Many people love Halloween: it’s a great time to dress up in scary costumes and wear ghoulish makeup, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a great time to play jokes on people and scare them half to death! If you’re in the mood to be scared, there are events in south and central Florida that will make your hair turn white! Below I’ve profiled two fan favorite events and one that’s making its debut this year.
The Las Olas Riverfront Festival of Souls was one of the best-known Halloween attractions in south Florida. This year it has been replaced with an even larger event. The creator of the Festival of Souls, Brandon Kittendorf, joins forces with Florida Event Productions to put on the largest and scariest Halloween extravaganza south Florida has ever seen. It’s called “Terror in the Jungle” and it will be spread out across five acres at Jungle Island (1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Miami).
John Dunlap, CEO and manager of Jungle Island, tries to explain the storyline of “Terror in the Jungle”: “A plane carrying toxic bio-chemicals from a research lab in Mexico flew off course and crashed into the ruins of the Aztec city surrounded by a lush tropical jungle. The bio-chemicals mutated the jungle animals and local Indians into half dead creatures who feed on all the living creatures in the jungle. The Aztec Indians prayed to their gods for forgiveness and instead, the Gods unleashed their demon called the Hunter, which devoured everything living in its path.”
People brave enough to step foot into the jungle will be greeted by a 40-foot “toxic zombie jungle” entrance. A highlight of the production is a recreation of ancient Aztec pyramids, which house a 10,000-square foot haunted house. In the haunted house and in the mazes, you must run from zombies and demons, and those who don’t make it all the way through will be added to the “Wall of Lost Souls.”
Kittendorf describes his inspiration thusly: ““Every time you let your guard down, there will be something else to scare the living daylights out of you. We’re creating a gory Halloween attraction using nature’s natural darkness, fog, costumes and special effects, screams, animals and visual stimulation to play on peoples phobias and fears.”
Tickets to Terror in the Jungle cost $45 on non-peak days and $55 on peak days. Non-peak days are considered to be October 23, 26, 29 and November 1, and peak days are considered to be October 24, 25, 30 and 31. Tickets can be bought online at terrorinthejungle.com.
Halloween Horror Nights is back for its 24th year at Universal Studios Orlando. This year there are eight special haunted houses to scare you down to your core. The houses have themes such as Halloween (the slasher film), The Walking Dead, Alien vs. Predator, Dracula, the Roanoke Cannibal Colony, and more. There will also be a Rocky Horror Picture Show presentation and a Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure show.
Tickets are currently available for the dates October 23-26 and October 29-November 1. Halloween Horror Nights is open from 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. from October 23-26, to midnight on October 29 and November 1 and to 1 a.m. on October 30 and 31. Florida resident passes are priced between $45.99 and $72.99 depending on the day. Visit halloweenhorrornights.com to purchase your tickets online for extra savings.
Howl-O-Scream is a favorite at Busch Gardens Tampa and this year’s theme is “Cursed.” Legend has it that once you hear a certain song, you will become cursed. Your two options are to run through Howl-O-Scream and attempt to break the curse, or spread the curse to passersby. What will you do?
This year’s Howl-O-Scream features eight different haunted houses, including the Zombie Containment Unit, Death Water Bayou, Blood Asylum, The Basement, and the Zombie Mortuary. There is also a special dance-themed show, Fiends, in addition to rides like Falcon’s Fury, SheiKra, Montu, Gwazi, Cheetah Hunt and Kumba.
Howl-O-Scream is open from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. and tickets are available for purchase for the nights of October 23, 24 and 25 and October 30, 31 and November 1. Prices run between $50 and $65 depending on the date. Visit seaworldparks.com/en/howloscream-tampa to get the best prices or call 1-888-800-5447.