Are you wondering about the best places to go for Halloween? Are you tired of going to the same old parties, with the same dull costumes and the same lame scene? Don't give up hope - there are still unique, exciting, absolutely terrifying Halloween destinations in the nation. These incredible Halloween celebrations start as early as August, and the terror ramps up until October 31st. These fêtes have a variety of scare levels, so there’s something for everyone. Pack your bags, get in the car, and plan a trip to one of these amazing Halloween extravaganzas!
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The Month-Long Celebration Of All Things Witchy In Salem, MAPhoto: SalemPuritan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0
Salem, MA, doesn't just celebrate Halloween. The town is Halloween. The sheer magnitude of spooky events and scary shows during the entire month of October will have you sleeping with the lights on. At the beginning of the month, be sure to check out the Salem Psychic Fair and Witches Market, where you can have your tarot cards read or attempt to converse with a spirit. Next, do a little trick-or-treating with the mayor at the annual Salem Chamber of Commerce Haunted Happenings Grand Parade before you settle in for the Salem Horror Film Fest.
Need something more family friendly? Check out the Salem Zombie Walk. Finally, on October 31st, choose from the Annual Salem Witches Magic Circle, an outdoor showing of Hocus Pocus, or the Halloween Finale Fireworks.
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Headless Horseman-Themed Haunts In Sleepy Hollow, NY
Halloween in Sleepy Hollow, NY, is a month-long event. There’s a little something for everyone, with music, parades, a haunted hayride, spooky historical sites, and even a haunted castle tour. The Horseman’s Hollow Haunted House will have your head rolling. Visit the crypt of the famous vampire Barnabas Collins, or check out an Edgar Allen Poe reading in the Sleepy Hollow cemetery.
Listen to a dramatic performance of Washington Irving’s "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in the Old Dutch Church. Or, head over to nearby Croton-on-Hudson and see more than 10,000 individually hand-carved and illuminated jack o’lanterns in the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.
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Halloweentown In St. Helens, ORPhoto: Spirit of Halloweentown / Facebook
St. Helens, a small city in northern Oregon, otherwise known as Halloweentown, is home to one of the most unique Halloween seasons you can find. The Disney Channel movie Halloweentown, the inspiration for this month-long fest, was actually filmed in St. Helens in 1997.
Events include bonfires, costume contests, parades, live music, pumpkin patch trips, and tarot card readings. Maybe you’d like to take a tractor ride to an alien crash site, or watch some rubber burn at the haunted hot rod and hearse car rally. You can enter Fido in the pet costume contest, or bring the little one to the Festival of the Fairies. All of your wildest Halloween dreams come true in this very special town.
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The Annual Masquerade Ball At 'The Shining' Hotel In Estes Park, COPhoto: Stanley Hotel / Facebook
Why not spend Halloween at the Stanley Hotel, the location that inspired Stephen King’s The Shining? The storied establishment in Estes Park, CO, throws one of the most exclusive and extravagant Halloween celebrations in the nation. The excitement surrounding this event is palpable, and most people book their reservations nearly a year in advance.
The two-week festivities start with the Murder Mystery Dinner and Shining Ball and conclude with the Halloween Masquerade Party. The party features a costume contest, dancing, dining, and flowing drinks. Not into partying? You can still check out the Night Spirit tour at the hotel.
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The Krewe Of Boo Parade And Costume Extravaganza In New Orleans, LAPhoto: Krewe of Boo / Facebook
New Orleans, LA, hosts an annual Halloween party called the Krewe of Boo. Over 100,000 people descend on the streets of the French Quarter to enjoy the scariest and most exciting themed floats. Instead of Mardi Gras beads, candy and collectibles are tossed from the parade floats to commemorate the event.
You can even apply to become a member and ride on a float. After the parade, the fun ramps up at the Monster Mash costume party.
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The RMS 'Queen Mary's' Dark Harbor In Long Beach, CAPhoto: Queen Marys Dark Harbor / Facebook
What’s scarier than a haunted house on a luxury liner built in 1934? How about six haunted houses? The RMS Queen Mary, permanently moored in Long Beach, CA, hosts Dark Harbor beginning in late September. Six scary haunted mazes await you, each with a different theme. Three are located on the ship itself, and three are on the spooky grounds just outside of the boat. The narrow passageways, old architecture, and creepy boiler rooms are enough to frighten even seasoned scare attraction visitors.
VIP admission includes entrance to the RIP Lounge, where you can watch your fellow revelers scream in terror as zombies and monsters stagger through the crowds below. If you’d rather stay on the boat, take advantage of several spooky offerings. Dine with the spirits, or take a ghost and legends tour. You can even spend the night on the ship - if you dare.