If you think celebrating Halloween at Disneyland is reserved for giant pumpkins and costume characters, guess again! The special, after-hours Mickey’s Halloween Party will leave even the biggest Disney fans spell-bound. For a separate ticket, kids and adults can dress up in costume, trick-or-treat around the park, and enjoy special entertainment and events only available to party guests. From the least crowded trick-or-treat spots to where to see the Disney villains, we’ve got your insider’s guide to celebrating Mickey’s Halloween Party at the Happiest Place on Earth.

disney halloween parade

New This Year: “Frightfully Fun Parade” and the Headless Horseman
Mickey’s Halloween Party features a brand new parade that will leave you awe-struck. The “Frightfully Fun Parade” makes its debut this year, featuring a spectacle of spooky spirits from the deepest bayous of New Orleans to Halloweentown and beyond. From “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King brings greetings from Halloweentown, as residents arrive to celebrate their favorite time of year. Grinning ghosts come out to socialize when guests of the Haunted Mansion join the parade as swirling ballroom dancers, ominous gravediggers and a trio of hitchhiking ghosts.

Inspired by Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog,” Dr. Facilier calls on mystical powers, summoning his Shadow Men from the bayou to loom large over his strange and twisted Voodoo parlor, and the mischievous Disney Villains appear out of the darkness, ready to stir up some trouble. A dark and dungeon-like lair takes over the parade route, bringing with it a wicked gathering of villainy from Hades and the Evil Queen to Jafar, Cruella and more!

And for the very first time, the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow rides into Disneyland on his ghostly black stallion. He will usher in all the fun during the parade while carrying a flickering jack-o-lantern in his hand.

headless horseman

More Spooky Entertainment
Party guests won’t want to miss the the “Halloween Screams” fireworks spectacular that takes place each night of Mickey’s Halloween Party and is hosted by “Master of Scare-omonies” Jack Skellington. Keep in mind that if you attend Halloween at Disneyland on a night that is NOT Mickey’s Halloween Party, you will be treated to the “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks, not the Halloween version.

Party guests will rock out at Tomorrowland Terrace in a family-friendly dance party. Kids will love getting their groove on with their favorite characters. And save time to see the Dapper Dans transform into the Cadaver Dans ghoul quartet. They’ll be performing Halloween-themed tunes aboard a drifting graveyard-themed raft on the fog-filled Rivers of America in New Orleans Square and Frontierland.

Halloween Time with Minnie 10_11_DL_003972

Who to See: Your Guide to Halloween Villains and Characters
Of course, no trip to Disneyland is complete without seeing your favorite characters. Mickey’s Halloween Party not only brings out the favorite characters, but it’s the only time of year where the Disney villains are out in droves. The Main Street Town Square is transformed into Villains Square, a meet-and-great bonanza of Disney bad guys and gals. Throughout the evening, the Disney villains arrive riding a black horse-drawn carriage accompanied by thunder, fog and special lighting effects. Get your photo taken with Cruella De Vil, the Queen of Hearts, and Lady Tremaine from Cinderella are just a few you will meet. You can also see Jack and Sally in New Orleans Square.

Insider’s Tip: Don’t worry if villains are not the reason you come to Disneyland (even during Halloween). You’ll have the chance to visit with your favorite characters throughout the park. See Mickey, Minnie and the classic crew at Toon Town, and Winnie the Pooh and Friends in Critter Country.

haunted mansion

What to Do: Rides and Spooky Fun
One of the best things about attending Mickey’s Halloween Party is the wait time for rides is much less compared to a typical day at the park. The Halloween highlights are the spooked-out Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy. Some of the cool features to check out in Haunted Mansion include the holiday gingerbread house that that features a new theme each year. This year’s theme has been stitched together from pieces of other gingerbread houses and treats. In fact, the ghoulish architect has stitched himself inside the house, and one green arm still may be spotted, sewing the walls together around him. Be sure to pay attention to the yummy gingerbread smell.

You’ll also want to stop by Frontierland where you can check out a traditional Mexican “Dia de los Muertos” celebration with a skeleton display near Rancho del Zocalo restaurant. And pay close attention to the Halloween-themed displays throughout the park. You may even see a scarecrow come to life!

Insider’s Tip: If the little goblins aren’t quite ready for the spooky rides, nearly all the attractions are open during the party hours. So kids can have fun on the less-scary Fantasyland rides, It’s a Small World cruise, and don’t forget the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in Critter Country.

trick or treat disneylandphoto: Leah Singer

What to Eat: Sweet Eats and Trick or Treats
A Halloween event wouldn’t be complete without trick-or-treating! Mickey’s Halloween Party includes access to dozens of trick-or-treating stations throughout the park. Each party attendee (includes parents) receives a special bag to fill to the brim with candy and snacks. And don’t worry about too much sugar; Disneyland offers lots of healthy treats too, including bags of apple chips, sliced apples, carrots and pirate crackers.

Insider’s Tip: The trick-or-treat stations can get crowded. When you first enter the park on Main Street, the line for treats will look quite long. But every station features similar loot. So don’t spend too much time at the Main Street station when you can get snacks in Tomorrowland and toward the back of Fantasyland where it’s less crowded.

Another Hot Tip: The treat stations in Critter Country and at the entrance to Toon Town have virtually no lines.

piratephoto: Leah Singer

Don’t Forget Your Costume
Mickey’s Halloween Party is the only time of year when guests are encouraged to dress up at the park. Whether you dress like a pirate, transform into Peter Pan, or be the next Rey from Star Wars, you’ll have a blast dressing up as your favorite character. Families are also encouraged to come in theme costumes. Popular group costumes have been the “Inside Out” emotions and “Alice and Wonderland” characters. The only caveat to remember is costumes must be family-friendly and masks should not cover the entire face.

Good to Know: If dressing up isn’t your thing, don’t stress about trying to find a costume. There’s no costume requirement at Mickey’s Halloween Party, and kiddos can still trick or treat to their heart’s content!

halloween at disney

Dates: Mickey’s Halloween Party: Sept. 23, 26, 28, 30; Oct. 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29 and 31
Cost: $79 – $99/person (this year’s admission price does not include parking)

Disneyland
313 Disneyland Dr.
Anaheim, Ca 92802
Online: Disneyland.com/Halloween

Have you been to Mickey’s Halloween Party? What’s your favorite part of celebrating Halloween at Disneyland?

– Leah R. Singer

Photos courtesy of Disneyland (unless otherwise noted)