Orlando has started to claim the title of the Halloween Vacation Capital. Orlando and the Central Florida area does offer a lineup of some of the nation’s top Halloween events. Orlando is one of our go-to Hauntcation locations but unfortunately, it won’t be one of our destinations this year. Nonetheless, we highly recommend it and while you’re there make the drive over to Tampa for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream.
Starting as early as Aug. 17 and running through Nov. 3, there’s something for everyone, from mild and family-friendly to what we prefer, wild and terrifying. This year’s lineup includes a host of all-hallows events and attractions; themed hotel packages; and the return of the largest horror convention in the nation.
Visit Orlando, Orlando’s official visitor resource has created a special web page to help travelers plan a ghoulish getaway at VisitOrlando.com/Halloween. Follow #OrlandoHalloween for real-time updates and find a few haunted highlights below.
THEME PARK FRIGHTS
- Halloween Horror Nights 28, Select Nights Sept. 14 – Nov. 3This year visitors can expect horrors inspired by the ’80s at Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights, with a haunted house in the theme of Netflix’s mega-hit “Stranger Things,” as well as nine other haunted houses, for a total of 10 – the most ever in the event’s 28-year history. The event will also run for a total of 34 nights, tied for the longest run in its history.
- Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Select Nights Aug. 17 – Oct. 31On select nights from Aug. 17 to Oct. 31, 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, Weekends Sept. 22 – Oct. 28It’s an ocean of Halloween fun for the whole family at SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular. During this daytime event, families are immersed in an underwater “fantasea” including trick-or-treating, not-so-spooky live shows, whimsical sea creatures, and the chance to mingle with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends including Elmo, The Count, Cookie Monster and more.
- Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Select Nights Oct. 6 – 31Families will enjoy all the fun without the frights at LEGOLAND’s Brick or Treat this year. The event features trick-or-treating, the world’s largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, LEGO Halloween characters and a bewitching Halloween-themed fireworks show at Pirates’ Cove.
“BOO!” BEYOND THE PARKS
- Spooky Empire, the largest horror convention in the nation returns to Orlando Oct. 26–29 at the Caribe Royale Orlando. This year’s lineup of celebrity guests includes David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson of X-files fame, and Kathy Najimy of Disney’s Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, with more to be announced. 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. On a few special Total Eclipse Nights – which require a signed waiver for anyone under 18 – monsters can eventouch 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. The event runs select nights, Oct. 5 – Nov. 3.
- American Ghost Adventures offers a wide variety of year-round paranormal experiences, with tour options all over Orlando, from the haunted pub tour, “Spirits with Spirits” to the “Dining with the Departed” tour, complete with a meal in a haunted restaurant.
- 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.
- Mortem Manor Haunted Attraction at Old Town features year-round scares, with two spooky stories, state-of-the-art animatronics and live actors. Entry is just $15, making this a bargain sure to scare the living yell out of guests.
- Maitland’s Historical Haunted Tours invite curious history buffs and ghost hunters to explore the haunted grounds of the Art & History Museum’s Maitland Art Center or the Waterhouse Residence Museum via two separate tours, available on select days in October. From ghost stories to creepy Victorian artifacts, guests will discover the chilling truth behind what is said to be one of the most paranormal places in Central Florida.
- “Screamin’ Green Hauntoween at The Crayola Experience invites guests to get “zombified” with all-new monster-ific crafts, dance parties, a themed scavenger and trick-or-treating every weekend, Sept. 22 – Oct. 31.
- SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology brings the dead back to life, with over 40 exhibits featuring 500 REAL animal skeletons. Special adult-focused event nights get even spookier, like SKELETONS After Dark: Forensic Night, where guests examine human skeletons and learn how to read the cause of death.
- The City of Orlando’s Moonlight Walking Tours take guests on a dark, historical stroll through Greenwood Cemetery. Trek four miles and visit nearly a hundred graves of notable individuals in Orlando’s history. The tour is free, but usually sponsored by rotating charities that will be accepting donations, so guests can feel philanthropic AND afraid.
HAUNTING HOTEL HAPPENINGS
- Three Hyatt properties are offering a “No Tricks, Just Treats” package, Sept.1 – Nov. 4, to get guests into the Halloween spirit. The package includes two complimentary “spooky” drinks or beverages of choice per stay as well as a special themed treat placed in their room upon arrival, available at Hyatt Place across form Universal Orlando Resort, Hyatt House across from Universal Orlando Resort™ and Hyatt Place Orlando Convention Center.
- Hilton Orlando is offering “A ROOM WITH A BOO” package, which includes daily breakfast, premium Wi-Fi and late checkout at 2:00 p.m.; perfect sleeping-in time for those “creatures of the night.” Use this link for booking.