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Disney throws open its doors for Halloween

Disney Interactive Media Group throws a back lot Halloween party to promote its game lineup and give kids a special look at where the onscreen magic originates.

The Seven Dwarfs do their part to hold up the main Disney office building on the studio back lot.
John Scott Lewinski/CNET

BURBANK, Calif.--Every Hollywood studio is security-conscious in this era of online spoilers, but the folks at Disney play it tighter to the vest than most. To keep its news fresh (and to preserve the fairytale illusions for kids), Disney doesn't let "non-cast members" behind the scenes very often.

So it was a special (trick or) treat last week when Disney Interactive Media Group invited members of the press, staffers, and any kids in earshot to come on the studio back lot for a Halloween party.

The group used the event to hype its current slate of games across multiple platforms (Xbox 360, PS3, iOS, and PC), including Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, Cars 2: The Video Game, and Disney Universe.

Disney Universe was the central attraction. Set for release on October 25, the co-op adventure game borrows the best elements from Lego games and MMOs to encourage teamwork between young players as they tackle various quests. Players can choose different costumes resembling more than 40 classic Disney characters while traveling through six Disney worlds mashing different genres. For example, players can travel through Disney's Wonderland or Pixar's Monstropolis dressed as Tron or Nemo.

Away from the gaming stations, costumed kids and their parents were invited on a trick-or treat-themed back lot tour. Children took up their mini-flashlights and decorated buckets to pick up Swedish Fish and Candy Corn while their parents saw where such classics as "101 Dalmatians" and "The Lion King" were made.

After the tour, kids could make Halloween decorations and compete in a costume contest while fueling up with as many sugary treats as they could grab. To keep parents' nerves leveled, adults could visit an open wine bar (the frequency, of course, depended on the child in question).

The entire scene featured kids racing in every direction, exhausted parents trying to control the little ones' glucose levels, and Disney staff and security working to keep the herd reasonably controlled. As far as I know, there might still be little Mickey Mouses and Cinderellas running from their folks as they happily coming down from their sugar high somewhere on that back lot.