I’m not sure if it’s the candy or the spooky decorations, the parties or the theme park events that make fall so fun, but wrap it all up, hand me a candy apple, and I am in Halloween HEAVEN.
Written by Jenny Fauser
Here are a few of my favorite things, and some cool new tricks I found, to make my hyper angels howl with delight this trick-or-treat season.
SeaWorld’s Spooktacular is BY FAR my favorite theme park event for our spooky season. From silly Halloween-themed shows to gobs and gobs of candy for your goblins, SeaWorld offers a day of frivolity and carefree trick-or-treating. PLAYGROUND tip: Go before Halloween and beat the crazy October 31 crowd. Event begins October 3, continuing on select days throughout the month, and is included with park admission. www.seaworld.com
Looking for more Hallow-themed events? Why not take your precious pixie for a night at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party? Take your tyke trick-or-treating throughout the park on select dates September 4 through November 1. Be sure to stick around for Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween parade and the bewitching “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks spectacular. For more info, visit the Magic Kingdom page on www.disneyparks.com.
Trick-or-treat in the wildest neighborhood in town during the Central Florida Zoo’s ZOO Boo Bash October 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Come in costume or get your face painted while visiting zoo residents. Hop on a haunted hayride, visit the pumpkin patch and trick-or-treat around the zoo. There will be no boohooing at this safe, fun and not-too-scary event. www.centralfloridazoo.org
Celebrate the spookiest time of year at the Orlando Science Center on October 31 from 12 – 4 p.m. The 6th Annual Spooktacular Science Extravaganza features a terrifyingly fun day of activities, including face painting, live shows, crafts and, of course, some tasty treats. Come in costume to trick-or-treat and participate in Gross Out Science activities, like dry ice and liquid nitrogen experiments, brew a batch of gooey slime or create slimy mucus. There will also be crafts and fun for the littlest pumpkins. www.osc.org
Please don’t hate me, but I’m not a native Floridian. Now that I think about it, probably most of you out there aren’t, either. But being from “up north” (really the Midwest), I find myself craving some fall feelings this time of year. If you’re like me, you can get your fall fix at Celebration’s Fall Festival. Filled with falling leaves every Friday and Saturday through October, this autumn-like atmosphere leaves me feeling groovy and ready for a cup of hot apple cider. www.celebrationtowncenter.com
The Place to Patch
I am one who “patches” every year with my girls. I’ve searched high and low for the most fall-ish rows of pumpkins out there. A little pumpkin patch in Sanlando (I love that name-Sanlando) is the most pumpkin-patchy place I’ve found since living in Florida. Offering rows and rows of pumpkins on hay bales, story time for the kids (upon group RSVP) and fun farm animal decorations, the patch at the Sanlando United Methodist Church is a real treat. Pick your pumpkins October 2 – 31. www.sanlando.org
Time for the Treats
Did you know you can take your goblins, princesses and pirates to Disney’s Marketplace to trick-or-treat? From east to west, north to south, practically every town has its own version of a fall event. On the west side, downtown Winter Garden has a killer Halloween event where your kiddo can beg for loot as local retailers dole out the goods. Get more details on Halloweenfest at www.cwgdn.com. If you’re looking for a daytime candy exploration, dress up your darling and take her trick-or-treating down Park Avenue in Winter Park during their 6th Annual Family Fall Festival. www.weekofthefamily.org
The Central Florida Candy Crawl
- Halloween at Cranes Roost: Saturday, October 31, 5 – 9 p.m. This community-oriented event features costume contests for all ages, inflatable games, live entertainment and booths chock full of candy and trinkets. It would be a fright to be late, as the trick-or-treating starts at 5 p.m. sharp. www.uptownaltamonte.com
- Downtown Avalon Park Spooktacular: Saturday, October 31, 5 – 9 p.m. Carve out some time for the costume parade, bobbin’ for apples, a pumpkin carving contest and, of course, trick-or-treating. The Haunted House will be chilling children of all ages October 30 and 31, 6 – 10 p.m. www.eventsatavalonpark.com
- My Gym Halloween Party: Friday, October 30, 5 – 8 p.m. Dress up the munchkins in “safe for climbing” costumes and head over to My Gym in Lake Mary for a thrilling time playing Halloween games, trick-or-treating and rompin’ around at the gym. Seek out more info at info@MyGymLakeMary.com.
Go Green This Halloween
Now, did you really think we’d do a “green” issue and NOT point out some really cool eco-friendly ways to celebrate? Mmmwaa haa haa haa. Come closer, dearie; let us share some suggestions that won’t leave you pale with fright.
Believe it or not, there’s actually an organization that has gained lots of national recognition, called Green Halloween. Visit it at www.greenhalloween.org for great tips on green treats and cool Green Halloween events in Florida. You can get your little Picasso to submit a design for this year’s Chico Bag, to be used (and reused) for trick or treating.
Here’s a nifty gadget for your rough-housing ranger. This shake flashlight found at Giaim will guide your reckless warriors to sweets as they bop down the streets on October 31. This light is lit by shaking, uses no batteries and is shatterproof. www.giaim.com
My favorite new thing I learned while researching Halloween this year was the concept of reverse trick or treating. That’s when you go door to door with your kiddo and collect for Unicef or recycled cell phones. Trust me, the people who benefit from this cool concept are the ones who get the real treat this Halloween. www.youth.unicefusa.org/trickortreat
Non-Dorky Ways to Decorate
Don’t scare your guests away with tacky decorations this October. No need to flood your yard with every inflatable spider or Styrofoam tombstone that you can get your claws on. Celebrations.com offers these suggestions to spook up your interior. First, cover the sofas, chairs, dining room table and all other large furniture items with old white sheets. This will give your party space an abandoned look. Second, gather fall leaves, tumbleweed and dead flowers from outdoors and place them across tables and buffets. It will look like the windows opened and leaves have blown into the abandoned house from outside.
And remember, don’t let your little lovely eat her candy before you’ve thoroughly checked it, never enter houses of strangers, always use a flashlight and watch out for black cats!