Spirited fun in West Orange County

Celebrate Halloween early and often with a number of haunts and treats scheduled through October.

Are you brave enough to enter the city of Ocoee’s 12th Annual Haunted House, the Haunted Maze of Horror?
Are you brave enough to enter the city of Ocoee’s 12th Annual Haunted House, the Haunted Maze of Horror?
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If you dare to be scared, then West Orange County in October is the right place for you. You are being invited to enter an assortment of mazes, haunted houses and hospitals, just in time for Halloween. Choose your night and your fright!



951 Ocoee Apopka Road, Ocoee

The city of Ocoee’s Parks and Recreation Department is hosting its 12th Annual Haunted House in an old, abandoned house at 951 Ocoee Apopka Road. Tickets are $5 for the house and $5 for a haunted walk behind the house.

Dan Abdo, parks operations manager with the recreation department, has worked on this Halloween project every year since the beginning, and he said his favorite part is seeing it all come together and truly scare guests.

It takes several months to assemble the props and costumes and stage the scenes, recycling pieces from previous years and purchasing others.

The house features six or seven rooms filled with fear, and the yard has plenty of scares, too. Those continuing with the haunted walk will find themselves on a winding path filled with spooky sights and sounds.

Younger children can participate in the fun with free hay rides, bounce houses and arts and crafts. Candy and refreshments will be available for purchase.

Attendees are being asked to take a non-perishable food item that will be donated to the West Orange Christian Service Center.

The haunted house and walk are open from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct 11, 12, 18 and 19.

The haunted house event has attracted more than 30,000 visitors, according to city staff, and it was nominated as a Top 10 attraction by Florida Haunted Houses.com. The money raised goes back to the city.

“It’s a fun time for the family with activities for everyone,” Abdo said.

For information, visit ocoee.org or call Ocoee Parks and Recreation at (407) 905-3180.



Decrepit Manor is for sale at Panic on Plant Street, in Winter Garden, and only the brave will want to tour the house.
Decrepit Manor is for sale at Panic on Plant Street, in Winter Garden, and only the brave will want to tour the house.

230 W. Bay St., Winter Garden

The Winter Garden Masonic Lodge 165 is presenting its third annual Panic on Plant Street haunted house, staged at the lodge, 230 W. Bay St., Winter Garden. Tickets are $10 plus tax.

Chris Gideos is the haunted house chairman, and his experience in creating scary tours dates back more than a dozen years.

Gideos said guests should expect a high-energy, interactive, theatrical walk-through haunt with a cast of more than 40 actors. Onsite Realtors Peter Poltergeist and Phil Cadaver, with Southern Heritage Realty, will lead potential manor buyers through dark rooms and hallways during the open house.

He warned that the experience is not suitable for young children but added there will be a free, adult-supervised area — called the Chicken Coop — for them to play.

The haunted house is open from 7 to 10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, Oct. 18 through 20 and 25 through 27.

Tickets purchased in advance can be punched online through the Panic on Plant Street Facebook page. Attendees also can select a night and time so there is no waiting in line.

Proceeds from the show will be donated to the Masonic Lodge’s regular local projects, including UCP, Buddy Bench, Adopt-a-Teacher and the Lakeview Middle School Band; as well as the Shriners Hospitals for Children.



108 Taylor St., Ocoee

The Ocoee Lions Club is presenting its fourth annual Asylum Haunted Hospital at the club headquarters, 108 Taylor St., Ocoee. Tickets are $5 and are available on the club’s Facebook page or at squareup.com.

According to legend, the asylum is run by Sister Mary Dementia, who had a horrible encounter with a patient and lost her faith, her mind and her soul. She now wanders the halls and grounds of the asylum looking for some peace from her madness.

Folks are invited to meet Sister Dementia and her friends.

The 4D experience takes guests on a dark tour of the asylum, with only flashlights to make it through to the end.

Last year, the haunted house was voted one of the best in Florida, Lions Club President Melissa Tanner said.

The house is open from 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18 and 19; Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 24 through 26; and Wednesday, Oct. 30.

For the first 30 minutes, the Lions are offering an experience with the lights on and with no loud music, flashing lights or scares for people wanting to walk through the haunted hospital. Tanner said this would be a good time for younger children, people on the autism spectrum and those with physical, emotional or mental needs.

“Our goal is to allow everyone to have a great Halloween season and help a local charity in the process,” Tanner said.

Proceeds will go the Ocoee Lions Foundation. The club also will be taking donations of used eyeglasses, readers, sunglasses, soft eyeglass cases, hearing aids and socks.



Downtown Winter Garden

Candy, costumes and family fun are all part of the excitement in downtown Winter Garden on Halloween night, Oct. 31. The city of Winter Garden is hosting the event from 6 to 8 p.m., and guests can enjoy live entertainment, a hay maze, local vendors and family activities.

Children are invited to carry a plastic pumpkin or other container to trick-or-treat at participating businesses.



15304 E. Oakland Ave., Winter Garden

This yard in west Winter Garden, just east of the Oakland town limits, is a popular destination during the holidays, and Halloween is no exception. Guests are invited to walk around the yard anytime while the display is up.

But, on Oct. 31, the decorated interior of the house is open to the public as well.

Joe Williams invites the community to tour his haunted digs at no charge. Those who dare will be given Halloween treats.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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