Want to get away for the Halloween weekend? You’ve come to the right place! Cities across the country and a few around the world are having their own unique Halloween celebrations this weekend — leaving you with plenty of spooktacular options. Whether you’re planning to drive somewhere close to home or to take flight to a far-flung destination, we have the skinny on the scariest locations. We just hope you get in and out … alive!
From Haunted houses to witch shops, costume parties to parades, Salem lives up to its historic reputation in the spirit of Halloween. During the Halloween season, as many as 250,000 people visit Salem — and why shouldn’t you be one of them? Depending on what spooks you, Salem has something to offer for travelers of all ages.
The House of Seven Gables is one of the most well-known attractions in Salem, due to it being the inspiration behind a chilling literary classic by author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Employees and visitors all report seeing spirits peering through the window as well as hearing child-like footsteps running across the attic. If that isn’t enough to send chills down your spine, you may also enjoy Salem’s Festival of the Dead. It’s a month-long festival that gets particularly exciting during Halloween weekend. During the festival, you can experience The Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo and in the evening dine and dance the night away at The Official Salem Witches Halloween Ball.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Sleepy Hollow is the birthplace of the well-known tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, so Halloween is an especially unique time to visit the city. Horseman’s Hollow is both a trick and a treat for visitors. The Phillipsburg Manor — a 300-year-old mansion — is transformed into a spectacle of ghosts, ghouls, and witches with creepy surprises at every turn.
The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze is an attraction that is less on the haunted side and more on the artful side as there are over 7,000 individually handcrafted jack-o-lanterns displayed in an elaborate walk-through-style setting. And of course, Sleepy Hollow attractions would not be complete without a Haunted Hayride. This hayride takes you through the real Sleepy Hollow’s history with some twists along the way, so be careful not to lose your head!
If you’re a vampire enthusiast or if you want to have a seriously bragworthy Halloween experience, Transylvania is the place to be! Made famous in numerous films as the resting place of vampires, it’s only right that it lives up to the hype as one of the best Halloween experiences in the world. Once home to Vlad Dracula (AKA Vlad the Impaler), Bran Castle is open during the day and is also available to a brave few who would like to spend the night!
Staying with the spirit of Dracula, one of the world’s best Halloween parties will be held in Sighisoara Citadel (the birthplace of Dracula), complete with traditional Romanian food — YUM! (spoiler alert: blood is not a featured beverage, despite the region’s vampiric fame). If by chance you have energy in the morning to do some more sightseeing, visit Snagov Monastery. The monastery is located on an island, surrounded by a lake with the same name. The tomb of Dracula is located in front of the church alter on the island. Eerie!
New Orleans, Louisiana
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If you’ve never been able to get to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, Halloween is the next best thing! On Halloween night, there’s an annual walking parade that begins at Molly at the Market and works its way through the French Quarter. There’s also the Voodoo Music Festival, which lasts for 3 days at the end of October. This year’s show includes heavy-hitters like Mumford & Sons, A Perfect Circle, Childish Gambino, Arctic Monkeys, and Modest Mouse. In addition to the main festivities, there are also activities for children at Boo at the Zoo — a Halloween extravaganza with games, a haunted house, a ghost train, and of course … trick-or-treating!
Halloween is gaining popularity in Mexico as an extension of the historical Mexican Day of the Dead. In Mexico, it’s customary to start Halloween by tidying the graves of loved ones and garnishing gravestones and plots with flowers and other decorative ornaments. The city of Cancun is no exception to commemorating this unique holiday as there will be parades, festivals, and displays throughout the city.
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Rounding out our countdown is the country in which Halloween originated 3,000 years ago (according to legend). The Halloween festivities in Dublin last all weekend long towards the end of October and will be host to tons of events — most of which are geared towards family fun!
One of the main attractions is The Bram Stoker Festival, which features all kinds of horror-filled treats and attractions for the whole family and spans four days. Don’t want to participate in family-oriented activities? Get your drink on like a true Irishman at one of the hostel pub crawls!
Where will you be headed this Halloween weekend? Are you planning to visit any of the places above? Let us know in the comments!