Whether you’re a grown-up going to a costume party or a kid going trick-or-treating with your family, Halloween celebrations guarantee a good time no matter your age.
Many people go pumpkin picking or on haunted hayrides this time of year. But have you considered taking a Halloween vacation? Places across the world, many of them right here in the U.S., have Halloween celebrations that go beyond what most people’s hometowns have.
Even better, traveling to these locations is often inexpensive. Many of them have robust public transportation, low-priced accommodation, or are off the beaten track, so you can enjoy a truly unique vacation without straining your wallet.
Whether you’re interested in pumpkin picking, haunted houses, history, or costume parties, there’s a Halloween destination that is perfect for you.
Top Destinations to Visit During Halloween
1. Las Vegas, Nevada
Most people know Las Vegas – America’s premier entertainment destination – for its high-class casinos, clubs, and resorts. And in recent years, it’s become shockingly affordable due to cheap airfare and a bevy of accommodation options that can be found on Hotels.com. Las Vegas’ McCarran Airport has direct flights to and from many American and international cities, even smaller ones, such as Cleveland and Buffalo.
Among Vegas’ many attractions are its themed holiday celebrations. For Halloween, the city goes all out for a weekend extravaganza.
But Halloween in Las Vegas is strictly for adults, so if you’ve got kids, you’ll want to leave them behind.
Many of the casinos and clubs along the famed Vegas Strip hold costume parties and give cash prizes to costume contest winners. Some entertainment venues on the Strip, such as the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and the Bellagio, also host Halloween-themed shows and events.
If the glitz and glamour of the Strip isn’t your thing, head downtown to the Fremont Street Experience to partake in the Halloween events at its casinos, clubs, and pubs.
2. West Hollywood, California
Enclaved within the city of Los Angeles, West Hollywood has become famous as a center of LGBTQ life in Southern California. The city also plays host to one of the largest Halloween costume parties in the U.S.: the Halloween Carnaval.
Carnaval started as a way to celebrate the city’s diversity. And celebrate they do. This isn’t the time to go for a budget costume – everyone else is going all out. And many of those costumes are NSFW, so parents probably want to leave the little ones with a sitter.
The event takes place in the center of the city on Santa Monica Boulevard. It features six stages of live music and a costume contest. Lots of celebrities also attend, with one lucky celeb crowned Queen of the Carnaval.
Or you can get off the street and attend one of the many parties hosted by West Hollywood bars and clubs. From contests to drink specials, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.
Neighboring Hollywood also goes all out for Halloween, with themed events and attractions. Universal Studios features haunted mazes and “scare zones,” sections between the mazes filled with monsters and frights to keep you on your toes all night.
You can reach West Hollywood via car or public transportation, with the LA Metro running regular trains to neighboring Hollywood. LAX also has connections to cities all over the U.S., and the city has a wide variety of affordable hotels and accommodation options. Plus, if you have either the World of Hyatt credit card or the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ credit card from Chase, you can use your points to potentially book free nights.
3. Long Beach, California
This southern suburb of LA is home to one of the spookiest attractions in the world: the ghost ship Queen Mary. Every Halloween, The Queen Mary is home to Dark Harbor, a monthlong celebration honoring the ship’s haunted history.
Dark Harbor features six haunted mazes with over 200 ghosts and spirits, all inspired by the phantoms reputed to haunt the ship. The Queen Mary also has live music, rides, and other attractions. But Dark Harbor is an adults-only event, and you can only wear costumes on Halloween day.
Long Beach is easily accessible from LA via road or public transportation, and you’ll also get to enjoy warm weather and the beach while on your autumn vacation.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
Taking place in the city’s famed French Quarter, the Krewe of Boo features some of the best papier-mache and fiberglass floats you’ll ever see in a parade. And many Quarter bars and clubs also host events. Or you can head to the Le Pavillon hotel for the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.
New Orleans is one of the most affordable major cities in the U.S. And if you don’t want to deal with throngs of Mardi Gras tourists, Halloween is the time to go. But pick a good hotel. The city suffers massive traffic snarls during major events.
5. Orlando, Florida
Located in the center of Florida, Orlando is home to many theme parks and event centers, the most famous being Walt Disney World Resort. For some family-friendly fun, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park plays host to a monthlong Halloween party the kids will love.
Every evening, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Parade lets you meet Disney characters who don’t appear at other times of year. And it’s a costume party, so don’t forget to dress up.
Disney World’s Halloween celebrations are a popular event, so you have to buy tickets well in advance.
If Disney World isn’t your fare, Orlando has plenty more family-friendly Halloween events.
Orlando is relatively inexpensive when it comes to travel and accommodation, though renting a car from a company like Turo is strongly recommended. It’s a sprawling city with poor public transportation. Or you can rely on Uber and Lyft.
6. Salem, Massachusetts
For a more traditional Halloween experience, take a trip to Salem, the city at the center of the 17th century Salem witch trials, one of the most significant events in early American history. Each year, the city honors its heritage with a monthlong Halloween celebration called the Festival of the Dead.
Salem’s many Halloween events include pumpkin-picking, leaf-peeping, historical seminars, and the city’s famous Psychic Fair and Witches’ Market.
You can also enjoy the city’s Grand Parade, along with plenty of other events for both adults and children. And don’t miss the Witch House Museum, the former home of witch trial judge Jonathan Corwin.
Salem is just outside Boston. It’s easy to get there by car or the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail system. As a major city, Boston also has direct flights to multiple airports across the country.
7. Sleepy Hollow, New York
Most Americans recognize Sleepy Hollow as the setting of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” an early 1800s short story about the Headless Horseman. Believed to be the ghost of a Hessian soldier decapitated by a cannonball during the American Revolution, the Headless Horseman has inspired numerous writers and creators over the years.
Sleepy Hollow continues to honor its heritage with Halloween events, most notably Horseman’s Hollow. This series of tours and events takes you through the haunted town of Sleepy Hollow, stopping at many high-profile landmarks, including Irving’s gravesite at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It also boasts a haunted hayride.
Other attractions in and around Sleepy Hollow include Lyndhurst Mansion, where you can meet the spirits of the Phantom of the Opera, the Mummy, and Frankenstein’s monster. You can also visit Philipsburg Manor and the Old Dutch Burying Ground, one of the oldest cemeteries in the U.S.
The nearby town of Croton-on-Hudson is home to the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Every Halloween, the city arranges and lights over 10,000 jack-o’-lanterns carved into a variety of shapes. Croton-on-Hudson is also home to a planetarium, a fun outing for families.
Sleepy Hollow is in Westchester County, a suburb of New York City, and you can easily reach it via road or rail. Croton-on-Hudson’s train station serves both long-distance Amtrak trains from Canada and upstate New York as well as Metro-North commuter rail services from Manhattan.
8. Keene, New Hampshire
Located in the southwestern part of the state near the borders of Massachusetts and Vermont, Keene is home to the Keene Pumpkin Festival, one of the largest Halloween events in the U.S. Every year, thousands flock to Keene to enjoy pumpkin bowling and other pumpkin-related activities.
Due to the popularity of the Keene Pumpkin Festival, several nearby cities and towns have launched their own Halloween celebrations. The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia features a 34-foot-high tower of pumpkins as well as 5K and 10K events. And don’t miss the on-site beer garden.
Other Halloween events in the area include the Monadnock Pumpkin Festival and the Milford Pumpkin Festival. Each city holds its festival on a different weekend, so you can enjoy an entire month of fun by going to different cities each week if you like.
Keene is relatively close to Boston, and you can easily reach it by road. There are also Amtrak services to other parts of New Hampshire.
9. New York, New York
As the largest city in the U.S., New York City stays busy year-round with events and festivities, and Halloween is no exception. The Village Halloween Parade takes place every year in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. It features a different theme each year, so pick a costume to match.
After the Village Halloween Parade concludes, there’s an after-party for the attendees. Additionally, many bars and clubs in Greenwich Village and other parts of the city hold events, so you’re sure to find something that appeals to you. One of the most popular is the Crypt Crawl underneath the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
New York City is easy to get around. You can use the city’s extensive subway and bus systems and skip the car rental. But accommodation in the center of the city is pricey. Look for more affordable accommodation options around the city. You can also look into the reward you can earn from a hotel rewards credit card.
10. Dallas, Texas
Waxahachie, located just a half-hour south of Dallas, is home to Screams Halloween Theme Park, the largest Halloween theme park in America. Screams is known for its five haunted houses and other live entertainment options. It’s open on Friday and Saturday nights.
Unlike other Halloween destinations, Screams doesn’t allow people to wear masks or costumes. However, bars and clubs around Dallas put on parties and contests for those who want to dress up.
Dallas is easily accessible by air. But you need a car to visit Screams or get around the city due to underdeveloped public transportation. You can rent a car through Turo or rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are also available.
11. Brașov, Romania
Nestled on the edge of Central Europe, most know Transylvania as the homeland of Vlad the Impaler, who served as the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Bran Castle, the home of Vlad the Impaler, is a popular tourist attraction, offering guided tours and Halloween-themed events in October.
Bran Castle is near the city of Brașov. The city offers a variety of Halloween-themed events and attractions focused on Romanian culture, including tours of the countryside, live music, and the Count Dracula wedding at Corvin Castle.
Travel to Brașov via rail or bus from Romania’s capital, Bucharest, which itself has inexpensive air links to other European cities via Wizz Air and Ryanair. Romania is also one of the cheapest countries in Europe, so your Transylvanian trip won’t break the bank, either.
12. Oaxaca, Mexico
Instead of Halloween, Mexico has its own holiday called Día de Los Muertos or “Day of the Dead,” a three-day celebration that kicks off on Oct. 31. Each city in Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead in its own special way, offering a truly unique perspective on Mexican culture.
One of the most famous Day of the Dead celebrations is in Oaxaca, near Acapulco. Every year, the city’s main square and boulevard turn into an all-night street festival, with costume parties, dancing, drinking, and visits to cemeteries.
Another notable Day of the Dead destination in Mexico is the island of Janitzio, where fishers light torches on their boats for a nighttime spectacle.
Mexico is an inexpensive place to visit thanks in part to direct air links between the U.S. and many major Mexican cities.
13. Derry, Northern Ireland
Ireland is where Halloween began back in the medieval period. Traditionally known as Samhain Night among the Irish, Halloween was believed to be the day the souls of the departed returned to the mortal world before winter set in. Both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland carry on this tradition with a variety of parades and events.
Derry, also known as Londonderry, a small Northern Irish city on the border, hosts the most elaborate Halloween event on the island: the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival. Running for nine days in October, the Halloween Carnival features an array of family-friendly fun, including parades, fireworks, costume parties, haunted houses, and the Dragon Safari.
While in Derry, swing by Dublin for the Bram Stoker Festival celebrating the famed author of “Dracula.”
You can easily reach Derry from other places in the U.K. or Ireland, with air links via Belfast or Dublin and a strong train network going to and from the city. The city also has a robust suite of accommodation options for any budget.
14. London, England
The capital of the U.K. and one of the largest cities in Europe, London boasts lots of Halloween events that celebrate the spookiest sides of its history. The city’s most famous Halloween attraction is the London Dungeon, an elaborate series of shows and rides that bring you face-to-face with famed London villains such as Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper.
For a less nerve-wracking experience, London plays host to several ghost walks throughout the city. Notable sites include William Wallace’s execution spot and the neighborhoods in East London where Jack the Ripper murdered his victims.
London is a leading world financial center, so airlines in all corners of the globe, including budget carriers like Ryanair, fly in and out daily. It also boasts an extensive local transportation network featuring the famed London Underground and various commuter rail trains.
15. Amsterdam, Netherlands
Long-famed as a party destination for thousands of Europeans, Amsterdam ups the ante on Halloween with a smorgasbord of events, parties, and attractions. These include scary movie marathons, costume parties, and ghost tours.
Amsterdam has both adult-only and family-friendly Halloween events, from the suitable-for-all-ages Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum to the fetish-themed Obscene Halloween party. There’s also the Monster Ball, one of the city’s leading costume parties.
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s major cities, with air links to most European capitals and many intercontinental destinations. The Netherlands also boasts one of the strongest public transportation networks in the world, with high-speed rail, subways, trams, and buses that make traveling within Amsterdam and to other cities in the region cheap and easy.
Halloween is a joyous, sometimes subversive, occasion for many people. What other time are you encouraged to dress and act like somebody – or something – else? Whether you’re into costume parties or haunted houses, you’re single or you have a family, there are countless ways to get down and have fun on and around Oct. 31.
While you may not have considered taking a Halloween vacation, countless places in the U.S. and around the world take Halloween to new heights, offering sights and events unlike any you’ve ever seen.
From haunted hayrides and pumpkin bowling to ancient history and modern revelry, there’s a Halloween destination that’s ideal for you and your family.
Have you ever gone on a Halloween vacation? Where did you go?