As the calendar flips to tenth month, seemingly normal locales all over the state of Florida are transformed into fiendish versions of themselves. These Halloweenified places offer willing victims a chance to escape the horrors of their daily lives and experience a bit of the darkness that dwells just below the surface in all of us.
In the beautiful city of Winter Haven lies a facility inspired by the little plastic blocks that have nourished generations of artists, designers, and children at play. LEGOLAND® Florida kicked off its kid-friendly Halloween celebration of Brick-or-Treat presented by Wells Fargo on Saturday, October 5, and continues each Saturday in October from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays in October from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Visitors to the park will be able to see the world’s largest LEGO Jack-O-Lantern, made of 26,500 LEGO bricks and capture a great photo memory. They can also build their own Halloween-themed LEGO Model at the activity station in the Wells Fargo Fun Town 4D Theatre Plaza. In the Spooky Scavenger Hunt, the whole family can enjoy searching for spooky LEGO creatures found in the over 30 million LEGO bricks that make up Miniland USA. Children will enjo he oprtuniy to Trick-or-Treat along the Brick-or-Treat trail near the Pirates South Stadium for goodies, tasty treats and other fun surprises.
They can also participate by joining in a spooky Dance Party in the Haunted Miniland USA with a live DJ and dance games. Of course, what is Halloween without a Kids Costume Contest, where you can show off your BOO-tiful costumes in the Kids Costume Contest in the Wells Fargo Fun Town 4D Theatre Plaza to win brick-tastic prizes like LEGO product and tickets to LEGOLAND Florida. Children may enter one of 3 age categories: 0-3 years, 4-8 years and 9-12 years
During Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND Florida, guests can also experience more than 50 rides, shows and attractions. The event is included with normal park admission.
Less than an hour from LEGOLAND Florida, Howl-O-Scream® 2013 returns to Busch Gardens® Tampa with tormenting surprises around every corner and unexpected terrors. The event runs Thursday through Saturday nights, Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26. Operating hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on all event nights.
Busch Gardens’ 335 acres will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun, including new haunted houses, scare zones, a thrilling live stage show and the chance to ride adrenaline-fueled coasters in the dark, including Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt. Even the streets themselves aren’t safe with all-new scare zones, led by the 13 evils that have been waiting a century to come out and play for the most horrifying Howl-O-Scream ever. It will leave you begging for mercy… and screaming for more.
From the depths of a basement to the eerie bogs of the Bayou, Howl-O-Scream 2013’s new haunted houses are designed to prey on every element of your deepest fears. They include the BASEMENT, where you can try to escape the depths before #4 The Butcher turns you in to the secret sauce! In Death Water Bayou, you are challenged to get out before you fall victim to her spell. During The Experiment, the only question is will you survive?
Note: The Experiment is a unique, interactive experience that challenges your threshold for fear for an additional fee. Reservations are required, and each reservation can accommodate you and up to three additional “test subjects.” Pass member discount does not apply. Not included with any other VIP tour or upgrade product. Howl-O-Scream admission is required, but not included. The Experiment admission is $50 for the first test subject and $10 for each additional test subject in the same reservation.
Some of the most demented houses ever are back by popular demand with some horrifying new twists, including Circus of Superstition 3-D, the #13 Clown challenges you to survive 13 superstitions in their 3-D Tent of Terror, but it will take more than luck to escape this whole new dimension of fear. In Blood Asylum, the serial killer’s bloody playground will drive you out of your mind with fear. At the Zombie Mortuary, you must avoid the walking dead or you may find yourself deeper than six feet under. When you face the Ultimate Gamble: Reversal of Fortune, can you make it out alive before your luck runs out? In the house known simply as Nevermore, beating hearts, swinging pendulums and a raven’s cries haunt the manor of Lenore, creating a demented and twisted nightmare.
At Howl-O-Scream, even the sidewalks aren’t safe from the things that go bump in the night, where three all-new scare zones will keep guests watching their backs as they explore 335 acres of fright. At The 13, The #7 Surgeon, #4 Butcher, #11 Psychopath, #13 Clown, #6 Voodoo Queen and their demented friends will torment and terrorize you the moment you enter the gates. This your chance to find out: Who are the 13? In Harvester’s Haunt, an unnerving soundtrack of banjos, fiddles and harmonicas fill the fields with haunting bluegrass music. On Pain Lane, torture, torment and pain line this sinister street as the #2 Torturer and #12 Hangman stalk their prey in the shadows of this dark and disturbing alley.
After braving bone-chilling coasters in the dark, such as Cheetah Hunt, SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi and Kumba, you can catch your breath at Howl-O-Scream’s signature show, Fiends, or keep the party going all night in Howl-O-Scream’s signature club and shops.
The classic monster mash-up Fiends will be performing nightly at the Desert Grill in Timbuktu. Captivating creatures of the night will infect you with dance fever and keep your pulse pounding with their deranged dance party. But when Dr. Freakenstein’s naughty nurses start operating, the diagnosis is always “code pink.”
Escape the hordes and head to the transformed Marrakesh Theater to drive yourself mad partying at Howl-O-Scream’s dance club, Club 13. This nighttime dance playground keeps the energy pumping all night long with non-stop music, premium signature cocktails, drink specials and Taco Bus food.
This year, the Howl-O-Scream shop of Horrors has been transformed into The Butcher Shop. Find GOREgeous apparel and trendy tees featuring Howl-O-Scream favorites, including the 13 and the infamous Naughty Nurses. You can also purchase or pick up your Front-Line Fear Passes here. Visit this year’s new Voodoo Village Market, located next to The Experiment in the Egypt area of the park by Montu for even more Howl-O-Scream gifts.
General admission is $89 plus tax. Reduced advance-purchase rates and special offers are available for Busch Gardens pass members at HowlOScream.com. Guests can save $39 on general admission tickets in advance at participating Publix Supermarkets and AAA locations or with promotional codes found at participating Taco Bell, Applebee's locations in Central Florida and on Fanta products in participating Walgreens.
Roughly an hour or so from the roars of Busch Gardens, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23 continues to unleash the horror of some of the most terrifying names in entertainment, and hundreds of bloodthirsty “scareactors” will stop at nothing to make you their next victim.
This year’s event features eight all-new, disturbingly real haunted houses based on some of the most recognizable names in horror, including AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” survival video game series, “Resident Evil,” and critically acclaimed films “Evil Dead,” “The Cabin in the Woods” and “An American Werewolf in London.” Recently named the nation’s best Halloween event for the sixth consecutive year, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights takes place select nights now until Nov. 2. Tickets and vacation packages are on sale now.
In South Florida, horror fans have delighted in the spirit of Halloween at Fright Nights since 2002. Located at the South Florida Fairgrounds, this event thrills roughly 40,000 people each year as they traverse through four haunted mazes, and a Monster Midway including 13 rides, such as the High Flyer and Zero Gravity, that whip passengers through the air.
The event features two new houses for your enjoyment this year. At A Grim's Tale, grotesque creatures plucked straight from history's gristliest books lie in wait for unsuspecting readers. Sunnyvale Orphanage is overrun by terrible tots just looking for an excuse to misbehave... homicidally.
Two houses are returning from the event's past, with some new, horrifying twists. At the Smiths' new abode, screams echo over the sound of Morrissey records played backward while you try to escape the clutches of your favorite murderous clowns. Around the corner at Country Bill’s Meat Market, backwoods, cannibalistic hillbillies open up their humble household in search of fresh meat!
With more than 100 people making up the cast and crew, there is no safe haven from the madness that is Fright Nights!
Food stalls nestle amid the attractions, tempting guests with hot dogs, tacos, funnel cakes, and tufts of cotton candy. Beware of Roaming freaks from the Carnival of Creeps, who are out for blood! (and available for photo ops.) New for 2013 will also be Fright Nights TV, where everyone can get their moment of fame.
Opening night is Thursday, Oct. 10, and tickets are on sale now. If you act soon, you can take advantage of a special groupon deal! This Local Getaways Examiner would also like to offer one of his loyal readers and a guest a chance to attend the event in person. The first person to email me will be sent two tickets for the event, good on Thursday Oct. 10, 17, or 24 for admission to one of the haunted houses, as well as unlimited rides at the midway, and more! Additional haunted house admissions can be purchased at the event. Good luck!
The West Palm Beach area also boasts another haven of fear and despair that you would be a fool not to visit. X-Scream Halloween at the G-Star School of the Arts (2030 South Congress Avenue Palm Springs, FL) once again thrills young and old alike with their take on how a haunting should go. Created entirely by the high school students who attend this prestigious charter school, the production quality and acting talents have, in the past, rivaled some of the professional haunts.
"This year is an "all inclusive" experience," stated master of scaremonies George Colavecchio. "Patrons enter "Runetown", a ficticious militia run town in the mid-21st century in the aftermath of nuclear conflict and viral outbreaks leaving nothing but small pockets of humanity struggling to survive. Further complicating things is the existence of a resistance comprised of mutated females (viral outbreak) trying to take over the militia towns. Mutants, evil dictators and desperate people - what could be more fun!"
The event begins on Saturday, Oct. 12, and continues on Friday and Staurday Nights through Nov. 2, with a very special showing on Thursday, Oct. 31. Gates are open from 7:00 p.m. until midnight, and tickets at the gate cost $13 for adults and $5 for children eight years old and under. Advanced tickets can be purchased online for a discounted rate.
Travel about an hour or so south of the Palm Beaches, and you can enjoy a host of Halloween festivities during Spooktober at Zoo Miami presented by Dixie Crystals. If you dare, enter Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House, a full-scale haunted house at Dr. Wilde’s World from October 17 – 31. If dressing up and partying is your thing, show up to the fifth annual adults-only costume party, The Monster Masquerade, benefiting the Zoological Society of Florida (ZSF) October 19. The entire family can also enjoy Halloween at the zoo at night during Spooky Zoo Nights October 25 & 26, and during the daytime at the annual Zoo Boo October 26 & 27. New this year is Halloween Fright Night for young adults October 31st.
Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House, a full-scale haunted house with live actors, is guaranteed to send chills up and down your spine when it debuts October 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They make your every fear come to life! Roaches take over the kitchen while cats take over the home of a deceased grandma! What will you find when the freezer defrosts – a zookeeper or two perhaps? You’ll have to come and see for yourself! With an admission cost of $5/person, this house of chills will remain open through October 31. Parental discretion is advised for young children.
Get your Halloween costume ready and come dance the night away at the darkest night spot around town… Zoo Miami! Costumed monsters ages 21 and over are invited to the biggest Halloween party in South Florida, The Monster Masquerade Friday, October 19 from 8 p.m. until the stroke of midnight. Come where the wild things are and party in the dark while enjoying premium cocktails, savory treats, music and dancing by The Coast 97.3 FM. At the end of the night, we’ll announce the “Best Costume Contest” that will have you dying for awesome prizes. When night falls and the wild calls, The Monster Masquerade at Zoo Miami will be the only place to be. Your ticket purchase will support the Zoological Society of Florida in its mission of wildlife education and conservation.
Pre-sale tickets to The Monster Masquerade are $65/person. A limited number of tickets will be sold at the door for $75/person. Tickets are currently available at and at the Zoological Society of Florida (305-255-5551).
Spooky Zoo Nights, an after-hours family event, will take place October 25 and 26 from 7 – 11 p.m. The $10.95/person admission ($9.95 for zoo members) includes entry into Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House, spooky tram rides, ghoulish carousel rides, and chilling story-telling. Goodies and roving street theatre will add excitement to the pathways.
Zoo Boo! Returns to Zoo Miami October 26 and 27 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Included with zoo admission, families and kids ages 12 and under are invited to trick-or-treat in costumes, participate in costume contests, watch special performances, make Halloween crafts, see our wild animals get their Halloween goodies, and more! Music and games with fun prizes will be provided by Radio Disney AM 990 and The Coast 97.3 FM.
Looking for a NEW horrifying Halloween night experience? For another dimension of Halloween fun (or horror) at the zoo, come to Halloween Fright Night on October 31st from 8 p.m. - midnight. Geared for young adults, this event features Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House, a live band and DJ at the Zombie Lounge and Plaza of Torment! Bloody wine, beer and tasty bites will be available for purchase. Admission is $12/person. Costumes are encouraged. The event is not recommended for children ages 14 and under.
Remember that Halloween is a time for fun and frivolity. It is a time to come out of your shell, and to acknowledge the mischievous spirit that resides within all of us. Be sure to keep following this column for news on other spooky events and more. If you know of another local event that needs additional undead light shone upon it, please tell me about it!
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