Halloween is often associated with ghouls, goblins and witches, but it can also be an excellent time to travel. An October vacation means you’ll beat the holiday travel crowds and experience cool autumn weather. If you’re up for a unique adventure, consider putting a seasonal spin on your trip and visiting one of the country’s most haunted locales. The US cities listed here are home to extra spooky events & attractions to get you in the spirit of Halloween!
Salem is widely considered one of the top Halloween destinations in America as well as one of the spookiest cities in the country. Every October, residents commemorate the witch trials of 1692 at the Haunted Happenings Festival. Attendees experience parades and re-enactments of the trials, and can even get their fortune read by a psychic. Visitors can also take in eerie attractions such as the Salem Witch Museum, Frankenstein’s Laboratory, and the Old Witch House, former home of witch trial Judge Corwin that has since been turned into a museum.
Another must-see is the Haunted Witch Village, which was once the home of renowned author Nathaniel Hawthorne and is now the biggest and longest-running haunted house in Salem. You can also sign up for the Witch Trial Trail and take part in the city’s annual Halloween costume ball. After a day of exploring the sites of the city, guests can return to the comforts of their Salem bed and breakfast - many of the inns here are located in old houses and cottages that have their own intriguing histories!
New Orleans, LA
Book a New Orleans inn and head to the Big Easy for a unique and theatrical Halloween experience. New Orleans is widely considered the most haunted city in America as it is filled with historic homes, many with mysterious and often unsavory histories. The city is also home to many above-ground cemeteries. The wet conditions of the land mean the deceased must be buried in crypts above the ground. These cemeteries are so unearthly that they’re called “Cities of the Dead.” Visitors can take a guided tour of the city’s creepiest cemeteries as well as the haunted French Quarter and Vieux Carre neighborhoods.
Another must see is the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum. Its galleries are full of artifacts relaying the dark secrets and history of the practice. If you extend your stay into the beginning of November, you can catch the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience, a festival that celebrates the spiritual folkways that shaped New Orleans culture. The massive three-day event features several stages of music, a Halloween parade and a costume contest, among other festivities.
Savannah is the oldest city within the state of Georgia and has the long and strange history to match. Legend has it that parts of the historic downtown area were erected on top of cemeteries, and many of these buildings are said to be haunted. The city’s residents really get into the spirit of the holiday with ghost hunting excursions, haunted tours and guided voyages through the city’s graveyards. On Halloween night, you’ll find locals and visitors alike walking the streets in costume, many taking part in pub crawls along River Street. Don’t miss out on a visit to the Mercer Williams House, the real-life site of the non-fiction murder story “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”
Enhance your Halloween vacation with a stay at one of the many historic Savannah bed and breakfasts, like the Kehoe House, a five-story Renaissance Revival mansion with a past that dates back to the 19th century. In fact, it has it’s own eerie details - the inn once served as a funeral parlor and many say that ghosts walk the halls of the mansion!
As the very first U.S. city to celebrate the holiday in 1920, Anoka., Minnesota attracts many Halloween travelers. Each year, Anoka hosts a huge city-wide celebration that starts ten days before Halloween and features festivities including a parade, fireworks and costume contests. Visitors can take an extensive ghost tour with stops at spots like the Jackson Hotel and Billy's Bar & Grill or enjoy a night of dancing at the Orange Tie Ball before retiring for a relaxing evening at one of the charming inns near Anoka.
By Nicole Martinez