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Theme parks roll out Halloween thrills

By Ariana McLaughlin and Stacie Van Dyke, Special to CNN
  • Theme parks across the nation are transformed into Halloween havens
  • Disney and Universal Studios have events at their parks in both California and Florida
  • Six Flags offers Halloween thrills at all of its locations

(CNN) -- This time of year, theme parks across the nation are transformed into Halloween hot spots.

If you're searching for a destination that has pulled out all the stops to give you a monstrously good time or an attraction that won't give the littlest trick-or-treaters nightmares, scare up your favorite costume and check out these amusement parks for Halloween fun.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios is scaring guests on both coasts during its Halloween Horror Nights, drawing hundreds of thousands of horror fans each year.

In Hollywood, California, guests can experience five new mazes based on the most popular horror themes and movies of all time, including "Nightmare on Elm Street" and "Friday the 13th."

Universal Orlando in Florida boasts eight new haunted houses and six scarezones at "Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear."

Halloween Horror Nights is a separately ticketed event. The price is $59 at the gate every night in California. Advance-purchase discounts are available on select nights.

In Orlando, general admission is $74.99. Guests may also add discounted Horror Nights admission to daytime park rates. Special Horror Nights rates are available for Florida residents: $34.99 Sundays through Thursdays, $49.99 on Fridays and $64.99 on Saturdays.

Cedar Fair Entertainment

Cedar Fair Entertainment operates such parks as King's Dominion in Doswell, Virginia; Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri; and Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, all boasting frightful Halloween events along with their usual jaw-dropping thrills.

Knott's Berry Farm, for example, is transformed into Knott's Scary Farm. Its annual Halloween Haunt features mazes, live shows, scare zones and 1,000 monsters roaming the park. Advance tickets are $33 to $50 based on the day of the week, in addition to park admission. Day-of tickets are $56.

Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, is offering a Halloween Haunt for $27.99 on Saturdays and $21.99 on Friday nights with online ticket purchase. Saturday tickets include all-day park admission and the Halloween event from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m.

Although the Haunts are generally not recommended for kids under 13, many of the parks also offer daytime Halloween events for the whole family.

Snoopy's Costume Party at Knott's Berry Farm celebrates Halloween with a Monster Dance Party and Costume Parade, a Peanuts Halloween Spooktacular and, of course, trick-or-treating.

At Kings Island's Howl-o-Fest, guests can join the Peanuts gang in a spooky singalong and visit a pumpkin patch with free kid-size pumpkins.

Six Flags

Six Flags Amusement Parks offer Halloween thrills at all of its locations, with their annual Fright Fests turning parks into playgrounds for ghouls and goblins. Even the most frightening coasters look tame in comparison with what awaits you in the terrifying mazes and haunted houses.

At Six Flags Over Georgia in Atlanta, guests can experience the Last Ride, simulating being buried alive, or check out Dr. Fright's Frightorium and CarnEvil.

Families won't want to miss the daytime Halloween celebrations, including pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating and a kids costume contest at some locations. Fright Fest is included with park admission, although additional fees are required for some Fright Fest attractions. General admission is $49.99.

Sesame Place

For the youngest Halloween enthusiasts, Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, celebrates the Count's Halloween Spooktacular on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visitors are invited to come in costume, and there is a costume contest on October 31. Guests can enjoy hayrides, trick-or-treating throughout the park, Elmo's World Live! Halloween Show and Abby Cadabby's Magical Halloween Maze.

Don't miss the Count's UN-Haunted Castle Maze, which teaches children that things are not as scary as they appear.

Tickets are available for $33 for single-day admission during Spooktacular weekends.


Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes and collect candy while trick-or-treating around the Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando, Florida.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special event from 7 p.m. to midnight on select nights through November 1.

Guests can enjoy Mickey's Boo-to-You Halloween Parade and Happy HalloWishes -- a spectacular fireworks show in which the Disney villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.

Mickey isn't celebrating only in the Sunshine State.

During Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland Park in California, guests can enjoy live music and embark on a three-hour Disney's Happiest Haunts tour to learn about the spookiest events in the park. Some rides are transformed into spooky attractions, like the haunting soundtrack and added visual effects to Space Mountain.

Purchase of an additional ticket is required at both locations. Tickets purchased on the day of the event cost $53.95 for ages 3 to 9 and $59.95 for ages 10 and up in Orlando. Advance-purchase discounts are available on some dates. At Disneyland in Anaheim, admission is $49 to $59, depending on the date.

Purchases can be made online or by calling (407) 934-7639 for Orlando or (714) 781-4400 for Anaheim.