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Halloween in Orlando is so much more than your standards theme park fare. From the streets of Celebration to the depths of SeaWorld, Orlando has the holiday covered. Whether you like your celebration not-so-scary or downright horrifying, you’ll find the perfect Halloween in Orlando and the surrounding region. Read on to learn of some of the tricks and treats in store this year.
Halloween in Orlando: The Haunts and Happenings
Forget Salem, Massachusetts! For scares per square mile this Halloween, Orlando, Florida rises to the top of the list. Of course, the big theme parks – Disney, Universal Studios, SeaWorld and nearby Busch Gardens – go all out to celebrate, with costume contests, special meet and greets, haunted attractions and trick or treating. But the fun isn’t limited to the theme parks. You’ll find fun corn mazes, petrifying haunts, and everything in between in Orlando and the nearby region. Here are some of the creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky events just waiting for thrill you this year:
For the Entire Family
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Where? Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
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Dates: August 16, 20, 23, 27, 30; September 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29, 31; October 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29, 31; November 1
A Halloween staple, Mickey’ Not So Scary Halloween Party provides spooktacular fun for all ages. My whole family has attended several times, and the multigenerational clan agrees it’s the best party of the year. Why? Well, we like wearing Halloween costumes in the Magic Kingdom, trick or treating through the theme park and meeting all sorts of rare characters, such as Snow White and all seven of her dwarfs. Yes, this one costs more than regular park admission, but the reduced wait time on rides, the crazy dance parties, the live entertainment and Halloween fun throughout the park is definitely worth it. And did I mention the Headless Horseman riding at the lead of the parade? Read more about this Orlando Halloween classic here.
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Brick or Treat
Where? LegoLand Florida Resort, Winter Haven
Dates: October 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
Less than an hour outside Orlando, LegoLand is a Central Florida favorite, especially at Halloween. On select weekends, you can celebrate Halloween here, featuring a Brick-or-Treat scavenger hunt, special character meet and greets with Rockin’ Frankenstein and Lord Vampyre, and a Brick-or-Treat trail where you can collect candy and other treats in a specially designed bag. End your night with the Tale of Pirates’ Cove Fireworks Spectacular. All Halloween events are included in your admission.
Screamin’ Green Hauntoween
Where? The Crayola Experience, Orlando
Dates: September 21 – October 31
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The Screamin’ Green Hauntoween celebration at The Crayola Experience is one of the best Orlando Halloween events for the whole family. Even better, it’s included in your regular admission price. Here, the word is “slime” – as in live shows featuring slime, an ooey-gooey Crayola Slime class and themed scavenger hunts. Trick or treating and special dance parties go on every weekend, all making for spooky family fun.
SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular
Where? SeaWorld Orlando
Dates: Every weekend from September 21 through October 27.
Another Orlando Halloween favorite is the SeaWorld Halloween Spookacular, a daytime event on select dates (weekends from September 21 through October 27). I’ve never been to this one, but I’m told visitors are treated to an underwater “fantasea” including meet and greets with cute sea creatures, trick or treating, dance parties and live shows. Included in admission and fun for the whole family!
Sesame Street Halloween Kids’ Weekends
Where? Busch Gardens, Tampa
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays October 5-27; 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Tampa is slightly more than an hour from downtown Orlando, but Sesame Street Halloween Kids’ Weekends make the ride worthwhile, especially if you have little ones who love Cookie Monster or Oscar the Grouch. Billed as a Halloween party just for kids, Busch Gardens plays host to Elmo, Grover, and many other favorite Muppets. Highlights include the hay bale maze, themed weekends, trick or treating and special Halloween crafts. All included in regular admission.
Halloween Lights at Jeater Bend
Where? Jeater Bend Drive, Celebration
Dates: October 12-31
Jeater Bend Drive is noted for its wonderful Christmas light displays, but apparently the neighbors go all out with the Halloween lights as well. Who knew? Eleven homes join together in a synchronized spectacular featuring lights and projection fire and water, all dancing to Halloween music. You can drive through to enjoy the flashing goblins and illuminated hocus pocus for free, but be sure to bring a canned good item with you. Neighbors use the light show as a fundraiser to collect food for Celebration 34747 Cares, a Kissimmee-based charity.
Not for The Faint of Heart (the Spooky Stuff)
Halloween Horror Nights
Where? Universal Studios,Orlando
Dates: September 6-8, 12-15, 18-22, 25-29; October 2-6, 9-13, 17-20, 23-27, 29-31; November 1-2
On select nights (see above), Universal Studios Florida is invaded by ghouls, ghosts and zombies who take over the theme park during Halloween Horror Nights. The park is a minefield of scare zones and haunted houses, all designed to chill your blood and inspire your most curdling screams. The focus is on fear, with ten haunted houses, five scare zones and the most frightening in live entertainment. This is a hard-ticketed event, not included in theme park admission, and is not recommended for children under 13 (or the faint of heart of any age). Get all the gruesome details here.
Where? Busch Gardens, Tampa
Dates: September 20, 21, 27, 28; October 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31; November 1, 2
Venture through nightmares – your own and others – at Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream, a hard-ticketed Halloween event. This year, the theme park celebrates “20 Years of Fears,” claiming to have unearthed horrifying icons from the past, released from their tombs and into your darkest thoughts. Want to have front of line access to the haunted houses? Consider buying Front Line Fear access – if you dare.
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Orlando Haunted Maze
Where? 3209 Calloway Drive, Orlando
Dates: Fridays and Saturdays from September 27 – October 26. Also October 31, November 1-2
Chills, thrills and things that go bump in the night – all are just waiting around the corner at the Orlando Haunted Maze. Think zombies, demented clowns, and monsters from the Black Lagoon, all willing to pick up a chain saw and chase you through this labyrinth.
A Petrified Forest
Where? 1360 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs
When? October 4-5, 10-11, 17-19, 24-26, 31, November 1-2. Kids Night October 12; Special Needs Special Event October 16, Total Eclipse October 30
Altamonte Springs is just 18 minutes outside of downtown Orlando – but A Petrified Forest is worlds away from the theme parks. Think laser swamps, vanishing zombies, lizard women and hooded ogres, all pushing you deeper into the forest and nearer to the horrifying haunted house.
Whether you want a Halloween full of treats or a night full of spooky tricks, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Orlando!