The world’s best destinations to celebrate Halloween

Get ready for ghosts, zombies, pumpkins and kids amped up on sugar as we explore the world’s best destinations to celebrate Halloween.

child dressed as a ghost ready to go trick or treating for Halloween
Trick or treat? Credit: Shutterstock

The idea of Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain when people lit bonfires and wore costumes to ward off ghosts. The Celts believed that on the night of October 31, the boundary between the world of the living and the dead was blurred.

As a result, Christians made the following day, 1 November, All Saints Day. 

Most people know that Halloween is hugely popular in the USA and that you can go trick or treating in every city. But if you’re thinking of looking for seriously spooky stuff, Salem and New Orleans are the places to go. There’s also Halloween fun to be had in Europe too.

Here are five destinations to celebrate Halloween around the world.

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem was the scene of the 1692 witch trials. In the trials a group of young girls claimed to be possessed by the devil. They then accused several local women of practising witchcraft. The result was that around 20 people were convicted and hanged.

Salem Halloween witch trials
Salem Witch Trials. A women protests as one of her accusers, a young girl, appears to have convulsions. Credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock

Salem is also supposedly home to many haunted locations. To get the most out of a trip to Salem we recommend visiting the Willamette Heritage Museum and Oregon State Prison. Both are infamous for paranormal activity.

In October Salem has a full calendar full of haunted shows, live events and ghost tours. Check out The Witch Museum, The Burying Point, The Witch House and Ropes Mansion and Garden.

New Orleans, USA

New Orleans is another US destination to celebrate Halloween. The city has a dark history full of stories of voodoo and black magic.

Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo provides resources for the practice of voodoo and things zombie, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Picture: Shutterstock

The most spine-chilling legend in New Orleans is that of Madame LaLaurie and her torture chamber on Royal Street. On April 10, 1834, a fire broke out inside the home of Delphine Lalaurie and her estranged husband. Through the smoke and flames, an ugly truth was exposed, The LaLaurie Mansion, a beautiful home, held ugly secrets. According to the legend, there was a torture chamber where men and women were found chained to the walls. Some say that there were body parts and blood splattered on the attic walls. Rumour has it that vengeful spirits still haunt the grounds. And locals believe that Delphine still roams the property late at night.

In New Orleans, Halloween weekend activities perfectly capture the city’s creepy past. Start with the official New Orleans Halloween Parade is called The Krewe of Boo. We also recommend going on a a ghost tour around the historic French Quarter. It’s bound to give you a larger than life Halloween experience.

For more spooky fun, visit the LaLaurie Mansion, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and The Myrtles Mansion.

READ MORE: America’s top music cities for families

London, England

London is home to many ghost stories and murder mysteries, which makes it a great destination to celebrate Halloween. The most famous is that of “Jack the Ripper” who terrorized the Whitechapel district in London’s East End. 

The unidentified serial murdered five prostitutes mutilated their bodies in a highly unusual manner, indicating that he had a superior knowledge of human anatomy. He was never captured and remains one of England’s most infamous criminals. What’s more, fans of crime and murder mysteries can take a Jack the Ripper tour. 

The London Dungeon set for Halloween
The London Dungeon. Credit: Shutterstock

Younger kids might prefer the London Dungeon. It’s a tourist attraction which recreates gory and macabre historical events in a gallows humour style.

READ MORE: Free stuff to do with kids in London

Transylvania, Romania

Head to Transylvania in Romania if you dare, birthplace of the Dracula legend.

Apparently Vlad, or Dracula, was born in 1431 in Transylvania into a prominent family. Dracula means son of Dracul in Romanian; Dracul comes from the Romanian word Devil. Which translated means that Vlad was the son of the devil. Historians believe that this is what started the legend of Dracula the vampire.

Transyvania
Bran Castle, Transylvania, Romania, known as “Dracula’s Castle”. Picture: Shutterstock

With its gothic architecture and enveloping forests, Transylvania is certain to give your family the creeps. Why not take a peek into the ruins of Dracula’s castle or stop for a visit at Rupea citadel at night for a real scare.

More spooky spots include Bran Castle, Rasnov Citadel, Hoia Forest and Poenari Castle.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is one of Scotland’s most picturesque cities. It’s also said to be haunted, which makes it a great destination to celebrate Halloween.

Edinburgh Castle. Picture: Shutterstock

Teens will enjoy a Mercat Tour of the Edinburgh Vaults. On the daytime tour for kids you’ll hear tales of stinking streets, terrible tortures and ghostly goings-on.  The tour takes you to some of the city’s most horrible haunts including the famous Blair Street Underground Vaults.

More must see attractions include Edinburgh Castle, Brodie’s Close, Greyfriars Kirkyard and Niddry Street Vaults.

READ MORE: 

The best places in the world to visit during October?

We found the weirdest theme parks in Europe

The American Dream: Six must-see cities in the USA

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