Not only is every weekend in October a truly Spooktacular event, it is geared especially for children and is packed with games, characters and themed fun in a party-style atmosphere that is a guaranteed hit with all concerned.
Best of all – it is all absolutely FREE with regular park entry. That’s right, there is no separate ticket required and no additional fee to take part. All the fun and games are part and parcel of SeaWorld’s weekend events throughout the month, and even the candy stations are free!
(Don’t forget that Americans call sweets ‘candy,’ hence a ‘sweet’ to them is more likely to mean dessert)
How It Works
For each weekend in October, normal park opening remains at 9am but the additional elements of the Spooktacular start at mid-day as the gates into the Underwater Fantasea open and the pathway around the southern part of the central lagoon becomes Silly Spooky Central.
In fact, just when you think you have seen the full extent of it, the path winds north past the Bayside Stadium and up past Wild Arctic, Shamu Stadium and Shamu’s Happy Harbor, so there is a LOT to see here.
The first thing you need to do is pick up a (free) Trick-or-Treat bag from the special cart just inside the entrance. You’ll need this at all the candy stations, so be sure to hold on to it at all times!
Once you have your bag, you can take advantage of the additional opportunities for face-painting, cookie decorating, caricatures and the special Spooktacular photo opportunity (for a few extra dollars), which are spread out in this village-type area.
The whole section is enhanced by bubble machines, roving characters (including this year’s highlights – a ‘Dog’fish and a ‘Cat’fish!), seasonal music and the special ‘undersea’ touches that make the pathway such a delight just to wander.
Little ‘uns will find plenty of other photo spots and interactive characters – notably the friendly witches at the entrance to Shamu’s Happy Harbor – and you can spend as much time as you like walking the pathways and soaking up the Halloween festivities.
Trick or Treat
Of course, this wouldn’t be Halloween without the essential feature of Trick-or-Treating, and this is where those little goody bags come into play.
Sprinkled throughout the Underwater Fantasea area are no less than 12 trick-or-treat stations where you merely queue up along either side and have your goody bag filled with all manner of candy treats, from Lemonheads and Jelly Belly beans to Twizzlers and Tootsie Rolls (plus another eight types of American sweets – one for each station).
If you’re here all day, it’s perfectly acceptable to visit the trick-or-treat stations more than once and end up with quite a candy haul – just try not to eat it all at once!
The 12 stations are spread out through the full extent of the Underwater Fantasea area, so be sure to pick up an event map when you arrive to make sure you don’t miss any. There are also three separate entrances – by the main Halloween gate next to the Waterfront area; just to the south of Shamu Stadium after you cross the boardwalk across the lagoon; and on the far side of Shamu Stadium as you enter the games area adjacent to Shamu’s Happy Harbor.
It doesn’t matter which one you enter through (although the Halloween gate provides the full effect of the Underwater theme), just make sure you pick up your trick-or-treat bag first!
When you’re ready to put your feet up for a bit, the village area also features some snack and drink kiosks as well as the Cookie Decorating tent, where you can buy a $5.50 bag that includes a giant cookie, a sachet of frosting and an array of candy toppings, along with the choice of milk or apple juice.
Alternatively, you can visit Penelope’s Party Zone at the front of Bayside Stadium and try your hand at the free Pumpkin Craft tables, offering a variety of stickers with which to decorate your own little pumpkin. Again, it’s great fun for kids and a chance for mum and dad to sit and relax for a bit.
There is also dancing inspired by the Party Zone DJ and the chance to meet Penelope the Octopus herself, along with her colourful pumpkinfish.
And There’s More
In addition to all the obvious Halloween fun, there are another three Games Stations where children can try their hand at a variety of hands-on activities, including drawing, crafts and other creative touches.
The strolling entertainment is provided by the likes of the fun-loving sea witches Gummy Worm Wanda, Salt Water Taffy and Swedish Fish Suzy, along with another 35 fanciful sea creatures who greet, mingle, stop for photos and play with guests making their way through the event.
New for 2014 is the chance to enjoy a special Dine With Shamu experience with Halloween surprises, including one complimentary family photo with a Spooktacular photo frame, cookie decorating kit for under 12s and a trick-or-treat bag with goodies.
Dine With Shamu is one of SeaWorld’s most immersive and memorable family dining opportunities as it combines a delicious buffet meal (featuring seasonal and sustainable items) while sitting at a poolside table that brings you closer than ever to the park’s majestic whales. Here you can get a fascinating glimpse into the interactions that occur between SeaWorld’s trainers and whales and learn what you can do to be eco-friendly and environmentally aware in the everyday world about you (dinner costs $24 for adults, $14 for children 3-9).
Special Halloween themed merchandise is also available, from cuddly pumpkins to t-shirts, bags, mugs and pins.
And don’t miss the Countdown To Halloween show over at the Seaport Theatre. Here the Sesame Street gang, led by the inimitable Count Von Count, stage their own Halloween musical in best kooky style four times a day (usually at 2, 3.30, 5 and 7pm).
Want to dress up? That’s perfectly acceptable, too, as children are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes for their visit (although no masks or hoods for over 12s).
Ultimately, though, this is just about great family fun, with everyone able to get into the Halloween spirit and enjoy the not-so-scary side of the season. And, even though our ‘family’ is a bit too grown-up for the Spooktacular these days, we still enjoy the great atmosphere SeaWorld generates and you’ll certainly find us with trick-or-treat bags in hand taking part along with everyone else!