Thursday, September 26, 2019

Halloween Happenings in Orlando: Scares Beyond the Theme Parks

Photo by Crayola Experience

Explore beyond the Orlando theme parks this Halloween season!  Here are 11 activities for you to discover.

NEW: Cocktails & Screams is Orlando's first year-round Halloween-themed bar. Opening the first week of October, the new speakeasy-style downtown haunt is very immersive, featuring spooky scenes from Dr. Frankenstein's lab to a hallway straight out The Shining, with themed cocktails to match.

American Ghost Adventures offers a wide variety of year-round paranormal experiences. With tour options venturing all over Orlando, from the haunted pub tour “Spirits with Spirits” to the “Dining with the Departed” meal in a haunted restaurant, these frightful experiences are perfect for a Halloween scare.

The City of Orlando's Moonlight Walking Tours (Oct. 11) take guests on a frightful stroll through Greenwood Cemetery filled with restless spirits. Trek four haunted miles and visit the final resting places of prominent figures in Orlando’s history. The tour is free, but sponsored by rotating charities that accept donations.

NEW: Dark Horizon: Point of No Return (select nights, Oct. 10 – Nov. 2) is a seasonal Halloween attraction offering three blood-curdling haunted houses and four immersive bars, including a secret bar hidden within one of the houses. The night club atmosphere also accompanies two live stages, themed food and hundreds of monsters lurking around every turn.

Enzian Theater's 13 Films of Halloween (select nights, Oct. 1 – 29) will showcase a series of scary movies throughout the month of October. The lineup features programs for all ages and includes a free outdoor screening, parties, themed drinks, midnight films and cult classics. Enzian is Orlando’s only full-time, not-for-profit alternative cinema and cafe.

Gatorland unleashes a brand-new Halloween treat this year, called “Gators, Ghost and Goblins” (Oct. 19, 20, 26, 27 and 31). Fun and spooky adventures await the whole family, from specially themed shows, to ghoulish selfie zones and “Frank & Stein’s” Octoberfest Pavilion. Visitors should also beware of monsters rumored to haunt the park.

Maitland’s Historical Haunted Tours (select days in October) invite curious history buffs and ghost hunters alike to explore the haunted grounds of the Art & History Museum’s Maitland Art Center or the Waterhouse Residence Museum, known as two of the most paranormal places in Central Florida. Two separate tours offer guests ghost stories, creepy Victorian artifacts and even the chance to do some real paranormal investigation.

The Orlando Science Center is hosting two unique Halloween events this year. On Oct. 5, Science Night Dead puts an eerie spin on the museum’s recurring adults-only events, featuring access to museum exhibits, a Wheel of Torture game, a murder mystery to solve and a monstrous giant-screen film. On Oct. 25, the After Dark party offers more 21+ fun. Guests can don their costumes and dance amongst dinosaur bones with live music and entertainment, a costume contest and festive food.

Photo by Orlando Science Center

Screamin' Green Hauntoween at The Crayola Experience (Sept. 21 – Oct. 31) celebrates the Halloween season with monster-ific crafts and spooky surprises for the entire family. Dance parties and trick-or-treating are offered on weekends, while weekdays include scavenger hunts, live slime shows and SLIME TIME, a spooky, sticky art class.

Mortem Manor Haunted Attraction at Old Town features year-round terrors with two spooky stories, state-of-the-art animatronics and live actors. Ranked one of the “Scariest Haunted Houses in America” by the Travel Channel, guests can explore the haunted house, be buried alive in a coffin or both. Frightening fun starts at $5.

A Petrified Forest (select nights, Oct. 4 – Nov. 2) features two outdoor scare trails for groups of six or less to venture through, in a dark, haunted forest filled with terrifying beasts. On special Total Eclipse Nights – which require a signed waiver for anyone under 18 – monsters can even touch the guests, and each group is given only one glowstick to light their path, regardless of if it is dropped or stolen by a creature. The event is PG-13 and not recommended for guests under 12, but Kid’s Nights and Special Needs Nights are scheduled. Wheelchair assistance and other accommodations can be made for any visitor with special needs on Oct. 16.