Looking for a spooky town to rev up your Halloween celebrations? What about a place you can see a giant pumpkin, jump on a hayride, take a ghost tour, or check out some of the scariest spots in America? No matter what part of the country you are in, Halloween festivities are happening near you, but do you dare to partake?
From small towns in New England with frightening histories to Halloween family fun like pumpkin carving to iconic places in film and television, this list of the best Halloween towns has you covered! Add some extra scare to your typical trick-or-treating and haunted happenings this year, and add one of these legendary Halloween festivities to your end-of-October plans.
11 Best Halloween Towns
11. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Another New England city with an edge of supernatural history, Philadelphia is sure to expose your inner scaredy-cat. Since the town's history goes back so far, Philly is reportedly home to several haunted sights. Past inmates haunt today's visitors at the Eastern State Penitentiary, where you can embark on the Terror Behind the Walls Tour.
The Pennhurst Asylum is another hot spot for hauntings. The Baleroy Mansion was once dubbed the "Most Haunted Home in America." The story says that the carpenter who built the mansion murdered his wife in the main house. Since then, the home has been a buzzing bubble for paranormal activity. If you are with the kids, be sure to check out the annual Scarecrows in the Village, which showcases Peddler's Village wholly decked out for the holiday.
10. New Orleans, Louisiana
No matter the time of year or occasion, New Orleans or the "Big Easy" has your back on all things music, food, and booze. Come October, though, New Orleans turns into a wonderfully spooky city of mind-blowing costumes, Halloween parades, and tours to historic graveyards. The Krewe of Boo parade hosts themed floats as well as live music for all to enjoy.
There are endless ways to enjoy this fine holiday in NOLA. Some of our favorites include taking a walking tour of St. Louis Cemetary #1, attending the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, going to the New Orleans Vampire Ball, taking the kids to Boo at the Zoo, or heading out on a Ghost City Tour and Haunted Pub Crawl.
9. Orlando, Florida
If you are looking for a less traditional but probably cooler way to spend your Halloween, make a trip to the theme-park capital of the country, Orlando, Florida. During this time of year, the central theme parks transform their inner workings of roller coasters and family rides to create a fantastical world of fright and spook for Halloween lovers around the globe.
Legoland Florida, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, and SeaWorld Orlando each do their part to create their version of a haunted paradise within each park's grounds. There are parties for the kids, thrilling adventures for the adults, and just about everything in between! The icing on the cake, however, is the Halloween Horror Nights at Orlando's Universal Resort. Suppose theme parks are not your cup of apple cider. In that case, you can also visit the Princeton Hotel, reportedly one of the most haunted places in the region.
8. Independence, Kansas
Cleverly named Neewollah (Halloween spelled backward), this nine-day Halloween festival takes the festivities to an entirely new level of fun and fright. Happening in the charming town of Independence, this Kansas celebration is the largest in the entire state and sees upwards of 70,000 visitors every year.
There is a curated lineup for Halloween lovers of all ages, including events for the kids like carnivals, parades, and custom contests to adult-friendly parties like the famous DooDah Parade. The DooDah parade gives those young at heart a chance to strut their stuff in this Mardi-Gras-inspired costume parade. You shouldn't miss the opportunity to get spooked at the Shattered Souls Haunted House & Shatter Vision 3D, where there is "always a surprise waiting for you."
7. Fort Worth, Texas
Fondly known as "Cowtown" almost every day of the year besides when Halloween comes around, let us tell you why Fort Worth is surprisingly on our list of best Halloween towns. This old West Texas town is home to cowboys, the famous stockyards, and historical sites of Texas' train robber past.
Come October, however, the town turns into a spooky destination for thrill-seekers of all calibers to delight in. Kids can go trick-or-treating in the decorated Stockyards, get lost in the maze, or ride the Ghost Bus to discover haunting destinations around the city. If your frights are more fun with some liquid courage, the Cowtown Winery also visits the most famous spots in the area. You can even stay in the same hotel room as Bonnie and Clyde by booking Room 306 at The Stockyards Hotel.
6. Laconia, New Hampshire
If you are into Halloween for all things pumpkin, be sure to add the small town of Laconia, New Hampshire, to your must-see list of spooky sites. Laconia receives over 40,000 travelers flock within its borders during October. While there are many haunted attractions in town, the main draw for visitors is the NH Pumpkin Festival. The streets are lined with live music, food, and fun activities for your entire ghoul crew.
5. Estes Park, Colorado
One of the famous locales of Stephen King's bone-chilling classic horror film The Shining, The Stanley Hotel is one of the most haunted happenings in Colorado, if not the entire country.
Situated in Estes Park, this hauntingly horrific hotel offers an exhilarating murder mystery dinner called the "Shining Ball," a perfect way to get cozy (and scared) every year come Halloween time! Outside of the hotel ball, you can visit Estes Parks' Main Street, where everyone goes trick-or-treating on Halloween night instead of the classic door-to-door route.
4. St. Helens, Oregon
The best time of year to visit St. Helens, a quaint city in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon, is by far in October. The Halloween Spirit lives on in St. Helens, where the famous Disney movie Halloweentown was filmed. Tourists can check out the incredible variety of Spirit of Halloweentown happenings, including the giant pumpkin lighting, a self-guided walking tour of local haunted attractions, as well as the Nightmare of Main Street's Haunted House (not for the faint of heart).
3. Anoka, Minnesota
Did you know that Anoka, a small town outside of Minneapolis, is dubbed the "Halloween capital of the world"? Anoka was one of the first recorded places to celebrate the holiday, with Halloween festivities that date back to the 1920s. Initially, the celebrations started to keep the city's youth from committing harmful pranks and other shenanigans.
The Halloween party kicks off on All Hallow's Eve with bonfires, parades, scavenger hunts, scarecrow contests, and about every activity you could conjure. You can even enjoy a haunted meal at Billy's Bar and Grill, located inside an old Victorian haunted hotel. The experience continually tests the fear levels of its brave-hearted visitors.
2. Sleepy Hollow, New York
Located just over an hour from the heart of New York City, Sleepy Hollow is home to the Washington Irving's headless horseman tale. One of the literature's stand-out characters is The Headless Horseman from the movie "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," a classic story of mystery and fright in this sleepy town.
When you visit Sleepy Hollow, the Van Cortlandt Manor is a great place to start your Halloween tour. This 300-year-old estate is wholly made over every year for the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze, which features thousands of carved pumpkins magically lit up every night. Other scary sites in Sleepy Hollow include the Sleepy Hollow Cemetary and the Lyndhurst Castle.
1. Salem, Massachusetts
Probably one of the spookiest towns all year round, not just during Halloween season, Salem has quite the ghouling reputation for being the home of the infamous Salem Witch Trials. This small New England town magnetizes visitors from all over the world but particularly in October for all things Halloween.
All things scare and spook happen in Salem, Massachusetts, including reenactments of the witch trials in the 1600s, Count Orlok's Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum and haunted house, the annual Witches' Halloween Ball, and so much more! Take a deep dive into the city's history with a visit to Gallow's Hill Park, the Old Burying Point, or by attending some of the Halloween events lined up for the month-long Festival of the Dead.
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