10 Halloween Destinations: Fun, Cheap and Scary

The origins of Halloween (Oct. 31) may go back thousands of years to Celtic pagan celebrations but most historians date its roots to a Christian observance honoring saints on Nov. 1. The night before: All Hallows Eve.

Halloween today is a global phenomenon and big business; in 2015, an estimated $7 billion was spent on the holiday in the U.S. alone.

LISTEN: Non-scary advice from travel expert Rick Seaney.

10 Halloween Destinations

Destination ideas for an extra-special Halloween are based on personal recommendations, advice from tourism experts and our own Eventurist appTIP: For the best airfare deals, always compare airfares.

U.S. Destinations

  • Boston and Salem, Massachusetts: Head to Boston, home of some of the nation’s oldest graveyards for eerie tours and ghost stories, then join a Halloween pub crawl or a seemingly endless round of parties. Learn more here. And don’t miss Salem, just 24 miles up the road, where the infamous Witch Trials of 1692-93 took place. If anyone knows how to celebrate the macabre side of Halloween, these folks do. Learn more here.

    Salem Witch Museum
    Salem Witch Museum
  • Denver, Colorado: See what’s reported to be the “scariest haunted attraction” in the U.S., the 13th Floor Haunted House, visit the Haunted Field of Screams or just chill in a corn maze. Learn more here.
  • Jacksonville, Florida: Drive about 80 miles west to Live Oak for Suwanee Hulaween – it’s a music festival, an art festival, an everything festival – with activities for grown-ups and kiddies. Learn more here.
  • Los Angeles, California: See the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnaval, listen to writers tell ghost stories, watch scary movie screenings, or listen to scary music (thanks, Danny Elfman). You can also celebrate in a cemetery or hop on a haunted hayride. Learn more here.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: You can take a regular haunted tour of the French Quarter, or specialize with a vampire or Voodoo tour. Then go a bar or restaurant where celebrations will be in full swing because if anyone knows how to party, New Orleans does. Learn more here and here.

    Marie LaVeau House of Voodoo
    Marie LaVeau House of Voodoo New Orleans
  • New York City, New York: See the Village Halloween Parade on Oct. 31, look for the ghosts of Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain or take a day trip to the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze. Learn more here.
  • Orlando, Florida: Some people call this town the hotspot for Halloween celebrations and it sure has lots of scary theme park fun (and some not-so-scary celebrations for the little ones). Learn more here.

International Destinations

  • Dublin, Ireland: So much to see and do in Ireland including haunted castle tours but what really grabs us is the Spirits of Meath festival which includes the Tour of Shadows and everything from “thriller nights” to “terrifying terror houses”. Learn more here.

    Ireland's Spirit of Meath Festival
    Ireland’s Spirit of Meath Festival
  • Mexico City, Mexico: Take part in the lively festivities of the Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos (Nov. 1) honoring loved ones who are gone but not forgotten; how could they be with so many amazing, noisy and fun celebrations? The party starts on Halloween (or earlier) with music, dance, food, drink, brilliant artwork – and lots and lots of skeletons. Tip: Try a candy skull. Learn more here.

Now book a flight and start planning a costume. And Happy Halloween!

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Updated: October 13, 2016