SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular 2020
These are a few important things to be aware of before attending SeaWorld Halloween events. Health and safety measures have been heightened at all SeaWorld parks. Yes, SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular will permit children to dress up in costumes. However trick or treat stations from past years’ have been eliminated and there’s a new candy option! You’ll want to familiarize yourself with all the Halloween fun Spooktacular changes for 2020.
- All guests 2 years of age and older must wear face coverings while in the park during the SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular, even when dressed in costume.
- SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular tickets will only be sold online. Tickets will NOT be available for sale at the gates. Guests must purchase tickets and then book a separate day reservation in advance.
- Temperature scans will take place before entry to SeaWorld San Diego.
- Park capacity is limited each day.
- Signage and markings designate guests where to stand and sit for proper social distance.
- There are no rides currently in operation at SeaWorld.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols in the parks, as well as additional hand-washing and sanitizing stations.
- Seating for shows will be socially distanced and limited in capacity. All guests must wear masks, even when seated.
- Facial masks may be removed in designated relaxation zones or while dining.
SeaWorld Safety Protocols
Let me share my personal notes about these safety measures. I appreciated the heightened cleaning as I saw many employees wiping tables in dining areas and cleaning railings inside queues. Lots of hand sanitizer locations everywhere you turned. The show stadiums practiced social distancing by alternating seats and having sections for each group. Even while seated, all guests must keep their masks on.
At the beginning of the day, I would say that 95% of guests were properly wearing facial coverings. As the day grew on (and temperatures rose), I’d put that more around 50%. I spotted lots of guests walking with masks off or down. Many children older than 2 weren’t wearing them at all. I didn’t see any employees asking guests to put their masks on.
While the park capacity is limited, there are areas with higher traffic. Touch pools including the bat rays would get congested. Kids (and adults) would forget to maintain distancing in the excitement. While there are markers on the ground, there aren’t any physical barriers or dividers around these pools.
Queues to enter indoor aquariums are longer, as the employees limit the number of guests indoors. This means you might be standing outside of a length of time waiting to enter. It can be very warm in the sun, so be sure you’re wearing sunscreen and bring a hat!
Details About SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular 2020
When does SeaWorld Spooktacular Happen?
SeaWorld Halloween dates for 2020 – October 2nd to November 2nd, 2020. In addition, Monday October 26th was recently added. SeaWorld’s Spooktacular event is held only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (and the bonus Monday date).
Can We Still Experience Everything at SeaWorld San Diego?
SeaWorld is definitely one of the top things to do outside in San Diego! During this time, not all the regular attractions will be available during SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular. Rides are currently non-operational, as SeaWorld is conducting business as a “zoo”. However all animal encounters, aquariums and shows are available. Read my complete SeaWorld San Diego guide for additional family touring tips.
Tickets & Reservations Required
All tickets for SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular must be purchased online and ahead of visiting. See the tab for SeaWorld San Diego then purchase your ticket for the date needed. Tickets are date specific to reserve a reservation. Annual Passholders must make a reservation online for the day they wish to visit.
You’ll be able to purchase Annual Passes on the SeaWorld website as well, which include access to the park for the rest of 2020 and all of 2021. Additional incentives include free parking, discounts on dining and merchandise. Annual passholders receive entrance during SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular and Christmas Celebration. They may also purchase the dining package at a discounted cost.
Costumes Encouraged, But Not Necessary
I brought Halloween costumes for our two littlest, just to help them get in the spirit of the event. You can totally collect treats without the costume but it is fun to wear one if you have it. I brought extra clothes for the kids to change into when they didn’t want to wear their costumes anymore.
There is a dress code for costumes during SeaWorld Halloween. The rules and restrictions are listed on the SeaWorld website. Children 12 and under may wear a Halloween costume (no adult costumes allowed). Face painting is not permitted, except what is done by an artist in the park. All guests 2+ years of age must wear face coverings.
Spooktacular Candy Trail
Yes, kids can still get their candy fix during this annual fall event! Changes to the 2020 SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular are detailed here.
- For 2020, the SeaWorld candy bag is an additional charge. Trick or treating had been included in previous years. This year the cost of the treat bag is $2.49.
- For health and safety reasons, guests cannot bring their own treats bags. You must purchase the exclusive SeaWorld Candy Bag in the park to participate in candy collection.
- Only kids aged 12 & under can participate in the Spooktacular candy trail (in the past, adults were encouraged to collect candy as well).
- For 2020 there are several “Candy Garden” treat drop locations. A physically-distanced candy chute delivers goodies straight into the purchased SeaWorld Candy Bag (watch the video to see how this works).
- My kids each received about 30 pieces of candy on the day of our visit, including Twizzlers, Airheads, Nerds, Skittles and Land of the Gummies.
Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt
My kids and I purchased the map at the SeaWorld Shop for $12. Each of the pumpkins to look for in the scavenger hunt are large, real pumpkins with a hand-painted image on the side. Some of the locations are a little tricky to find! I won’t spoil what we received as a prize but my kids were happy.
Dance Party Fun
Families are encourage to dance (socially-distanced style, of course) at the Monster Mash Dance Party. Located in SeaWorld’s Village Square, there’s a live DJ hosting the music and fun. Another option is even more ideal for little ones. The Sesame Street Halloween Dance party features everyone’s favorite furry friends.
Due to it’s popularity, the Sesame Street Dance Party happens in two locations (at the exit of Wild Arctic & also next to Explorer’s Reef Cafe). The characters are standing on stationary float platforms, where they’re available for photo opportunities. There’s singing and toddler fun in the area, if you can get your kids to participate. Mine were both too nervous to approach the characters! This event happens at the two locations all day long between noon and 7 pm, without a set schedule. Aren’t these Sesame Street floats adorable?!
Party at San Diego’s SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular for FREE?!
Did you know that kids admission to SeaWorld San Diego is FREE in the month of October? In fact, LOTS of San Diego amusement parks, museums and restaurants offer freebies for kids in October in San Diego. For every adult ticket purchased, you’ll be able to bring in a child for free. Contact my affiliate Get Away Today for more details on booking a Southern California vacation. Use code REWRITTEN for an extra $10 off any 2+ day hotel & ticket package.
Favorite SeaWorld Shows
The following shows are operational during the SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular (and other days of the week). During the shows, guest capacity will be limited. In addition, social distancing measures must be practiced. My friend Becca at This Crazy Adventure Called Life outlines more details in her article about SeaWorld Zoo Days.
- Dolphin Days
- Orca Encounter
- Sea Lions Live
Kid’s Halloween Costume Contest
This event is new for 2020, located at the Fall Festival Stage near Nautilus Amphitheater (where Pets Rule is usually held). Judges choose their favorite costumes in various categories (creativity, spookiness, silliness and cuteness). Winning costumes receive SeaWorld Bucks for kids to redeem for food or merchandise purchases in the park. Those who would like to partipate must sign up outside of Nautilus Amphitheater 45 minutes before contest start time. Space is limited for this event, on a first-come-first-served basis. Facial coverings must be worn with costumes.
Dia De Los Muertos Celebration
Several times a day on weekends, the Ballet Folklorico performs at the Nautilus Amphitheater. There is also a festive ofrenda area in celebration of Dia de los Muertos, near the entrance to the bat ray touch pools.
Are Animal Exhibits Available During SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular?
Yes, all animal exhibits and aquariums are open for guests during the Halloween Spooktacular. Dozens of jack o’ lanterns are on display at SeaWorld’s Shark Encounter! As a result this aquarium takes on an even more frightening appearance. The following exhibits are also open during this event:
- Orca Encounter viewing area
- Sea Turtles
- Sea Lions
- Explorer’s Reef with Bamboo Sharks, Cleaner Fish, Rays, and more.
SeaWorld Halloween Cookie Decorating
This fun family add-on event allows kids and adults to decorate cookies in a safe way. Spaced out within the area will be single-party tables. Also, stringent cleaning measures will be practiced between guests. Toddlers and preschoolers will love seeing Cookie Monster and Elmo at a distance! However families will still have the opportunity for a photo memory with the Sesame Street characters. To allow for social distancing, this activity must be purchased online ahead of of your visit.
Fall Foods to Dine + Drink
While I’ve been a big fan in the past of the SeaWorld food festivals, I wasn’t as thrilled with the dining options this time. All the foods are boxed to grab & go, which took away from the freshness for me. Food we received at one location was cold. I understand that the boxed meals is for hygiene purposes but it was still a disappointment.
It’s important to note that some locations say they may stop serving up to an hour earlier than closing. My kids and I wanted to eat at Explorers Cafe at 3:50 pm, however it was already closed (with park closure time at 6 pm). I’m guessing this might have been a popular location and they ran out of food? In any case, the BBQ Chicken Pizza I ordered earlier in the day was tasty and the kids didn’t mind the cold chicken tenders. Read the Taste of Fall BBQ & Craft Beers Menu ahead of time to know where to dine first.
Looking for more Halloween events in Southern California?
- Disneyland Resort’s Oogie Boogie Bash – A Disney Halloween Party has been cancelled for 2020.
- LEGOLAND California Brick-or-Treat Party Nights is a special ticket event that’s ideal for families with young kids. New for 2020 is LEGOLAND Halloween in Miniland event.
- San Diego Zoo offers HalGLOWeen, a fall season outdoor event with bubble dance party, “Python Path” and live entertainment.
What sounds like the most fun at SeaWorld San Diego Halloween Spooktacular?
This article originally published on Sep 25, 2017 and has been updated and republished to reflect event changes.