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 activities to keep you busy this year. One of our favorites is SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular. This event is chock-full of family favorite activities, including toadally adorable costumes and a trick-or-treat trail. The boo-tiful festivities run Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31. 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, wander through the Pumpkin Garden 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! Due to the modifications that were implemented last year and kept around this year, we felt it was a safe way to get your trick-or-treating fix. In fact, Lily hopes that shooting candy down tubes will be the norm in the future! We wandered through the trail once at 11:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. One time didn't seem more or less crowded than the other, but based on our experiences at past SeaWorld events, we know crowds tend to be lighter closer to the end of the night. (The park is also going to get more crowded the closer it gets to Halloween.) As a rule of thumb, we suggest going through the trick-or-treat trail before you leave (so you don't have to carry the candy around all day). The park and the trail both close at 7 p.m. each night of the event. SeaWorld asks that all guests participating in the trick-or-treat trail purchase a new reusable bag in order to reduce contact. While candy was a sweet spot in our day, there are so many other reasons we love SeaWorld Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular (and we think you will too!).
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 $3.99 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 in Key West.
While it's no longer a one-way trail this year, the trick-or-treat stations are along a pathway, so it makes sense to hit all of them in order. Signs at the entrance to the park will direct you to Key West to begin your trick-or-treating but no one's stopping you from starting on the other end near Journey to Atlantis. You might just be swimming against the current if you do, so it's only courteous to start in the same location as everyone else.
To keep trick-or-treating contactless, team members are stationed at booths with plexiglass dividers. 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 so you can be sure to dodge anything you or your tadpoles may be allergic to! This year, some stations included gummy bears, Twix, 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. 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 the 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 temperatures 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 the rainy season in Florida, so bringing ponchos or an umbrella is a better-safe-than-sorry move.
3. Halloween Spooktacular Characters
You don’t have to go under the sea to meet a beautiful mermaid in Orlando … simply visit SeaWorld! At the beginning of the trick-or-treat trail in Key West, you’ll find Mermaid Grotto. One of a few different mystical mermaids will be visiting 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 2021, the experience will be immersive and the mermaids will be greeting guests from a safe distance. (The seat your tadpole will be sitting on is also cleaned with a wet wipe in between parties.)
Along the trail, there are several other spots to interact with more Spooktacular characters. We chatted with witches, pirates and a pair 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 2021, guests can wander through the Pumpkin Garden where friendly pumpkin fish await! At various times throughout the day, the Pumpkin Princess will appear in the garden and read a story. She was very interactive with the tadpoles that gathered around her and asked them to help her act out some parts of the story. You can find the Pumpkin Garden in between the Dolphin Underwater Viewing area and Turtle Trek.
5. Halloween Happenings in Sesame Street Land
If your tadpoles are toadally into the Sesame Street gang, don't forget to hop by Sesame Street Land! Located in-between Infinity Falls and Wild Arctic, 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. You'll want to visit Sesame Street Land in the morning or early afternoon — the land closes at 5:30 p.m. for Howl-O-Scream.
6. Halloween Spooktacular Dance Party
From "Ghostbusters" to "Gangnam Style," a live DJ spins some rockin' tunes from his podium in front of Journey to Atlantis while pirates dance with guests on the ground. It was such a fun area and a great way to get the energy pumping. Tad and Lily didn't want to leave! Leap and I had the biggest smiles on our faces watching them bust out their best dance moves.
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 $24.99 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $14.99 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 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 Food
It’s not a trip to SeaWorld without some delicious food and drinks. Visit the brand-new Coaster Coffee Company at the park entrance to grab some sweet seasonal treats, such as cupcakes and cake pops, and fuel up on Starbucks Coffee. (They even offer healthy options, including cups of grapes and strawberries!) As Spooktacular coincides with the Craft Beer Festival, Mama and Papa frogs can enjoy wine, beer, hard cider and hard seltzer at the various festival booths around the lagoon! Tadpoles can even enjoy delicious food, such as the cheesecake cones at Café de Mar.
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 the 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!