Parks go from treats to terrors

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What's new: Guests can meet Jack Skellington and Sally, characters from Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas."

What's returning: Not-So-Scary favorites such as Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Parade, HalloWishes fireworks, a dance party with Disney villains, trick-or-treat stations spread throughout the park.

What it costs: It's a separate-ticket event, meaning a day ticket to Magic Kingdom does not allow you to stay into the night for the party. Prices range between $59 to $73 ($54 to $68 for ages 3-9), depending on the date.

Parental guidance: The parade is preceded by a headless horseman character aboard an actual horse. That can be intense, but it's brief. Some parade characters and dancers are made up to look ghostly or ghastly, but that's quickly mitigated by familiar Disney types in fun costuming.

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Halloween Horror Nights

Where: Universal Studios

When: Select nights through Nov. 2

What's new: For the first time, the event's "scare zones" are devoted to a single theme. Scenes from the first three seasons of "The Walking Dead" television series are depicted.

What's returning: Universal again has a "Walking Dead" haunted house, although it's bigger and completely different from last year's version. Other houses are based on the "An American Werewolf in London," "Evil Dead" and "The Cabin in the Woods" movies plus "Resident Evil" video games. Of Universal's three original houses, Havoc2 is a sequel to an earlier maze.

What it costs: This is an after-hours event that requires a separate ticket from regular Universal admission. The posted price is $91.99, but Florida-resident discounts can get that as low as $42.99, depending on date. In addition, there are Frequent Fear options that allow multiple visits and express-pass deals that permit front-of-line access to houses.

Parental guidance: Universal sometimes bills HHN as a PG-13 event. It's intense, bloody and full of horrifying sound effects and images. But you'll probably see kids in strollers there, too, and we'll be silently judging them.

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