8 Frighteningly Fun Places to Celebrate Halloween in the United States

8 Frighteningly Fun Places to Celebrate Halloween in the United States

By: Nicholas Sollitto

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October 10, 2022

Calling all ghouls, ghosts and goblins, it’s almost Halloween.

You know, the time of year when costumes become commonplace, children run door-to-door craving candy, and dentists predict an uptick in business.

While trick-or-treating is the holiday’s premier activity, there are a number of ways to celebrate Halloween including costume contests, holiday parades, and yes, Halloween-themed vacations.

If you are looking to hop on your broomstick (you can travel by car or plane, too) and get away this Halloween to take in the sights, frights and sounds of one of the best Halloween destinations in the United States, look no further than our haunted list.

The best places to visit for Halloween 2022 await. Where will you go?

8 Fright-Filled Destinations to Visit for Family Fun This Halloween

From historic Salem, Massachusetts, to the “Halloween Capital of the World,” our list travels across the country eyeing the best Halloween destinations. Along the way, we will look at what sets each destination apart and give you a few suggestions as to what you can do to celebrate Halloween in each city!

Salem, MA

WHY: The fabled location of the infamous Salem witch trials and the backdrop of the classic creepy comedy film, Hocus Pocus, Salem, MA, is forever rooted in Halloween lore. The city’s haunted reputation attracts people from all over who are looking to celebrate Salem’s ghostly feel and macabre history. Just about any day in Salem offers visitors opportunities to get in touch with the city’s spooky side. However, for those looking for a truly bone-chilling experience, nothing can top strolling through downtown Salem on Halloween night.

WHAT TO DO: Keeping true to its historic and haunted past, Salem is home to the Witch Trials Memorial and the Salem Witch Museum. Both sites offer visitors a chance to learn more about the witch trials of the 17th century and the opportunity to further explore the roots of Salem’s superstitious history.

Take a walking tour of Salem to view the city’s many historic sites while the daytime sun looms high. Expand your knowledge of the Salem witch trials hysteria and investigate the dwelling of Salem’s reprehensible judge by visiting The Witch House. Explore Salem after dark by taking a candle-lit ghost tour through the city. Adorn your best costume and dance the night away at the annual Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball.

Sleepy Hollow, NY

WHY: Made famous by Washington Irving’s seminal short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” this quaint village transforms into a gothic destination every October. Many of those familiar with Irving’s short story are lured to Sleepy Hollow in search of the Headless Horseman. The ghastly figure is said to roam the streets of Sleepy Hollow with a jack-o’-lantern perched atop his shoulders. However, around Halloween, there is more to see and do in Sleepy Hollow than search for a glimpse of this chilling figure.

WHAT TO DO: The premier attraction of Sleepy Hollow’s Halloween festival is The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze. The event takes place at the Van Cortlandt Manor and features a “breathtaking display of more than 7,000 illuminated jack-o’-lanterns.”

Walk the spooky grounds of Washington Irving’s famous estate as you embark on a literature-themed scavenger hunt. Step back in time and experience Hulda’s Night at Rockefeller State Park and Preserve. Try and outrun the Headless Horseman by participating in the annual Sleepy Hollow 5K run. Stick around for the village’s haunted Halloween parade and climb aboard Sleepy Hollow’s Haunted Hayride.

New Orleans, LA

WHY: While the sights and sounds of Mardi Gras may rule supreme in New Orleans, the city also boasts an impressive and frighteningly fun annual Halloween Festival. Every year on All Hallow’s Eve, the French Quarter becomes the epicenter of haunted tours, Voodoo demonstrations, costume contests and a variety of other Halloween-themed festivities. The experience is one to remember as New Orleans displays its eerie personality in a grandiose fashion.

WHAT TO DO: The official Halloween parade of New Orleans is the Krewe of Boo! This parade features dynamic floats, elaborate costumes and bead tossing. The parade route travels from Elysian Fields Avenue to Andrew Higgins Drive, following North Peters, Canal and Burgundy streets along the way.

Take a haunted tour in and around the many gothic buildings lining the French Quarter. Learn about century-old practices and summon spirits at one of New Orleans’s many Voodoo shops. Get into character and gear up for Halloween at an official New Orleans costume shop. Party the night away at the Endless Night Vampire Ball.

Las Vegas, NV

WHY: Even when it comes to Halloween, everything seems to be brighter in Las Vegas. Keeping true to its “city of lights” reputation, the city of Las Vegas puts on several elaborate celebrations every year. Most of these celebrations take place in downtown Las Vegas in and around Freemont Street. For a truly out-of-body experience, head to Las Vegas this Halloween.  

WHAT TO DO: Experience the best of Las Vegas during Halloween by attending the Rock of Horror HalloWeekend Downtown event. This epic event features Halloween haunts, flash mobs, nightly entertainment and endless people-watching.

Spot your favorite heroes and villains as you watch the many people wearing costumes walk up and down the strip. Take the kids to the Downtown Summerlin Parade of Mischief, in Summerlin, just west of downtown. Navigate through three frightening, haunted houses by attending Vegas Fright Nights at Opportunity Village.

Estes Park, CO

WHY: It’s well known that the historic Stanley Hotel, located in Estes Park, inspired Stephen King’s chilling novel The Shining. However, fewer people might recognize Estes Park as a premier Halloween destination. Of course, this mountainside village is much smaller than New Orleans or Las Vegas, but it’s this quaint feel that makes for such a festive atmosphere come Halloween. Where else can visitors vacation to celebrate Halloween, explore one of the nation’s premier parks (Estes Park is the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park) and spot herds of wildlife?

WHAT TO DO: While in other cities, children run door-to-door looking for tricks or treats, in Estes Park trick-or-treating is a community-wide event held on Elkhorn Avenue, the town’s main street. Every year, the community gets together to contribute candy to shop owners who then hand it out to children during the celebration.

Step into Stephen King’s haunted shoes by spending a night or two at The Stanley Hotel, where you can uncover the Spirited Night Tour. Satisfy your hiking-itch by trekking through Rocky Mountain National Park or Hermit Park. Get spooked on a haunted hayride during the annual Halloween Spooktacular. Celebrate the grand finale downtown and take the kids trick-or-treating.

Orlando, FL

WHY: From Universal to SeaWorld, a total of 10 major theme parks are located in Orlando, FL. Year-round, this amount of entertainment and fun is enticing, but during Halloween, Orlando is just plain special. Almost all the theme parks throw their own Halloween festivals, and the city hosts a number of celebrations itself.

WHAT TO DO: Family fun and Halloween terrors abound in Orlando. The newest event held in Orlando is Howl-O-Scream, which is put on by SeaWorld Orlando. The event offers several scare zones throughout the park where angry haunts and horrifying thrills await visitors.

Experience the most famous Halloween event in Orlando, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort. Take your car for a spin on The Haunted Road, a drive-thru experience that features ghost sightings that are sure to conjure sudden fright. Bring the whole family to Walt Disney World Resort for the Disney After Hours Boo Bash.

New York, NY

WHY: During every holiday there is something to celebrate in New York City. During Halloween, The Big Apple transforms into a spine-chilling and ghoulish landscape. Whether you are looking to catch a performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or party the night away in Times Square, you can’t go wrong by choosing to spend your Halloween in New York City.

WHAT TO DO: New York’s many popular sights and attractions all transform during October to celebrate Halloween. The biggest celebration in NYC during Halloween is the New York’s Village Halloween Parade. The parade features floats, giant puppets and endless costumes.

Carve a pumpkin and join in on the fun at the annual Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla at Central Park. Cruise down the Hudson River with other costumed guests for a floating yacht party. Celebrate your wild side at The Bronx Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo event.

Anoka, MN

WHY: The self-proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World,” Anoka, MN, has been going all-out for Halloween since 1920. The city originally designed its Halloween celebration as a means to deter kids from pulling pranks and causing mischief. Today, the immersive celebration continues making Anoka one of the best places to visit for Halloween

WHAT TO DO: Thought to be the first city in the world to host a Halloween celebration, Anoka goes big leading up to the holiday. The city hosts several parades, costume contests, adorns city hall with a giant blinking pumpkin, and even coronates annual Halloween ambassadors.

Try your luck at Anoka’s Bingo Night and costume contest (wear your best costume for a chance at additional prizes). Head on over to Main Street for the Light Up the Night Parade where one-of-a-kind floats are showcased under dimmed streetlights. Celebrate Anoka’s oldest tradition, the Big Parade of Little People. Cap it all off by attending the Grande Day Parade and Anoka Halloween Ambassador Coronation.

Halloween FAQs

What is the best place to celebrate Halloween in the U.S.?

The best place to celebrate Halloween in the United States is certainly up for debate. Orlando, New York City and Las Vegas are normally considered some of the best large cities to celebrate Halloween in America. However, several smaller cities with rich history also put on terrifying Halloween festivities. Anoka, MN, Sleepy Hollow, NY, Estes Park, CO, and Salem, MA, are all considered some of the best places to celebrate Halloween in the United States as well.

Where is the Halloween capital of the world?

The Halloween capital of the world is said to be Anoka, Minnesota. The city has put on a Halloween celebration since 1920 and is believed to be the first city worldwide to organize its own Halloween gathering.

When is Halloween 2022?

Halloween will take place on Monday, October 31, 2022.

writer nicholas sollitto and his sweater

Nicholas Sollitto is a content writer for Store Space who also enjoys rooting for the Detroit Red Wings, reading Vonnegut, and hiking.

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