Ah, Halloween, the holiday of costumes, horror movies, trick or treat, and sugar highs. Some people love it for the fantasy of it all, the ability to become someone they aren’t, even if only for a night. Some people love being scared shitless. Others hate it all and just think of Halloween as the start of the holiday season.
This list of the top 20 places to spend Halloween has a little something for everyone, regardless of whether you are leading the Halloween bandwagon or you think the whole thing is best left for children.
The Greenwich Village Halloween parade is one of the most epic parades in the world. Pretty much anything goes at this parade, where everything scary and strange and sexy and crazy about New York comes together for one awesome street party.
The “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” by Washington Irving is one of the most recognized ghost stories in the United States. Visit the town of Sleepy Hollow, where the legend of the headless horseman originated and you are sure to get a real Halloween scare.
Spend Halloween in the town made famous for putting witches on trial and burning them to death. Salem comes to life in the month of October, giving visitors the chance to experience a bit of bewitching history.
Long Beach, California goes all out for Halloween. There are dozens of events held here throughout the month of October. No matter which you partake in, however, make certain you do not miss a trip to the supposedly haunted Queen Mary ship, docked in Long Beach.
New Orleans is most famous for its Mardi Gras celebration, but Halloween in this city is also one awesome party. As with Mardi Gras, New Orleans goes all-out crazy for Halloween, with parties galore. You will also find some of the most creative costumes in the world on display in the streets.
Another top Halloween parade is Halloween on Halsted, held each year in the Northalsted neighborhood of Chicago. This parade is great for people of all ages. Bring your best costume, as there is a huge costume contest, with prizes given in many different categories.
Wisconsin is best known for its cheese and almost unbearably cold winters. Madison, Wisconsin, however, has developed quite the reputation for its super fun Halloween celebrations. Don’t miss Freakfest, which combines great music with Halloween fun and fright.
Just like Wisconsin, Minnesota also has a reputation for being frigid for a majority of the year, but Anoka, Minnesota has self-declared itself the Halloween capital of the world. Offering more wholesome fun than some of the other locations on this list, Anoka goes all out with celebrations for people of all ages. Don’t miss the Halloween parade, one of the holiday events that put this small town in Minnesota on the map.
If you are anywhere in New England at any time in October, make your way to Keene, New Hampshire. This small town has one huge pumpkin festival that definitely makes it worth the trip here. Rows and rows of jack-o-lanterns light up the town and really put visitors in the Halloween spirit.
Hollywood, California takes advantage of the state´s year-round perfect weather and hosts one giant Halloween block party. Perhaps not surprising from the town known for blockbusters, the costumes at this Hollywood celebration are always fantastic.
Disney is every kid’s dreamland all year round, but the Disney theme parks bring their A-game for Halloween. Each of the parks, as well as Universal Studios, are all decked out for the holiday, adding a bit of fantasy the way only Disney can.
There are Halloween celebrations all over Hong Kong each year, with a little something for everyone. Try Disneyland Hong Kong for kids and those young at heart, or hit up the Lan Kwai Fong district for adult fun in an area best known for its bar scene.
Bangkok at Halloween is sort of like Bangkok all year round, a little over the top. As in Hong Kong, there are parties all over the city. Locals and tourists all flock to the streets in their freakiest getups, making for some awesome people watching, even if you don’t want to partake in the festivities yourself.
The Halloween Horror Night at Everland in Seoul is one of the most fun places for kids during the day and one of the scariest places for adults at night. Don’t let it fool you with its cheerful daytime celebrations, including costumes and performances catered to the younger crowd. At night, this place will get your heart going with haunted activities that will definitely leave you a little bit scared.
Contrary to popular belief that Halloween originated in the United States, Ireland is actually the birthplace of this holiday. The pagan festival of Samhain was first celebrated in Ireland over one thousand years ago! Derry, on the banks of the River Foyle, is where this tradition first started and it now hosts a huge street carnival every year to celebrate the occasion.
The festival of Samhain is also celebrated in Scotland. Edinburgh, the beautiful, but also slightly mysterious city sets the perfect stage for Halloween celebrations. This is the place to go if you are a history lover looking for a more sophisticated Halloween.
London mixes history with fun on Halloween. Home of Jack the Ripper and tons of dungeons and dark alleys, this city naturally sets the perfect stage for Halloween. London is also a great place to party and there are a seemingly endless number of parties on Halloween.
What better place to spend Halloween than in the home of Dracula? The Bran Castle, where the legend of Dracula comes to life, is one of the spookiest places in the world. Transylvania is perfect for those looking for a more traditional Halloween, with a wealth of history and a little bit of creepy.
Colombia has one of the best party scenes in the world, year-round. Bogotá, the country’s capital city is no exception and on Halloween, the city goes all out. Clubs and bars are packed and la Zona Rosa, the city’s party district is jammed with costumed partiers.
Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is well known around the world. Locals gather to celebrate the dead in the most beautiful of ways, with an explosion of color and flowers and some of the most impressive makeup you will ever see in your life. Head to the small island of Janitzio, on the lake of Patzcuaro, for a stunning, truly traditional celebration.
If you happen to live nearby or are visiting one of these destinations, get yourself ready for an exciting October 31. If not, it is never too early to start planning for next year’s festivities!
Have some other suggestions for awesome ways to spend Halloween? Leave them in the comments below!