Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

It’s that time of the year when those frightening and not so scary events will please both adults and families.  Below are some of the events that are sure to frighten even the most stalwart and also some events that the entire family can enjoy. Find the right one for you and enjoy the terror or the fun.



Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party


Ghouls and goblins gather at Disney for a bewitching Halloween spooktacular during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. A pumpkin-orange glow and light fog along with ghostly silhouettes dancing atop the roofs of Main Street, U.S.A create lots of delight and not so much fright during this family-friendly, after-hours party. Guests are invited to dress up in favorite Halloween costumes for trick or treating.


Nightly entertainment features the twice nightly “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade” led by the infamous Headless Horseman, followed by “HalloWishes,” a green and orange fireworks display complete with Disney villains.


New this year: Main Street, U.S.A will be the place to be for some monstrous pre-parade entertainment, “The NotSo-Scary Street Jam!” The new activity will take place after the Headless Horseman races down Main Street, U.S.A., and before “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade” begins. Guests may learn the dance moves performed to the song “Calling All the Monsters” by China Anne McClain before the party starts, by watching the video on the Disney Parks Blog.


The party will take place from 7 p.m.-12 a.m. on September 25 28, 30; October 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 28, 30 and 31.


Advance savings of $6 per ticket are available for select dates. Special after-hours tickets are required. For additional information, guests may visit Tickets may be purchased online or by calling 407- 934-7639.



Family Friendly Events:


Dinosaur World


Dinosaur World, located at 5145 Harvey Tew Rd. in Plant City offers kids in costume (ages 3-12) free entry on Halloween day. The cost for adults is $14.95 plus tax ($12.95 for age 60 and over).



Glazer Children’s Museum – Third Annual Halloween Spree       


The third annual Halloween Spree will take place on Wednesday October 31 from 4:30-8 p.m. This family-friendly, safe and fun night of trick-or-treating is inside the Museum and is for ages 0 through 10 years. Meet Sid the Science Kid and explore our spooky house! Join us for a parade of costumes to earn awards and prizes! Enjoy bobbing for apples, spooky stories, Halloween games with candy and non-candy treats. The cost is $5 person (no discount for museum members). Glazer Children’s Museum, located at 110 W. Gasparilla Plaza in Tampa.



Lowry Park Zoo Hosts Largest Family Halloween Event Locally


Come creep around ZooBoo at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo—the largest family Halloween event in Tampa Bay. Don’t miss the thrills, chills and frights with attractions ranging in scare levels, including six haunted houses, animal encounters, zoo-wide spooktacular displays and lights, Creepy Crawler Lane (a special bug display), monster characters, specialty gift shop, night-rides and more. “Wake the Dead,” a new haunt themed with zombies, is sure to “unearth” some fun… as you “choose your side!”


A $10 Shriek Peek Preview Weekend takes place on Thursday and Friday, September 28-29.  Hours are 7-11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 7-10 p.m. on other nights. The event will take place on Friday-Sunday, October 5-7, Thursday-Sunday, October 11-14, Thursday-Sunday, October 18-21 and Thursday-Sunday, October 25-28.


Admission prices are $17 for adults (passholders $16) and $14 for children ages 3-11 (passholders $14). Zoo Pass Holder Night will take place on Sunday, October 14 and will cost $12 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-11.



Adults Only:


Busch Garden’s Howl-O’Scream Celebrates Unlucky 13 Years


This fall, Howl-O-Scream 2012 lures unsuspecting victims to explore the terror that grows behind the Dark Side of the Gardens’ gate and “Unlock the Fear Inside.” As Florida’s top-rated Halloween event celebrates its unlucky 13th year, it just may be your own curiosity that seals your fate!


Busch Gardens’ 335 acres will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun, including new haunted houses, scare zones, thrilling live stage shows and the chance to ride adrenaline-fueled coasters in the dark, including Florida’s first triple-launch coaster, Cheetah Hunt . Afterwards you can catch your breath at Howl-O-Scream’s signature show, Fiends, performing nightly at the Deer Grill in Timbuktu.


The event runs Thursday through Saturday nights, September 27-29, October 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27. Operating hours are 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday nights and 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.


General admission is $79.99 plus tax. Reduced advance-purchase rates and special offers are available for Busch Gardens pass members at


For more information, visit or call 1-888-800-5447.


Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights


Universal Orlando Resort is joining forces with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” for their Halloween Horror Nights events. Visitors will be able to experience the horror of AMC’s blockbuster original series, “The Walking Dead,” in elaborately themed, haunted mazes.


Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights® events have a more than 20-year history of creating incredibly entertaining, horrifying Halloween experiences that are consistently rated the nation’s best.


Event days and hours of operation are: 6:30 p.m. – 12 a.m. on September 27, 30, October 4, 17, 24, 28 and 31; 6:30 p.m. – a.m. on October 7, 11, 14, 18, 21 and 25; 6:30-2 a.m. 6:30pm – 2am on September 28, 29, October 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27.


For more information about Halloween Horror Nights, visit

Fantasy of Flight’s nightFlight


Is Fantasy of Flight a Favorite Haunt for Spirits? Decide for yourself at nightFlight.


For years visitors to Fantasy of Flight believed the only specters of the past they’d encounter would be the collection of 40 fully-restored vintage aircraft, displays of a long-ago era of aviation.


But as stories of unexplained occurrences such as unidentifiable noises, temperature changes and the detection of mists and shadows drifted into the paranormal community, professional investigators (or “ghost hunters” to which they are more dramatically referred in popular media) took notice.


Fantasy of Flight has invited the general public to nightFlight, an exciting after-hours program that offers adventurous visitors four full hours to “Explore the Unexplained.”


The Third phase of nightFlight investigations will take place Saturday, October 20 and Saturday, November 3. E-mail if you would like to be notified when reservations for the 2012 investigations become available. Each nightFlight is scheduled from 9:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.  The cost is $75 and reservations must be made.


For more information or to make reservations, visit


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Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.