Orlando’s weather (average October high: 85) may seem antithetical to Halloween, but what it lacks in autumnal atmosphere, it makes up for with unique seasonal events and several exuberantly horrifying spooky experiences. Many open in late September to ensure devotees ample time to make the pilgrimage.
At HHN, terror lurks at every turn. — Photo courtesy of © 2012 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.
Local Family Fave: Long & Scott Farms’ Corn Maze
This annual favorite draws Floridians from hours away with enough wholesome harvest fun to fill a thousand hay wagons. Located in pastoral Zellwood (home of the Sweet Corn Festival since 1973), it’s a six-and-a-half-acre labyrinth of epic proportions that could take two hours to navigate, but fear not. Multiple exits – and a flag to hail the Maze Master – allow for swift escape. Got preschoolers? Try the mini-maze instead. Also on hand: a playground, food vendors, hay ride and country market. (Weekends only: Sept. 29 – Dec. 16)
Children of the corn? Try the mini maze. — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson
Silver Screams: October at the Enzian
In a vast desert of suburban multiplexes, the Enzian Theater is Orlando’s oasis of alternative cinema. Throughout October, horror reigns. This year’s classics include “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein,” “The Shining” and “Poltergeist.” A Children’s Halloween Party (Oct. 28) will feature crafts, pizza and a matinee showing of “The Nightmare before Christmas.”
Holiday Supremacy: Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights
HHN's haunted houses are a scream. Literally. — Photo courtesy of © 2012 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.
Now in its 22nd incarnation, each unfailingly more terrifying (read: delightful) than the last, HHN transforms Universal Studios Orlando from family-friendly fantasyland to goremonger’s Mecca via scare zones, live shows and themed houses teeming with “scareactors;” eliciting screams to rival Janet Leigh. And that’s just the men.
This year’s “victims” will step into the zombie apocalypse of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” the ghastly town of “Silent Hill,” Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare” and the radioactive weirdness of magicians Penn and Teller. (Select dates from Sept. 21 – Oct. 31)