SeaWorld Halloween and the trick or treat fun you can afford to skip

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) /

It is not secret that I am a SeaWorld Halloween fan even though most of my reviews of the park tend to always be more negative and trick or treat doesn’t change that.

On Saturday, I took my family to SeaWorld for our annual “trick or treat” outing. We drove the 8 hours from North Carolina to visit Orlando for three days that culminated in the SeaWorld Spooktacular Trick or Treat event! This is not to be confused with the Howl-O-Scream separate admission event that happens after park closing. No, this is the trick-or-treat event held on the weekends between now and Halloween.

Before I tell you why you should skip this event, it’s important to note why this year will be my last and why it wasn’t my first. We began attending these events about four years ago. It made sense given our current living location and the lack of neighborhoods to visit for the kiddos.

That led us to SeaWorld. We had season passes and the event was included. My kids loved it. They dressed up and wandered through Halloween decorated areas and got candy, loads of candy. The variety was great and there was treats for kids of all ages. The following two years, it was scaled back a bit but was still enjoyable fun. Last year of course, it was cancelled due to COVID.

Welcome back SeaWorld Spooktacular! Well, not really.

A young boy looks into his empty bag at SeaWorld’s annual Halloween trick or treat event
A young boy looks into his empty bag at SeaWorld’s annual Halloween trick or treat event /

This year we had to buy a bag for each kids. The bags are $4.00 but for pass holders they are only $2.80. Hardly a big deal. My kids were dressed up and excited and then, not so much. This years event takes place around the Key West area where the Dolphins tank is located and stretches back towards the Krakken and Atlantis area of the park.

There are plenty of kiosks to visit. Each little kiosk is easy to find because of the “Candy Corn” style umbrella that marks each location. the decorations are o.k. but nothing spectacular and unlike in previous years, the “mermaids” and “sea characters” are completely void of actual personalities and come across as burdened employees who would rather be doing anything but interacting with kids.

Still, the reason you are considering this event is to take your kids to get candy. And that is where everything went horribly wrong immediately from the start.

Our first kiosk offered a bag of Lays plain potato chips. We laughed. The 2nd kiosk offered one single serving pack of gummi bears, the next? Two small sized Tootsie Rolls. From there we got two small Lauffy Taffy, a pouch of Sour Gummi candy, and a snack size of M&Ms. There was also two Starburst squares and a roll of Smarties.

SeaWorld’s annual Spooktacular Halloween Trick or Treat event candy
SeaWorld’s annual Spooktacular Halloween Trick or Treat event candy /

That’s it folks. Now you know what your $4.00 will buy you. Our first trip through the event netted exactly 10 pieces of candy and a bag of chips. When we turned around to make another trip one of my kids was greeted with “You have already been through here”. My two-year-old discovered that there was two sides to each kiosk and so he would put his little bag up to the tube where the candy would be dropped into by the employee and he was turned away a few times for already having gone through.

We made two trips in total and then decided that it was not only not worth our time but the path ran through the smoking area of the park and it was incredible how many people would smoke in the area where kids are walking.

This was by far the worst experience we have ever had at SeaWorld and it was so bad we left the park shortly after we were done. We skipped the Craft Beer Festival entirely and my wife and I decided that we had made our last trip to SeaWorld for Halloween. We recommend that if you if have never gone, your not missing out and if you have in the past, your better off keeping those memories because you won’t make any good ones this time around.