One common question asked by those planning Fall 2024 trips to Walt Disney World is “when will Halloween decorations go up in Magic Kingdom?” This post answers that, with historical dates and when you can expect WDW to get decked out for Halloween.
We already know that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is returning this year, with the first event likely to be held on or around August 9, 2024. If MNSSHP occurs consistent with its normal schedule, that would mean Halloween decorations go up in Magic Kingdom during the first full week of August 2024–possibly as early as that first Friday of the month.
We also have a pretty good sense that the full slate of normal decor will return, unless there’s a new celebration that features decorations and runs in Fall 2024. This has happened in the past. For the World’s Most Magical Celebration, 50th Anniversary decorations displaced the traditional pumpkins for 2 years. However, Walt Disney World did not put up Disney100 decor for the 100 Years of Wonder Celebration on Main Street, and instead went with the normal pumpkins.
Given that Walt Disney World didn’t really decorate for Disney100 and since there’s no milestone anniversary this year, we strongly suspect the full package of Halloween decorations will go up in August 2024. Even if there is a summer event or celebration, it’s likely that Walt Disney World will wrap it up in time for the start of Halloween.
While a seasonal celebration could drive attendance from Memorial Day until Labor Day, it won’t be “big” enough to overshadow Halloween. Consequently, we’d expect the full package of “pumpkin people” to be installed in Town Square, at the front end of Main Street, along with the Mickey Mouse Pumpkin Heads and everything else.
The Main Street Pumpkin Festival, Town Square “Pumpkin People” (or whatever they’re called), and Mickey Head Pumpkin Wreaths all already exist and are sitting in Disney’s Holiday Services Warehouse behind Magic Kingdom. These decorations can be installed in a matter of hours overnight, which is even easier to accomplish this year since the park is closing far earlier than normal.
Despite Walt Disney World not normally doing much to celebrate beyond Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, this is actually the longest “season” of the year at Magic Kingdom. Whereas the duration of Christmas is constrained by October 31, there’s no holiday before the start of Halloween that acts as a similar buffer.
This means that in a normal year, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party begins in mid-August and runs until the end of November. We’ve attended the debut party several years, and it’s a bit surreal. School has just gone back into session, feels like temperatures are often above 100 degrees, and yet it’s Halloween.
To accommodate for these early Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party start dates, decorations typically go up in mid-August. With the full installation occurring a few days before MNSSHP begins. It would be weird if the decor wasn’t up for the Halloween party, so that’s a tail wags the dog scenario.
Combing through photo reports from the last several years, this is pretty much par for the course. Magic Kingdom installs decorations at most a few days before the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
There’s also the question of when these items should go up? For an answer to that, let’s look at what’s socially acceptable, what’s done with other Disney parks, and what’s most advantageous from a business perspective.
As far as what’s customary among American households, this highly scientific poll conducted by HalloweenCostumes.com found that 71% of households decorated in the first or second half of October. Only 7% decorated in the first half of September, 10% in the second half of the month, and 12% not at all. August wasn’t even a poll option. Of course, Magic Kingdom isn’t a personal residence, except for Cinderella or Elsa–whoever occupies that castle these days.
What’s advantageous varies from business to business. Target and Wal-Mart stock decorations months in advance, but those are for sale, so that’s different. Starbucks starts selling its pumpkin spice beverages at the end of August. In some circles, PSL release day is basically a high holiday.
When it comes to other Disney theme parks around the world, almost all begin decorating at the end of the first week in September. Most notable here is Disneyland, which typically kicks off its Halloween Time season the Friday in September after Labor Day.
Now we’re starting to hone in on a date range that makes more sense for Walt Disney World.
Basically, I’m of two minds about this. If my theory is correct about decorations influencing merchandise sales, it’s possible or likely that Magic Kingdom’s fall decor will go up the same day that the Halloween Collection ends up on the shelves in the Emporium, which will at the beginning of August 2024.
Last year, the first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was held on August 11. Decorations were up in time for that event, with most going up during the first week of the month. Expect something similar this year. That puts the date Halloween decorations go up as somewhere between August 3 and August 7, 2024.
Ultimately, that seems pretty early for Halloween decorations–over two months before the actual holiday–but it matches with event dates and tourists who visit Walt Disney World post-July tend to be on board with Halloween starting early.
When do you think Halloween decorations will go up in Magic Kingdom? Think August 3-7, 2024 is a reasonable prediction or do you think decor will go up earlier or later? How do you feel about that date–still too early for Halloween? Do decorations help ‘get you in the spook season spirit’ and make you more likely to make a souvenir or snack purchase? (Be honest!) Are you excited to a break from reality and some Halloween fun at Walt Disney World or will you be sitting out spook season this year? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!