This fall, Halloween fanatics flock to Orlando as the ultimate Halloween Vacation Capital. The destination, recently named AAA’s top destination for fall travel and known for immersive experiences, brings its creativity to the holiday with a host of highly themed events and attractions; hotel packages; and even the largest horror convention in the nation.
Including both family-friendly frights and extreme adult scares, over 10 weeks of Halloween festivities take place throughout the destination, including at the world-famous theme parks. October kicks off the height of the season, although some of the festivities started as early as August 25 and extend as late as November 4.
Visit Orlando, Orlando’s official visitor resource, has created a special web page to help travelers plan a ghoulish getaway. Find a few haunted highlights below, or the full frightful list at VisitOrlando.com/Halloween, and follow #OrlandoHalloween for real-time updates.
Teens and Adults: Sinister Celebrations
From extreme haunted houses to scenes from famous horror films, there are a full-scale terrifying adult frights in this destination that is traditionally known for family-friendly fun.
• Halloween Horror Nights 27 at Universal Studios Florida brings hordes of horrifying mutants, monsters and maniacs in its streets, nine terrifying haunted houses, five creature-filled scare zones and two outrageous live shows. For horror aficionados, the all-new haunted houses include characters from “The Shining” and TV shows “Ash vs. Evil Dead” and “American Horror Story”, and two of the scare zones are based on celebrated horror films “Trick ‘r Treat” and “The Purge.” Select nights Sept. 15 – Nov. 4.
• Spooky Empire, the largest horror convention in the nation, is taking place Oct. 27–29. This year’s lineup of celebrity guests includes Richard Dreyfuss (“Jaws”), John Cusack (“Better Off Dead”, “Gross Point Blank”), Joan Cusack (“Addams Family Values”, “Toy Story”), Shannon Elizabeth (“Scary Movie”) and more. Other thrills and chills at the convention include a tattoo festival, costume contest, zombie walk and film festival.
• A Petrified Forest features two outdoor scare trails for small groups to venture through a haunted forest at night. For the uber-brave, on Total Eclipse Nights – which require a signed waiver for anyone under 18 – monsters can touch the guests, and each small group is given only one glowstick to light their path, regardless if it is dropped or stolen by a creature. Trails take place on select nights, Sept. 29 – Nov. 4.
• Orlando Museum of Art’s 1st Thursdays: Ghosts & Ghouls will take place on Oct. 5. Artists will create works depicting dark, horror, goth and other Halloween themes including movie and TV icons, eerie and creepy landscapes and architecture, ghostly images, and anything associated with the paranormal and the unexplained.
• Zombie Outbreak challenges guests to see how long they could survive a zombie apocalypse. This Halloween season and all year long, the terrifically terrifying attraction puts guests in the middle of a military base overrun with the undead.
Kids and families can celebrate with monsters and villains, dress in costume and trick-or-treat inside some of the world’s favorite Halloween destinations.
• Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World Resort. On select nights from Aug. 25 to Nov. 11, Magic Kingdom Park comes alive with jack-o-lanterns, special characters and entertainment for the whole family. Encouraged to come dressed for the occasion, visitors can trick-or-treat throughout the park, masquerade with costumed characters at the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, sing along at the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and end the night with a “Boo-tacular” fireworks show.
• SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular immerses guests into an underwater “fantasea” with up-close animal encounters, trick-or-treating, playful pumpkin fish, and sea-themed arts and crafts. Guests can also reserve seats for Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween. The fun takes place select weekends from Sept. 22 – Oct. 29.
• Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, select nights from Oct. 14-31, includes trick-or-treating, the world’s largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, LEGO Halloween characters and a bewitching Halloween-themed fireworks show at Pirates’ Cove.
• “Screamin’ Green Hauntoween at The Crayola Experience, where guests can trick-or-treat while creating “monsterific” crafts and snapping “spooktacular” character photos on select days, Oct. 7–31.
• Zoo Boo Bash at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, offers ghoulish fun in the wildest neighborhood in town with trick-or-treating, face painting and costume contests on Oct. 28–29.