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Are you ready for Halloween? Because Walt Disney World is

August 24, 2017, 2:31 PM · Sure, the calendar still says August, but theme parks around the country are getting ready to start the Halloween season. The first event of the season kicks off tomorrow night in Orlando, with the start of Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Tickets for Disney's annual after-hours event range from $74-115. The party includes admission to the Magic Kingdom after 4pm, exclusive access to the park after 7pm, as well as special PhotoPass and character meet-and-greet opportunities, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show, the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, and Happy HalloWishes Fireworks... and, oh yeah, unlimited trick-or-treating for everyone throughout the park. The Halloween party also provides the only time when teens and grown-ups can wear costumes in the park. (Though, still, no masks or pretend weapons allowed.) In addition to tomorrow, the event runs:

Note that the Magic Kingdom closes to day guests at 7pm on these nights, so adjust your park hopping accordingly.

Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland

Disney's west-coast Halloween party doesn't kick off until Sept. 20. This year's event brings back the Frightfully Fun Parade, Halloween Screams fireworks, and all the trick-or-treating. But this year, Disney has included park hopping to Disney California Adventure for the three hours before the party starts, as well as free Photopass downloads included with your party ticket. Prices start at $95 ($85 for annual passholders) for online advance purchase of select dates, and walk-up price ranges from $105-120. This year's party nights are:

Disneyland closes to day guests at 6pm or 7pm on party nights, and the day crowd then walks over to slam California Adventure on those evenings, so be prepared.

Let's take a look at the other major theme park Halloween events around the country, too:

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida

The nation's largest theme park Halloween event starts Sept. 15 and runs for 34 nights:

Discounted tickets start at $59.99 and this year's houses include:

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal's Halloween event in California also starts Sept. 15, but runs for 29 nights through Nov. 4.

Tickets start at $65 and run up to $95 when bought online. In addition to the franchises announced for Orlando, the Hollywood event will include a Titans of Terror maze featuring Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and Chucky, the Terror Tram, and the Jabbawockeez dance show.

Yesterday, I walked through a behind-the-scenes construction tour of two of the Halloween Horror Nights houses, with Creative Director John Murdy — including one of the announced houses and an unannounced house (!). The condition of getting the access was that I can't publish anything until next month, but I can say that the houses live up to or even exceed the event's consistently high standards. Murdy seems geeked for this year's event, and now I am, too.

Knott's Scary Farm will reveal its event line-up one week from tonight, on Aug. 31. Tickets start at $40 online and the event runs 25 nights from Sept. 21 through Oct. 31. Parent company Cedar Fair runs HalloWeekends and Halloween Haunt events at its other parks around North America, too.

SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular aims for the kids and is included with park admission, running weekends from Sept. 23 through Oct. 29 at the Orlando park. In addition to trick-or-treating for costumed children, the program includes the Sesame Street's Countdown to Halloween and Pets Ahoy Halloween shows, plus the Halloween Dance Party one hour before park close.

Brick or Treat returns at Legoland California for five Saturday nights leading up to Halloween (September 30, and October 7, 14, 21, 28). Tickets for the after-5pm party start at $49 and include dance parties, the Ghost Cruise adventure, and 31 Candy Stations throughout the park. Tickets are available at brickortreat.com. At Legoland Florida, Brick or Treat is not a hard-ticket event, but a regular-day program with trick-or-treating, special meet-and-greets and fireworks, on October 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, and 31.

Six Flags Fright Fest will run at Six Flags parks around the country, too, running select dates from Sept. 16 through Oct. 31 at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Great Adventure and Great America, to cite the chain's three most popular parks. Purchase of a separate maze pass may be required for entry into the mazes, in addition to regular park admission.


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Replies (7)

August 25, 2017 at 5:05 AM · This is going to be unpopular but as a teacher I cannot travel during non vacation times so if I can get into it at end of Aug that works for me. Last year my schedule was different and I could have flown Thursday as I had Friday off before Columbus weekend but the hurricane cancelled my trip. As the party is not on Saturday and it is not readable to do only a weekend I may try this one year. One of the consequences of having a schedule with lots of time off but only at peak times (I would brave August heat lol).
August 25, 2017 at 11:01 AM · I really thought that "anytime is the right time" was going to crush this vote. Eh, whadda I know?
August 25, 2017 at 3:18 PM · Whatever time the market dictates is the right time. I woul find it hard to get in the Halloween mood before Labor Day tho. It's still summer!
August 26, 2017 at 1:27 PM · I mean as much as I want summer to be over here in Florida, I feel like having Halloween events before the end of August steals summer away. I did read a reply tweet to TPI saying it may be targeted to Euro travelers who need to go back before August is over which is okay with me.
August 26, 2017 at 5:30 PM · Halloween is forever, baby.
August 26, 2017 at 11:53 PM · In my opinion, early September (more specifically the weekend after Labor Day) is the earliest a Halloween event should begin. Any earlier and it is just too early to really get into the spirit of it. I'd rather they extend beyond Halloween itself into early/mid November, as that is closer to the holiday and the time of year feels right.

In any case, it doesn't affect me since I usually aim for early October with theme park Halloween events. That seems to be the best balance between event quality and crowd levels.

August 28, 2017 at 7:36 AM · The worst thing about the holidays is the day after. Then you don't want to see any of the previous holiday decorations. I take everything down as soon as its over including Christmas decorations on Christmas morning. It's almost gone by evening.

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