The generation for whom Halloween is arguably most dear has now procreated, giving birth to an industry that each year comes closer to unseating December 25th as the king of holidays. The spooky prince, however, is loathe to bend the knee to its wintry counterpart and Orlando, city of amusements unparalleled, spawns events both light and dark. Be careful, Christmas. Halloween is out there (as early as August, for crying out loud), winning hearts and minds. You might want to get something going in June to shore up your numbers.
Orlando's own VarieTEASE burlesque troupe has the holiday spirit. Blood Stained Kiss debuts Oct. 17. — Photo courtesy of The Venue
Pirates and princesses, monsters and moo-cows make their way to the theme parks each year for scads of all-ages Halloween fun. At the Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party welcomes revelers to show up in costume and collect candy throughout the park, meeting its famous characters – many of whom dress in costume for the occasion, as well! Nightly entertainment comes in the form of a Disney Villains dance number in front of iconic Cinderella’s Castle, and the Boo-to-You Halloween parade features festive (if frightful) floats and more. Don’t forget to drop by the Haunted Mansion! Select nights, 7pm-midnight; separate ticket – starting at $59 – required for admission.
Jack & Sally will make their Magic Kingdom debut at this year's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. — Photo courtesy of Disney/Kent Phillips
Halloween fun abounds every weekend in October at Legoland’s Brick-or-Treat, which features age-specific costume contests, along with trick-or-treating for goodies and surprises on the park’s Enchanted Walk. Meet-and-greets with Legoland’s Halloweenish characters are always popular, as are photo-ops with the largest LEGO pumpkin in the world!
Trick-or-treaters on the Enchanted Walk at Legoland Florida — Photo courtesy of © 2010 Chip Litherland Photography
On October 27, Maitland’s Enzian Theater hosts Casper’s Friendly Halloween Party – a matinee-slash-costume party where entertainment comes in the form of the 1995 comedy, “Casper,” along with a barbecue lunch, carnival games and lots of family fun. Party starts at 11 am, movie’s on at 1:30. ($5-8 for movie only; $15 for movie/lunch package).
Great snaks, flicks and itsy-bitsy costumes take center stage at the Enzian come Halloween. — Photo courtesy of Enzian Theater
Kids Day at A Petrified Forest (Oct. 12) is a decided departure from what goes on inside this homespun Halloween favorite’s maze when darkness falls and evil lurks in the wood, though they will get a sampling of what goes on the Scare Trail. “Our staffers – without scary costumes – will let them explore the first few rooms of the maze so they can check it out,” says head of marketing Nichole Scott. Outside the trail, arts and crafts, trick or treating a bounce house and more await. Visit the website for tickets.
Grown up Ghoulishness
In the beautiful Audubon Park district a masquerade fantasy awaits in the form of Lady Raven’s Cotillion (Friday, Oct. 4) with dazzling performances by Phantasmagoria, Orlando’s original Victorian steampunk circus troupe, delicious food, decadent desserts by Blue Bird Bake Shop, wine, beer and absinthe cocktails and more. One night only, costumes most definitely encouraged. Advance tickets: $75.
Steampunked: Orlando's Phantasmagoria will perform at Lady Raven's Cotillion, a dark, posh costume ball. — Photo courtesy of Phantasmagoria
VarieTEASE, Orlando’s beloved burlesque troupe led by Blue Star, will be showcasing Bloodstained Kiss at Ivanhoe Village’s Venue performance space on select nights in October. Star’s twice-monthly Peek-A-Boo revues continue to titillate at the Stardust Lounge and this darkly delicious affair has been highly anticipated. Translation: get your tickets early; $15 advance, $18 at the door. Cocktail hour begins promptly at 8 p.m., the show at 9.
At Friday's reception, spooky-fun characters (and heavy hors d'oeuvres) will be on-hand alongside the art. — Photo courtesy of Spirits in Sanford
Like your Halloween “less tart, more art?” The Spirits in Sanford 5th Annual Art Extravaganza may be right up your dark, spooky alley. Having outgrown its original venue – the Jeanine Taylor Folk Art gallery – this year it’s moved to the nearby Civic Center where artists will showcase their holiday wares, much of it 3D. Two-day event runs Oct. 4-5 with a catered, VIP Sneak Peek champagne reception on Friday ($20) and includes passage to Saturday’s event ($5). Afterwards, visit the nearby Imperial at Washburn Imports where barkeeps will have pumpkin beer and themed cocktails at the ready.