor for many major networks including CBS News and CNN) went to check out all the chills and thrills. She chatted with some costumed kids who reported receiving skimpier sweets that year. She also talked to one neighbor who was known for handing out 25-cent Hershey bars but even he said he was cutting back.  

San Diego radio station KPRi hosted a Halloween party at SeaWorld San Diego in 1981. News 8’s I.J. Hudson was there to capture all the ghoulish and garish costumes which ranged from the strange (a syringe, a tube of toothpaste, a four-eye alien) to the standard (a mummy, Frankenstein’s monster). No word on who won the contest that year - but we’re partial to the hot tub for four.  

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A favorite fall outing in San Diego is a trip to Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center to visit their annual pumpkin patch. Just before Halloween 1992, News 8’s Larry Himmel made the familiar trek to see the piles of pumpkins and crowds of San Diegans searching for the perfect gourd. Lots of little ones were quick to share their thoughts on pumpkin-picking. The pumpkin patch tradition at Bates continues to this day.