Orlando Haunted Houses and Spooky Thrills in Orlando

From as early as August through to early November, Orlando at Halloween is one of the most spooktacular destinations in the country. The country’s leading theme park designers produce many horrifying experiences, from full-on terror to family-friendly Halloween fun.

We know that some families prefer extreme rides, thrills and characters roaming Orlando haunted houses. Others, especially those with younger children, may seek a more light-hearted approach to the frightful autumn occasion. Whether you want to celebrate with Mickey and his Disney pals, face your fears or enjoy some local haunts and treats, the Orlando Halloween season has something for everyone.

Spooktacular at SeaWorld
Toddler-friendly Spooktacular takes over SeaWorld during the fall.

If you want to please the kids without having them cry all night, our “low freak out” feature is just what you’re looking for. If you are after tantalizing frights, look to our “high freak out” events for more thrills than you ever imagined.

Here are some of the top Halloween events and attractions in Orlando that you don’t want to miss.

Low Freak Out Factor: SeaWorld Orlando

Orlando’s Spooktacular at SeaWorld offers much for the younger set who aren’t ready for Orlando haunted houses. Special daytime Halloween events included in park admission run weekends, Sept. 18- Oct. 31, 2023. Kids are welcome to dress up for “Trick or Treating” at 12 different treasure stations around the park. Meet characters such as witches, pirates and mermaids. Stop at the Pumpkin Patch and dance while a DJ entertains visitors.

Check out the Sesame Street Halloween Parade for super cute costumes. Face painters are available on demand for kids who need a boost to their costume or didn’t wear one.

Gentle Scares at Legoland Select Weekends in October

Legoland characters greet visitors to the LEGOLAND Florida theme park where Halloween festivities are the top fall attraction.
Lego characters greet visitors to the LEGOLAND Florida theme park where Halloween festivities are the big appeal for fall family getaways. Photo c. Visit Orlando.

LEGOLAND Florida is hosting its fun Brick-or-Treat Trail again this year. While kids choose heart-stopping beats from vintage rockers, LEGO characters in costume perform live. It’s the place to meet Lord Vampyre, Rockin’ Frankenstein, Mummy Queen Pharaoh’s Revenge, and others.

Stick around for a Lego-themed fireworks show and a scavenger hunt. There’s a trail of treats to explore, lots of fun LEGO sculpture to admire and rides geared to ages 3 to 12 decked out in their finest Halloween duds. This daytime event, included with park admission, provides treats for trick-or-treaters who bring a bag.

Low Freak Out Factor: Disney’s Not-So-Scary Halloween

A very gentle style of scare means not too scary and that means not too crowded as well. That’s why Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, held in the Magic Kingdom on select nights Aug. 11 to Nov. 1, 2023, is an annual sellout. (And that’s despite its hefty fee of $199 per guest ages 10 and older!)

We don’t deny it’s huge fun. Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. Even better, you can collect candy as you trick-or-treat around the Magic Kingdom theme park.

In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, the evening themed entertainment includes a special Mickey Halloween Parade and fireworks. Get autographs from a lovable cast of Disney characters and Disney villains in special Halloween costumes. This party boasts lighting, music and theming effects that transform special areas of Magic Kingdom into happy haunted hollows. Who can guess what Elsa and Anna (from “Frozen”) will wear?  It is always a hit with preschoolers.

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Medium Freak Out With Live Alligators

Hannah Scarecrow with albino alligator at Gatorland, Florida.
Hannah the Scarecrow and her albino friend Sawyer greet goblins of any age to Gatorland’s Halloween event. Photo c. Gatorland

One of Orlando’s most classic attractions is Gatorland, which has featured scary alligators, crocodiles, reptiles and lizards in dark, dank environments since 1949. Fast forward to 2023. Families find a petting zoo, aviary, sightseeing train, zip line, splash park, story telling and animal encounters. How better to spend a fall day?

This year, why not try Gatorland’s Gator Night Shine Tour. Most nights, the tour is you, a flashlight, a pile of gator food and terrific guides. All ages will learn about these nocturnal, admittedly terrifying creatures. Just roam the Alligator Breeding Marsh’s creaking wooden walkways, look for those red eyes and…

Whatever fear factor you prefer, find a great deal on an Orlando hotel and save big this season.

High Freak Out Factor in Tampa at Busch Gardens

Take a day off from terrifying Orlando to head west to Tampa Bay. Here, Howl-o-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa has ramped up the fear factor to become one of the best local Halloween attractions. It takes place Sept. 8 to Oct. 31 after 7pm, primarily weekend nights. Expect the entire theme park to be engulfed in blood and gore suitable for teens and older.

Skillfully styled haunted houses are located among outdoor scare zones and live shows to make your skin crawl. Even the park’s top thrill rides are turned over to Halloween devils. For the ultimate value in spooky thrills with your group over age 14, get advance tickets (from $39.99 each) and relax — if possible — in a private bar.

Highest Freak Out Factor: Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights

Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights Monster
A monster from Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.

As a movie-themed park, Universal Orlando knows what it takes to put on an honestly horrifying Halloween event. And because they are celebrating more than 30 years of creating fear, the folks at Universal are very, very good at it. Go select nights Sept. 1-Nov. 4, 2023 to find zombies and miscreants taking control of Halloween Horror Nights.

The park annually hosts more than half a million horror-loving fans from all over the world. They come for the horror movie themes, spooky tales inspired by streaming series, classic legends, cult demons, outer space monsters and more. Horror lovers especially favor the haunted houses with plenty of live fright to go around. Check out six scare zones which bring the dead to life plus thrill rides dressed to kill. Maybe you’ll find Leatherface, “The Exorcist” or “Freddie vs. Jason;” themes change annually. This event is recommended for teens age 14 and older.

If you survive and want more Orlando Halloween terror, visit FloridaHauntedHouses.com and find your next heart-stopping treat.

The Visit Orlando tourism office has a comprehensive updated list of this year’s Halloween events for all ages. We will add one, too. Be sure to drop by Spooky Empire which will be in Orlando, Florida this year from October 27-29. Spooky Empire, the largest horror convention in the nation, features celebrities, costumes, live performance artists, seminars, and several other activities.

Moreover, if you’re looking beyond the parks and more reasons to visit during the value season, check out our Orlando & Other Favorite Fall Getaways section.

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