Every Fall, people celebrate all things spooky with crooked smiles on jack o’ lanterns, elaborate costumes, tons of candy, and scary movie marathons. While we each have our own Halloween traditions, some cities go all out for the season. Find out which American cities are the ideal destinations for Halloween.
Los Angeles, California
Half of the thrill of Halloween is the scary movies, and what better place to celebrate movies than Los Angeles? Lots of iconic horror films were shot in Los Angeles, like Poltergeist, Carrie, and Halloween. Plus, the city is full of ghost stories about famous celebrities. Rumor has it, Marilyn Monroe appears in a mirror at her favorite suite in the Roosevelt Hotel.
You can also tour certain film sets including Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and more. In addition, Warner Bros. has a special version of their studio tour during October, so you can see sets from The Exorcist and Gremlins.
After a day of touring the horror film sets, head over to the Halloween events that LA has going on—from haunted houses, costume parties, and family-friendly festivals.
St. Helens, Oregon
In the 1990s, Disney released a TV movie called “Halloweentown,” which soon became a nostalgia-inducing favorite. The movie was filmed in St. Helens, Oregon, and every October, St. Helens transforms itself to look just like it did in the movie. “The Spirit of Halloweentown” includes a parade, tractor rides, pumpkin carving contests, Halloween-themed concerts, a Masquerade Ball, and much, much more.
If you find yourself in St. Helens this Halloween, stay at the Lewis River Inn. It feels just as nostalgic as Halloweentown.
Philadelphia is steeped in American history, and some of America’s founding fathers and mothers are said to have stuck around. Benjamin Franklin has been spotted at Independence Hall, and Betsy Ross’ house was featured on Ghost Hunters. Every year, the city capitalizes on these historical haunts in October.
During Halloween, the Eastern State Penitentiary turns into Terror Behind the Walls, the largest haunted house in the country. It has six differently themed attractions, which include hundreds of actors, decorations, and sets that are spookily realistic.
For a tamer adventure, Philadelphia also hosts the Harry Potter Festival in October. The festival transforms Chestnut Hill into Harry Potter’s world for two days. Just a sampling of the events is a train to Hogsmeade, a Quidditch Tournament, the sorting hat, and classes at Hogwarts.
If you want a cozy spot for a break from all the frights, or a good night’s sleep after your Harry Potter adventure, we recommend staying at the Le Meridien Philadelphia.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” has scared people since 1820, and the town with the same name has a Halloween celebration that builds on that history. Tour the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where the author of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” Washington Irving, is buried along with other historical figures. Or, brave the “Horseman’s Hollow,” which is a 300-year-old mansion converted into a terrifying adventure.
For a less nightmare-inducing activity, check out The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, which features more than 10,000 carved and illuminated jack o’ lanterns constructed into incredible displays.
To fully embrace the Halloween spirit, stay at the Tarrytown House Estate. It’s got the décor and style to fit Halloween perfectly, yet the modern amenities that will keep you comfortable.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Halloween is all about being scared, but it’s also all about celebrating. New Orleans has mastered both fear and fun. The LaLaurie Mansion has been a source of legend and terror since the 1800s. And the building’s style and history are particularly ominous. When a fire struck the house in 1834, the town found out that Madame LaLaurie had been brutally torturing her slaves. The house is supposedly cursed with LaLaurie’s presence as well as the slaves’. For a tour of the LaLaurie mansion and other haunted places in New Orleans, book a tour with Nawlins Theatrical Tours.
New Orleans also offers Halloween street parties that are just as entertaining as their Mardi Gras parties, plus the city specializes in voodoo shops and costume shops for the ultimate Halloween experience.
Want to be close to all the festivities? We recommend staying at the AC Hotel by Marriott.
The Salem witch hunts were a particularly dark part of America’s history, but modern-day Salem has turned its history into the perfect Halloween celebration. First, visit the Jonathan Corwin House, also known as The Witch House. It is the only structure related to the witch trials that’s still standing, and Jonathan Corwin was none other than the judge who sent the 19 women to their deaths. Rumor has it that the house has paranormal activity from cold spots to people feeling like they’re being touched.
Outside of the paranormal, Salem offers a Festival of the Dead celebration, costume ball, psychic readings, Halloween-themed meals, and more for the whole family.
Halloween is all about being someone else for the night, and what better way to do that by celebrating somewhere new? Spend Halloween exploring the haunts of the country, the best costumes around, or the coolest jack o’ lanterns. No matter where you travel, with all things spooky, you’ll want to get a good night’s rest. This Halloween, scare yourself for fun, but get a good night’s rest by booking with Reservation Counter.