Theme parks are a natural fit for Halloween festivities: On a certain level, you might say it's always a Halloween party at theme parks - plus, most of the rides are already designed to scare the living daylights out of you. In October (and sometimes even earlier), some of theme parks have gently scary daytime Halloween events for kids as well as night terrors for teens and adults. Here's a (non-exhaustive) sampling from across the world:
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, and Disneyland, Anaheim, California
The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and at and Disneyland both have a family-friendly after-hours event called "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party." These parties feature trick-or-treating, a special Halloween fireworks display, and witches who are, as advertised, not too scary. Dates remaining for Walt Disney World’s celebration are October 25, 27, 28, 30, and 31, and November 1. You can attend Disneyland's party October 25, 28 and 31.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Terrorific Night Disneyland Paris
Like the American Disney parks, Disneyland Paris offers a Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party designed not to give the kids nightmares (October 28, from 8 pm to 11 pm). This park, however, also adds a Terrorific Night during which dreadful creatures, gruesome characters, and artists from beyond the grave join forces to give visitors a hellish scare. This event is only for ages 12 and up on October 29 and 30, 8:30 pm to 1 am, as is the Halloween Party on October 31. And throughout October, everyone can dress up and trick-or-treat at Mickey’s Halloween Treat in the Street. Instead of photo ops with Disney princesses and such, you can meet and take photos with Disney villains. Muah-ha-ha!!
Camp Spooky and Halloween Haunt Canada's Wonderland, Maple, Ontario
This theme park in Ontario has a not-too-spooky Camp Spooky 10 am to 5 pm Saturdays and Sundays in October. Little ones can enjoy mazes, a costume parade, and Charlie Brown’s Trick or Treat Show. At the nighttime Halloween Haunt (below), ten scary mazes include Club of Blood and the new Terror of London. Beware the terrifying creatures that haunt the park along with three frightening shows. Fridays to Sundays plus October 31, 7 pm to midnight.
Halloween Horror Nights Universal Studios Singapore and Orlando. Florida
Universal Studios, another company with Orlando and California theme parks, has added Halloween Horror Nights (below) to Singapore, its third, newest location. Universal promises you will "feel what it's like to be trapped in a horror film as you run for you life in a Carn-EVIL of crazed clowns. Step into the haunted Peranakan house where you face the "Vengeance of the Matriarch" as the demented Nyonya stirs her bubbling brew of black magic. Mutated zombies roam around in a post-Apocalyptic rage. Not recommended for children under the age of 13. FYI, you aren't part of the attraction here -- costumes and masks are not allowed. October 21-23 & 27-30.
Forest of Fun and Howl-O-Scream Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Right outside Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a daytime, family-friendly "Sesame Street Forest of Fun" with costumed Sesame Street characters and The Count Von Count Countdown to Halloween show (below). Starting at 6 pm, the park transforms itself into Howl-O-Scream for teens and adults. Ghouls rule, with haunted houses, zombies, and werewolves ramping up the fear factor. Every Friday to Sunday through October 30.
Hersheypark in the Dark Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania
On weekend nights in October, Hersheypark decorates and renames its thrill rides “roller ghosters”; Even the friendly Carrousel becomes "Night Mares." The nighttime festivities are for all ages, but only take little kids who aren’t easily frightened. Grownups may wear costumes, but be sensible: no flowing robes, please, because they can get you in trouble on the rides. For the ultimate in trick-or-treating, take children under 12 to the source, the adjacent Hershey’s Chocolate World. October 14-30.
Thrills by Day and Fright by Night Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey
Just 90 minutes from New York City, Six Flags offers a pre-6 pm extravaganza including Halloween-themed shows suitable for children. The evening Fright Fest features haunted houses, freak shows, a zombie party, and a ghostly graveyard, so you wouldn't want to bring kids younger than 13. The thrill rides, too, add new haunting elements. Visitors may not wear costumes or masks. October 28-30.