Over the years, living in Indiana has led me to discover some fantastic spooky travel destinations for Halloween in US that will send shivers down your spine. Whether you’re a fan of horror, a lover of all things pumpkin spice, or just someone eager to put on a fantastic costume, I’ve got you covered.
Halloween getaways in the United States can range from wandering through ancient cemeteries where your imagination runs wild to visiting charming pumpkin patches and enjoying fall festivities suitable for the whole family.
So, grab your broomsticks, dust off your best zombie makeup, and join me as we embark on a journey through the top Halloween travel destinations the U.S. has to offer. Whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip or a quick weekend escape, we’re diving headfirst into a world of ghostly tours, autumn festivals, and eerie local customs that will make your Halloween season truly unforgettable.
Hold on tight because things are about to get delightfully spooky! Join us, your Halloween travel experts, as we cater to Halloween enthusiasts seeking to transform their holiday into an unforgettable adventure.
Best Places to Go for Halloween in the United States
For many, Halloween is synonymous with parties, costumes, and distributing candy to eager trick-or-treaters. However, it’s worth reconsidering the idea that this spooky holiday isn’t a great reason to go on a trip. This year, with October 31 falling on a Tuesday, it’s exceptionally convenient for a weekend getaway. You can plan your excursion around one of the cities listed below, all of which seamlessly blend eerie historical sites with exciting seasonal festivities.
New Orleans, Louisiana
A city brimming with rich history and unique character is bound to have a darker, eerie side. New Orleans is renowned for its haunted tales, and you can uncover these legends for yourself through ghost tours offered by Haunted History Tours, French Quarter Phantoms (specializing in spine-chilling cemetery visits), or Royal Carriages, which traverse the French Quarter with mule-drawn carriages. If that’s not sufficient to satisfy your curiosity, consider booking a night in one of the city’s haunted hotels.
Hotel Monteleone, where mysterious occurrences are known to happen on the 13th floor (though it’s advertised as the 14th floor to the public), and Hotel Provincial, a former 18th-century military hospital, are both said to be inhabited by spirits. To add to the Halloween excitement, don’t miss the annual Krewe of Boo! parade, returning on October 23.
With a history marked by the Great Chicago Fire and the infamous era of mob-driven organized crime, the Windy City carries a legacy of tragedy and violence, earning its reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the nation. You can delve into this eerie history by joining a tour with Chicago Hauntings, which offers a close-up exploration of haunted sites such as the location of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Holy Name Cathedral, and Lincoln Park, where an old cemetery once stood.
For a different Halloween experience, the Chicago Botanical Gardens hosts the annual Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns during the two weekends leading up to Halloween, featuring a spectacular display of over a thousand decorated pumpkins, some weighing over 100 pounds. Additionally, the city hosts two major Halloween parades, Arts in the Dark on October 30 and Haunted Halsted on October 31.
New York City, New York
The Big Apple is experiencing a revival as Broadway shows and various forms of entertainment return, thanks to widespread “proof of COVID vaccination” policies. After its cancellation last year, the Village Halloween Parade has received the green light to make a comeback on October 31 in Greenwich Village. This parade is one of the largest Halloween extravaganzas globally, inviting anyone in costume to join in the festivities. In light of safety concerns this year, participants are not only encouraged to wear masks but also to transform them into creative costume elements.
For an enchanting Halloween adventure, venture north of the city to Sleepy Hollow, renowned as the home of the fictional Headless Horseman in Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” If you visit during the Halloween season, you can witness reenactments of the tale, explore cemetery tours, and experience the enchanting Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.
Halloween may be one of the United States’ most beloved holidays, but it’s important not to overlook Dia de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead. This vibrant celebration takes place throughout Mexico and is dedicated to honoring departed loved ones from November 1 to 2. In the southern city of Oaxaca, the festivities are extended, running from October 28 to November 3. This longer duration provides ample time to immerse yourself in the lively festivals, and parades, enjoy agave spirits, and savor delicious Mexican cuisine, particularly dishes featuring mole, a flavorful sauce crafted from a medley of regional ingredients.
Savannah, a charming port city in Georgia, epitomizes Southern hospitality. Its well-preserved architecture, picturesque weeping willow trees, and inviting town squares create a captivating downtown area with both beauty and a hint of mystery. While Savannah is known for its historical allure, it also has a darker side to explore.
For those seeking the supernatural, the Savannah Ghostwalker Tour offers small groups real K2 EMF meters to detect spirits as they venture through historic neighborhoods. On the other hand, Ghost City Tours offers a haunted pub crawl that takes advantage of the city’s open container laws, allowing drinking on the streets and sidewalks.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Fort Pulaski National Monument, once a Civil War prison camp and rumored to be haunted. If you’re in town in mid-October, the Oatland Island Wildlife Center’s annual Halloween Hike takes place on October 15-16. Additionally, the Alee Shriners Terror Plantation operates every Friday and Saturday in October, providing extra chills for those seeking Halloween thrills.
Los Angeles, California
In September and October, it’s tough to find a better family-friendly Halloween experience than Disneyland. This magical theme park undergoes a stunning transformation with spooky decorations, costumed characters, captivating Halloween Screams, breathtaking fireworks displays, and the enchanting Main Street Pumpkin Festival. The Haunted Mansion takes on an extra-special allure during this season, and even California Adventure Park joins the festivities with the Guardians of the Galaxy ride adopting an “after dark” format.
Not far behind, another iconic Southern California theme park, Knott’s Berry Farm, undergoes a metamorphosis into Knott’s Scary Farm. This spooky attraction offers a plethora of mazes, thrilling shows, and talented performers in costume, promising a spine-tingling experience for all who dare to visit.
Key West, Florida
Experience a unique off-the-grid ambiance in Key West, the southernmost point of the United States. This small island located off the coast of Florida is where you’ll find Fantasy Fest, offering one of the most compelling reasons to travel once you’re vaccinated. This 10-day extravaganza unfolds from October 22 to 31, celebrating the art of costumes and embracing diversity. Key West comes alive with a schedule brimming with events, both large and intimate, throughout the festival.
Notable highlights include the Masquerade March on October 29 and the captivating performances of the Rocky Horror Show from October 14 to 29. It’s a vibrant celebration that promises a unique and unforgettable experience in this tropical paradise.
Situated in the suburbs just outside the Twin Cities, Anoka may not be the most famous destination on this list, but it proudly boasts the title of the Halloween Capital of the World. This cherished tradition traces its origins back to a Halloween parade held in 1920, and it has continued to grow in prominence over the years. Throughout the month of October, a wide range of festivities takes place, from eerie movie nights in George Green Park to engaging adult pumpkin carving contests.
However, the standout events that draw the most attention are the Light Up The Night Parade on October 23, the Gray Ghost Run on October 30, and the Grande Day Parade on October 30. These high-profile activities make Anoka a must-visit destination for Halloween enthusiasts, ensuring a spooktacular experience in this Minnesota city.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
New Orleans is a city that thrives on the notion that if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing to the fullest. Renowned globally for its epic Mardi Gras festivities, the vibrant spirit doesn’t stop there. Surprisingly, Halloween has become the second most celebrated holiday in the city, and it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s one of the most thrilling Halloween destinations in the world.
New Orleans offers a unique blend of its voodoo heritage and an array of haunted and paranormal tours that ensure your Halloween experience is nothing short of unforgettable. The city’s mystique, combined with the rich tapestry of its ghostly tales, sets the stage for a Halloween adventure like no other.
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Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida
Orlando has long been a top-tier family destination, and Halloween is no exception to its allure. When visiting Orlando with kids, a must-do experience is the Disney After Hours Boo Bash at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom. This three-hour Halloween-themed extravaganza promises an unforgettable adventure for guests of all ages.
At this spooktacular event, you can revel in eerie party music, captivating decorations, and special character cavalcades. Just like at Mikey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, both kids and adults have the freedom to don their costumes and fully embrace the Halloween spirit. It’s a fantastic opportunity to enjoy trick-or-treating, savor exclusive culinary delights, partake in thrilling entertainment, ride your favorite attractions, and much more, making it a Halloween celebration to remember.
How to Stay Safe When Going to Haunted Houses
Here are some essential tips to ensure your haunted house experience is both enjoyable and safe:
- Dress comfortably and appropriately, considering that you might need to climb stairs, navigate tight spaces, or even make a hasty escape from spooky creatures. Keep in mind that some haunted houses have costume restrictions, so save your elaborate outfits for another occasion.
- Make it a group outing – the more, the merrier! Being spooked is far more entertaining when you have friends or family by your side. Plus, there’s strength in numbers, and you can all share those spine-tingling screams together.
- Show respect for the scare actors. Remember, they are just doing their job to give you a thrilling experience. Avoid touching them, and they will reciprocate. It’s important to be considerate; some actors have experienced unpleasant incidents.
- Always have an escape plan. While haunted houses are meant to be intense, they can be overwhelming at times. If you ever feel too uneasy, locate the nearest emergency exit, take a moment to catch your breath and regroup before deciding whether to continue the adventure.
So, if you’re ready to confront your fears and get that adrenaline pumping, haunted houses and attractions are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the Halloween spirit. Just remember these guidelines to ensure a spooktacular and safe experience.
Final Words (Travel Destinations For Halloween)
As we wrap up our exploration of the top 10 spooky travel destinations for Halloween in the USA in 2023, it’s clear that the country is brimming with diverse and thrilling options to celebrate this beloved holiday. From the eerie streets of New Orleans to the enchanting festivities at Walt Disney World in Orlando, there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer ghostly tales, haunted history, or simply a great Halloween party.
These destinations offer a blend of tradition, innovation, and sheer Halloween spirit, making each one a unique and unforgettable experience. So, whether you’re seeking a chilling encounter in the charming Anoka, the “Halloween Capital of the World,” or embarking on a ghostly tour in Savannah, these locations promise to infuse your Halloween with the perfect amount of spookiness and excitement.
With a wealth of captivating parades, ghost tours, haunted houses, and delightful festivities, it’s time to pack your costumes, gather your friends or family, and get ready for an exceptional Halloween adventure in the USA!
Many of the mentioned destinations offer family-friendly Halloween activities, including parades and pumpkin festivals. However, some haunted tours and houses may not be appropriate for very young children, so it’s advisable to check in advance.
It’s a good idea to book tickets for popular Halloween events, especially if you plan to visit during peak times. Many events have limited availability, and securing your tickets early can help ensure you don’t miss out on the fun.
While costumes are often encouraged and welcomed at many Halloween events, it’s essential to check specific costume guidelines for each destination. Some venues may have restrictions on certain types of costumes.
The timing varies by destination, but most Halloween celebrations typically occur throughout October. Some locations even stretch their festivities into November. Be sure to check the event schedules and plan your visit accordingly to experience the Halloween magic at its peak.