Halloween at Dollywood: Festival information, 5 things to avoid

Dollywood's Harvest Festival will run through Oct. 31. Guests are encouraged to make reservations to secure an entry to the park (photo courtesy of Dollywood)
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Dollywood’s Harvest Festival and LumiNights celebration is one of Pigeon Forge’s most popular fall and Halloween-themed events.

Dollywood is a popular destination in the fall, attracting tens of thousands of guests from all over the country. 

Each year, the Harvest Festival features special seasonal treats, live entertainment and larger-than-life displays by day as well as thousands of illuminated pumpkins by night.

But if you really want to enjoy the Dollywood Harvest Festival like a pro, there are a few things you should know to avoid while planning your trip.

5. Don’t make spur of the moment plans to visit the park

The Harvest Festival is one of the park’s busiest seasonal events.

And every year, like clockwork, there are always a handful of would-be guests who miss out because they didn’t plan ahead.

You see, when it comes to Dollywood’s seasonal events, two truths are constant.

First, Dollywood operates on a reduced schedule throughout the fall season and closes on select days.

As someone who fell victim to this as a child, I know all too well the disappointment of showing up at the park for a last-minute Dollywood day, only to realize it was closed.

As you can imagine, 10-year-old me wasn’t a happy camper.

Today, adult me always checks the calendar ahead of time using the park’s operating calendar at Dollywood.com.

Second, reservations are not required, but they are highly recommended.

It’s not that unusual for the park to reach capacity during this busy festival. And preference is given to guests with reservations and dated tickets.

Avoid getting left out in the literal cold and make a reservation ahead of time for guaranteed entry. Also, check Tripster for discounts.

Reservations can be made on the Dollywood website 60 days out.

Read Also: When does Dollywood open? Festival dates and more

Dollywood's Harvest Festival will begin Sept. 25 and run through Oct. 31 (photo courtesy of Dollywood)
Each year, the Harvest Festival features special seasonal treats, live entertainment and larger-than-life displays by day as well as thousands of illuminated pumpkins by night (photo courtesy of Dollywood)

4. Don’t wear halloween masks inside the park

Can you wear a Halloween costume at Dollywood? The short answer is, yes you can, as long as you play by the rules.

Guests are asked to abide by the following dress code guidelines.

  • Dollywood guests must wear shoes, sandals or flip flops at all times.
  • All guests must avoid wearing garments or carrying items that display objectionable material in a family environment, including obscene language or graphics.
  • Guests must be fully clothed at all times. Avoid clothing which exposes excessive portions of the skin.
  • Guests must avoid excessively torn clothing.
  • Guests must cover tattoos with objectionable graphics and/or messaging.
  • Female guests 13 and older must cover swimsuits with a shirt or other garment. (Although we really hope you aren’t wear swimsuits to the park in November and December anyway).
  • Guests must avoid facepaint and masks that completely covers the (entire) face or alters their identity.
LumiNights features thousands of glowing pumpkins and hundreds of displays (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)
You can wear a costume at the Harvest Festival, as long as it’s compliant with Dollywood’s dress code (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

3. Don’t dress as Dolly or Santa

While we could no longer find this restriction on the Dollywood website, we advise against dressing as Dolly or Santa while at the park.

As you might imagine, in either case, dressing as one of those two characters might be confusing for other guests and children and is generally discouraged.

2. Don’t bring alcohol, don’t arrive boozy

Dollywood does not serve or sell alcohol. The beloved theme park is and always has been dry, and will remain dry throughout the Harvest Festival event.

Dollywood is a family-friendly theme park. If you’re looking for a boozy event, try Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

Harvest Festival
The Harvest Festival at Dollywood is an award-winning, family-friendly event (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

1. Don’t call it Halloween

Finally, don’t call it “Halloween”.

Dollywood’s Halloween-themed event goes by “Harvest Festival” and the “Great Pumpkin LumiNights”.

Dollywood takes pride in creating a family-friendly not-so-spooky event that’s family-friendly and fun for all ages.

That’s one of the reasons why you’ll almost never see the word Halloween in relation to this event.

There are also no ghosts, no haunted houses and no scares.

In fact, Dollywood isn’t even open on Halloween day.

And honestly, with so many other scary options out there this time of year, we’ve grown to really appreciate that Dollywood goes against the grain and remains true to its brand with a peaceful alternative non-frightening option.

Have you ever visited Dollywood during their Harvest Fesitval or LumiNights event? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.

And for more information and a park operating calendar, please visit www.dollywood.com or call 1-800-DOLLYWOOD.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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