As Halloween is approaching, you might be wondering what are some of the world’s best destinations to spend this unique holiday. So, whether Halloween is one of your favorite holidays or you’re just a fan of quirky, dark tourism destinations, in this post, you’ll find some of the best Halloween destinations in the world. We cover places that have a rich Halloween tradition, host popular Halloween festivals, and places that are just spooky which makes them a great fit for a Halloween vacation (if you’re brave enough, that is).
Speaking of the best Halloween destinations in the world, we just can’t forget about Salem. During the entire month of October, the whole city is in “Halloween mode” and the whole place is riddled with “haunted events” throughout the month. There are parades, costume competitions, Halloween cruises, a lot of ghost tours for visitors, and much more. In addition to this, there are also some other interesting sites to visit like the Salem Witch Museum and the House of Seven Gables.
Spooky locations in Salem
Chambers of Terror
Joshua Ward House
Salem Witch Village
The Burying Point
Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery
Halloween tour ideas in Salem
In case you didn’t know, Savannah is actually considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the country. There are many things that attract dark tourism enthusiasts to Savannah throughout the year which makes this city a great fit for this list of the best Halloween destinations in the world. There are many walking ghost tours in Savannah that are very popular among visitors with the most popular one probably being the ghost & gravestones trolley tour.
Spooky locations in Savannah
The Factors Walk
Moon River Brewing
The Marshall House
Halloween tour ideas in Savannah
Uncensored zombie night (18+)
Reading, Pennsylvania (Shocktoberfest)
Aside from being declared the poorest small city of America in 2011, Reading is also famous for hosting one of the most amazing Halloween festivals in the country- the iconic Shocktoberfest. Initially, it started as a single hayride, grew into a large “horror park” that attracts scare-seeking visitors from different parts of the world. Judging by the ratings, this is one of the top-rated horror attractions in the United States. Some of the festival’s main attractions feature a zombie safari tour, a massacre scare zone, laser tag with zombies, and much more!
Spooky locations in Reading
I couldn’t find any destinations in Reading that are supposedly haunted but the Shocktober Festival is a reason enough to visit if you ask me.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is supposedly one of the most haunted cities in the US and a perfect candidate for our list of the best Halloween destinations in the US. Spending Halloween in New Orleans is a great idea, not only because of the city’s haunted places, interesting parades, and voodoo magic history (there’s even a whole museum dedicated to this) but also because New Orleans is one of the most charming cities in the country.
Spooky locations in New Orleans
The Mortuary Haunted House
The Haunted Hotel
Nightmare Haunted House
New Orleans Voodoo Museum
Halloween tour ideas in New Orleans
Independence is a quirky town in the southeastern part of Kansas. It’s the only town in the US that celebrates Neewollah when everyone else celebrates Halloween (in case you didn’t get it, Neewollah is Halloween spelled backward). The town commemorates Neewollah every year with a vibrant festival that lasts for 10 days. This includes parades, costume contests, music, and a lot of quirky local traditions, including the annual chilli cook-off. If you’re looking to try something new this Halloween, Independence might be a great choice.
Spooky locations in Independence
1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Located roughly an hour away from New York City, Sleepy Hollow is a vibrant town that sure knows how to celebrate Halloween. Around this time of the year, Sleepy Hollow transforms from a picturesque small town in the Hudson Valley into a vibrant festive city with a lot of Halloween-related activities and events. The most famous celebration in Sleepy Hollow is the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze where you can see thousands of grinning, scary-looking pumpkins light up in the night. Oh, and did I mention that Sleepy Hollow is home to the legend of the Headless Horseman?
Spooky locations in Sleepy Hollow
Old Dutch Reformed Church
Washington Irving’s Home
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Washington Irving’s Sunnyside
Colonial Williamsburg is one of the most charming historic cities in the US but the city also has another unique side that comes out every Halloween. As a city with a rich history, you’ll find many scary stories about Williamsburg, from the first witch hunts to some of the most haunted properties in the country. There are many interesting ghost tours in Williamsburg with the most famous ones being Haunting on DoG Street and The Ghosts Amongst Us.
Spooky locations in Williamsburg
Brick House Tavern
Peyton Randolph House
The Wren Building
Halloween tour ideas in Williamsburg
Chattanooga is often featured as one of the best Halloween destinations in the world and there’s a good reason for that. The city is mostly known for the Chattanooga Choo Choo but it’s also home to a handful of haunted sites, with the most famous ones being the Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern, the Dread Hollow, and the Winnepespookah. In addition to this, there are also a lot of ghost stories related to Chattanooga, and the city’s dark side is successfully covered in some of the many local ghost tours.
Spooky locations in Chattanooga
The Read House
Hales Bar Dam
Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern
The Dread Hollow
Halloween tour ideas in Chattanooga
Isla de la Munecas, Mexico
All of the cities we covered in this post so far have a Halloween spirit but el Isla de la Munecas gives the word ‘scary a new meaning’. This Mexican island is one of the most haunted islands in the world and its history is rather curious. Back in the 1950s, the only resident of this island was a man named Julian Santana Barrera. One day, he found the body of a little girl at the shore. Supposedly, the girl’s ghost kept haunting Julian, and to please her, he started hanging dolls from every single tree he could find on the island.
There are stories of people who visited the islands claiming that the dolls move and whisper in the night. To make everything even scarier, years after discovering the girl’s body, Julian drowned himself on the same spot where he found the body.
Spooky locations in Isla de la Munecas
I’d say the entire island, are you brave enough to visit it?
If you want to experience something new this Halloween, why not head to Mexico and celebrate Dia de los Muertos? Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday in which people welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion. This holiday shares the same roots with Halloween but it’s an entirely different holiday with celebrations across Mexico that last for 3 days.
The best place in Mexico to experience Dia de los Muertos is probably Oaxaca, a city known for having the biggest Dia de los Muertos celebration in the world. For this day, the entire city turns into a massive fiesta. However, keep in mind that this is a religious (and important) traditional holiday and should not be treated as a tourist attraction.
Spooky locations in Oaxaca
Post Mortem Chapel
Historic Center of Oaxaca
Halloween tour ideas in Oaxaca
Dublin is one of the best places to celebrate Halloween in Europe. After all, let’s not forget that Halloween originated in Ireland. The predecessor of Halloween was an ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain. Throughout the years, the holiday evolved into Halloween that we know and love today but going back to the roots of a holiday is always a nice experience.
Every year, across Ireland, you’ll find an exciting atmosphere for Halloween, and Dublin hosts one of the liveliest celebrations of this holiday. There are many parties and festivals devoted to Halloween and Irish people sure know how to celebrate (as you already may know).
Spooky locations in Dublin
St Audoen’s Church
The Shelbourne Hotel
Halloween tour ideas in Dublin
Another great Halloween destination in Ireland is the town of Meath, the place where (according to historic sources) Halloween (or Samhain) originally began. The town itself isn’t very spooky and doesn’t have many places you might call haunted but the atmosphere in Meath during Halloween is a reason enough to visit. Meath is also one of the rare cities in Ireland that combines the Halloween celebration with traditional elements of the ancient festival of Samhain. This is arguably the largest Halloween festival in Ireland with an equal balance of scary night events and good old-fashioned festival fun.
Derry, Northern Ireland
Even though technically another country, Northern Ireland is connected to the ancient festival of Samhain as much as Ireland. The most prominent example of this is the city of Derry. Derry is one of the rare cities outside of the US to be dotted as “the best Halloween destination in the world” by USA Today (2015). The locals of Derry are crazy about Halloween and the festivities and celebrations are even crazier. Every year, the festival in Derry is even bigger than the previous year with more international visitors as time passes by. So, if you’re looking for a place to celebrate Halloween outside of the US, Derry is one of the best Halloween destinations in the world.
Spooky locations in Derry
Edinburgh is another major European city that hosts fabulous Halloween parties and is home to some of the most haunted places in Europe. In addition to this, Edinburgh is also the capital of Scotland and one of the most beautiful historic cities on the Old Continent. Similar to Irish people, Scottish people also have a history of celebrating Samhain and incorporate traditional elements of this festival into their Halloween celebrations which is another reason to visit Edinburgh during this time of the year.
Spooky locations in Edinburgh
Mary King’s Close
The South Bridge Vaults
The Banshee Labyrinth
Halloween tour ideas in Edinburgh
Next, we have London, the capital of the UK and one of the most visited cities in Europe and the world. It’s a city with a bloody past, many haunted sites, spooky backstreets, and memories of one of the world’s most notorious serial killers, Jack The Ripper. In addition to all this, Halloween in London is always accompanied by a vibrant atmosphere, incredible parties, parades, and plenty of mystery and ghost-related attractions.
Spooky locations in London
Hampton Court Palace
The London Dungeon
Sutton House and Breaker’s Yard
The Ten Bells
The Spaniards Inn
Halloween tour ideas in London
In addition to Limoges porcelain and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the city of Limoges is also famous for being the best place in France to experience some Halloween magic. In general, Halloween isn’t a big deal in France but Limoges is an exception. The city embraced the Halloween spectacle in the 1990s, organizing its first Halloween celebration in 1996 and the rest is history. Today, this is the biggest celebration of Halloween in France with a plethora of festivities, events, fairs, streets shows, costume and storytelling competitions, and more than 50,000 visitors.
What kind of list of the best Halloween destinations in the world would this be if we didn’t include Transylvania? Aside from being one of the most scenic regions of Romania, Transylvania is famous for its dark history and the famous legend of Count Dracula that originates from here. In Transylvania, you can find many ancient scary-looking castles, villages that seem to be frozen in time, many fascinating stories, and much more.
Halloween as a holiday isn’t a very big deal in Romania but what better way to celebrate it than through a one-of-a-kind, creepy experience in the “vampire stronghold” of Europe. If you want to spend your Halloween at some of the scariest locations in the world, consider visiting Bran Castle, Rasnov Fortress, Teleki Mansion, and the notorious Hoia Baciu Forest (a supposedly haunted forest where several UFO sightings were spotted according to witnesses).
Spooky locations in Transylvania
Hoia Baciu Forest
Halloween tour ideas in Transylvania
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is another great Eastern European city that you should consider for next Halloween. Like most other European countries, Halloween in Prague isn’t celebrated with as much enthusiasm as in the United States but Prague is an up-and-coming Halloween destination with its unique atmosphere, mysterious Old Town, numerous ghost stories, Gothic architecture, and many supposedly haunted sites.
Spooky locations in Prague
The Begging Skeleton of the Karolinum
Old Town Square
St. James Church
Josefov (Old Jewish Quarter)
St. Agnes Convent
Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital
Halloween tour ideas in Prague
Oravsky Hrad, Slovakia
If you’re looking for a less touristy version of Prague or Transylvania for your next Halloween adventure, you may want to consider Slovakia’s Oravsky Hrad. Oravsky Hrad or Orava Castle is a spooky-looking castle built on top of a high rock next to the bank of the Orava River. This castle was used for the shooting of 1922 horror classic Nosferatu, one of the scariest movies of its time and a pioneer in the horror movie niche.
City of the Dead, Russia
At a glance, the Ossetian commune of Dargavs looks like a charming village but once you get there, you’ll see that there’s something wrong. Each one of the beautiful houses is actually a tomb for entire Ossetian families. If you take a walk around the village and peek inside the houses, you will easily spot piles of skeletons.
According to local historians, these “tombs” date to a couple of hundred years ago when the village was affected by the plague. Many people died and in desperation some people just stayed in the family crypt waiting for their own death, knowing no one will be around to bury them.
This is where the nickname- City of the Dead comes from. Today, Dargavs is cut off from the rest of Russia located on a three-hour drive from the nearest living settlement. Obviously, Halloween is not celebrated there and tourist infrastructure is poor, but if you want to visit a scary place for Halloween, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Did you ever visit any of these places? How did you like this list of the best Halloween destinations in the world? Do you think there are a few other places we should add to our list? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!
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