Halloween Happenings

Have a spooktacular time at one of these October events. 

Written By Melissa Peterson

Looking for a little fright? Or maybe just a little candy? No matter your scare-level preference, we’ve got events that can help you celebrate Halloween.

Halloween in the Garden

Select nights in October

Whether you’re looking for Happy Frights or Haunting Nights, Harry P Leu Gardens in Orlando has just the right amount of scary for the entire family. While Happy Frights is an all-ages, family-friendly trick-or-treat adventure through 12 immersive worlds, Haunting Nights is an artful, elevated Halloween event with a few thrilling surprises that has just the right amount of thrill for anyone 13 and up. Entry time for Happy Frights is at 5pm, and entry time for Haunting Nights is 8pm. Tickets range from $15-$30 and can be purchased at halloweeninthegarden.com.

Scary Train

Select nights in October

This year, Kirby Family Farm’s Scary Train ride offers more nerve rattling, heart pumping, exciting experiences, including woods trails, haunted houses and other mazes of frights. Experience five full attractions and more, including Scary Train, Clown Woods, Trailer Park, Possum Hollar and a brand-new attraction just for this year. The bonus haunt, Danowski’s Dungeon, takes you through an old-school experience just like when you were trick-or-treating as kids. You’ll also experience Hearse Hunt, where you’ll see if you have what it takes to wander through dozens of funeral coaches searching for your way out of the maze before the zombies find you. Purchase tickets in advance at kirbyfarm.com/scarytrain.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast

October 12-14

Head to downtown Ocala’s Marion Theatre for The Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast hosted by Lo-Fi Theatre Company. The ticket price includes your goodie bag, which contains all the props you’ll need for the show as well as a callback cheat sheet. VIP seating tickets include novelty goody bags with some extra goodies thrown in. General admission is $20, and VIP seating is $35. The show takes place at 8pm on Thursday, 10pm on Friday and 8pm on Saturday. Costumes are encouraged. This event is for ages 16 and up. Visit reillyartscenter.com for tickets. 

First Annual Halloween Festival

October 13

Welcome to the first annual Halloween Festival presented by the Gray Family! It’s time to kick off the Halloween season and what better day than Friday the 13th. Located at the Ocala Downtown Market, admission and parking are free. The event features a scare zone, classic monster movies playing on a big screen, candy, face painting, costume contests for children, adults and pets, Halloween vendors selling everything you need to get you in the spirit, food trucks and live entertainment. This all-ages, family-friendly event takes place from 5-10pm. Find the event on Facebook for details. 

Nightmare on Pine Street

October 13-14, 20-21, 27-28

The annual haunted trail at Wayne’s World of Paintball is a favorite for local Halloween lovers and features five acres of haunted attractions. The tour will wind through several scare zones and haunted venues where you’ll come across ghouls, ghosts and other frightening characters. Proper footware is required, and the event takes place from 8-11pm. Admission is $15 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. Proceeds benefit Toys for Tots. Visit the Wayne’s World Facebook page for additional details. 

Melon Patch Players’ Asylum

October 13-14, 20-21, 27-28

Asylum is an interactive walk-through haunted house attraction where you’ll encounter the brilliant psychotherapist Dr. Matthew Toboggan, who has been driven mad by the murder of his wife and daughter at the hands of one of his own patients. Dr. Toboggan now toils endlessly in the basement of this home for the criminally insane—an area known only as unit 81. Those who work at the institute live in fear that one day, one of Dr Toboggans victims will escape—today is that day. The haunted house takes place from 7-10pm at 311 N 13th Street in Leesburg. Adult admission is $10, and kids under 12 get in for $5. Visit melonpatchplayers.org/#haunt to purchase tickets. 

Photo courtesy of Gatorland

Gators, Ghosts and Goblins

October 14-15, 21-22, 28-29

Gatorland is bringing back its popular Gators, Ghosts and Goblins Halloween event for the fifth year in a row of family fun and fright done right. This all-ages, daytime, family-friendly event takes place over three weekends in October, from Oct. 14 through 29. Encounter specters, goblins and more as you learn about the origins of everyone’s favorite haunted holiday. Explore new haunt-zones like The Creepy Creature Carnival, where famous monsters moonlight as midway attractions, and the Frightful Frontier, an Old West Town populated with cursed cowboys. Then hop aboard the Cryptid Express, where you can seek out hidden beasties like the Florida Skunk Ape, Moth Man, Chupacabra and more. All this, plus interactive characters, animal meet-and-greets and a Children’s Halloween Costume Parade with treat bags for all kids who participate. There are also fun shows, a variety of specialty vendors games, candy giveaways and more. The event takes place from 10am-5pm and is included with regular admission. Learn more at gatorland.com.

Wild n’ Wicked Nights: Stranger Springs

October 20-21, 27-28

The Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park proudly present Stranger Springs from 7-11pm. At the Stanger Springs Underwater Show, a small group of friends uncover the mystery of the terrifying upside down, while The Weeki Lab escape room gives guests 15 minutes to escape from the lab. The event will also feature the Shadow Monster Maze, The Castle Maze, Stranger Lights, The Strange Zone bounce area, costume contests and a haunted boat ride (additional cost). Entry fee is $10 for adults and kids, with children 5 and under being free. Email [email protected] or find the event on eventbrite.com for details. 

Phantoms at the Fort

October 21

Goblins and ghouls return to Fort King National Historic Landmark and Visitor Center for an evening of spine-tingling tales. Bring your own chair, blanket and snacks and listen to stories of the strange and eerie. The darker it gets, the spookier the stories! The event takes place from 7-9pm. Learn more at ocalafl.gov/recpark.

Trunk or Treat at Silver Springs

October 22

Join Silver Springs State Park for this fantastic, fun and family-friendly event. It’s sure to be full of prizes, candy, games and so much more. Costumes are encouraged. The event takes place from 2-6pm, and guests will enter from the SR40 entrance. Admission is $2. Find the event on Facebook for additional details, including how to sign up for a trunk space. 

Marion County Humane Society’s Trick or Treat

October 25

The party will take place at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion from 5-8pm and feature a trunk-or-treat, games for children, refreshments, vendors and a costume contest for all in attendance. The cost to attend is $5 for adults, while kids under the age of 12 and pets are free. All proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Marion County. For more information regarding the event, email [email protected].

Hometown Halloween

October 27-28

Calling all ghosts and ghouls, The Villages Entertainment’s Hometown Halloween returns in 2023 at the Brownwood Paddock Square. Now for two nights, the event includes live entertainment throughout the night, including live music by Blonde Ambition (Friday only) and Ronnie Dee and the Superstars (Saturday only), resident performers groups, carnival games, a haunted house and more. The event takes place from 4-9pm on Friday and 10am-9pm on Saturday. Learn more at thevillagesentertainment.com/hometown-halloween-2023

Halloween Family Fun Run

October 28

This fun, family run will start at downtown Ocala’s Citizens’ Circle at 9am. There is a $5 entry fee for all runners over age 8. Learn more about the event at ocalafl.gov/recpark

City of Belleview Annual Trunk or Treat

October 28

Join the City of Belleview for the annual Trunk or Treat from 4-7pm at Lake Lillian. Safe fun for the whole family, enjoy lots of free candy, a hay ride and delicious food trucks. Participate in a haunted house and zombie maze provided by the Arts District for only $3 per person. Find the event on Facebook for additional details.

Howl-oween Pawty

October 28

Join Brick City Bar-K Park for the 1st annual Howl-oween Pawty from 4-8pm. Cost is $28 per dog and includes the raffle and costume contest, dog play and photographs of you and your dogs. Food trucks will be on-site. The Tricks 4 Treats Class (tickets sold separately) will be held right before the pawty at 3pm with Procyon Trick Trainer Mary. Dogs must be up to date on vaccines to attend. Find the event on Facebook for details. 

27th Annual Boo at the Zoo

October 31

Boo at the Zoo is Gainesville’s favorite Halloween treat for families. The students and staff of the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo transform the zoo into a spooky but safe trick-or-treating event for the whole family. All ages are welcome to join in costume and trick-or-treat. Admission to the event is one canned good or non-perishable food item per person. In addition to the festivities and trick-or-treating in the zoo, a KidsZone in front of the zoo will offer crafts, activities and even more candy. There will be live entertainment, animal encounters, games and food available for purchase at the event. Boo at the Zoo runs 3-7pm. Learn more at sfcollege.edu/zoo

Boo Bash

October 31

Calling all little ghouls and goblins, spooks and spirits, princesses and pirates. Join Ocala Recreation and Parks for a scary good time full of tricks, treats and surprises. This safe, family-friendly indoor event has face-painting, creepy crafts, candy for children and more! This free community event will take place at the Mary Sue Rich Community Center at Reed Place, located at 1821 NW 21st Avenue in Ocala. All ages are welcome, and the event takes place from 5:30-7:30pm. Learn more at ocalafl.gov/recpark

Scooter’s Monster Bash

October 31

Scooter’s Monster Bash brings all of your favorite Halloween activities to Spanish Springs in The Villages for this amazing new event. Head to The Villages for a night filled with music, dancing, costume contests, trunk-or-treating and more. Select food and market vendors will be in attendance. The event takes place from 5-9pm. Learn more at thevillagesentertainment.com/2023-scooters-monster-bash.