Sesame Place’s Halloween Spooktacular Is a Preschooler’s Paradise, But Here’s What You Should Know Before Going
Like adoring Mickey Mouse and resisting bedtime, just about every kid goes through a Sesame Street phase, where Elmo becomes their ultimate icon and there is no better jam to rock out to than the “Dark Horse”-esque “Brushy Brush” (seriously, as far as kids’ songs go, it’s a bop). So it’s only natural that in the interest of being crowned Best Parents Ever, you’d want to plan a trip to the mecca of all things furry red (and blue and green) monster, Sesame Place.
Located in Langhorne, PA—roughly an hour and a half from New York City—the 14-acre theme park caters to the 12-and-under set, with family-friendly rides and shows that even toddlers can enjoy. And, arguably, one of the best times to visit is between Sept. 18 and Nov. 7, because Sesame Place’s Halloween plans are next level. Dubbed The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular, every aspect of the park (from its decorations to its food) gets a seasonal-yet-not-scary glow-up. Here’s what you should know before you book your tickets.
1. You Can Score Major Discounts If You Book in Advance
While a single-day admission will set you back $90 a person for anyone 2 and up, you can score tickets as low as $37 apiece, depending on the day you go. (Or get a two-day pass for $60.) On the ticketing page, you can skim the calendar to see which days have the lowest prices.
Psst: Fridays tend to be the cheapest, but that’s because the park is only open from 4 to 8 p.m. For most little kids, a four-hour window is all you need to get your thrill before they short-circuit, but if you’re hoping to make a full day of it, reserve tickets for a Sunday. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and tends to be cheaper than a Saturday visit.
2. Wearing a Mask Is Recommended Indoors
Sesame Place doesn’t require proof of vaccination to enter the park (and you no longer need to make a reservation to attend on a specific date). Most of the attractions are outside, and the lines have markers spread six feet apart to encourage social distancing. They also recommend wearing face masks when indoors, like when you’re visiting a gift shop or going to the restroom.
3. Trick-or-Treating Stations Are Set Up Throughout the Park
Your whole family can wear costumes to the park, though you don’t need to be dressed up to take advantage of the six trick-or-treating stations set up throughout Sesame Place. (On that front, there are two secret stations for season pass holders.) It’s a great chance to load up on mini bags of gummy bears, lollipops and Smarties. (Sadly, no chocolate—probably because it’d melt in the sun.)
4. There’s a New Halloween Fun Zone for 2021
Though the water park portion of Sesame Place may be closed, the park makes use of that square footage by transforming it into a fun zone. Kids can play bean bag toss and other games with Rosita and Zoe during the Monster Mayhem Game Show, decorate pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies or take part in a dance party.
5. Catch the Shows in the Morning
You may be tempted to race for the rides first, but there’s value in doing the reverse: Several shows are clustered between 11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., then there’s a lull until the 3 o’clock Halloween party parade (featuring all of Sesame Street’s stars in costumes, no less). Afterward, kids are coming off the high of seeing their equivalent of Harry Styles, and parents are looking for a place to rest, making the theaters a bit more crowded.
And if you only make it to one Halloween-themed show, use this as your guide: If your kid loves singing and dancing, hit up The Not-Too-Spooky Howl-O-Ween Radio Show. If they’re more into a (lighthearted) whodunit mystery, check out Who Said Boo?!
6. Beeline it for Big Bird’s Nest to Get the Best Seat for the Parade
The parade is your kid’s chance to see everyone from Cookie Monster to Dorothy the Goldfish, so it’s worth finding a seat early and enduring any “is it starting yet?” wimpers from your children. (Hey, maybe distract them with their trick-or-treating haul.) The area surrounding Sesame Neighborhood—aka the main entrance to the majority of the rides—gets packed a full 15 minutes before the parade starts, but if you walk a bit farther, the crowds thin. Snag a spot right around Big Bird’s Nest for a less-competitive view, but don’t go all the way to the end of the parade exit. If you go that far down, you miss most of the musical numbers, and the character visits are a bit briefer.
7. Spring for the Mac & Cheese…and Elmo Pretzel
Even the pickiest eaters won’t be able to resist the ridiculously cheesy mac served throughout the park. And, if you want a snack on the souvenir side, the Elmo-shaped pretzel can’t be beat.
8. When You Need a Break, Visit One of Two Quiet Rooms
As a Certified Autism Center, Sesame Place offers a full guide to helping parents of children with sensory sensitivities plan their stay. Every ride—including the Halloween shows and other seasonal attractions—are rated on a scale of one to ten, with one being low sensory stimulation, and ten being the highest. You can view the 2021 guide here.
Beyond that, park employees are trained in sensory and emotional awareness, and there are two quiet rooms available if you ever need a moment away from the excitement of all the rides and games.
All of Sesame Place’s Halloween programming will be available until November 7. After that, the park transitions to A Very Furry Christmas Celebration, which is open to season pass holders on Friday, November 19, and to everyone else the following Saturday.
Want to discover more family-friendly things to do near NYC? Sign up for our newsletter here.