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5 Theme Parks That Go All Out for Halloween

Summer may be officially behind us, but that doesn’t mean all sense of adventure goes out the window as we put away our short shorts and replace them with comfy sweats. And while we love a trip to Disney World or Six Flags for their world-renowned Halloween festivities, they aren’t the only amusement parks that truly embrace the spooky season. Below, five theme parks that bring out all the ghouls, vampires, zombies and more for Halloween.

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Knotts Scary Farm/Instagram

1. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena, California

Feeling like a trip to California but don’t want to go to Disneyland? Then opt for Knott’s Berry Farm. While it doesn’t have the same international prominence as the house of Mickey Mouse, Knotts Berry Farm is a hot spot for dedicated Halloweenies. Dubbed “Knott’s Scary Farm” during spooky season, this 57-acre amusement park has everything you can ask for when it comes to great Halloween adventure—from thrilling rides decorated with all sorts of monsters and ghouls to haunted mazes and attractions as well as sinister shows. Don’t want to scare the bejesus out of your younger tots? Then visit Knott’s Spooky Farm—a weekend venture that has events suitable for kids three to 11 years old.

Busch Gardens/Instagram

2. Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida

Get sucked into the Halloween spirit when you visit Busch Gardens’ annual Howl-O-Scream fest. Expect a night full of fun thrills as the amusement park has added new shows and attractions and revamped some old favorites. Popular shows such “Fiends” and “The Rolling Bones” will still be the main draw this year, though “50/50: Choose Your Fate,” which is new on the block also promises to bring the horror. You can also go for a heart-thumping excursion at the newly opened Stranglewood Estate haunted house or go meander through “Death Water Bayou: Blood Moon—The Final Phase” and “The Forgotten” which are both returning haunted houses this year.  P.S. Howl-O-Scream fest is intended for mature audiences so even if your 11-year-old is super into spooky season, this may not be the best venue for them.

KingsIsland/Instagram

3. Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio

Fear is waiting for you at Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt, which has a slew of exciting events from September 23 to October 29 on select night. Sure, you can scream your lungs out while riding one of their numerous rollercoasters, but the acrophobics among us don’t have to board The Beast, Orion or Bansheethe in order to get a good scare. The park will be littered with horrifying creatures lurking in the fog and hiding in every nook and cranny imaginable. While theme parks are typically reserved for the kiddos, make sure your kids are age-appropriate for select events. The park’s Halloween Haunt fest, for example, may not be suitable for children under 13 or since it’s all terror all the time at this spooky spot.

Hersheypark/Instagram

4. Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania

  • When: Select dates September 17 to October 30
  • Getting There: 12 minutes from Harrisburg International Airport
  • Where to Stay: Hershey Hideaway ($250/night); Sweet Backyard Oasis ($252/night)

Is it even Halloween if you don’t have access to more chocolate than you can consume? Dress up and put a spin on trick-or-treating by hitting the sugary streets of Hersheypark. This year, the wildly revered land of all things chocolate will be hosting a Hershey's Character Glow Dance Party, where your tiny humans can trick-or-treat, load up on chocolate and interact with Hershey characters such as Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Reese, Milk Dud and more. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Visitors also have the option to explore “Midway of Misery,” “Valley of Fear” and “Darkstone’s Hollow”—three new scare zones in the park ranging in spookiness from eerie to intense.

Carowinds/Instagram

5. Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte’s whimsical park goes dark and freakishly transforms into Scarowinds from September 16 to October 30 this year. Whether you’ve visited before or you’re going for the first time, prepare to have the daylights scared out of you because the park will have every creature imaginable crawling from its crevices. Enjoy its wide array of haunted mazes—that promise to wreck your idea of the tooth fairy or piece of corn—spike up that heart rate by taking a stroll near their scare zones or sit down for some live entertainment. The bloodcurdling choice is yours.