The Stanley Park Ghost Train is a favourite family-friendly activity in Vancouver that features Halloween fun and magical scenes.
Sometimes it has skeletons, monsters and other ghoulish characters. Other years it has more of a fairy-tale theme.
The train rides at Halloween can be a tiny bit scary, but nothing compared to many of Vancouver’s more frightening hard-core Halloween venues, including several that aren’t recommended for children at all. Some years the Stanley Park event isn’t even that frightening at all. It is always, however, especially at night, a fun and magical experience.
HALLOWEEN AND COVID-19
Because of the coronavirus, the miniature train at Stanley Park didn’t run at Halloween in 2020. Hopefully it’ll be back again in 2021.
Ghost Train at Stanley Park
If you’re looking for a good haunted attraction for children in October, the Stanley Park Ghost Train is a great place to take them when it’s open. Trips last about 12 or so minutes and include spooky music and not overly gory Halloween-ish scenes to look at.
Each year the Stanley Park Ghost Train has a slightly different theme. In 2019 it was Alice in Nightmareland. The story behind the year’s theme involved Alice falling into a hole, except this time she was in a graveyard. If the theme returns, expect to see Alice, the rabbit, the Mad Hatter, tombs, gravestones and more!
In 2015 the theme was about monsters and featured characters like Frankenstein and Dracula. In 2016 the attraction had a Mexican “Day of the Dead” (or Día de los Muertos) theme. And in 2017 there was an “Alien Invasion” twist with creatures and scenes from outer space. In 2018 the theme for the Stanley Park Ghost Train was Celtic and about the “Jack O’ Lantern’s Journey through the Dark Forest.” In 2020 the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For information about train rides at other times of the year, click Stanley Park Miniature Railway.
Ghost Train Halloween Schedule
In 2019 the attraction ran daily from October 11th to the 31st. 2021 dates are expected to be similar.
Matinee Trains for Little People
Matinee train rides usually take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm and cost about $6 per ride for everyone over 2 years of age (which is the same price as previous years). New for 2018 though, folk were able to ride repeatedly, as many times as they wanted, from 11 am until 2 pm. This continued into 2019, and will hopefully happen again in 2021.
The daytime train rides are similar to the attraction’s trips at night, but slightly cheaper and without the darkness, ghoulish lighting and over a dozen live actors which make the night time version scarier.
Being a little tamer, in daylight and not just before bedtime, the matinee railway excursions are a good way to expose little people to the spookiness of Halloween – most kids really enjoy it, although not the most highly timid.
Halloween Ghost Train
At night time the Stanley Park Ghost Train becomes a fair bit spookier, but still ranks as one of the Lower Mainland’s most family-friendly haunted places. Train rides typically run between 5:30 and 9:30 pm Monday to Thursday and from 5:30 to 10:00 pm Friday to Sunday.
In years when it does take place, the Ghost Train experience at night includes live performers and spooky lighting, which makes it appropriate for slightly older children. Night time travel costs about $12 for adults, $9 for seniors (ages 65+) and youth (ages 13-18) and $8 for children (ages 3-12). These prices are also similar to previous years. 2021 details are to be confirmed.
For more information about the Ghost Train, check out the Stanley Park Miniature Train website.
Halloween Train Video
To give you an idea of what to expect on the train at Halloween, check out the following video. It was taken at night in 2018 when the event had a “Jack O’ Lantern’s Journey through the Dark Forest” theme.
As you’ll see in the video, the train ride wasn’t scary. Instead, it was beautiful, magical and entertaining. Every year the event has a different theme, and some themes are more frightening than others.
Night time is when the live actors come out. Unless you have young children that are afraid of the dark, or the year’s night-time theme is scarier than average, we highly recommend taking the train ride when it’s dark!
Other Stanley Park Halloween Activities
The last year it took place, the Stanley Park Ghost Train event was bigger than it had been in the past. There was more to do than just ride the train, which was awesome.
Extra activities included a maze and live entertainment. There were also pumpkins on sale for $6.
Stanley Park Maze
The same as the year before at the Stanley Park Halloween event in 2019, there was a maze that people could walk through.
The maze was a fair size with high black walls that you couldn’t see over. It was suitable for all ages. It was a maze that you had to wander around and it had dead ends, but nothing scary, and no live actors hiding around corners ready to jump out and scare you.
In years when the event doesn’t get cancelled, it costs money to ride the train, but other activities, like the live entertainment and maze, are free for everyone to enjoy. There are also food vendors selling popcorn and other treats.
Halloween Live Entertainment
In addition to the Ghost Train and maze, and again the same as the previous year, the Stanley Park Halloween attraction also featured live entertainment in 2019, which was great!
The year before, we went on a weekday evening and there was a magic show, storytelling and juggling. At other times there was music. In 2019, folk saw the Queen of Hearts and other Alice in Wonderland characters.
The live shows are typically short, but there’s a good amount of variety. They are a nice addition to the already popular event and worth staying around extra to see.
Directions to the Stanley Park Train
The Ghost Train takes place in Stanley Park just off Pipeline Road, which cuts through the centre of the park east of the Stanley Park Causeway (which connects Vancouver’s Georgia Street with the Lions Gate Bridge). If using GPS and needing a physical address, type in 690 Pipeline Road and it’ll get you pretty close.
Coming from Vancouver along Georgia Street, keep right and take the entrance into Stanley Park. At the roundabout, take the second exit and go straight along Pipeline Road. The closest parking lot for the Stanley Park miniature train is just a little ways up on your right.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions and information to help you make the most out of your Halloween experience at Vancouver’s Stanley Park.
TIP #1: Parking is usually free in the parking lot off Pipeline Road right outside the Ghost Train venue during the miniature train’s operating hours in October. At other times and elsewhere in Stanley Park, parking in the low season costs about $2.50 per hour or $7.00 for the day.
TIP #2: Tickets for the Ghost Train can sometimes sell out, especially for night time trips on evenings when it’s not raining. To avoid disappointment, buying tickets in advance either by phone or online can be a good idea when possible. Click Ghost Train Tickets and scroll down for further information under the “Tickets” tab.
TIP #3: If you take the later and more expensive night time Ghost Train, go when it’s dark (unless you’re with timid little people). The lighting then better suits the experience.
If you like child-friendly Halloween train rides there is also the Halloween Pumpkin Express and Haunted Forest Scream Train at Bear Creek Park in Surrey from around the second week in October until the 31st. Click Surrey Miniature Railway for details.
Another best place for children of all ages is Burnaby’s Haunted Village which takes place for a few days at the end of October. There, instead of a train, you’ll find an old-fashioned carousel.
For details about train rides at other times of the year, click Stanley Park Miniature Railway.
For more information on the Ghost Train, click Stanley Park Ghost Train.
For other ideas on things to do in October, check out the following:
- Vancouver Children’s Halloween Activities
- Vancouver’s Best Places in Autumn
- Halloween Haunted Houses (not for young children)
- Vancouver October Calendar