Haunted car wash, Day of the Dead drive-through offer coronavirus-appropriate Halloween alternatives

By Laila Weir - Published on October 26, 2020.

So far, 2020 has felt like a year of more tricks than treats. And, sure enough, health officers have warned against both trick-or-treating and parties this Halloween, leaving locals scrambling to find new ways to mark the holiday.

A joint statement from Bay Area health officers categorizes trick-or-treating and parties as “high-risk,” but offers a list of lower-risk activities. These include “vehicle-based gatherings … like drive-in movies and drive-through attractions, or car/bike parades where participants do not leave their vehicles.”

Enter the Haunted Tunnel of Terror, a haunted car wash from Extreme Express Car Wash in San Jose, and Avenida de Altares, a free Day of the Dead drive-through event from the School of Arts & Culture at San Jose’s Mexican Heritage Plaza.

Visitors to the Haunted Tunnel will drive through the car wash for a haunted-house experience – along with a good scrub for their vehicles, of course.

“Come and get your ‘scare’ on at our haunted car wash!” reads a post from the company on Facebook. “You'll love our fog-filled tunnel, spooky light show and the creatures, ghouls, and frights that lurk around the corners!”

And along the Avenida de Altares, guests will mark the Day of the Dead from within their vehicles.

Dia De Los Muertos in Tepoztlán, Mexico | Photo Valeria Almaraz / Unsplash


“Families and community members will drive through an impactfully lit outdoor gallery of Altars created by local artists,” states the school’s website. “Calacas (skeletons) will be roaming the outdoor gallery while live music is playing, and goodie bags (w/ candy and art kits) will be distributed. Some lucky folks will also receive goodie bags with gift certificates to East San Jose restaurants!”

The Haunted Tunnel will be open from this Wednesday, Oct. 28, through Saturday, Oct. 31,

5 p.m.-8p.m. Extreme Express Car Wash is located at 655 W San Carlos St, San Jose. The cost is $20, which includes a $5 donation to St. Jude Children's Hospital.

The Avenida de Altares event will take place on Friday, Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31.

Meanwhile, schools and neighbors have been organizing a variety of other drive-through and socially distanced celebrations, and SanJose.org also lists a number of outdoor Halloween events.

“Focusing on decorations, limiting activities to the people you live with, and virtual costume parties or contests will help keep our communities safe this season, especially our children,” advises the health officers’ statement.

The statement goes on to warn: “County of Santa Clara residents are reminded that local and State Health Officer Orders are still in effect. Halloween gatherings, Día de los Muertos celebrations, events or parties with non-household members are not permitted unless they are conducted in compliance with local and State Health Orders.”

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