The season of pumpkin spice, rustling leaves and sweater weather is finally here and that means the hunt is on to find the coolest Halloween haunts. This year, head to Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, for a spooktacular bash that caters to chocoholics of every age, whether they’re school-age kids excited about their first roller coaster ride or teens ready to dive into the haunted depths of the park’s spooky offerings.
During Halloween at Hershey Sept. 15-Oct. 31, the theme park transforms into a tantalizing tour of tricks and treats.
Check out this sweet guide to making the most of a family trip to Hersheypark Halloween whether you are traveling with babies, children or teens. Pack those costumes and prepare for the ultimate sugar rush.
How to Get There
The most affordable way is by car. It’s a seven-hour road from metro Detroit trip via I-80 E and I-76. It’s nearly 11 hours from Chicago. There are plenty of rest stops along the way, but for the long drive, two cities on the way would make excellent overnight pit-stops – Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Both cities offer family-friendly attractions and make the journey to Hershey feel more like an adventure.
Fun for the Tiniest Visitors
For parents with babies and toddlers, rest assured, there’s plenty of fun tailored just for the little ones.
A fun, not-too-scary, trick-or-treat trail with 13 stops in both Chocolate World and The Boardwalk is perfect for toddlers and even babies in strollers. There are plenty of life-sized Hershey characters along the trail who are guaranteed to make your littles squeal with delight.
Character Meet and Greet
Speaking of characters, imagine the spark in your child’s eyes as they meet a life-sized Hershey’s Kiss! This adorable iconic character will be dressed in her Halloween best, offering adorable photo ops to capture the magic of your baby’s first Hershey Halloween.
At Hersheypark kiddie rides like Cocoa Cruiser and Tiny Tracks provide safe excitement for toddlers. They are sure to have your littles in fits of giggles from start to stop. If the weather is cool, head inside Chocolate World for the free 30-minute chocolate tour that takes visitors from cocoa bean to chocolate bar.
The Hershey Character Glow Dance Party inside The Music Box Theatre is filled with songs, dances and stories, captivating for tiny attention spans. The audience is encouraged to dance and participate. It’s a Halloween party no one will ever forget.
Begin your Halloween adventure at Treatville in The Boardwalk area. With a bag in hand, children can collect candy from a variety of stops, all with photo ops. Families will be sure to encounter fun characters and interactive shows along the way. Costumes are encouraged!
Character Meet and Greet
What 10-year-old wouldn’t want a selfie with a life-sized Reese’s Cup? Dotted around the park are numerous selfie ops with all the best Hershey characters dressed up for Halloween. There are plenty of gift shops within the park where Hershey character costumes or swag can be picked up, too!
Hershey’s Chocolate World
Even though a staple year-round, the Halloween twist to The Chocolate World Tour makes Chocolate World a super-sweet spot. The tour not only educates about the chocolate-making process but ends with a sweet treat.
There are four different ticketed add-ons in Chocolate World:
Hershey’s Great Candy Expedition is a magical train ride that takes visitors to three different candy worlds through an immersive theater experience.
Create Your Own Candy Bar is as awesome as it sounds. Kids get to choose their own ingredients and wrappers. Best part of all, they get to take their candy home!
Hershey’s Unwrapped was my family’s pick because it started with a gift — a sealed tin box that held a variety of chocolates. Our experience took place in a lab where actors led us through the steps to become “certified chocolatiers.” This attraction involves a lot of sitting and listening, so school-aged and older is recommended.
Hershey Trolley Works was our second pick. It is a trolley ride that becomes an interactive history tour into Milton Hershey’s life. During this hour-long ride, important characters will hop on and off the trolley to share stories and treats. During Halloween, families will be delighted with the spooky twist.
The Teen Scene
Roller Coasters in the Dark
While Hersheypark’s roller coasters are thrilling anytime, they take on a whole new dimension during the Halloween nights. When Dark Nights begins, roller coasters become a little more thrilling in the dark. Lights out on the most adrenaline-inducing rides happens one hour before the park closes. Skyrush and Fahrenheit in the dark? Not for the faint of heart.
Creatures of the Night at ZooAmerica
This nocturnal tour of ZooAmerica offers teens an opportunity to encounter North American animals during their most active time. With a flashlight, kids can explore the mysteries the zoo holds after sunset.
Hershey’s Dark Nights’ Haunted Houses and Scare Zones
Dark Nights begins every evening at 6. Eerie music begins pumping through the speakers and fog machines spill a haze that transforms Hersheypark into a creepier version of itself. For those teens who love a good fright, there are more opportunities for a good scare than ever before. This year Darks Nights brings five haunted houses and three scare-zones to the park. Lines are long, but the thrills are worth it.
What to Eat at Hersheypark
King Size Shake
Located within the park at Founder’s Way, Simply Chocolate scoops up a specialty treat that has come to be known as Hershey’s signature treat: King Size Shakes. The Pumpkin King Size Shake will deliver all the fall vibes. Pro tip: Ask for two straws!
Smoked Brisket Sandwich
After facing The Haunted Harvest with your teen, you might crave something hearty and comforting. At Spring Creek Smokehouse, the smoked brisket sandwich promises just that.
Bricker’s Famous French Fries
In Pioneer Frontier at an unassuming food truck, find the kind of fries that will haunt your dreams. Nothing will ever compare to this crispy perfectly seasoned potato perfection. It may be better not to stop here, because French fries will never be the same from this point on.
Cookies and Cream S’mores
Foodies, these s’mores are a game-changer. Found in Pioneer Frontier, The S’mores Cart delivers a variety of creative takes on the classic s’more (which is also available here). Our hands-down favorite, Cookies and Cream. Two chocolate cookies smoosh a perfectly toasted marshmallow and Cookies and Cream bar into a gooey goodness.
Follow Metro Parent on Instagram.