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Halloween Cruises: Thrills and Chills for All Ages

Top 5 Reasons to Love a Halloween Cruise

Erica Silverstein
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Disney's Halloween Pumpkin Tree in the ship atrium

Cruise lines love a good holiday or themed sailing. They rave eighties-themed cruises, plan a mean party on New Year Eve's (balloon drops and Champagne toasts!) and go to town at Christmas (Gingerbread houses! Visits from Santa! Carolers in the atrium!). But Halloween doesn't get as much press.

Which is sad. We've sailed on two Halloween cruises -- the first, a cruise during Halloween week on Carnival Spirit (appropriate name, eh?), and the second, a cruise on Disney Dream during its two months of Halloween on the High Seas cruises. Both were incredibly fun -- possibly more fun than Halloween on land. We're surprised more cruise lines don't play up Halloween, as it's a compelling reason to cruise during an otherwise slow travel time. Whether you're a kid looking to show off your superhero costume and score some candy, or an adult looking to dress up and party, here are our top reasons to cruise on Halloween.

Spooky drinks on a Disney Halloween cruise

1. Costume night is way better than formal night

If you're going to have to schlep your gowns and tuxedoes anyway, you might as well pack your "Joker" outfit or "Walking Dead" costume instead. Costumes make people watching at the bar that much more fun, and group outfits are applauded rather than sneered at. Pick the right costume and it can be much more comfortable than high heels and slimming undergarments. Plus, you don't have to plan your outfit around a bulky winter coat -- it's all warm Caribbean or Canary Island nights rather than frigid late autumn temps.

2. No one's stuck giving out sweets

At home, you have to buy bags of mini Snickers and leave someone at home to man the bowl so entitled teens don't empty the entire thing. On a cruise, you can take your kids trick or treating in a festive, yet safe, environment or head out to an adult Halloween party without having to plan anything or leave anyone behind. Ship staff usually provide trick-or-treat bags and set up candy stations throughout the ship -- no guesswork about who's home and doling out the goods required.

Halloween inflatable decor on Royal Caribbean ship

3. Cruise ships are perfect for decorating

You can't put a real candle in that jack-o-lantern, but otherwise cruise ships are ideal for Halloween decorations. Put some cobwebs and giant spiders on the bar, autumn garlands around the railings in the atrium, even a spooky ghost or skeleton in a hallway. On Disney, they painted grinning pumpkin faces and spiderwebs across the round portholes.

4. The options for kid fun are endless

In addition to trick or treating, cruise ships have the space and the staff for all kinds of fun for the under-18 set. Royal Caribbean has hosted costume parades down the Promenade, set up haunted houses and offered face painting. Disney sets up a "magical pumpkin tree" in the atrium, does a singalong version of "Nightmare Before Christmas" and hosts a Halloween dance party with characters in costume. Look for themed crafts projects in the kids club and maybe even pumpkin carving.

Two costumed women dancing at a Halloween party on Disney Cruise Line

5. And the adult parties aren't lame

Halloween parties on land are usually typical house parties with guests in costumes, maybe a few decorations and possibly a holiday-themed beverage if the host is a Pinterest junkie. Take a cruise, and you've got professional DJs and bartenders at your disposal, as well as tricked-out dance clubs and entertainment staff to keep the party going. Given that everyone is on holiday, they are definitely going to be in the mood to have fun.

Updated October 10, 2019

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