Tweens: 10-12 • Teens: 13-17

Kids Will Scream for These Halloween Amusement Parks

See recent posts by Lissa Poirot

When long summer days turn into longer fall nights and warm temperatures give way to a chill, amusement parks across the country begin to close their doors for winter hibernation but not before they celebrate the haunting season with special events and attractions for Halloween at amusement parks. Looking for thrill rides along with scares? Take a look at these Halloween amusement parks offering frights for kids of all ages.

For more Halloween fun, be sure to check out 10 Haunted Hotels Worth a Visit, 10 Best Haunted Houses for Teens, and 11 Kid-Friendly Halloween Events.

Written by Lissa Poirot


Kings Island - Ohio

The largest Midwest amusement park at Halloween puts on a frightening show with its Halloween Haunt, running Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 22 through Oct. 28. Mazes, eerie entertainment and rides accompanied by zombies, werewolves and other things that go bump in the night turn Kings Island into a scream zone. This one is best suited for the kids who can handle the terror.

Recommended Hotel: The Cincinnatian Hotel

Universal Studios - Florida and California

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Orlando both provide a dose of spooks during the months of September and October. Evenings in the dual parks (except Mondays and Tuesdays) bring out the Halloween Horror Nights, where monsters, maniacs and the undead take to the streets with live shows, haunted houses, scare zones, mazes and spooky encounters. In Florida, enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter for a little witchcraft, as well, during Halloween at this theme park.

Recommended Hotel: Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort

Recommended Hotel: Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

Knott's Berry Farm - California

In the fall, this popular amusement park transforms into Knott"s Scary Farm, with nights of terror leading up to Halloween. Knott"s Berry Farm, located in Buena Park, was the first and largest running Halloween amusement park and features 1,000 monsters lurking in the dark, as well as haunted attractions to scare the wits out of guests. Open from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays through Sundays, this scream fest is best suited for older kids.

Recommended Hotel: Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel & Water Playground

Busch Gardens - Florida and Virginia

The freaks come out at night during Busch Garden"s Howl-O-Scream event. This extreme event takes place in Tampa across 300 acres with its streets crawling with ghouls and goblins, thrill rides in the dark, and eight different and frightening haunted houses.

In Williamsburg, Virginia, six haunted houses, spooky tours, and terrifying live shows and tales also mix with nighttime coaster thrills. These Halloween amusement park adventures are not meant for the meek, so consider leaving young children at home.

Recommended Hotel: Wingate by Wyndham Tampa USF/Busch Gardens

Recommended Hotel: Kingmill Resort & Spa

Sesame Place - Pennsylvania

This Sesame Street-themed amusement park converts into The Count's own adventure with The Count's Halloween Spooktacular. On weekends from September 22 through October 29, kids can arrive to Sesame Place in costume and enjoy the not-so-spooky fun with Halloween parades, characters in costumes, character hayrides, mazes, and Halloween-themed shows. Special character days include the Count's Batty Birthday Bash, Zoe's Monster Mash Birthday Part and Grover's Not-So-Spooky Birthday Bash. This time, leave the big kids at home and let the little ones enjoy the thrills at this amusement park at Halloween.

Recommended Hotel: SpringHill Suites Philadelphia Langhorne

Hersheypark - Pennsylvania

The sweetest place on earth becomes a thrilling place for younger kids to enjoy with its Hersheypark in the Dark attraction. Of course, the candy maker and chocolatier is the place to be for sweets and treats, with trick-or-treating and costume events, as well as roller coasters and Halloween-themed live entertainment. Hershey's Zoo America also transforms with Creatures of the Night evening events with a chance to explore the zoo by flashlight.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Hershey

Great Wolf Lodge - Nationwide

While you must be a guest of one of the 15 Great Wolf Lodges to enjoy its waterparks and fun, planning a weekend getaway in the fall means enjoying its annual Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular. Children can enjoy trick-or-treating, costume parades, a monster-themed dance party, and nightly ghost stories, in addition to the indoor water parks, arcades, and games.

Learn more about Great Wolf Lodge and its locations by reading Great Wolf Lodge.

Six Flags - Nationwide

With parks across the country in California, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Baltimore/D.C., find the nearest one and enjoy the Halloween amusement park, Fright Fest. Featuring thrills by day and frights by night, Fright Fest takes place on weekends with haunted houses, spooky entertainment, scare zones and park rides providing daring fun. During the day, younger kids will enjoy mild haunts, arts and crafts and costume parties, and then at night, the creepiness takes over for older kids.

For more on Six Flags, see A Family Guide to Six Flags Amusement Parks.

Cedar Point - Ohio

One of the Midwest's biggest and best amusement parks, Cedar Point turns weekends into Halloweekends from Sept. 15 through Oct. 29. Many of the Halloween amusement park's scariest rides remain open with haunted houses, scare zones and a skeleton show. During the day, younger tots can enjoy Howl-O-Palooza, with an expanded kid' area, mazes, crafts, pony rides and a pumpkin patch. During the evening, scare zones come alive, including Hexed Haunted House, Zombie High School, Cut Throat Cave, and Eden Musee Chamber of Horrors and Wax Museum.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Breakers

LEGOLAND - Florida & California

Weekend fun at LEGOLAND in both Florida and California is dedicated to Brick-or-Treat, featuring trick-or-treating, costume contests, scavenger hunts and a special dance party at the end of each evening. LEGOLAND is geared toward younger kids, so it"s a perfect Halloween amusement park without the scares and gore. Costume contests are divided into three age groups (0-4, 5-7 and 8-12) and kids will have a chance to meet LEGO Halloween characters and build special LEGO designs.

Recommended Hotel: LEGOLAND Florida Hotel

Recommended Hotel: LEGOLAND California Hotel

Disney Halloween - Florida & California

Of course, Disney offers special Halloween amusement park fun for the kids. In Orlando, Mickey"s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place on select evenings through Halloween, and includes trick-or-treating, a wicked takeover of Cinderella"s Castle, eerie entertainment and the Magic Kingdom's most beloved rides.

In Anaheim, California, Disneyland hosts Mickey"s Halloween Party with costumes, trick-or-treating, a Monsters U dance party, fireworks, and Disney villains.

Recommended Hotel: Disneyland Hotel

Recommended Hotel: Bay Lake Tower at Disney"s Contemporary Resort

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