Today is the first day of October beginning the official countdown to Halloween and my birthday! Because my birthday is only 2 days before Halloween, my celebrations always included a certain Halloween flair. As a child that meant enjoying costume parties at home with my classmates surrounded by spooky decorations. In my twenties, I took my costume adventures on the road to the Halloween celebrations on Austin’s 6th Street and Londonderry, Ireland. This year I’m taking my costume self on the road once more to a little place called New Orleans.
So in honor of my traveling birthday celebrations and love of all things Halloween, I’m sharing 5 of the top Halloween destinations in the US.
Salem, made famous by the 1692 witch trials in which 20 innocent people were executed, is an amazing place to visit year round. However, in October the city pulls out all the stops – haunted houses, costume balls, street performers, parades, and special events at the Salem Witch Museum. There are so many different events that the city had to create a guide for Halloween in Salem. Combine that with beautiful fall foliage, New England charm, and a horrifying history and you’ve got one awesome Halloween getaway.
With above ground cemeteries and a history rich in voodoo, New Orleans is the perfect setting for a Halloween celebration. It’s said that Halloween is the second biggest celebration behind Mardi Gras in this awesome city. You can wander through the beautiful and eery raised cemeteries, learn all about witchcraft and voodoo, enjoy the parades, attend the famous Voodoo Fest or Vampire Ball, and so much more! The only problem you will have is trying to narrow down exactly what events you want to take part in. But if you want to a truly spooky experience, make sure to join one of their famous ghost tours.
STANLEY HOTEL IN ESTES PARK, COLORADO
Situated in Estes Park, Colorado, the Stanley Hotel is a picturesque combination of old world charm and stunning natural views. It has been featured as one of America’s most haunted hotels and even inspired Stephen King to write his famous book The Shining. The hotel plays well to its haunted history by offering a Ghost Adventure package to ensure your stay in one of the haunted rooms. And for Halloween you have your choice of enjoying a murder mystery dinner, The Shining Ball, or a Halloween masquerade ball. Enjoy all three if you please.
If your favorite part of Halloween is the costumes, then look no further than the Village Halloween parade. Bust out your wildest costume and march in the parade. Or just hang back and revel at all the costumes while you enjoy live bands, tons of puppets, and amazing street performers. This parade is guaranteed to be unlike any other. To top it off, you’re in New York, so there is tons to see and do. Enjoy a ghost tour, show off your best Thriller moves, or grab a bite to eat at the famous Jekyll and Hyde restaurant.
If your idea of a costume consists of wearing the least amount of fabric possible, Vegas may be the place for you. Las Vegas, the city of sin, is the perfect destination for an adult Halloween you’ll always remember or never remember depending on your alcohol intake. Las Vegas offers endless Halloween parties and events up and down the strip, the most famous being the Fetish and Fantasy Ball held at the Hard Rock Hotel. And if you’re costume really stands out, you just might win a cash prize at one of the many costume contests. However, if shows are more your speed, the city also offers a variety of choices from a Zombie Burlesque to the Evil Dead the Musical or an annual parade. So grab your costume and prepare your liver for some fun in Sin City!
Orlando is a top tourist destination all year, but in October it really kicks into Halloween Town. And the best part is that it has something for everybody, no matter your age or scare level. For those looking for a little fright for their night, Universal Studios offers one of the top Halloween events in the country, Halloween Horror Nights. So you better get those pipes ready for some truly shriek worthy entertainment. Now, those who want something a little more kid friendly and lower on the scareometer can enjoy a Halloween party with everybody’s favorite mouse, Mickey. Disney World goes all out for Halloween offering parades, costumed characters, spooky lighting effects, and a special fireworks display. Just pick your poison and enjoy. 🙂
Anoka, Minnesota has claimed the title of ‘Halloween Capital of the World‘ since 1920 after hosting the first Halloween parade. Since then this little town continues to jump head first into the Halloween spirit with a week long celebration that includes parties, parades, costume balls, charity runs and contests. If you’re looking for some good ole’ fashion family fun, then Anoka is the place to be for Halloween.
How will you be celebrating Halloween? Do you have any spooky or fun destinations to add to this list?