(This arti­cle may or may not con­tain affil­i­ate links. What does that mean?)

It start­ed on our fam­i­ly trip in the lob­by of the Great Wolf Lodge in Gar­den Grove, Orange Coun­ty. A big, black spi­der clung to the ceil­ing, its sharp fangs hov­er­ing over the lit­tle guest’s heads, an eerie spi­der­web cov­ered the entire front win­dow. This sight alone would have turned any sen­si­ble crea­ture to a pile of mush — if this spooky Howl-O-Ween spec­ta­cle was­n’t craft­ed entire­ly of balloons.


A giant balloon spider at the Great Wolf Lodge Holiday Spooktacular

Try step­ping on that thing


“Is that more bal­loons than any­where?” asked 6‑year-old Knox. “I don’t know hon­ey,” I answered, won­der­ing about the world record for bal­loon exhibits, “but it sure is a lot!”

The giant wolf den into which we had stepped this past Feb­ru­ary, when the Great Wolf Lodge first opened its doors in Gar­den Grove, CA , was now trans­formed into a mock house of hor­rors with dec­o­ra­tions designed to bring smiles instead of fright to young and old alike. If your adven­tur­ous fam­i­ly is plan­ning a vis­it to Dis­ney­land to check out the new Galaxy’s Edge attrac­tions or the Ana­heim area dur­ing any time in Octo­ber, a stop at the Great Wolf Lodge to check out their Howl-O-Ween activ­i­ties should be on your itinerary.


Howl-O-Ween Happenings

Mul­ti-hued spi­ders crawled along every wall.


Great Wolf Lodge Holiday Spooktacular spiders everywhere


A haunt­ed house mys­te­ri­ous­ly appeared in the back of the lobby.


Haunted House at Great Wolf Lodge Holiday Spooktacular

no solic­i­tors allowed at this creepy mansion


Pock­ets of decay lay in every nook and cranny.


chills at Great Wolf Lodge Holiday Spooktacular

it was contagious


Even the wolf ears had changed colors.

Yet, we dis­cov­ered although our favorite lodge had trans­formed to cel­e­brate the fall sea­son, all the fun we had first fall­en in love with, was still there.

Once we arrived, the boys decid­ed to inves­ti­gate the newest exhibits lat­er and wast­ed no time in throw­ing their lug­gage into their den,


Wolf Den at the Great Wolf Lodge Spooktacular

pups peek­ing out their fav wolf den


don­ning their ears and rac­ing off to seek sog­gy adventures!


Great Wolf Lodge Spooktacular water park


Great Wolf Lodge Water Slides by Age

After our last for­ay into the Great Wolf Lodge, many have asked what the appro­pri­ate ages are for the dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties there and what are some of the restrictions.

The restric­tions have more to do with height than age. There is a handy guide, as you walk into the water park, that puts adven­tur­ers into col­or categories.


taking measurements at the Great Wolf Lodge Fall



They are then giv­en a wrist­band that alerts life­guards and attrac­tion hosts whether they are tall enough to appre­ci­ate the var­i­ous slides and adven­tures around the water­park. Kaleb is over 48 inch­es tall so fell into the green cat­e­go­ry, which meant he could do any­thing there, while Knox was push­ing yel­low but still with­in that range. He sport­ed a yel­low wrist­band, which showed he was taller than 42 inch­es. The wrist­band saved on time since the hosts did­n’t have to mea­sure him before every ride. The yel­low des­ig­na­tion meant he could go on every attrac­tion except the Howl­ing Tor­na­do and Wolf Tail. So that just meant, I had to go on the Howl­ing Tor­na­do with Kaleb.


Great Wolf Lodge Fall Spooktacular Howling Tornado


And how was it? Glad you asked.….


The only oth­er thing Knox could­n’t do was the Wolf Tail and since I did it last time, I did­n’t feel like I had any­thing left to prove and did­n’t want to wait in that long line again. Or so I told my kids 😉

Dad­dy and Kaleb decid­ed to try out their surf tricks on the Wolf Rid­er Wipe­out. Knox was­n’t tall enough to ride it on the surf­board but he could have done the boo­gie board.

Dad­dy went first.



He did­n’t do as well as the first time he tried it.

Kaleb braved the cur­rent too.



I think he did bet­ter than Dad­dy! Dad­dy might need a lit­tle more practice.

We splashed around in the lazy riv­er Crooked Creek.…


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Crooked Creek

feel­ing lazy.…


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween


The boys got a chance to prac­tice their Amer­i­ca Nin­ja War­rior skills at Big Foot Pass, which is open to all heights and ages.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Big Foot Pass


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Big Foot Pass


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Big Foot Pass

I made it!


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Big Foot Pass


They chilled on a float­ing log in Chi­nook Cove.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-o-Ween

tak­ing a breather.…


Then they want­ed to get their sports on, so shot some bas­kets in a dif­fer­ent area of the same “cove”.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-o-Ween score!

three points!


Life vests are avail­able for any­one that wants them.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-o-Ween life jackets


One area they did­n’t explore but looked fun for those who are still grow­ing into their height was the Cub Paw Pool.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Cub Paw Pool

mini par­adise


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Cub Pool

adven­tur­ers in train­ing (pants)


The Food

The water­park stays open until 9 pm from Fri­day to Sun­day but we had­n’t had any din­ner, so we wrapped it up short­ly before then, show­ered off,  put on our jam­mies and had a late buf­fet din­ner at the Loose Moose which thank­ful­ly stays open until 10:00pm on weekends.


Loose Moose at Great Wolf Lodge Spooktacular

broth­ers in ears


I was impressed again by the cre­ative and healthy options offered by the restaurant.


Loose Moose at Great Wolf Lodge Spooktacular


They were impressed again by the dessert.


dessert at Great Wolf Lodge Spooktacular

I give it a 9.5


The Regular Rooms and Holiday Rooms

I got a chance to meet Har­ri­son and tour the var­i­ous rooms on the prop­er­ty and also learned about the var­i­ous hol­i­day and win­ter themed activ­i­ties that the Great Wolf Lodge will offer its guests for the next few months.

There are var­i­ous rooms avail­able at the lodge. We stayed in the Wolf Den,


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-A-Ween Wolf Den

rest­ing their howls




which is per­fect for a fam­i­ly with two kids as the boys have their own space where they can chill out with their own TV and ani­mals that come to life when you wave the magi wand at them and the adults have their own lit­tle retreat and don’t have to hear those cute lit­tle sounds all night.

For fam­i­lies with three or more chil­dren, there is anoth­er themed suite called the KidsCabin.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Kids Cabin




And if that was­n’t enough, dur­ing the win­ter hol­i­days, there is even the option of hav­ing a Christ­mas-themed suite for fam­i­lies who still want to cel­e­brate Christ­mas but are far from their tree.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl_O-Ween Winter Suites dsc_0115




I did­n’t see where the Chanukah themed suites were but I guess a meno­rah is more portable than a tree.

There’s even options if you’re trav­el­ing with grand­ma and grandpa…or with fam­i­ly that snores!

San­ta will arrive at the lodge the week­end after Thanks­giv­ing on Novem­ber 26, offer­ing him a chance to eat his turkey with Mrs. Claus. The wolves, Wiley and Vio­let will accom­pa­ny him in their con­vert­ible car. That day is sure to be howls of frozen fun!


The Free Activities

We went to bed way past our bed­time so we did­n’t get a chance to start our next day with the free yoga class the resort offers in the lobby.


Free yoga at Great Wolf Lodge Spooktacular

wolf tree asana


Not to miss out on that great way to begin our day, we decid­ed to do yoga in our room before breakfast.


yoga at Free yoga at Great Wolf Lodge Spooktacular

ears off for down­ward fac­ing dog


Besides free yoga, there’s a whole array of free activ­i­ties offered dai­ly to guests of all ages. It real­ly is an amuse­ment park that you can sleep in, as the assis­tant Gen­er­al Man­ag­er, Diana Har­ri­son described the resort.


After yoga and break­fast, dad­dy took the boys for a while so mom­my could enjoy some down­time. There is an out­door area that is per­fect for those who need a lit­tle escape from the chlo­ri­nat­ed air inside the water park and is also per­fect for tod­dlers and babies.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween

lots of out­door fun


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween outdoor area


In this out­door area, there is also a bar and a place to order lunch that does­n’t involve fried meats or breads topped with cheeses. There are also a vari­ety of adult bev­er­ages. In oth­er words, this area is per­fect for all ages.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween drinks

treats for everyone


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween

every­one’s happy


When the boys came back, we all dove back into the water park and got a chance to have some thrilling fam­i­ly fun.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween River Canyon Run

a fam­i­ly that slides together.….


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween

I brought my own jack-o-lantern


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween and the Holidays

We could have spent the entire day and night in the fun water park but we had Hal­loween busi­ness to attend to in the dry parts of the indoor amuse­ment park. The entire month of Octo­ber, all the hotel areas trans­form into a mock haunt­ed house with a trick-or-treat­ing trail that begins at the haunt­ed house in the lob­by every night at 5pm. The path goes through sev­en haunt­ed sta­tions where the pack mem­bers (aka the employ­ees) live out their own fun child­hood fan­tasies by bring­ing them to life for your kids, says Harrison.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween



Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween


The kids get can­dy and activ­i­ty books. But who says kids get to have all the fun?


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween Trick or Treating

may the force be with you!


And we weren’t the only ones who got in the spir­it with the kiddos.….


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween

tonight dark and light are united


The haunt­ed house will be remod­eled after Thanks­giv­ing into a Gin­ger­bread House, and the lob­by will trans­form into Snow­land. Fam­i­lies can sign up online to eat a pri­vate meal inside the Gin­ger­bread House for only $10. The Great Wolf Lodge donates all pro­ceeds from the spe­cial venue to Ronald McDon­ald House to sup­port fam­i­lies with sick children.


Paw Pass

After going through all the sta­tions, the boys want­ed to seek their fame and for­tune by tak­ing on one of the Mag­iQuests that was includ­ed in the Paw Pass­es we got.


Great Wolf Lodge Paw Passes

It real­ly is a good deal


Bat­tle sta­tions are spread through­out the hotel.…


Great Wolf Lodge Paw Passes MagiQuest

Knight Sky­walk­er and Prince Kanobi


They loved their quests and it’s an activ­i­ty that’s good for kids and teens. The younger ones can have their own, short­er, adven­ture with the Club­house Crew, stuffed friends they can build at the Cre­ation Sta­tion.

Also include in our pass was a bunch of sou­venirs the boys got to take home and show to their friends at school.


Great Wolf Lodge Paw Passes Glitter Tattoos

leav­ing an impression




The leather bracelets, includ­ed with the Pass, were cool but the Great Wolf Lodge band is still on Knox’s wrist. He refus­es to take it off. It’s going on three weeks now.


Great Wolf Lodge

Don’t talk to me about germs please


When their sen­tences, weeks lat­er, begin with, “Do you wish you could live at the Great Wolf Lodge for­ev­er?” you know you’re going back.


Things I noted:

  • The floors in the water­park are new and less slip­pery. Last time we saw a woman take a big slip and we won­dered how long it would take for them to make a change.…not long at all!


Great Wolf Lodge


  • The life­guards are more obser­vant than any I’ve ever seen.


Great Wolf Lodge Guard

on duty


  • We ran into two fam­i­lies we knew from home. Kids loved that.


Great Wolf Lodge


  • In fact, peo­ple can come from the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ty and dine or have drinks there even if they’re not guests of the hotel.
  • There are DAY PASSES you can buy if you want to have all the play but don’t want to stay. There are also DEALS to save money.
  • Although we were all fine and spent HOURS inside the water­park each day, it’s impor­tant to take breaks if you have asth­ma or oth­er res­pi­ra­to­ry issues. Luck­i­ly, there is a ton of fun options.


Great Wolf Lodge Howl-O-Ween

show­ing their true identities