Celebrate Halloween Time, Día de Los Muertos, amazing autumn-themed décor and special tricks and treats at Disneyland during the fall season! Halloween at Disneyland with kids is wonderful. Here’s what to do when visiting Disneyland at Halloween Time.
This article originally published Sept 20th, 2018 and has been updated and republished with a new date.
Tricks and Treats – Halloween at Disneyland with Kids
There are so many magical reasons to visit Disneyland in this not too spooky season. And so many wonderful things to experience to get into the Halloween spirit. Disney fans know that each year gets better and better when it comes to Halloween time!
2023 is all about celebrating traditions, which means that many classic attractions, entertainment and shows have returned. There’s always something new to experience at the Disneyland resort and within the two SoCal Disney parks.
Guests can find delicious treats, special characters (including villains!) and reopened ride overlays. Find out the best places to find Halloween fun including special decorations, live music and seasonal activities!
Disneyland celebrates the season with the return of Halloween Screams fireworks and Haunted Mansion Holiday. Disney California Adventure park offers Cars Land “Haul-oween” and Plaza de la Familia, celebration of Día de los Muertos.
After dark on select nights, the park will be getting into the spirit, with their Mickey’s Halloween Party replacement, Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party.
What’s Included in a Halloween at Disneyland Ticket?
From morning to nighttime, there’s a cornucopia of fall fun happening at the Disneyland resort. And most of the Halloween entertainment is available with a regular theme park ticket.
This includes rides, decorations, character greetings, merchandise shopping, dining locations and fireworks.
The exception is Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disneyland Halloween Party. This event requires a separate hard ticket. The offerings at this event (trick or treating, parade, etc) can only be experienced with this special ticket.
Keep in mind that no theme park tickets are being sold at the Disneyland resort or front gates. All tickets must be bought online. A park reservation is also required ahead of your visit. This reservation can be made through the Disneyland website.
Check the theme park calendar to view availability for reservations including Magic Key Holders.
Keep reading for the attractions, decorations and fun coming for Halloween Time at Disneyland.
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Halloween at Disneyland – FAQ
When does Disneyland decorate for Halloween?
Halloween Time happens from Sept 1st, 2023 to October 31st, 2023. Look for fall decorations September 1st at the Disneyland parks. They come down promptly on the night of October 31st (when they are quickly replaced with Christmas décor).
Día de los Muertos and Plaza de la Familia events continue until November 2nd, 2023.
Can you dress in a costume at Disneyland?
Yes, and no. Children 14 and under can dress up in costume anytime inside the Disneyland parks. However adults may only wear costumes when attending Oogie Boogie Bash- Disney Halloween Party.
And of course there are guidelines to what costumes can be worn, so be sure to check the Disneyland official website.
What’s the difference between Halloween Time at Disneyland and the Disney Halloween Party?
Halloween Time refers to the season when fall décor is up in the parks.
Halloween-themed ride overlays are operating and special events like A Musical Celebration of Coco take place inside the parks. All of these festivities are included with your regular park ticket.
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party is a special ticketed event that happens on select nights during the fall season. There is trick-or-treating, special character greetings and the Frightfully Fun parade during the party, held inside Disney California Adventure park.
Only guests with this special event ticket may attend the party. The Oogie Boogie Bash replaced the popular Mickey’s Halloween Party in 2019.
More Need to Know About Halloween at Disneyland
Note that the California Adventure park hours are shorter on the nights when Oogie Boogie Bash takes place. Guests who do not hold the extra Halloween Party ticket will have to leave the park.
If your regular park ticket is a Park Hopper, you may move over the Disneyland for the remainder of the evening!
One benefit of being in Disneyland is watching Halloween Screams, the nighttime fireworks spectacular. Keep reading for all the magical Halloween time entertainment returning to the Disneyland theme parks and resort!
Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party 2023 at Disney California Adventure Park
On designated days in September and October the Disneyland Resort sells party tickets to an exclusive Halloween party event. It’s called Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party (formerly called Mickey’s Halloween Party).
The party lasts five hours but you can get into the park three hours earlier, so that’s eight full hours of Disney fun.
Adults and kids can dress in costume and trick or treat throughout the park. There’s also a family-friendly show and lots of character photo ops.
Enjoy interactive treat trails with Disney villains and a parade in addition to enjoying almost all the regular attractions. I have tons of tips about doing Oogie Boogie Bash with kids.
- Souvenir Disney Photo Pass photos can be taken during the event, with unlimited Photo Pass downloads to enjoy later.
- This event sells out quickly so get your tickets and start planning out your costumes. Halloween party tickets can only be purchased on the Disneyland website and app. Tickets are not available through third-party retailers.
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Disneyland Weather in Fall
The weather is usually still very warm in SoCal during the fall months. It doesn’t give you much of the “autumn” feel. But warmer temperatures are great for enjoying the park. And you can swim in the resort pools without the summer crowds!
On one day of my visit during October, it drizzled most of the day. But a few days later, temperatures were back up to 90 degrees! You just never know, so check the weather forecast pre-trip.
The temperature usually drops in the evenings. Definitely bring a light sweater or jacket just in case. If you struggle with the heat, check out these tips for What to Do at Disneyland When it’s Hot.
Disneyland Fall Crowds
You may experience lighter crowds at Disneyland California Adventure on the days of Oogie Boogie Bash. But take note that the operating hours at Disney California Adventure are shorter to compensate.
When choosing a date for the lowest crowds and best hotel or ticket prices, read more about picking the best time to visit Disneyland this year. Halloween Time decorations and events appear in early September. If aiming to avoid crowds, it’s best to go earlier in the season versus later.
Rope drop at Disneyland is still one of the best ways to maximize time in the parks. It’s also highly recommended to purchase Disney Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane to avoid the long lines and longer wait times.
Halloween Souvenirs at Disneyland
Don’t have anything autumnal to wear on your Disney vacation? No worries! The souvenir shops at the Disneyland Resort are filled with a huge variety of Halloween and fall-themed items to clothe you top to bottom.
From sequined Minnie Mouse Ear headbands, tees and sweatshirts, hats and necklaces that glow, you can bedeck yourself with Disney Halloween goodness!
In addition to the Halloween clothing options at Disneyland, you’ll also find Halloween-themed plush, coffee mugs and home goods, all with a Disney twist, of course!
Loungefly backpacks are ultra popular in a variety of styles including this Disney Halloween Loungefly Mini Backpack.
There’s a large variety of Nightmare Before Christmas items featuring Jack Skellington and Sally available in both parks. Haunted Mansion merch is always popular during Halloweentime. Merchandise is available for Hocus Pocus as well.
Where to Get Disneyland Halloween Merchandise
Even if you don’t shop inside the parks themselves, you’ll still find some items inside World of Disney. Check the shops at Downtown Disney District and even in the gift shops at the Disneyland Resort hotels.
But my tip is to save time and money by shopping for souvenirs ahead of your trip. shopDisney has tons of Halloween merchandise and Disney costumes for the entire family. Plan your style by purchasing online then packing them for each day in the parks.
Some items are available only in the parks. Popcorn buckets are found at the popcorn carts throughout the parks.
Halloween Decorations at Disneyland & California Adventure
The Disneyland decorations for fall are fantastic! Disney is known for their detail, of course. All over the park you will find décor to put you in the seasonal mood (even if the warm weather tells you otherwise!).
Disneyland Pumpkin Festival on Main Street U.S.A.
There will be lots of places for photo ops, including a Pumpkin Festival on Main Street. The buildings are swathed in candy-corn striped bunting. Take time to admire the hundreds of one-of-a-kind hand carved pumpkins lining the street. I found Elvis!
Mickey Jack O’ Lantern
Don’t miss taking your photo in front of the enormous Mickey jack o’ lantern. The giant Mickey pumpkin is double sided. See Mickey smiling on one side and winking on the other, with twinkling lighted pumpkins at the base.
Disney California Adventure Entrance with Oogie Boogie
Oogie Boogie’s over-sized silhouette beckons guests through the main entrance of the Disney California Adventure park.
Buena Vista Street Decorations
Hold onto your hats as swarms of black bats coil ‘round Carthay Circle’s Bell Tower. The Headless Horseman statue offers a menacing presence on Buena Vista Street that’s simply spine-chilling. At night, all of Buena Vista Street is aglow in purple lights.
Halloween in Cars Land
Haul-O-Ween hits Cars Land and turns Radiator Springs into Radiator Screams! Scary the Scarecar stands guard over the entrance to Route 66, a preview to the Haul-O-Ween transformation awaiting guests in Cars Land.
See if you can spot Fillmore’s Jack-Oil Lanterns, the web spun over Flo’s by a Spider-Car, and the Cozy Cone dressed up in “carstumes”.
Slightly Spooky Rides & Attractions at Disneyland Park
The “Nightmare Before Christmas” themed Haunted Mansion Holiday in New Orleans Square is a can’t miss! It gets more elaborate year after year. 2023 celebrates the 22nd installment of the attraction!
Haunted Mansion Holiday is a completely different experience from the usual Haunted Mansion attraction. The annual Haunted Mansion Holiday gingerbread house is inside the ballroom scene.
Absent this year is the Space Mountain ride overlay, Ghost Galaxy.
Seasonal Ride Overlays at Disney California Adventure
Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark
Ride Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! in Avengers Campus during the day, then return at dusk for a new twist! The attraction transforms into Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark, the seasonal edition of the popular attraction.
Cars Land Attractions
In Cars Land, the entire area is made over in a fantastic Halloween theme! Radiator Springs becomes Radiator Screams for the “Haul-O-Ween” season. Look for the mountain range lit up at night in purple and green.
Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree are both decorated for Halloween with themed music and décor! These attractions transform with the Junkyard Jamboree turning spooky as Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree, and Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters becomes Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween.
Dia de Los Muertos at Disneyland
While the rest of Halloween at Disneyland disappears when the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, Día de los Muertos décor will remain in the park through November 2nd, 2023.
Disneyland offers its traditional Día de los Muertos display at Zócalo Park in Frontierland. The colorful display features marigolds and paper flags, along with a traditional “ofrenda” and sugar skulls.
Mirabel from the popular movie Encanto is currently hosting a character meet ‘n greet in this location.
Plaza de la Familia in Disney California Adventure
Make time in your Disneyland vacation planning for a visit to Plaza de la Familia in Disney California Adventure park. This colorful area is the spirit of Halloween at Disneyland, with activities that reflect on traditions and family memories.
This immersive celebration of Día de Los Muertos includes folklórico dancers, mariachi music and a craft area inspired by the “Coco” film.
Entrance to the Plaza de la Familia at Paradise Gardens Park – The figures of Coco’s parents stand at the entrance, which is arched in a plethora of colorful marigolds.
A Musical Celebration of Coco – This is can’t miss entertainment! Miguel (as a hand-animated character) from the movie dances and plays his guitar. This show takes place several times a day, so check the Disneyland app for specifics.
It’s a standing room only festival that’s held just outside the front entrance to Plaza de la Familia. Expect to see costumed dancers, skeletons, mariachi and singers. The show is vibrant and family friendly (but with little to no shade).
Paradise Garden Grill – Features a menu of traditional Mexican dishes. Look for the carnitas burrito, street tacos with pickled vegetables, and Coco Cake. This colorful version includes layers of vanilla cake with cinnamon churro mousse and sweet cream cheese frosting. A sugar skull candy decorates the top.
Traditional Mariachi Music – While you enjoy your delicious Mexican food in the shade, enjoy the sounds of live entertainment. Mariachi Espectacular and Mariachi Divas play several times daily (as shown on this signage).
More Things to Do in Plaza de la Familia
Mexican Árbol de la Vida – Stop by the Memory Wall to write personal remembrances of loved ones. It’s a special spot at the heart of the festival, with a Tree of Life as a perfect backdrop for another photo op.
Kid’s Crafts – Color a memento of Dia de los Muertos in the craft area. These paper masks of Dante and Pepita (spirit guides from Coco) are offered complimentary for anyone.
Character Greeting – Miguel appears in a meet ‘n greet within Plaza de la Familia. Pose for a photo and wave at Miguel in front of the beautiful “Remember Me” mural.
Photo Spots – A pair of angel wings (one adult sized and a smaller set for children) are along the back wall of the craft area. Brightly colored flowers and a statue of Miguel’s dog Dante create another photo backdrop.
Favorite Disney Characters in Halloween Costumes
One of the best things about Halloween at Disneyland is how the characters dress in costume! It really makes that character meet & greet extra special when favorite characters are wearing unique outfits just for the season.
At Disneyland, you’ll find classic Disney characters at the Main Street railroad station. I found Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Chip ‘n Dale, Donald Duck, and Goofy wearing their Halloween costumes.
Where to see Disney villains during Halloween Time?
Guests may spot more villains than usual on Main Street or in respective Lands, including Evil Queen in Fantasyland.
One unique way to see popular villains is at the Tomorrowland Disney Villains Dance Party. The show takes place on weekends, with villains appearing on stage.
During our visit the cast member taught dance routines alongside Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia & Drizella from Cinderella and Captain Hook from Peter Pan. The complex steps might be too challenging for younger kids but tweens (and adults!) were seen dancing along.
In Disney California Adventure, more characters were seen near the fountain at Buena Vista Street. Cars Land in Disney California Adventure is fully decorated for Halloween, err Haul-O-Ween. Watch for Lightning McQueen and Mater dressed up for the season!
Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit at Downtown Disney District
Returning for 2023, a fun way to celebrate the Halloween season outside of the theme parks. Pluto’s Pumpkin Pursuit is a seek & find game, similar to what’s available with eggs during Easter.
This Halloween-themed pumpkin hunt takes place in Downtown Disney from September 8th – November 1st, 2023.
Spot the colorful Disney-themed pumpkins throughout different locations within the shopping district then return with the game board to redeem a prize. In 2023, the prizes are small pumpkin-shaped themed character sipper cups.
Halloween at Disneyland – Treats and Eats
Foodies agree: Disneyland seasonal dishes, snacks and treats can truly make the events more special! And this year is no exception, as new items have been created for Halloween at Disneyland.
In addition to the return of popular Halloween Time foods like the Haunted Mansion Cake, the Disneyland Resort chefs have come up with a spooky number of delightful dishes to please every palate this fall! There are tons of new treats and an inspiring number of different varieties of churros this year.
The food guide for Halloween at Disneyland includes plenty of savory and sweet delights for all tastes.
Sweet Halloween treats include Mickey Mouse shortbread bat cookies, Poison Apple Funnel Cake Fries or Ursula Shake at Schmoozie’s. How about a Pecan Pie Sundae from Golden Horseshoe? The Mickey Cookie & Cream Macaron was delightful!
Lest you think it’s all about the desserts, there are options for savory, fall-inspired main dishes as well. Those include the Spicy Chili Dog at Refreshment Corner, Red Pepper Cheese Onion Rings from Hungry Bear or Ghost Pepper Nachos at Lamplight Lounge.
HALLOWEEN AT DISNEYLAND TIP:
Skip the lines at select dining locations by using the mobile ordering feature on the Disneyland app. I used it several times on my visit. Mobile ordering truly saved me at least 45 minutes that would have been spent waiting in line to order. Learn more about how to eat at Disneyland without advance dining reservations.
More Halloween at Disneyland Fun to Watch For
Halloween Tree in Frontierland
Hand-painted pumpkins and orange bulbs light up in the oak tree at night. This tree was dedicated to Ray Bradbury and is based on his story, “The Halloween Tree”. A dedication plaque stands at the base.
The singing and dancing quartet should not be missed. The fall season song list includes Halloween favorites like, “Grim Grinning Ghosts” and the Headless Horseman.
The Dapper Dans perform several times daily, in front of the fire station or on one of the Main St. vehicles.
Happiest Haunts Guided Tour
Offered only during the fall season, this not-too-scary experience offers a 2-hour guided walking tour across Disneyland.
The tour guides will offer exclusives just for Happiest Haunts tour guests, including Disneyland Halloween history, Disney’s Happiest Haunts guided tour pin, reserved viewing for Halloween Screams fireworks, and more.
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail
By day, this playground area is open for exploration. You may glimpse some of the spooky décor along the pathways.
On nights when Oogie Boogie Bash parties take place, this section becomes an enchanting evening walk-through, named Villains Grove.
Circled around the hub of the Partners statue in front of Sleeping Beauty castle are pumpkins. Each pumpkin features a character that represents each Land in the park.
Halloween Screams Disneyland Nighttime Spectacular
This not-so-spooky evening light spectacular takes place nightly during the Halloween time season. On weekday evenings, expect to see the projections and lights (no pyrotechnics). Fireworks and special effects are added to the show on select Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
Projections can be viewed from either Main Street on the Castle front or it’s a small world. The latter location is less crowded.
Halloween at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort
You do not need to be a hotel guest to explore inside the three Disneyland Resort hotel lobbies! Once in the lobby of Disney’s Grand Californian you can’t miss the huge gingerbread décor. The smell of ginger and royal icing is strong!
Disneyland in Fall – Dapper Day
Dress to impress in your retro best on Dapper Day in the Disneyland park. Thousands of other guests turn out for this event, “dappered” up in their Sunday attire. The date is Nov 12th, 2023 for the annual Disneyland Dapper Day.
Looking Ahead to the Holiday Season?
If you’re planning a Disneyland trip for the Christmas season, now’s the time to lock in that trip. If last year is any indication, dates for the holidays will fill up early.
Ready to book a 2023 Disneyland vacation? The good news is that packages are open for booking now, as well as for 2024!