Happy Halloween! As October 31st approaches, each year, people get ready to celebrate All Hallows Eve throughout the world. Pumpkin patches are picked and the giant orange gourds are sold and carved out to make traditional lanterns. Halloween decorations pop up everywhere. Gravestones mysteriously appear on front lawns and cobwebs are draped from trees, windows, and furnishings.
Halloween originated in the UK when the ancient Celts celebrated the end of summer and the beginning of winter on All Saints Day (All Hallows Day) on November 1st. The day before, All Hallows Eve was seen as a boundary when the worlds of the living and the dead blurred. On this day, which became known as Halloween, the Celts celebrated the ghosts of the dead returning to the earth.
Although the history of Halloween has dark roots connected to witchcraft and the spirit world, modern-day Halloween is all about dressing up and enjoying candy. Many people choose to spend Halloween Day getting dressed up for trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. Popular costumes include glow-in-the-dark skeleton costumes, witches, wizards, and zombies although, in most Halloween events, any fancy dress costume is acceptable.
So where are the best cities to celebrate Halloween in the USA? We look at 10 Top destinations where Halloween is celebrated in style. Why not plan to visit and enjoy a Happy Halloween with like-minded friends?
Giant Halloween Pub Crawl, Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is a fun-filled party town at any time of year. At Halloween, it pulls out all the stops to be even more outrageous, colorful and gaudy than ever. Although Halloween is generally a family event, in Las Vegas it is definitely an adults-only weekend. Along the Strip, all the big-name casinos and nightclubs host costume parties – and what costumes there are!
One of the top places to go in Las Vegas for a Happy Halloween celebration is Fremont Street. It hosts an outdoor street party every night complete with a free 1500-foot- long overhead screen pumping out the Viva Vision Light Show. For Halloween, it gets, even more, entertaining with a Giant Halloween Pub Crawl. Tickets from Eventbrite include express entry and specialty drinks in five bars in this frenetic downtown area. Dress up in your most haunting gear and join your party host as he leads you to some of the best Halloween nightspots in Vegas. There are prizes for the best costumes, so go prepared.
This year Fremont Street is also gearing up for the free Rock of Horror Show on stage. If you prefer a more private event, head to KAOS nightclub at The Palms for a weekend date with CardiB. With live entertainment and plenty of opportunities to people-watch, this could be the ultimate place to find plenty of fun for a Happy Halloween night.
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, New Hampshire
Thousands of carved pumpkins decorate the town of Laconia, New Hampshire during October as part of the world-famous New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival. It also builds a 34-foot-high tower out of these bright orange gourds to celebrate Halloween.
The festival started in nearby Keene and has since settled in Laconia. It attracts over 40,000 people to Veterans Square for the weekend and in 2019 it takes place on October 18 (from 4 pm) and 19th (from noon to 8 pm). There are plenty of stalls and food vendors, horsedrawn carriage rides, live music, fair rides, and even a pumpkin cook-off, pancake breakfast and a zombie walk.
For many years the festival held the Guinness record for the greatest number of lighted Jack-o’-lanterns which currently stands at 30,581. It’s definitely worth a visit for a Happy Halloween.
Lantern Tours In Sleepy Hollow, New York
Sleepy Hollow, New York lived up to its name until Washington Irving wrote his novel Headless Horseman and based it on the town. From then on, anyone who has read the novel wanted to visit the cemetery and other Sleepy Hollow landmarks. The town was made more popular once The Headless Horseman novel became a classic Halloween movie.
In October, the town goes overboard with Halloween activities. You can take Lantern Tours after dark with a guide and explore the town. You can also visit the Old Dutch Burying Ground cemetery where author Washington Irving is buried. Alternatively, hop aboard the haunted hayride for a “thrilling” ride or watch a live performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
While you’re in Sleep Hollow, visit neighboring Croton-on-Hudson which hosts a Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. It has over 10,000 images carved into pumpkins, including a giant serpent made from a line of pumpkins. It’s fun for all the family.
We hope our round-up helps you to find somewhere that’s just perfect for your Halloween celebrations. Happy Halloween!
Halloween Carnival, West Hollywood, California
Another place in the USA known for its glitz, glamour and partying in Hollywood.
In fact, it plans to host the largest Halloween Party in the world, so you won’t want to miss that! Gather your glad-rags and make your way to the Halloween Carnival in West Hollywood. It’s like New Orleans at Carnival, only darker.
The Carnival includes six stages of live music pumping out light, noise, and action throughout the night. Dance your feet off (if you’re a skeleton) and keep your eyes peeled for celebs – they love to be out partying on Halloween too! In fact, one local celebrity will be crowned “Queen of the Carnival” so you’ll definitely see someone you know.
The Carnival takes place on the street so many of the bars and clubs in the area join in on the act. You’ll find plenty of creative Happy Halloween cocktails being served along with contests, innovative food for vampires and drinks specials. As long as you don’t lose your head you’ll be fine!
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party In Orlando, Florida
Halloween is a far more fun event in Orlando with its many theme parks specially decorated for the Halloween holiday season. In sunny Florida, the weather is still dry and sunny, making this a very hot and happy Halloween destination for families and visitors over the half-term season.
Happy Halloween events cater to youngsters in Walt Disney World with the “Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party”. This magical ticketed event is a spooktacular celebration with all the Disney characters, trick-or-treat candy and fireworks.
SeaWorld also follows the theme with various special events and shows as part of the SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular.
Fantastic shows and trick or treating are all part of SeaWorld’s seasonal Halloween event. This also includes Count von Count’s Spooktacular Breakfast Buffet for Sesame Street fans.
Head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, if you dare! Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle features several scary visitors including Dementors, Death Eaters and other unspeakable creatures from the Dark Side. It includes an incredible Sound, Light and Music Show with projected images of the fire-engulfing army of Inferi. Also, Lord Voldemort himself appears against the backdrop of Hogsmeade.
Dark Horizon: Point of No Return is coming to Orlando and it’s not for the faint-hearted! In the lead-up to Halloween, this haunted happening is behind Holiday Inn Suites. Look forward to three haunted houses to navigate through along with scary monsters and a “Voodoo” Priestess; determined to steal your soul. Shriek!!!!!!
Screams Theme Park, Waxahachie, Texas
Fear lurks around every corner at the Screams Halloween Theme Park in Waxahachie, top-rated attractions in Texas. Now in its 24th year, this dedicated spooky haunt has five haunted houses for the ultimate not-so-happy Halloween experience. Meet the Witches at TerraMythica Castle, explore Hotel d’Feers, Zombie Wasteland, Blood Harbor and the Carnival of Chaos. Its to die for!
More activities include live music, games of skill, tarot card reading, temporary tattoos, Scary-Oke, pubs, and food (after all this haunting business is hungry work!)
Krewe Of Boo, New Orleans, Los Angeles
You can’t mention Happy Halloween without taking you hat off to New Orleans, home of voodoo, black magic and some very scary cemeteries indeed. Locals in New Orleans love to parade and with a few months to go before their Mardi Gras Festival, they’re ready to hit the streets in the French Quarter and celebrate Halloween.
New Orleans is a great place to visit on Halloween as they have a magnificent costumed parade known as the Krewe of Boo. Crowds line the streets to wave and cheer as a huge collection of Halloween floats pass by. Eye-searing neon lights, strobes, and thunderous music accompany the paraders who walk beside or ride aboard the 3D Halloween floats made out of tissue paper, fiberglass, and paper-mache.
This year (2019) the Halloween Krewe of Boo Parade takes place on October 20th. However, there will be plenty more spooky surprises in store for anyone who visits during the Happy Halloween weekend. Look out for the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience, the Vampire Ball or join the Ghost City Tours Haunted Pub Crawl.
Village Halloween Parade, New York City
New York is known as the “City that never sleeps” and that’s never truer than at Halloween. Make your way down to Greenwich Village and Soho and secure a spot for watching the fabulous Village Halloween Parade which runs from Spring Street in a circuitous route around Duarte Square, Sullivan Street, Grand Street, and Canal Street to end on 6th Avenue.
This hugely popular parade is in its 45th year and gets bigger and better every time. It always has a theme and this year every float is following the theme of “I am a Robot: as a nod to the growing role of Artificial Intelligence in our everyday lives. Now that’s scary! Everyone is welcome and you can walk alongside the floats if you are wearing an appropriate Halloween costume.
Once the parade is over, Times Square is lined with clubs and bars all offering a special night of unforgettable scary fun.
Held on October 31st, the Village Halloween Parade starts at 7 pm and runs until about 10.30 pm when the Halloween night in New York City is still young.
The weekend before Halloween, The Monster Ball takes place and is always a sell-out. Get your tickets in advance from Eventbrite to avoid being a Cinderella left at home. The Ball includes some adult trick-o-treating, fabulous costumes, and makeup and hedonistic revelry. There’s a live DJ loading up the state-of-the-art sound system and multiple bars and dance floors to celebrate Happy Halloween.
Baleroy Mansion Tours, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Celebrate Halloween at Baleroy Mansion, the “Most Haunted Home in America”. Take a tour of the 32-room estate where the carpenter who built Baleroy murdered his wife. Listen to chilling accounts of an elderly woman with a cane hovering in a corner on the second floor of the house. Other visitors have heard strange knocks, bangs, and the ghost of Thomas Jefferson has even been seen hovering near the grandfather clock in the dining room.
While you’re in the area, the old Penitentiary has a Terror Behind the Walls Tour. This building is said to be plagued with ghosts of past inmates. You’ll also find plenty of decorated haunted houses with plenty of scary moments provided by actors.
Halloween Festival In Salem, Massachusetts
Salem relives its witchcraft history every Halloween as it remembers the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. This was when 19 residents were executed for witchcraft. This small community comes to life throughout October to put on a happy Halloween festival that lasts the whole month of October.
Check out the official site at Haunted Happenings and plan your trip. Take part in the parades, tours, markets, and seminars that are part of this Halloween event; its roots deep in colonial history. It’s a very family-friendly season with a Grand Parade of costumed Halloweeners to start the annual festivities. Also, make a date for the family film nights on Salem Common or visit Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum where monsters have been known to come to life. Ghost tours, haunted houses, a Haunted Dinner Theatre, and the Witches Halloween Ball; you’ll find plenty of frightfully fun events in Salem.
Earlier in the month, the town hosts the Salem Horror Fest. This is made so visitors can explore the cultural myths and fears about Halloween horror.