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Cover Story

Welcome to Halloweentown

Taking a closer look at Orlando's obsession with everyone's favorite pagan holiday

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Like a haunted Hanukkah, for these next eight evenings, the streets of Orlando will glow with a flame that flickers from blood-red to cash-green, as a flood of fright-seekers spread their dollars from Lake Buena Vista to the Longwood Haunt, home of hayrides and zombie paintball. Our St. Patrick's Day can't compete with Boston's, and our New Year's Day is naught next to Pasadena's. But Halloween, that sadistic, secularized ceremony, is the one the City Beautiful has embraced as our own.


Through Oct. 27
Howling Halloween Hop on the Screamline Haunted Zipline for a chilling twilight journey, or try one of seven ziplines racing at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Various times Friday-Saturday; Forever Florida, 4755 N. Kenansville Road, St. Cloud; $85; 407-957-9794; floridaecosafaris.com.
The Longwood Haunt Two haunted houses, 30 fright-filled rooms and a graveyard with hay rides, a bounce house and Kill the Zombie paintball; proceeds benefit Kid's House of Seminole. 7-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 754 Fleet Financial Court, Longwood; $10; longwoodhaunt.com.
Hallowtease Halloween-inspired Varietease performance presented by Babybluestar Productions. 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; The Venue, 511 Virginia Drive; $12-$15; 407-412-6895; thevenueorlando.com.

Through Oct. 28
Brick-or-Treat Family-friendly Halloween events, including a LEGO pumpkin build, scavenger hunts, costume contests and more. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday; Legoland, One Legoland Way, Winter Haven; included with park admission; 877-350-5346; legoland.com.
SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular Kid-friendly music, games, trick-or-treating and more throughout the park. Noon-8 p.m. on select dates; SeaWorld, 7007 SeaWorld Drive; included with park admission; 407-363-2613; seaworldorlando.com.
Zoo Boo Bash Trick-or-treat in the zoo, haunted hayrides, a costume contest and face painting. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 3755 N. U.S. Highway 17-92, Sanford; $8.95-$12.95; 407-323-4450; centralfloridazoo.org.

Through Oct. 31
An Old Town Halloween Four Haunt-Zones, entertainment, appearances by Florida Ghost Buster fan club. 7-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Wednesday, Oct. 31; Old Town, 5770 W. Irlo Bronson Highway, Kissimmee; free; 407-396-4888; myoldtownusa.com.
Downtown Orlando Ghost Tour Guided paranormal tour of historical buildings. 8 p.m. nightly; Downtown Orlando, Church Street; $30; americanghostadventures.com/downtownorlando.html.
Halloween Horror Nights 22 The park turns into your worst nightmare with elaborate haunted houses, streetside scareactors and the brand new 3-D haunted house "Penn & Teller New(kd) Las Vegas." Universal Orlando, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza; $88.99, $41.99 for Florida residents with promo codes from specially marked Coke products; 407-363-8000; halloweenhorrornights.com.

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