14 spooky places perfect for a Halloween vacation
Rejoice! It’s officially fall, and Halloween is around the corner, which calls for pumpkin carving, ghost hunting and apple picking aplenty. There’s also dark tourism and checking out the perfect haunts to spend the night in during this season of fright. We have the top places to vacation this Halloween right here!
Salem, Massachusetts, has to be at the top of our list. The infamous witch trials site has now become The Witch City where thousands of Halloween fanatics flock each October. Check out the Witch House (which has direct ties to the Salem witch trials), Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables and Witch City Wicks. There are also many occult shops and walking tours to get the fullest Salem experience.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a party all year round, but Halloween is definitely one of its most fun seasons. Known as America’s city of voodoo, tourists can visit voodoo queen Marie Laveau’s gravesite. You can dine at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, one of the most haunted bars in the world. You can also simply sit back and enjoy the mysterious happenings that go on throughout the French Quarter, which includes Lalaurie Mansion (as seen in American Horror Story: Coven). Perhaps you’ll run into one of the many vampires who are believed to still stalk the streets.
It seems like everything in Scotland is haunted. From Loch Ness to Edinburgh to Glasglow, there are numerous castles and bridges blurring the lines between living and dead. Take a walk down Mary King’s Close in Edinburgh, also known as “The Royal Mile,” to stumble upon haunted castles, burial grounds for plague victims and even the cemetery where the body snatchers Burke and Hare would dig up their victims for medical experiments.
Dracula fans, rejoice! Bran Castle is the site Bram Stoker derived Dracula’s Castle from for his novel of the same name, and not too far from there visitors will find Corvin Castle, where the real-life Dracula, Vlad The Impaler, was imprisoned for several years. You can also visit Vlad’s fortress at Poenari or go to one of the most haunted forests in Europe, Hoia Baciu.
New York City
The Big Apple is full of fun things to do during Halloween, from interactive haunted houses such as Blood Manor to one of the world’s largest all year round Halloween stores, Halloween Adventure. Sightsee through the gorgeous Green-Wood Cemetery, visit the ghost that inspired Henry James’ novel Washington Square at the Merchant’s House Museum, spend a night at the cursed Hotel Chelsea or enjoy a night of eerie immersive theater at Sleep No More.
London has a rich history of murder and treachery. Take a trip to the Tower of London to see where Anne Boleyn was imprisoned and beheaded. As the Tower marks one of London’s most ghostly locations, it’s no surprise that there have been many reports of visitors seeing Boleyn’s ghost haunting the tower she was locked in. You also can take a stroll through Whitechapel’s alleys where Jack The Ripper committed his legendary crimes.
Savannah is as quaint as it is spooky. The charming little town lights up at night with ghost tours and local haunts you can visit all year round. Take a tour in a hearse, led by a ghoulish tour guide, dine at The Pirates’ House (the grits are amazing, and the staff is sure to share their personal paranormal stories) or have a drink at the Moon River Brewing Co., where the staff mysteriously refuse to talk about their particular paranormal experiences.
Japan is an incredible destination to visit for Halloween. If you’re into pumpkin spice, the coffee chain Tully’s makes one incredible PSL. However, there’s a lot more to do than just indulge in pumpkin. A lesser known attraction, Hashima Island, is an entirely abandoned island that’s completely preserved in the year 1974 and is occasionally open to the public.
Philly has an assortment of creepy places Halloween lovers are going to enjoy. From the acclaimed medical museum, The Mutter Museum, to the oddities parlor The Strange And Unusual, dark tourists are sure to get their fill of creepy relics all over town. During Halloween season, the Eastern State Penitentiary’s dilapidated remains is turned into one of the East Coast’s creepiest haunted houses.
France might be a romantic country, but it’s also home to public executions, Notre-Dame and an insane labyrinth of catacombs. There are believed to be over 6 million people buried in Paris’ catacombs—the vast majority of which are visible. And if you wish to visit the Palace Of Versailles, you may run into the wandering ghost of Marie Antoinette.
Fall River, Massachusetts
If you’re looking for New England haunts that won’t be as crowded as Salem, look no further than Fall River. Spend the weekend in the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, the same house where Borden is believed to have murdered her family in cold blood. Afterward, feel free to stroll through Oak Grove Cemetery, where the Borden family now lies. It’s rumored that you can still hear the screams of the family as you approach their plot.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado
One of Stephen King’s most well-known novels, The Shining, takes place in Colorado’s Overlook Hotel, a fictional building based almost entirely on King’s own experience in the real-life Stanley Hotel. Each year the hotel throws an array of Halloween events, from a Murder Mystery Dinner to a Shining-themed ball. There’s even a masquerade ball just like the one that appears throughout the novel.
Los Angeles, California
There are many mysterious places to visit in the city of angels. From the extremely haunted Queen Mary boat hotel, which features massive horror production Dark Harbor, to the Museum Of Death, where visitors can find a mummified severed head of serial killer Henri Désiré Landru, evidence in famous murder cases from the Manson family to the O.J. Simpson trial and much more. Or spend a night in the haunted Alexandria Hotel, where Motionless In White filmed the video for “Reincarnate” and where filmmakers shot several scenes for the movie Se7en.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Sleepy Hollow gained fame when author Washington Irving wrote his acclaimed short story The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, which tells the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Tourists can visit Irving’s grave in the town cemetery or walk through the Old Dutch Church and Burial Ground. The latter is where many people have claimed to see the Headless Horseman. During Halloween season you can also look forward to haunted hayrides and eerie cemetery tours throughout these historic sites.