Why is it that so many holidays have strict dress codes?
Wear green on St. Patty’s Day or you’ll get pinched, show your patriotic colors on the 4th of July, don a tacky red-and-green snowflake sweater for Christmas (or is that just us?). We like Halloween because it’s a free-for-all. There are no rules and we can wear whatever we choose – which, we admit, can sometimes be a frightening prospect even when it’s not Halloween.
Even if you don’t like to dress up to celebrate, it’s fun to go out on Halloween just to see what the rest of the crazies are wearing. And you know they’ll be out in full force in Orlando this week, what with the onslaught of costume parties, big-money costume contests, haunted houses, eerily themed walks in the woods and over-the-top gory attractions.
Below we’ve highlighted events where all your bloodthirsty fetishes can be satisfied – or where you can at least get a glimpse of others satisfying theirs. Costume contests, haunted houses and frightfest highlights are on this page, but there are plenty more listings in our calendar. If you’re looking for spooky theater shows, kid-friendly events, trick-or-treating or zombie art shows, browse the calendar listings at calendar.orlandoweekly.com
Thursday, Oct. 28
A Petrified Forest Walk through a haunted village path filled with interactive backwoods frights. 7:30 pm Thursday-Sunday; A Petrified Forest, 1360 State Road 436, Altamonte Springs; $1-$13; 407-468-6600; www.apetrifiedforest.com.
Electralloween with Blood Eagle, Silicium, MannyMays. 10 pm Thursday; Escape Ultra Lounge, 8421 S. Orange Blossom Trail; free-$3; 407-854-4200.
Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear This elaborate scarefest inundates guests with monsters and maniacs. 6:30 pm Thursday-Sunday; Universal Studios at Universal Orlando, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza; $39.99-$64.99; 407-363-8000; www.halloweenhorrornights.com.
Halloween Velvet Sessions with Eddie Money. 6:30 pm; Velvet Bar, Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando; $25-$30; 407-351-7625.
Inappropriate Costume Party 10 pm Thursday; The Peacock Room, 1321 N. Mills Ave.; free-$5; 407-228-0048.
Longwood Haunt Halloween-themed fundraiser with two haunted houses, zombie paintball, food and entertainment to support Habitat for Humanity. 7-11 pm Thursday-Saturday; Big Tree Storage Complex, 754 Fleet Financial Court, Longwood; $10; 407-301-1115.
Dress up in your Halloween costume and trick-or-treat around the Magic Kingdom. 7 pm Thursday-Monday; Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista; $53.95-$59.95; 407-934-7639; www.disneyworld.com.
Scaryoke Costume Party 9 pm Thursday; Stardust Lounge, 431 E. Central Blvd.; $5; 407-839-0080.
Friday, Oct. 29
Adonis/Aphrodite Halloween Party with Dante and Bob Lee. 10 pm Friday; The Peacock Room, 1321 N. Mills Ave.; $7; 407-228-0048.
Guys With Ties 5th Annual Costumes for a Cause 8:30 pm Friday; Vain, 22 S. Magnolia Ave.; $20-$30; 407-251-7110.
Halloween Spooktacular Pirates, ghouls and goblins invade the park as kid-friendly, holiday-themed entertainment. Noon Friday - Sunday; SeaWorld, 7007 SeaWorld Drive; $68.95-$78.95; 407-363-2613.
Haunted Swamp: Walk of Terror Enter through Eden Bar and then step out back for a trip through a “tangled disemboweled backwoods.” 8 pm Friday-Sunday; Enzian Theater, 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland; $8; 407-629-0054; www.enzian.org.
Howling Halloween Annual party with the Screamline Haunted Zipline Adventure, haunted coach safari, costume contests and more. 7 pm Friday-Saturday; Forever Florida, 4755 N. Kenansville Road, St. Cloud; free-$85; 407-957-9794.
Brewed alive Haunted brewery tours, pumpkin-carving and costume contests, a cornhole tournament and bobbing for apples, with live music by Mass Transit Authority. 4 pm Friday; Orlando Brewing, 1301 Atlanta Ave.; free; 407-872-1117; www.orlandobrewing.com.
The LaVene Family Trail of Nightmares Brave souls take a frightening walk around the lake, with a “not-so-scary” zone for the kiddies. 7:30 pm Friday-Sunday; Lakeside Park, 2253 Lakeside Drive, Celebration; $10; 407-566-1200.
Three Nights of Mayhem The bar hosts weekend-long Halloween costume contests and live music, with a different theme and drink specials each night. 9 pm Friday-Sunday; Little Fish Huge Pond, 309 E. First St., Sanford; call for price; 407-920-1321; www.littlefish-hugepond.com.
Saturday, Oct. 30
Child’s Play Costume Contest Party with Empire X, Circle K, Bradleeray. 9 pm Saturday; Bikkuri Sushi, 1915 E. Colonial Drive; $5-$7; 407-894-4494.
Hallow’s Eve Street Party with C&C and Full Circle. 9:30 pm Saturday; Liam Fitzpatrick’s, 951 Market Promenade Ave.; Lake Mary; free; 407-936-3782.
Halloween Part 1 Poolside costume contest with more than $4,000 in cash prizes. 8 pm Saturday; The Parliament House, 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail; free-$10; 407-425-7571; www.parliamenthouse.com.
Halloween Street Party Church Street bars celebrate with costume contests, live music and drink specials. 8 pm Saturday; Downtown Orlando, Orange Avenue and Church Street; $5-$10; 407-649- 4270; www.churchstreetbars.com.
Haunted Halloween The town center hosts trick-or-treating and costume contests for kids and adults. 4 pm Saturday; Waterford Lakes Town Center, 413 N. Alafaya Trail; free; 407-737-2866.
Night of the Living Dead Costume party with live music by Deja. 9 pm Saturday; Legends Sports Bar & Grill, 1315 S. Orange Ave.; $10; 407-841-3601.
Plazaween Halloween block party with live entertainment on two stages and an extravagant costume contest with bar-tab prizes. 9 pm Saturday-Sunday; Wall Street Plaza, Wall and Court Streets; $5-$10; 407-849-0471; www.wallstplaza.net.
Post Records Halloween Show featuring TamTam the Sandwichman and the Magical Sugar Cookies, Sal Minneli, Faishflaps, Room Full of Strangers. 9 pm Saturday; Copper Rocket Pub, 106 Lake Ave., Maitland; free; 407-645-0069.
Rock-O-Ween Celebration with S.L.T. 8 pm Saturday; Sanford Wine Company, 114 S. Palmetto Ave., Sanford; free; 407-302-8620.
Spooktacular Bounce park, live performances, costume parade, pumpkin-carving contest and trick-or-treating. 5-9 pm Saturday; Avalon Park Town Center, 13001 Founders Square Drive; free; 407-658-6565; www.avalonpark.com.
The Halloween (Eve) Torture Show Performers spin, wiggle and shriek their way through a sadistic maze of improv games. 9:30 pm Saturday; SAK Comedy Lab, 29 S. Orange Ave.; $12-$15; 407-648-0001; www.sak.com.
Zombie Bakesale with Tommy Mot, Ken Sherry, Sleazy McQueen. 10 pm Saturday; The Peacock Room, 1321 N. Mills Ave.; $10; 407-228-0048.
Sunday, Oct. 31
4Loko Sundays Halloween Costume Party 10 pm Sunday; Revolution, 375 S. Bumby Ave.; free-$10; 407-228-9900.
Day of the Dead Halloween Block Party Street party with salsa wrestling, taco-eating and costume contests, a performance by babyBLUE and music by Junkie Rush and Dukes of Swagger. Noon-10 pm Sunday; Mucho Tequila and Tacos, 101 S. Eola Drive; $10; 407-843-9676; www.muchoorlando.com.
Halloween at Cranes Roost Annual celebration with contests, booths, trick-or-treating and live music. 5-9 pm Sunday; Cranes Roost Park, 274 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs; free; 407-571-8863; www.uptownaltamonte.com.
Halloween Part 2 Parliament House hosts a Halloween-themed T-dance and poolside costume contest, with the winner taking home $3,000 in cash prizes. 6 pm Sunday; The Parliament House, 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail; free-$10; 407-425-7571; www.parliamenthouse.com.
Halloween Party with Thomas Wynn & the Believers, Peter Baldwin, The Auctioneers, Kaleigh Baker. 8 pm Sunday; Back Booth, 37 W. Pine St.; $6-$8; 407-999-2570; www.backbooth.com.
Haunted Grimm House Old Town’s year-round attraction hosts trick-or-treating while ghosts and ghouls roam the haunted house. 2-6 pm Sunday; Old Town, 5770 W. Irlo Bronson Highway, Kissimmee; $1; 407-396-4888.
Jersey Shore Halloween Party with Shine. 10 pm Sunday; The Peacock Room, 1321 N. Mills Ave.; $5; 407-228-0048.
Ozone Hip-Hop Halloween Fest with Nine, El Da Sensei, Shabaam Sahdeeq, Canayda. 8 pm Sunday; Cameo Theatre, 1013 E. Colonial Drive; $5-$10; 407-403-5993.