Not only is it (a little) less hot in central Florida in October, but it's also prime time for theme parks to break out their Halloween festivities, giving a trip to an already memorable part of the country an added bit of spookiness.
If your family plans to visit central Florida this month, we've got you covered with an age-appropriate guide to the Halloween events going on at SeaWorld, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida. From dance parties with Disney Junior characters to haunted houses filled with monsters, there's something for every member of your family inside the theme parks this Halloween.
Included with the price of a SeaWorld Orlando ticket through October 27 is the park's Halloween Spooktacular. The event includes a parade, dance parties and photo ops with mermaids. And, the slightly spooky trick-or-treat trail is packed with yummy treats, vibrant Halloween decorations and costumed characters.
Don't forget to dress your littles in their Halloween costumes, and bring your own trick-or-treat bag, because SeaWorld is all about conservation. (Bags are available for a small fee if you forget.)
SeaWorld Orlando also opened Sesame Street Land earlier this year, and the Halloween parade featuring all of your kids' favorite Sesame Street characters dressed in their costumes is something you won't want to miss.
And, if your kids are at that Elmo-obsessed age, you'll want to check out the Sesame Street character dining experience, Count von Count's Spooktacular Breakfast. It's also Halloween-themed, and kids get some one-on-one face time with Zoey, Rosita, Elmo, Cookie Monster and the Count. Tickets range from $15-$30 and infants get in free.
Pro tip: On weekends through October 27, SeaWorld Orlando is also holding a Craft Beer Festival. Moms and dads can purchase a lanyard ($40-$54) and enjoy alcoholic drinks and delicious food items while their kids stroll the Spooktacular in search of candy.
Recommended ages: Birth through pre-teen.
Walt Disney World
Running through November 1, Walt Disney World's biggest Halloween event is Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, an event at Magic Kingdom that will run parents the cost of an extra ticket ($105-$135 depending on the date.) But the price is worth it for the added Halloween spookiness.
Guests are encouraged to dress in costumes, and can visit most attractions with a less-than-normal wait time. But it's the grim grinning ghosts, Mickey pumpkins and other Halloween Disney magic that really bring the event home. Whether your family is taking in the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade or watching the Sanderson sisters perform in the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, there's a constant spooky vibe during the event that's unique to the party, right down to the creepy lighting that illuminates the park.
In addition to trick-or-treating, there's special dance parties, spooky additions to some rides and haunted treats you'll only find during event hours. Rarely-seen characters like the Queen of Hearts, Jack and Sally from "Nightmare Before Christmas," and Snow White's seven dwarfs make appearances, too, so if your family loves Disney characters, it's a great time to capture some unique photos.
Pro tip: The best place to watch the Boo-to-You Halloween parade is in Frontierland. Not only will you have a great view of the Headless Horseman kicking off the parade with his ride through the streets, but the parade begins in this area, so you'll be finished watching and ready to enjoy the rest of the party long before those seated around Cinderella Castle.
Recommended ages: Birth through teen, although for the price, you may want to make sure your kids are old enough to stay up late and enjoy, as the event runs from 7 p.m. to midnight.
Halloween Horror Nights — the slightly terrifying Halloween event at Universal Studios Orlando — features haunted houses and scare zones, along with stage shows and other things that go bump in the night.
You won't find trick-or-treating at this event, but you will find chainsaw-wielding madmen following you through the streets and haunted houses themed after iconic movies like Jordan Peele's "Us" and Rob Zombie's "House of 1,000 Corpses." More timid guests will enjoy the "Stranger Things" haunted house, as well as the one centered around the "Ghostbusters" film franchise. Tickets for the event start at around $70, and are separate from park admission.
Pro tip: This event runs from 6:30 p.m. until either 1 or 2 a.m., depending on the night. It's well-planned, so arrive before it gets dark and get to work seeing all of the haunted houses. You won't get through all 10 without a plan. And, yes, they're scary, but that's part of the fun, right?
Recommended ages: Universal Orlando recommends kids be age 13 or older to attend Halloween Horror Nights, but parents should be warned that the event features extreme gore and some highly sexual performances and characters. Parents should make a call based on their teen's maturity level.
On select weekends in October, LEGOLAND Florida holds Brick-or-Treat, an event included with park admission where kids can come in costume and trick-or-treat around the park. Special LEGO characters like a vampire and Frankenstein roam the park for photos and a pirate-themed fireworks display and show are performed each evening.
In addition to large Halloween-themed LEGO displays throughout the park and a DUPLO scarecrow, guests can enjoy special spooky treats like pumpkin ice cream.
Pro tip: Legoland Florida opened LEGO Movie World earlier this year, so be sure to visit the new land if you haven't been to the park recently and say hello to Emmet, UniKitty and friends.
Recommended ages: Birth through pre-teen.