The Ultimate Guide to Orlando's Halloween Celebrations and Theme Park Events

By Visit Orlando
September 14, 2023
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Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND - courtesy of Visit Orlando

Orlando, Florida—sometimes called the "Halloween Vacation Capital"—invites visitors to celebrate the spooky season with a full lineup of frightful and family-friendly experiences throughout the destination. Visitors can enjoy hair-raising, spooktacular events, such as horror movie brunches, paranormal-themed escape rooms, haunted botanical gardens, kid-friendly trick-or-treat trails, and an adults-only vampire bar.

“Orlando lives up to its reputation as the Halloween Vacation Capital with nearly three months of festive celebrations for all ages,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Halloween fanatics, horror movie enthusiasts and costume-loving families can enjoy the multitude of special events across our theme parks, attractions and beyond.”

While many of the events are focused around special theme park celebrations, there are plenty of other attractions happening beyond DisneyWorld and Universal that are equally amazing. Below are some of the top highlights for this fall season.

Spooky Theme Park Events

Howl-o-Scream at SeaWorld - courtesy of Visit Orlando
  • Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World Resort (select nights, now through Nov. 1) makes a frightfully fun return at Magic Kingdom Park. The family-friendly, all-ages event features eerie entertainment that includes the “Hocus Pocus” Villain Spelltacular! at Cinderella Castle, Disney's Not-So-Spooky Spectacular, Disney Junior Jam for young partygoers, Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, the Trick-or-Treat Trail, Disney Characters in costume, and more than 20 favorite attractions with a Halloween twist. Guests are also invited to wear costumes, with some restrictions.
  • Universal Orlando Resort's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida (Sept. 1 – Nov. 4) returns for a record-breaking 48 nights featuring 10 new, movie-quality haunted houses featuring “The Exorcist: Believer”, “Stranger Things 4” and “The Last of Us” along with five scare zones filled with creatures lunging from the shadows, and two live shows.
  • At SeaWorld Orlando, guests can experience two Halloween-themed events: Howl-O-Scream (select nights, Sept. 8 - Oct. 31) returns to terrorize guests at SeaWorld Orlando. Offering 24 nights of fully immersive fear, the event will feature fright-inducing haunted houses and scare zones; thrilling nighttime coaster rides and experiences; an interactive bar; and an electrifying live show. Additionally, little ones can dress up in their favorite costumes to trick-or-treat and meet colorful Halloween characters at the SeaWorld Spooktacular (weekends, Sept. 16 - Oct. 29), a family-friendly daytime event included with regular theme park admission.
  • Brick or Treat Presents Monster Party at LEGOLAND Florida Resort (weekends, Sept. 16 – Oct. 29), a signature Halloween event included with theme park admission, will feature a trick or treat trail with candy, live entertainment and shows, never-before-seen exclusive LEGO characters and an all-new cinematic experience to create the ultimate family Halloween celebration.

Family-Friendly Frights Beyond the Theme Parks

Gatorland's Halloween events - courtesy of Visit Orlando

The centerpiece of many Orlando trips will often be one of their popular theme parks, but that doesn't mean you have to limit the fun there. There are many more unique, kids-friendly events happening in September and October to experience.

  • Screamin' Green Hauntoween at Crayola Experience (Sept. 24 – Oct. 31) celebrates the Halloween season with a lineup of spooky happenings included with admission, such as a themed scavenger hunt, spook-tastic crafts, character photo ops, trick-or-treating on the weekends and more. Guests craving more can add-on activities like pumpkin decorating and slime making.
  • Gatorland's “Gators, Ghosts and Goblins” Halloween event (weekends, Oct. 14–29) returns for its fifth year of family fun and fright. The all-ages daytime event, included with regular admission, will feature an all-new haunt zone and exhibit, interactive characters, animal meet-and-greets, candy giveaways, a children's Halloween costume parade and more.
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure will offer “Vampirates: When the Blood Moon Rises” (Sept. 19 – Oct. 31), a limited time Halloween-themed dinner show suitable for all ages. Guests will Embark on a spooktacular journey filled with aerial artistry, swordplay, death-defying stunts and dynamic duels.
  • Happy Frights at Harry P. Leu Gardens (Sept. 29 – Oct. 31) is an all-ages, family-friendly trick-or-treat adventure through 12 immersive worlds. The event will give guests an opportunity to meet a dancing bridge-troll, walk through a garden of sunflowers, explore a neon-light maze, climb up a giant hay-pyramid, celebrate Dia de Muertos and so much more - all while visiting eight trick-or-treat stations along the way.
  • The German American Society of Central Florida will host Halloween Oktoberfest (Oct. 28), a combination of the well-renowned German autumn festival and a Halloween celebration. The family-friendly event will feature authentic German food, a Biergarten, live musical entertainment, a kids play area, a traditional flag parade and more.
  • Lake Nona Town Center will host the family-friendly Lake Nona Graveyard Smash event (Oct. 28). Mortals will be able to party with ghosts and ghouls; participate in trick-or-treat stations; experience live music; and take a journey through inflatable courses. This event is free and open to the public with no ticket required.
  • Gaylord Palms Resort's annual Goblins & Giggles weekends (Sept.9 – Oct. 29) features family-friendly events including a spooky scavenger hunt; live shows; dance and costume parties; a haunted escape room; character experiences; pumpkins; movies and more. The resort will feature a “Fall Into Family Fun” vacation package, which includes an overnight stay with premium views, $50 nightly resort credit, one scavenger hunt booklet and two Halloween-themed crafts in the Adventure Kids' Clubhouse.

Thrilling, Adults-Only Experiences

Cocktails & Screams - courtesy of Visit Orlando

While Orlando is known for being a fabulous family destination, there are plenty of events for date nights and adults-only crowds.

  • For Halloween fun all year long, The Bureau features Possession at Haddon Heights, a paranormal themed escape room that forces guests to confront an evil entity at an abandoned school.
  • Renaissance Theatre Company will present the return of “Nosferatu" (Sept. 15 – Nov. 5) at the Ren. The re-vamped, 90-minute adults-only horror experience offers an entirely new concept from last year's event, where each patron has a unique experience as the cast of 32 vampires lead the audience into hidden corners of the building playing out engaging scenarios. Later in the evening, “VBar”, the elevated Vampire-nightclub, opens its doors to guests with separate admission.
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens will host Haunting Nights (Sept. 29 – Oct. 31), an artful, elevated Halloween event, brought to life by Creative City Project, featuring thrilling surprises for guests 13 and older. The immersive event will feature jump scares as guests encounter several characters throughout the journey that will provide a heightened level of thrill.
  • Teatro Martini, the Vegas-inspired adult dinner show, will host its annual Halloween Revue (Sept. 29 – Oct. 31) this fall. The show will feature lyrical pole dancers, comedians, magicians, jugglers and limited-edition themed cocktails throughout the season.
  • Scream n' Stream Drive-Thru Halloween Experience, a haunted Halloween drive-thru event, will return for its third year featuring seven horrifying zones to drive through complete with monsters, music, lighting and special effects Friday through Sunday from Oct. 6-29.
  • Cocktails & Screams in Downtown Orlando is an only Halloween-themed bar, featuring live music and an extensive list of creative cocktails. On Sundays this fall, guests can experience the Cereal Killer Brunch from noon to 5 p.m., among other themed events throughout the season. And on Oct. 31, new cocktails and entertainment will debut during the HallowEMO Night event, featuring a complete lineup of local bands to celebrate Halloween.
  • Vampires, ghastly revenants, and banshees come to life in Phantasmagoria XIV: “Tales of the Undead” (Oct. 26-28). For three nights only at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, guests can experience the original tales of the critically acclaimed Victorian Horror Troupe “PHANTASMAGORIA” and the haunting stories of world-famous authors including Edgar Allen Poe, H.G. Wells, Penny Dreadfuls and more.
  • The Halloween Pub Crawl (Oct. 27) returns to downtown Orlando for another year of killer-drink specials and a chance for guests to show off their hauntingly best costumes. From 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., Halloween fans will have access to all participating venues, four complimentary drinks, drink specials and more.
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5 Small Towns to Visit This Fall

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Boost Your Mood with Native Birdsong at These Scenic Destinations

For those in search of simple ways to practice self-scare and boost their mental wellbeing, birdsong may be the answer. According to recent studies, seeing or hearing birds can provide a myriad of mood-boosting benefits. Below are seven scenic resort properties surrounded by natural beauty and filled with birdsong—sure to help lift visitors’ spirits. The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa (Manchester Village, Vermont) A Northern cardinal perches on a branch in the snow by Ray Hennessy - Unsplash This elegant New England property is steeped in history and sheltered amongst the tranquil beauty of Vermont’s Green Mountains. As they wander the property’s landscaped grounds and outdoor trails within the Equinox Preserve, explorers will hear the healing songs of Northeastern birds including Northern cardinals, Eastern bluebirds and American robins. Hawks Cay Resort (Duck Key, Florida) Brown pelicans in Florida by The Tampa Bay Estuary Program - Unsplash Centrally located between Miami and Key West, yet tucked away on the secluded island of Duck Key, Hawks Cay Resort is a Floridian paradise – boasting clear turquoise waters, endless sunshine and a relaxing, tropical atmosphere. While they soak in the sun, travelers will hear the distant calls of aquatic and wading birds such as seagulls, pelicans and herons. La Cantera Resort & Spa (San Antonio, Texas) Positioned just minutes outside of San Antonio, La Cantera Resort & Spa is situated on a tranquil 550-acre oasis. As visitors explore the property’s scenic trails winding across the rolling slopes and lush landscape of Texas Hill Country, they may be able to hear the calls of the native black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler. Sanderling Resort (Duck, North Carolina) A father and daughter walk along the beach in Duck, North Carolina by Emotionary App - Unsplash This quintessential beachfront escape is ideally located in the Outer Banks – a string of islands commonly recognized as one of the best birding locations on the East Coast. While they stroll along the sand, bird enthusiasts can look for native waterfowl and listen for the cheerful songs of mainland birds such as the purple martin. Spruce Point Inn Resort & Spa (Boothbay Harbor, Maine) Perfectly poised on 55 acres of scenic shoreline, woodlands, gardens and trails, this picturesque oceanfront destination offers an iconic costal Maine experience. Here, visitors can soak in the soothing sounds of seabirds such as the Atlantic puffin, black guillemot and common eider. Stonewall Resort (Roanoke, West Virginia) Situated on 1,900 acres of park grounds, Stonewall Resort offers immaculate views of West Virginia’s rolling Blue Ridge Mountains and tranquil lake waters. As they relax at this lakeside resort, guests can listen for a variety of local songbirds including the Northern mockingjay and hooded warbler. The Wigwam (Litchfield Park, Arizona) A roadrunner in the desert brush by Carrie Borden - Unsplash A lush, 440-acre oasis, The Wigwam is located just 20 miles west of Phoenix. Here, guests can enjoy the stunning Sonoran Desert landscape and listen to the sounds of native birds such as roadrunners, wrens and woodpeckers.


3 Ways to Savor the End of Summer in Florida

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Now, there's a new way to explore Martin County, Florida's beautiful natural areas and attractions. This free, self-guided eco-trail includes beautiful outdoor areas, world-class attractions, and eco-friendly certified hotels. This mobile-exclusive trail is a new, interactive component of the ecotourism program and highlights more than 20 outdoor wonders and points of interest, including state and local parks, beaches, nature preserves, museums, and more. The mobile pass is also GPS-enabled, so participants can “check-in” and earn points at each stop along the trail which can be redeemed for three tiers of unique prizes, including branded bandanas, five-liter dry bags, solar-powered waterproof lanterns, sun protection shirts, and limited edition eco-themed stickers. Pass-holders will earn the highest allotment of points for attending official Explore Natural Martin programs (advance registration required) and visitors can even earn bonus points for overnight stays at one the Florida Green Lodging Program-certified properties. “Martin County is an undeniably special place, home to stunning natural areas, incredibly biodiverse ecosystems, and countless wildlife species,” says Ian Centrone, Martin County Tourism Program Manager. “We hope visitors and residents alike use the Explore Natural Martin EcoTrail to discover the incredible sites in our own backyard while also learning how we can all better protect our paradise for generations to come.” Encounter natural beauty in Fort Lauderdale A bird at the Flamingo Gardens in Davie, Florida by Keila Diaz - Unsplash The summer isn't over (yet) in Fort Lauderdale, which has been running a "101 Days of Summer" campaign featuring 101 ways to experience the area's best offerings. Map out your summer staycation with the help of this curated list, which is chock-full of local unforgettable experiences. Visitors and residents can also take advantage of discounts with the South Florida Adventure Pass (good through September 30th) which offers unlimited entry to four major attractions in the area. These passes are $55 for adults and $45 for ages 3-12, and existing Adventure Pass subscribers can renew at a discounted rate of $45 for adults and $35 for children. The passes include access to: Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, which features majestic airboat rides in the Everglades;Flamingo Gardens in Davie, with botanical gardens and a wildlife sanctuary;the interactive exhibits and outdoor science park of the Museum of Discovery & Science in Fort Lauderdale; and,Explore Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, with aviaries that are filled with 20,000 exotic butterflies and tropical birds! Attend concerts all month long in St. Augustine Pier on St. Augustine Beach, Florida by Kristin Wilson - Unsplash Introduced in 2016, Sing Out Loud Festival is an annual celebration of live music throughout Florida's Historic Coast. The multi-weekend festival features various artists at locales throughout St. Augustine and St. Johns County, Florida. This year, the festival welcomes headliners The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Lord Huron, Maggie Rogers, Yola, War Hippies, Elle King, Amos Lee, S.G. Goodman, Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad Earth, Keller & Keels, and many other great performances. The festival also features free "Local Showcases" throughout the month featuring performers that are based locally. On Saturday, September 16, the festival's newest event, Lincolnville Porch Fest, celebrates the unique history of one of St. Augustine's most historically and culturally significant neighborhoods. Featuring twenty-five local musical acts performing on five porches against the backdrop of the Lincolnville neighborhood, Porch Fest takes place from noon to 5 pm, culminating with a finale at Colonial Oak Music Park later in the evening. Tuesday, September 19, artisan shopping and live music take center stage at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre Night Market. This free event takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. and features live music, handmade arts, crafts and goods, and local food trucks. The Sing Out Loud Festival main event, The Francis Field Showcase, takes place Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23 at Francis Field in downtown St. Augustine. Two-day tickets include General Admission for $235 each, General Admission+ for $395 each, and Platinum for $760 each. One-day tickets can be purchased at $125 for Friday and $155 for Saturday. Tickets are available online only. Following the main event, music lovers can expand their collections at the St. Augustine Record Fair. This free event takes place on Sunday, September 24 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and is one of the area's largest fairs featuring limited-edition vinyl, 90's tour posters, vintage rock t-shirts, and even cassette tapes and record players. Finally, on Friday, September 29 through Sunday, October 1, the St. Augustine Songwriters Festival celebrates the craft of songwriting. Top-notch country songwriters will perform their hits throughout the St. Augustine's historic city, accented with the stories and anecdotes behind the hits. These free concerts occur at the Colonial Oak Music Park, Trade Winds Lounge, Prohibition Kitchen, and the St. Augustine Distillery.