10 of the Best Theme Park Halloween Events for 2020

Tarah Chieffi

Indiana, USA

With COVID safety regulations in place through the fall, theme parks around the world have devised some positively devilish ways to keep the Halloween spirit alive— or in this case, undead—in 2020. This year, look forward to socially-distanced halloween events, haunted houses, nighttime coaster rides, pumpkin-spiced treats, and open-air scare zones with creepy creatures lurking behind every dark corner. Don’t be a jerk-o-lantern: grab your mask and make a reservation in advance!

Here are 10 theme parks around the world that are just dying for you to pay them a visit this spooky season:

Halloween Events at Walt Disney World

Disney World, Orlando, Florida, Credit: Disney World

When: September 15 – October 31, 2020

Where: Orlando, Florida

Disney’s annual Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party was canceled this year, but this Orlando, Florida, resort is still adding spooky fall touches throughout all four parks.

At Magic Kingdom, adults and children can wear costumes, a perk typically reserved only for those under the age of 13. Mickey and Minnie may float by in a Halloween-themed cavalcade or, on select days, guests can get a glimpse of baddies like Maleficent, Jafar, or Jack Skellington in a Disney Villains cavalcade.

All four parks are offering specialty Halloween treats, including a Headless Horsemen drink that looks like, well, blood, and plenty of (friendlier looking) pumpkin spice goodies.

Expert Tip: Download the My Disney Experience app before you visit so you can check ride wait times and mobile order all those dastardly delicious Halloween treats.

Halloween Events at Universal Studios

Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida. Credit: Halloween Horror Nights

When: July 28 – through Fall

Where: Orlando, Florida

Most years, Universal holds a months-long Halloween Horror Nights bash with haunted houses, scare zones, Halloween-themed treats, and world-class entertainment. This year, they’ve had to forgo some of the Halloween events, but there’s still a graveyard’s worth of hair-raising fun to be had.

In the absence of walkthrough haunted houses, Universal has opened a HHN Tribute Store with rooms themed to some of their most nightmare-inducing characters. There’s Jack the Clown, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the ghost with the most – Beetlejuice. It’s essentially a haunted house without the scare actors. Instead of frights, you can get Halloween merchandise and ghastly goodies like beating-heart sour gummies.

Expert Tip: Make sure rides like Revenge of the Mummy and Skull Island: Reign of Kong are on your itinerary to up your trip’s scare factor.

Halloween Events at Busch Gardens

Howl-O-Scream, Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida. Credit: Howl-O-Scream

When: Weekends, September 25 – November 1, 2020

Where: Tampa, Florida

Busch Gardens’ Howl-O-Scream is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year with a few new health and safety modifications. Capacity each evening is limited, physical distancing is in effect, and masks are required.

In lieu of haunted houses, Howl-O-Scream will utilize 10 large, open-air scare zones including “The Junkyard” and “Deadly Toys.” There’s also an outdoor stage show with the Dr. Freakenstein (just don’t ask where he got his degree). The park’s most popular thrill rides stay open for the after-hours event and there’s a large selection of merchandise and themed food booths.

The blood and gore at this Halloween event is not intended for children, so plan on leaving the kids at home.

Expert Tip: To keep capacity in check, advance ticket purchase and reservations are required. And don’t forget to check out Busch Gardens’ Food and Wine Festival in 2021!

Halloween Events at LEGOLAND

Brick or Treat, LEGOLAND, Winter Haven, Florida. Credit: Legoland

When: Weekends, October 3 – October 31, 2020

Where: Winter Haven, Florida

If you plan on celebrating spooky season with your little ghouls and goblins in tow, LEGOLAND Florida’s Brick or Treat event may be more their speed. This daytime Halloween event is included with regular park admission, so families can trick-or-treat between rides or stop and take in a family-friendly stage show when it’s time for a break.

Guests of all ages can wear costumes and snap selfies with quirky LEGO characters like Rockin’ Frankenstein, Mummy, and Lord Vampyre. There’s even large, elaborate LEGO models like a pumpkin, ghost, and hearse on display throughout the park.

Expert Tip: LEGOLAND’S onsite hotels keep families close to the action and let kids keep the fun going with themed rooms, nightly entertainment, and a variety of LEGO activities.

Halloween Events at Six Flags St. Louis

Hallowfest, Six Flags St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri. Credit: Six Flags St. Louis

When: Weekends, October 3 – November 1, 2010

Where: St. Louis, Missouri

While the sun is safely shining in the sky, Six Flags St. Louis Hallowfest is more mild than wild. There’s slightly spooky storytelling, a trick-or-treat trail for kids and, and scare actors will break out in dance on the 13th minute of every hour.

But when the sun sets and the moon illuminates the night sky, vampires, clowns, and other creepy creatures will emerge from their lairs to deliver screams and scares. The park stays open late on Hallowfest nights so guests can experience Six Flags’ coasters in total darkness.

Expert Tip: Hallowfest takes place at other Six Flags locations across the country, including Georgia, San Antonio, Texas, Arlington, Texas, Oklahoma, and Maryland.

Halloween Events at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris, Paris, France. Credit: Disneyland Paris

When: September 26 – November 1, 2020

Where: Paris, France

At Disneyland Paris, guests can feel the spirit of Halloween as soon as they step through the gates. The entire park gets a spooky makeover, ghoulish goodies take over the food and drink menus, and creepy music flows throughout the park.

Disney friends – and fiends – are lurking around every corner, laying in wait to snap socially-distant selfies. Fearless visitors can join the grim grinning ghosts of Phantom Manor or “drop in” to the Hollywood Tower Hotel, two scream-inducing attractions that are available all year long.

Expert Tip: The Halloween events span both Disneyland Paris parks so you’ll need to purchase a “2 Park” ticket to see it all.

Halloween Events at Universal Studios Japan

Universal Studios Japan, Osaka, Japan. Credit: Universal Studios Japan

When: September 18 – November 8, 2020

Where: Osaka, Japan

There will be no Halloween Horror Nights or Universal Surprise Halloween events at Universal Studios Japan this year, but that doesn’t mean the spirit of Halloween will lie sleeping in its coffin until 2021.

Kids can trick-or-treat around the park, watch favorite characters from Hello Kitty and The Peanuts dance through the streets, and take photos with costumed characters from Minions and Sesame Street. Kids at heart can take in the Universal Monster Live Rock and Roll Show and meet performers like Dracula and Werewolf after the show.

The entire park will be decked out for Halloween and there’s a huge selection of limited-time food and merchandise offerings, too.

Expert Tip: Save room in your suitcase for the one-of-a-kind Halloween merchandise featuring Chucky, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Snoopy, and more!

Halloween Events at Thorpe Park

Fright Nights Fearstival, Thorpe Park, Chertsey, UK. Credit: Thorpe Park

When: October 9 -11 and October 16 – November 1, 2020

Where: Chertsey, United Kingdom

Thorpe Park’s Fright Nights Fearstival tests the limits of exactly how much horror visitors can handle in one night. Not only do they have the UK’s fastest coaster and the world’s first ten-looping coaster, they also have a coaster based on the seriously twisted “Saw” films – and you can ride all of them in the “dead” of night.

Included with regular admission are five terrifying scare zones, a theatre showing short horror films, and a wide range of one-of-a-kind Halloween events for 2020. For an additional fee, guests can also experience two live scare mazes.

Expert Tip: It may not be very comforting to sleep in the mouth of a shark after a night of scares, but the Thorpe Shark Cabins offer a unique hotel experience just steps from the park.

Halloween Events at Hersheypark Drive

Hersheypark In The Dark, Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania. Credit: Hersheypark

When: Weekends, October 16 – November 1, 2020

Where: Hershey, Pennsylvania

It doesn’t get much cuter than a Hershey Kiss and a Reese’s Cup dressed up in costume, but the chocolatey fun at Hersheypark In The Dark doesn’t stop there. The trick-or-treat trail winds through the park, with 13 stops along the way.

Guests can experience some of Hersheypark’s most exciting rides with a pitch-black twist and, for the first time ever, ride the new Candymonium hypercoaster at night. There’s also plenty of speciality pumpkin spice sweets, fall comfort foods, and, of course, chocolate treats to enjoy.

Expert Tip: Admission to ZooAmerica is included with Hersheypark in the Dark. Guests can view animals in a nocturnal setting and even see them enjoying pumpkin-themed treats.

Halloween Events at Shanghai Disneyland Park

Shanghai Disneyland, Shanghai, China. Credit: Shanghai Disney Resort

When: October 5 – November 1, 2020

Where: Shanghai, China

During the month of October, Shanghai Disneyland summons a spooky transformation with decorations throughout the park, costumed characters on parade floats, Halloween events, trick-or-treat stops, and dreadfully delicious themed menu items.

Guests who prefer to be part of the fun rather than watching from the sidelines can boogie with Jack Skellington and Sally from “The Nightmare Before Christmas” at the “This Is Halloween” Dance Party or sing along with Miguel from “Coco” over at Adventure Isle.

Expert Tip: Though the fun starts October 5, the Halloween Days of Spook-tacular on October 30 and 31 are the best days to visit for maximum spooky season enjoyment. The park is throwing in a few extra surprises, including live DJ’s and a Halloween fireworks show.