SeaWorld Orlando is really stepping up their game to become a major contender in the theme park Halloween season. Recently, SeaWorld announced they would begin hosting the ever-popular Howl-O-Scream event made famous by its success at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. This separately ticketed, “after hours,” adult-focused event is the first of its kind for SeaWorld Orlando, but it comes as a welcome addition to the well-established Halloween traditions that already exist in the theme park. One of the most beloved of these is SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular, the family-friendly daytime event that brings tricks and treats to guests. Enjoy this guide page on how to best navigate this experience, from what to expect to when to expect it!
What is SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular?
Halloween Spooktacular is an annual, kid-friendly event that features daytime trick-or-treating. An established favorite since its inception in 2008, this seasonal event engages a variety of fall festivities, from dance parties to costume contests to face painting. This year, the event will run from September 18 to October 31 in conjunction with the Halloween season and is included with park admission to SeaWorld Orlando. Of course, your favorite Sesame Street characters will meet you there, and guests of all ages are welcome to dress in costume. However, for those of us ages 13 and up, full face masks (guests who are not vaccinated are still encouraged to wear masks in line with Covid protocol) and hoods are not permitted as part of costumes, and no face paint is permitted on any guest no matter the age (unless the painting is done by on-site park artists).
What is there to do during SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular?
There are three activities that make up Halloween Spooktacular:
- Trick-or-Treat Trail
- Halloween Dance Party
- Meet a Mermaid
The primary attraction within this seasonal event is the trick-or-treat trail. Sometimes called “the candy trail,” the trick-or-treat trail is exactly what it sounds like – a string of festive candy stations and booths for kids to play a trick, or (far more likely) get a treat! To participate in this activity, each trick-or-treater will need to use a SeaWorld trick-or-treat reusable bag (more on those later).
Trick-or-treaters can take a break in their candy hunting to enjoy the festive atmosphere on a stage featured on the trail. This stage will host a Halloween Dance Party, providing music for kids to show off their moves. It might be worth noting here that it stays hot in Florida for a while, so if you’re imagining crisp fall air and weather suited for apple-picking, think again. In consideration of this, many families bring alternate clothing for their younger members to avoid overheating from all the activity.
In a distinctly Florida move, there are also friendly Halloween mermaids during each event day to interact with guests and heighten the fantastical experience. A number of other characters are also featured throughout the trail, and vary day to day. All of these attractions can be found along the candy trail, which is located along the side of the lagoon at the center of SeaWorld. The entrance for many of the Halloween Spooktacular activities is typically near the Dolphin Nursery.
Last year, SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular also featured a fun-sized “Pumpkin Patch Maze.” With friendly decorations and a low-rise fence, it was more smiley than spooky, and perfectly in line with Halloween Spooktacular’s focus on younger audiences. The entrance for this attraction was between Sesame Street Land and Wild Arctic, so it was a bit “off the beaten path” (i.e: the candy trail).
However, if you think your little one will like everything you’ve read so far, then you can’t go to SeaWorld and not visit Sesame Street Land. This immersive section of the park also added a Halloween experience last year – Cookie Decorating with Cookie Monster. This half-hour experience cost $15, but included an unforgettable photo-op with Cookie Monster himself, and don’t forget your cookies!
A final (and incredibly fun) character experience is Count von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast. Families can purchase this experience ($33 for adults, $15 for children 3-10) to enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet and take advantage of unique character photo opportunities. This dining experience must be booked in advance!
How much does SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular cost?
Access to Halloween Spooktacular is included with park admission to SeaWorld Orlando, and you cannot attend Spooktacular without a daytime ticket to SeaWorld Orlando. The only other cost requirement is that you must use a SeaWorld trick-or-treat reusable bag to participate in the candy trail. These bags can be purchased across the park, with the easiest purchase being at the large gift shop (SeaWorld Store) at the main entrance. These cute bags are reasonably priced, and since they are truly reusable, you can use them any time you come back to trick-or-treat.
What other Halloween options are there at SeaWorld?
If you find Halloween Spooktacular to be a little too G-rated for your crowd, try coming back to SeaWorld after hours for Howl-O-Scream. This will be the event’s first year at SeaWorld Orlando, but it has established success spanning two decades at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens locations across the United States. Although not included with park admission, Howl-O-Scream is an affordable addition to your day, with tickets priced at just $29.99 for up to seven additional hours at the park, depending on what night you choose to go. You can view our guide page and get details about this event here.
Can I bring my own food and drink to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular?
In the past, visitors have found bringing your own food to be an easy way to save a few bucks and increase the overall efficiency of the day, especially when there’s lots of people involved. Unfortunately, most of the theme parks in Central Florida have put the kibosh on this practice, and SeaWorld is one of them. No outside food, drinks, or coolers are allowed in the park, but there are a few exceptions to this. For one, you can bring baby food or formula in with you, or (very) small snacks for a picky toddler. If you have severe food allergies, you can also bring in food to accommodate your needs, but you will need to check in with Park Security or Guest Relations when you arrive so they can clear your belongings.
All that being said, there are a number of dining experiences that are worth leaving the sandwich fixings at home. Sharks Underwater Grill is a restaurant unlike any other. Sharing walls with the 700,000-gallon shark aquarium, Sharks Underwater Grill makes visitors feel like they are truly dining underwater. This experience provides guests with windows into an almost alien world, one full of marine creatures that have been on earth far longer than us humans.
SeaWorld attendees can also take advantage of the All-Day Dining Deal. With this deal, you can dine at participating locations once per hour. Yep, that means that you can pick up an entree, dessert or side, and non-alcoholic beverage and then do it all over again in an hour. Adult tickets cost $44.99, and child tickets are $22.99. While the kids don’t get the full entree option, they are able to pick up a kids’ meal at participating locations every hour, all day.
When should I go to SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular?
This year, Halloween Spooktacular will run select days starting on Friday, September 18 and host its final day on Sunday, October 31. Through these weeks, it will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm. As a special treat on Halloween weekend, you can get started on the festivities early with the only Friday Halloween Spooktacular – no trick! We recommend going in September if you are interested in lower crowds. Families who go in the mornings certainly tend to have cooler temperatures than those who come by in the late afternoon or early evening.
What else is there to do at SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular?
Of course, since Halloween Spooktacular is included with park admission, you and your family will have access to everything SeaWorld Orlando has to offer. Recently, SeaWorld Orlando was voted #1 Theme Park in the USA Today 10Best Awards, with one of its flagship rides, Mako, receiving the same accolade in Best Roller Coaster. Not into big coasters? That’s OK. SeaWorld is a park that provides real variety for visitors. Guests of all ages will revel in the spectacles of Orca Encounter or Dolphin Adventures shows. Your animal lovers can come face to face with majestic sea turtles, or even pet and feed stingrays. Little ones can spend sunny days on Sesame Street Land, enjoying age-appropriate rides and cooling off at the Rubber Duckie Water Works splash pad. Adults can sample the many seasonal drinks and food options that are available at kiosks throughout the park. These kiosks vary by season, but the treats they offer are always sure to complement your day at SeaWorld.
What if I want to do more?
If you find your day at SeaWorld isn’t enough for you, there are two other SeaWorld parks in Orlando – Discovery Cove and Aquatica, and with the warm Florida weather, both are great options through the fall. Discovery Cove is an immersive resort where guests can swim with the animals they’ve seen in aquariums. Comparably priced to other theme parks, Discovery Cove offers all-inclusive tickets which include unlimited food and drink, supplies such as sunscreen and a wet suit, and experiences like swimming with sea creatures. Guests can also upgrade their tickets to purchase experiences like swimming with Bottlenose Dolphins. Close by, Aquatica is the water theme park for those who agree that a day by the pool just isn’t enough. In keeping with SeaWorld standards, guests can see marine animals throughout their day, but what sets this park apart from the others are the rides, slides, and pools available for recreation and relaxation alike. No matter which parks you choose to visit, we recommend purchasing your tickets here to get the best deal get you started on your vacation!