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Are you ready for Halloween? The nation's top theme parks are

September 3, 2016, 10:43 AM · It's September, and that means it's time for Halloween at the nation's theme parks.

Hey, it's not as if theme parks are the only businesses extending the season. How many of you are reading this while drinking one of the countless pumpkin-flavored beverages that invaded the nation's coffee stores on September 1? But even the joy of a Pumpkin Chai Latte can't match the fun of unlimited trick-or-treating or endless jump scares (depending on what you're into)... for nearly two months.

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom kicked off the season last night, with the first evening of this year's Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Featuring all that trick-or-treating, the Boo to You Parade, Happy HalloWishes fireworks, and the Hocus Pocus stage show, Disney World's Halloween party also gives fans one of the few opportunities to (legally) wear costumes in the park.

But family friendly fun is only one way to enjoy Halloween in a theme park. Fans of Halloween's scarier side are looking forward to the start of this year's haunt events. The Universal Studios theme parks in Florida and Hollywood will lead the way on Sept. 16, with a highly anticipated line-up of old-school movie horror and modern TV favorites.

Here's this year's line-up of top theme park Halloween events. Events run selected evenings during the month and tickets often sell out so check the "Tickets" links below for availability. Most major events are "hard tickets" that are not included with daily park admission, but a few events are included with regular admission. Check the "Information" links below. Finally, even parks that run hard-ticket Halloween parties leave the decorations up during the day, so anyone can enjoy the Halloween spirit in the parks over the next two months.

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom: Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party — Now through Oct. 31. Tickets

Universal Studios Florida: Halloween Horror Nights 26 — Sept. 16-Oct. 31. Tickets

Universal Studios Hollywood: Halloween Horror Nights — Sept. 16-Nov. 5. Tickets

Cedar Point: Haunt — Sept. 16-Oct. 30. Information

Six Flags Magic Mountain: Fright Fest — Sept. 17-Oct. 30. Information. (Fright Fest runs at most other Six Flags parks, too. Check your local park.)

Knott's Berry Farm: Knott's Scary Farm — Sept. 22-Oct. 31. Tickets

Disneyland: Mickey's Halloween Party — Sept. 23-Oct. 31. Tickets

Busch Gardens Tampa: Howl-O-Scream — Sept. 23-Oct. 30. Tickets

Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Howl-O-Scream — Sept. 23-Oct. 30. Information

Legoland California: Brick or Treat — Oct. 1-29. Tickets

Legoland Florida: Brick or Treat — Oct. 1-31. Information

What's your favorite theme park Halloween event? Tell us in the comments why that event tops your list.

Replies (3)

September 3, 2016 at 12:18 PM · I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the Haunt at California's Great America last year, and have been anxiously awaiting this year for months. Fright Fest at Discovery Kingdom was underwhelming.
September 3, 2016 at 11:26 PM · My fave is the Not So Scary party at Magic Kingdom, followed closely by Knott's Scary Farm. Yes, I get around.
September 4, 2016 at 5:33 AM · I was a little bit confused when you had Cedar Point's events listed as being called "Haunt" when it's actually called "HalloWeekends", but I understand the confusion. The entire event is called HalloWeekends, but it has two parts to it. "The Great Pumpkin Fest" is the family-friendly component that takes place all over the park during the daytime. It has hay bale mazes, trick-or-treat events, family shows and a new parade this year, the Great Pumpkin Parade in honor of the 50th anniversary of "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". Lots of family events all over the park, especially in the Camp "Spooky" and Planet "Spooky" areas.

The second part is "Haunt", and features the traditional evening haunted areas, indoor and outdoor haunts (ten of them this year)along with more scary shows.

I've only listed a few of the many events that take place at Cedar Point on the Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays this Fall. Together, "The Great Pumpkin Fest" and "Haunt" make up the events that make HalloWeekends the most popular time of the year for Cedar Point fans.

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