Why Orlando Claims to Be the Capital of Halloween Vacations

The city boasts a full 90 days of scary season programming to enjoy.

Orlando, home to the happiest place on Earth, is also in the running to be the scariest place on Earth, if its Halloween programming is any indication. The Florida town has named itself the Halloween Vacation Capital, and is earning the title by offering almost 90 days worth of spooky season events.

There are the usual big attractions, like Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World and Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios—but not everything will cost a hefty admission ticket to experience.

"Orlando lives up to its reputation as the Halloween Vacation Capital with nearly three months of festive celebrations for all ages," said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. "Halloween fanatics, horror movie enthusiasts and costume-loving families can enjoy the multitude of special events across our theme parks, attractions and beyond."

A full lineup of events can be found at VisitOrlando.com, with a section dedicated to adult fun and another for family-friendly offerings. Some of the family-friendly highlights include:

  • Brick or Treat Presents Monster Party at Legoland, which will be held during weekends between September 16 and October 29.
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure will offer the family friendly Halloween-themed dinner show "Vampirates: When the Blood Moon Rises" between September 19 and October 29.
  • Happy Frights at Harry P. Leu Gardens is a family-friendly trick-or-treat adventure through 12 immersive worlds between September 29 and October 31.
Cocktails & Screams mask wall at Cocktails & Screams dining and nightlife in Orlando.
Cocktails & Screams in downtown Orlando | Courtesy of Visit Orlando and Elevated Bar Management

Meanwhile, for 18+ scares, there are performances, brunches, and art-heavy garden parties:

  • Renaissance Theatre Company will present the return of "Nosferatu" between September 15 and November 5 at the Ren. Guests will get a chance to participate in the interactive performance. Later in the night, the vampire nightclub VBar will open for continued vampiric activities.
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens will host Haunting Nights between September 29 and October 31. The event is billed to be an artful, elevated Halloween event with jumpscares for visitors. Tickets start at $15.
  • Cocktails & Screams is downtown Orlando's only Halloween-themed bar. On Sundays this fall, the bar offers a Cereal Killer Brunch from noon to 5 pm. Drinks have names like "Zombie's Elixir" and "Vampire's Kiss" and the bar's calendar of events includes costume parties, horror movie screenings, tarot card readings, and live performances.

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.