The leaves are falling, the temperatures are dropping, and Halloween lovers are plotting their next epic costume. If you’re bored handing out candy and visiting local haunts, or if you want to take the kids somewhere with a little more hocus-pocus, then check out Adventure Travel’s list of spooky Halloween destinations below—because there’s nothing scarier than doing the same old thing. From the youngest trickster to the horror-movie-loving grandma, our list includes hauntingly splendid locations for everyone to celebrate the spookiest month of the year.
Halloween in New Orleans offers much for the adults who love spooky season. Coming in hot on the heels of Mardi Gras, Halloween is the second most popular time in the Crescent City. The options for eerie activities are endless: tour haunted buildings within the French Quarter, learn about voodoo at a local shop, visit cemeteries where the deceased are buried in above-ground tombs, and get wild at some of the country’s most over-the-top Halloween bashes. There’s plenty to give the littles some kid-friendly goosebumps too. Trick-or-treating, parades, and other family fun awaits in this eccentric Southern city.
Who does costumes better than theme parks? No one! Orlando is home to Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Legoland Florida, making this Florida destination a winner for celebrating Halloween with the family. Kid-friendly festivities and lighthearted celebrations abound at all the parks, and more thrilling fare for the older visitors is readily found too. The parks go above and beyond with elaborate Halloween decorations for an added touch of fun the whole family will love.
If you like Halloween with a side of history, then Salem is the spot for you. Home of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, where 19 unfortunate souls were sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft, Salem now celebrates Halloween (and witches) all month long. The city plays host to numerous spooky happenings, including a parade, trial re-enactments, and the Salem Witches Ball, as well as kid-friendly events and trick-or-treating. Massachusetts is well-loved for its vibrantly hued fall foliage too, so you’ll get the full fall experience here!
Southern hospitality, Civil War history, and quirky personality combine in Savannah, making this charming Southern town a Halloween destination dynamo. Spanish Moss-draped trees line cobblestone streets of haunted Antebellum homes for a superbly creepy experience. See the area’s battlefields and cemeteries and listen to local ghost stories and legends. Fans of John Berendt’s mystery novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will relish experiencing the book’s eccentric setting first-hand. Visiting in October also offers less humidity and cooler temperatures—a big plus when vacationing in Savannah.
For fans of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and for those who loved the spooky flick, spend some time in the real town of Sleepy Hollow, New York. Locals report hearing the Headless Horseman at cemeteries throughout the area even to this day! Irving is buried at Old Dutch Burying Ground, one of the oldest cemeteries in the US, which offers tours by day and night. If creepy cemeteries aren’t your thing, there are activities and family events to keep everyone delightfully frightened: gothic mansions, haunted hayrides, fairs, and parades are just a few of the options available. Like Massachusetts, New York foliage bursts with color this season, an ideal setting for a fall getaway.
Go international and celebrate All Hallows’ Eve on the Emerald Isle. Did you know Halloween originated in Ireland? “Samhain Night” was a medieval festival that marked the end of harvest and signified shorter days and longer nights. Lore said this was a time the dead revisited the living. The event is still celebrated around the island and more modern Halloween activities, like haunted houses, ghost tours, and trick-or-treating, are found in plenty. Not to mention the country’s spectacular castles and storied past set a surreal scene for Halloween magic.
Dying to celebrate Halloween somewhere out of the ordinary? Romania is top of our list. High in the mountains of Romania’s Transylvania region lies Bran Castle, the reputed home of Vlad the Impaler, a cruel man who served as literary inspiration for fiction’s most infamous vampire, Dracula. Tour the castle during your visit for a history lesson spiked with madness. The region offers many hotel options and vacation rentals set amongst a spectacular mountain backdrop for an all-around exciting European vacation. (Uniworld offers an enchanting river cruise and rail tour through Romania and down the Danube River. Ask us for details and hot offers!)
Did our list inspire Halloween wanderlust? If you’re ready to experience a spine-tingling time this spooky season (or any time of year), then contact the vacation-planning experts at Adventure Travel today—all you need to do is pack your costume.