disneylandhalloweentimeYou don’t have to be a kid to enjoy treats (and a few surprises along the way) at Disneyland Resort’s Halloween Time. We brought my 80-plus-year-old mom with us to Disneyland to see the park festooned with fall décor including more than 300 pumpkins adorning lampposts, lawns and trees.Disneyland was packed with families of all ages taking photos with pumpkins and costumed Mickey Mouse and Disney villains (watch out, they may sneak up behind you!). Tasty treats included seasonal baked goods, such as candy corn-shaped Rice Krispy bars, ghost-shaped cookies and frosty cupcakes.

While my mom marveled at the sweets and colorful fall decorations, my kids and I coordinated FASTPASS tickets for our favorite ghoulish rides. Here’s how Disneyland and California are celebrating Halloween through Oct. 31:

Disneyland Park

New this year at Big Thunder Ranch: Disney’s Halloween Time Carnival featuring “The Astounding Cauldron of Magic,” where guests are invited to help conjure one of the Disney villains – Maleficent, Jafar, Cruella, Captain Hook or the Evil Queen from “Snow White” – with a magic spell. In addition,  Billy Hill & The Hillbillies perform Halloween-themed tunes as part of Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Jamboree. At Pirates League in New Orleans Square, kids ages three and older can live their pirate dreams by choosing one of three pirate transformation options: Jake and the Never Land Pirates, First Mate and Empress. For Pirates League reservations call 714-781-STYLE/714-781-7895.

Better yet (for my family anyway), certain rides are transformed into spooky chambers. In Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy, we zipped through swirling galaxies as ghosts appeared out of the starry darkness, reaching out to grab us. The haunting music, piercing screams and creepy sound effects enhance the ride.

The Haunted Mansion (what a perfect fit for this holiday, right?) is decked out with an eerie mix of Christmas and Halloween decorations, inspired by “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Mickey’s Halloween Party, an after-hours Halloween event for trick-or-treating families, takes place in Disneyland Park on select Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights. This is a separate-ticket event and tickets are available at www.Disneyland.com/Halloween.

Disney California Adventure Park
Although this park isn’t as draped with seasonal props as Disneyland, there are some Halloween-related  attractions. “The Art of Frankenweenie,” a special exhibit in Disney Animation, Hollywood Land, features some of the actual sets, props and puppets used to create the “Frankenweenie” film directed by Tim Burton. The exhibit, which explores the stop-motion animation process used to make the movie, will be on view through Nov. 5.

As far as rides go, hands down, the must-do thriller is The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror. Based on a Twilight Zone episode where a supernatural event happened on Halloween evening in1939, the ride takes place in an elevator that swiftly lifts and drops guests, mostly in the dark.

Los Angeles Traveling Mom also writes a monthly family travel column for L.A. Parent magazine (www.laparent.com). For more travel stories and tips, follow Mimi at @mimitravelz.