A holiday in Orlando is unforgettable for so many reasons. City Beautiful has everything you could ask for, from white beaches, theme parks, gastronomic wonders, and fascinating history. There are plenty of things to do in Orlando in October for any kind of family.
Orlando in Autumn brings a welcome change of weather compared to the intense heat of Florida summers and the days begin to experience sudden (and short) bursts of heavy rainfall. With schools being in session again, most of Orlando’s major attractions see a significant drop in crowds too.
That is, apart from the last week of October, when the city becomes overrun by parents taking their kids trick-or-treating and visiting the Halloween events around town. It’s true, there’s no escaping the horror- and fun-filled holiday when visiting Orlando in October, and that’s a great thing! Because nobody does Halloween better than Orlando.
Before you pack your bags for your vacation, read on to learn all about how to make the most of your time in Orlando, Florida in October. From blood-curdling Halloween theme park events to Disney food festivals, you’ll see that this city has something for everyone: parents, preschoolers, and teenagers alike!
Have a blast at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
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If you’re wondering whether Disney’s International Food & Wine Festival is a family-friendly event, the answer is a resounding yes.
Have your children try new tastes and foods from all over the world. From deconstructed pavlova to luscious donuts, there’s something for everyone at this food and drink extravaganza. It’s always a good idea to have a look through the menu ahead of time when visiting with young kids.
Food and drink aside, there are also plenty of engaging games for families to get involved in together. Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak is a transcontinental scavenger hunt that is the perfect combination of laid-back and fun. Just pick up a map at the Port of Entry and be on your way. Match each one of Remy’s statues that you find with a sticker on your map and avail an award!
Kids will also have loads of fun at the candy sushi workshop where they will learn to make sushi out of candy with some help from Disney’s talented chefs.
Orlando in October: Halloween Events
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP)
This Frightfully Fun Event Returns Select Nights in August to October 31. Offering both terror and delight in equal measure, MNSSHP is the perfect Halloween event for families. Start your spooky adventure at the mostly-kid-friendly Haunted Mansion that’s huge enough to hold up to 1000 guests. However, the crowds won’t save you here so keep your kids close and remember to keep checking in with your littlest ones while on this ride.
Some other attractions include:
- Set your sights on the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular! Watch 3 sinister sisters bewitch and bedazzle the residents of Magic Kingdom park.
- Witness Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular—a wickedly wild fireworks display featuring some of your favorite Disney Characters and hosted by Jack Skellington from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
- Boogie down at the Disney Junior Jam at Storybook Circus—featuring some favorite friends from Disney Junior shows. It’s perfect for young partygoers!
- See some beloved Disney Characters during Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade.
- Collect a bag full of candy as you roam the trick-or-treat trails in search of some of your favorite sweets.
- Revel in the extraordinarily enchanting atmosphere of Magic Kingdom park during this limited-capacity event.
Next, catch Mickey’s Boo-to-You Happy Halloween Parade to make your kids smile and forget all about the Haunted Mansion.
One of the best parts about this event is dressing up as a family and going trick-or-treating. Kids love stopping at the many sites around Magic Kingdom and meeting Disney characters like Goofy, Chip ‘n’ Dale, and Pooh along the way. Make sure you check the dress code before you go. eg the normal Disney dress code rules don’t apply in terms of anyone over 14 and adults can dress up for the MNSSHP but outfits must not touch the ground, accessories cannot resemble a weapon and masks can’t be worn. See the full rules here.
Halloween is one of the best times to visit Disney World and is most certainly something worth paying for, in our opinion. Guests can enter from 4pm making the most of the night!
SeaWorld Halloween events
SeaWorld offers two separate events in Orlando October: one for families with little ones and one for those with teens.
SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular is a daylong event that’s more fun for families than it is spooky. The Candy Trail is the highlight of the event, where you get to go on a trick-or-treat trail with your little ones. In addition to the many characters dressed up in their scary costumes, kids will also be excited to meet the underwater fantasy mermaids at the Mermaid Grotto.
The fun doesn’t end there: Head to the Sesame Street Halloween Parade to really get into the Halloween spirit. Party with The Count, Big Bird, and Elmo, or shake a leg at the aquatic-themed Halloween Dance Party. Costumes are obviously encouraged, just remember to keep them light and comfortable.
SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular does not require you to buy a separate ticket. The experience is included in the admission cost so your best bet is to arrive early and enjoy the theme park as well as the event.
Halloween at Howl-O-Scream
Seaworld Orlando’s Howl-O-Scream is one of the best things to do in Orlando in October for those looking to get seriously scared. The after-hours annual fright fest runs on selected nights throughout September and October and includes the entire park being transformed into a series of terrifying haunted houses, scare zones, and scary live acts!
There’s no better way to get your heart pumping than by visiting the park’s four haunted houses. Each of them is complete with its own gory theme and offers visitors the chance to explore locations such as an eerie hotel, a jungle that lures you in, and the icy wilderness. Waters Edge Inn provides a semi-scary experience if you’re looking for a haunted house that isn’t too intense.
Make your way through the Scare Zones scattered throughout the park to keep your adrenaline rushing between the houses. Frozen Terror’s roving haunt is replete with fright actors wielding metal objects, banging sounds, fog, and gore.
The Monster Stomp live show is the perfect way to take a break from all the scares. Let this unconventional rock event transport you to the Victorian era while dancing away the jitters with your kids.
Once you’ve caught your breath, muster up some courage and walk up to Siren’s Last Call to sip on some specialty drinks. Freaky Fanta is a top-seller among children, while The Siren’s Kiss is a favorite with parents.
Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights
Universal Orlando has been successful in providing its guests with the most terrifying night of their lives for more than a century. Starting in September and continuing on through November on selected nights, Halloween Horror Nights offers the whole package when it comes to providing a family-friendly Halloween experience. It includes ten movie-inspired haunted houses, five scare zones, live shows, themed food, and merchandise.
Each intricately made walk-through haunted house is distinct, takes about three to five minutes to get through, and is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. With their elaborate designs, ghosts, sound and lighting effects, and mirroring they create tense atmospheres that you need to experience for yourself. The Beetlejuice Haunted House is decorated with classic moments from the popular Tim Burton film and is a must-see.
If you’re bringing the little ones along, take them to the scare zones instead. They’re done up with lights and themed decorations that will entertain them without frightening them too much. Watch them enjoy Seek and Destroy, a non-scary innovative zone focused on an alien invasion of the globe.
Halloween at Universal wouldn’t be Halloween without some amazing food and drinks. Try the Twisted Blood ‘N’ Guts. It’s a fan favorite that will leave your insides on fire.
Although Universal suggests that this event is for teens and adults, many younger children have been known to have just as good a time. It’s best to use your discretion before bringing the younger ones along to experience this one.
Celebration Florida Oktoberfest in Orlando in October
The Town of Celebration treats us to Falling Leaves, a family event during Oktoberfest that is similar in many ways to another event it hosts called Now Snowing in Christmas. During this celebration, leaves fall 3 times a night at 7.00 p.m., 8.00 p.m., and 9.00 p.m. along Market Street, at Celebration Town Centre.
The 2022 dates for this celebration are yet to be released. However, on the Saturday that it is held, you can expect a traditional German experience that features live music from Dan Witucki & Heimatland Musikanten. You’ll also get to join in on the interactive live show that includes everything from yodeling to a crowd sing-along. Or you can simply sit back and enjoy the show.
If you would much rather enjoy an American classic take on music, look forward to Rocktoberfest on a Sunday. This event features a variety of music that ranges from rock to pop and so much more.
Our creative side makes us special, whether we’re good at drawing, painting, writing, or making music. So why not help your kids uncover theirs at IMMERSE, an event that has everything from live performances to immersive art shows where guests become the art themselves!
Organized by the Creative City Project, IMMERSE is an explosion of music, dance, acrobatics, murals, projection experiences, theatre, and interactive installations. It covers around 10 city blocks of Downtown Orlando and features over 1,000 artists and performers that take you into their world of art for an experience of a lifetime.
The three-day festival takes place towards the end of October and is the perfect chance for parents to teach their children how to experience and appreciate multiple forms of art.
Something Different In Orlando in October: Central Florida Veg Fest
Every October in Orlando, Vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, pescatarians (and everyone else) all unite for one of the biggest and longest-running veg festivals in the world. This smoke-free, alcohol-free festival is as family-friendly as they come. It features a wide array of stalls that showcase an assorted range of vegetarian and vegan cuisines as well as fresh produce and healthy food alternatives. It serves as the perfect chance to show your kids that plant-based food alternatives like vegan chicken nuggets can be fun and tasty!
Children will love spending time at the kids’ zone where they can play and get busy making friends at the arts and crafts in the art corner. There is also an animal corner and a drum circle that welcomes both children and parents.
Free things to do in Orlando in October
Although Orlando activities and events are quite well-known for costing a pretty penny to experience, there are plenty of free things to do in Orlando in October as well.
Taking a stroll down the Promenade under the shimmering lights at Sunset Walk is always a good place to start. Catch the car and truck show that takes place on the second Sunday of the month where classic truck and car collectors proudly present their collections. Bob your head to some live music while perusing the stores and marketplaces along the way.
Peanut Butter Family Matinee is a kid-friendly event held at Enzian Theatre on the fourth Sunday of each month. Children under 12 can watch free movies like The Wizard of Oz, Enchanted, and Dolphin Tale. Adults, on the other hand, must pay a nominal price. If you want to watch a free movie as a family, visit Winter Park for Popcorn Flicks in the Park to catch an outdoor film and enjoy an evening of fun and laughter.
If you’re looking forward to experiencing Florida’s local art and music scene, drop by the Autumn Art Festival held at Central Park in the first week of October. The free-to-enter event is a fun way to see what the community is up to while enjoying the selection of artworks displayed on the sidewalk, free entertainment, and participatory events.
Other events to check out for a similar experience include “Uptown Vibes” held at Cranes Roost Park in the second week of the month as well as Avalon’s Park’s Oktoberfest in the first week.
Another community-focused sight to behold is the Halloween Lights at Jeater Bend. The attraction was put together by eleven neighbors that were eager to put their hobby to good use. The synchronized light show is jam-packed with projections, special effects, music, as well as dancing lights, and is definitely worth a visit.
Other Autumn activities in Florida that are free to do include visiting Cornell Fine Arts Museum and hitting Leu Gardens on a free admission day. All in all, there is no shortage of Orlando activities to do when visiting Florida in October!
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