Do you feel that chill in the air? Well, maybe not — it is Orlando, after all. But fall has arrived in The City Beautiful with plenty of seasonal (and socially distanced) activities to keep you busy this year. One of our favorites is SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular. While 2020's event will be a little different to keep health and safety a priority, you can still expect family favorite activities, including toadally adorable costumes and a trick-or-treat trail. The boo-tiful festivities run Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 19 through Nov. 1. What makes SeaWorld’s Halloween celebration unique to others in the area is that the party goes on during the day — rather than starting at dusk like many celebrations. We think this makes SeaWorld one of the most hoppening spots around to celebrate Halloween with your younger tadpoles!
Don your favorite costume, find your way through an all-new Halloween Maze and grab some candy on the Trick-or-Treat Trail at SeaWorld Orlando for an awesome, spook-free experience … all included with regular park admission. (As if we needed to scare up another reason to visit!)
We recently paid a visit and had a scary good time! Despite all of the modifications, we felt it was a safe way to get your trick-or-treating fix this year. In fact, Lily wishes that shooting candy down tubes will be the norm in the future! While normally we'd suggest going through the Trick-or-Treat Trail before you leave (so you don't have to carry the candy around all day), we found that the trail was much less crowded shortly after it opened at 11 a.m. versus when we made a repeat visit at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. We left the park right after our second run-through, but the trail closes at 8 p.m. Based off our experiences at past SeaWorld events, crowds along the Festival Pathway shrink again closer to the end of the night.
To maximize the opportunity for social distancing, capacity is being limited at SeaWorld Orlando. Guests wishing to attend Halloween Spooktacular will need to reserve their spot in advance, and face coverings are required. As an additional safety measure, SeaWorld asks that all guests participating in the Trick-or-Treat Trail purchase a new reusable bag in order to reduce contact. For more information about the health and safety measures currently in place at SeaWorld Orlando, hop over to our full guide on what to know before you go.
Counting the Reasons We Love SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular
1. Halloween Spooktacular Trick-or-Treating
Who else is here for the candy?! SeaWorld is an excellent place for stress-free trick-or-treating. As we mentioned before, SeaWorld requires that participating guests must purchase a reusable trick-or-treat bag from the park to prevent contact between individuals. At $2.49 each, the bags have super cute designs with dolphins, sharks and penguins in costumes. You can purchase them at multiple locations throughout the park, including the park entrance and the trail entrance by Wild Arctic.
Speaking of the trail entrance, guests head in a single direction to maintain social distancing. It's important to hit all of the stations in order (no skipping ahead!) as you shouldn't walk back to the front of the trail if you miss one. However, after you exit the trail, you can make your way over to Wild Arctic and go through it again to get more candy! (It's just a hike to walk all the way back.)
To keep trick-or-treating contactless, team members are stationed at booths with plexiglass dividers or inside raised platforms. While wearing gloves, they distribute the candy by dropping them down tubes straight into the tadpoles' bags. Lily found it very entertaining, and would immediately peer into her bag after every station. Make sure the bag is directly under the tube, or else your candy may fall on the ground!
SeaWorld is also a great spot for those sensitive to allergies. Each trick-or-treat station is labeled with what candy is being given out, and some booths are specifically designated as allergy-friendly. This is a win-win: You can be sure to dodge anything you or your tadpoles may be allergic to! This year, some stations included Airheads, Tootsie Rolls, Smarties and more.
Parents, don't be shy — you can get in on the fun too! We thought trick-or-treating may only be for tadpoles, but have no fear. We saw many teens and grownup frogs hopping around getting candy!
2. Halloween Spooktacular Costumes
Costumes are, of course, all part of the Halloween fun. Unlike other Halloween parties in the area, costumes aren’t as much of a staple at SeaWorld. We find it to be the happy medium, as costumes are appreciated and admired, but not obligatory. You can feel comfortable dressed up or dressed down, or anywhere in between. This is a great option if you feel like getting into the spirit without packing a whole ensemble for the event.
All guests are welcome to wear their spookiest attire. Guests who are ages 13 and older may not wear costume masks or hoods, and everyone ages 2 and older must wear a face covering with their costume. Get creative with how you incorporate a mask into your outfit! Before you go all out with the special effects makeup, note that face painting is not allowed on any guest unless done by a professional park artist. All costumes are subject to normal dress code for the park, so be sure to stay appropriate!
Beyond those simple rules, we have one major recommendation: Dress for the weather! Halloween weather in Florida differs greatly from the chilly season in most parts of the country. Be prepared for weather in the 80s — lose the long sleeves, so your tadpoles don’t get cooked in the sun! Theme park days are exhausting enough as it is without adding overheated children into the equation. As always, be sure to keep water on deck to stay hydrated as you hustle around chowing down on sweets. Lastly, October is still part of rainy season in Florida, so bringing ponchos or an umbrella is better safe than sorry.
3. Halloween Spooktacular Characters
You don’t have to go under the sea to meet a beautiful mermaid in Orlando … simply visit SeaWorld! Toward the end of Festival Pathway on the right, you’ll find Mermaid Grotto. One of a few different mystical mermaids will be visiting at her seashell for photo-ops and fun conversation! Of course, Lily couldn’t miss this opportunity. These pink- and purple-haired wonders will make bubbly conversations with your little ones, certain for great memories. Lily dressed as a mermaid herself for Halloween and enjoyed comparing her tail with the mermaid at the grotto! For 2020, the experience will be immersive and the mermaids will be greeting guests from a safe distance. Tadpoles can temporarily take their masks off for a quick photo.
Along the trail, there are several other spots to interact with more Spooktacular characters. We chatted with a trio of witches, a pair of pirates and a group dressed in Day of the Dead outfits. They seem to switch out occasionally, so never know who you'll meet!
4. Brand-New Experiences
New for 2020, guests can try their hand at a winding, silly Halloween Maze for guests of all ages. It has a simple design with low fencing and colorful cartoon scarecrows, and tadpoles race through it in a minute or two. Capacity is limited to promote social distancing. You can find it between Sesame Street Land and Wild Arctic. We suggest hitting the maze first before you go through the Trick-or-Treat Trail, which starts nearby. Otherwise, you'd have to walk all the way back.
Also new this year is Cookie Decorating with Cookie Monster. This upgraded 30-minute experience comes at an additional cost ($15) and includes photo-ops with Cookie Monster, and of course, COOOOKIES!
5. Easy Access to Sesame Street Land
If your tadpoles are toadally into the Sesame Street gang, don't forget to hop by Sesame Street Land! Located near the Trick-or-Treat Trail entrance, and just past the Halloween Maze, this land takes guests straight to Sunny Days, complete with rides perfect for smaller fans, interactive experiences and the opportunity to say hello to Count von Count and Big Bird.
6. Halloween Spooktacular Dance Party
A live DJ spins some pop tunes (including remixes of Halloween favorites such as "Thriller" and "Monster Mash") in front of Mango Joe's, while festive stilt walkers pose for photos and dance with guests. If it gets too congested in the area, the DJ will ask people to keep moving.
7. Count von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast
For an extra cost, you can start your family’s day off on a particularly festive foot by enjoying breakfast with all of your Sesame Street friends. At $33 for adults and $17 for children (ages 0 to 2 are free), we can't complain about the price of this character meal that includes a full breakfast buffet. If your tadpoles are Sesame Street fans, we toadally recommend this! The food will get you fueled for a day of fun, and the characters are a blast to interact with (from afar!) for great photo memories.
8. Halloween Spooktacular Merchandise
Want to get into the spirit at the last minute? No worries. SeaWorld has a great variety of kids costumes on-site, from your Sesame Street faves to the trendiest mermaid garb. The exclusive SeaWorld Halloween merch has a great selection of cool T-shirt designs with sizes fit for the whole frog squad. The face painting stations are also a great way to get into the spirit!
9. Halloween Spooktacular Activities
As you explore the Spooktacular area, you’ll find an array of carnival-style games, complete with Halloween-themed prizes including colorful stuffed sea animals. Each game has two price options, $6 and $10, depending on how many tries you want — all with a guaranteed prize! This was a great way to keep Tad and Lily entertained AND score some souvenirs to take home.
10. Halloween Spooktacular Food
It’s not a trip to SeaWorld without some delicious food and drinks, and there’s no shortage on Festival Pathway. Mama and Papa frogs can enjoy the Spiked Frozen Apple drink, along with wine, beer and hard seltzer. The rest of the gang can snack on classic theme park favorites with a “spooky” twist. Tad and Lily shared the Frozen Apple Harvest drink, which came with an edible chocolate-flavored straw!
SeaWorld Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular is one of our favorite times to visit the park. More than anything, we cannot say enough great things about how convenient and fun it is to celebrate the season with your younger tadpoles. And since the fun lasts all day, it never gets too chaotic. It's perfect for families catering to a variety of ages! Our favorite part is how the Halloween festivities are condensed into one area, so that way you don’t have to hustle around the entire park to get the full experience. Hoppy Halloween!
Have questions about SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular? Share them in comments below! Planning a visit to SeaWorld Orlando or the other Orlando theme parks? We've got easy-peasy park plans to help you make the most of your visit!