These days, Halloween isn’t just for kids. Just about everyone loves to celebrate, and instead of staying at home answering the door to trick-or-treaters or going to the same party you’ve been attending for years, why not plan a trip around the haunted holiday? These destinations are particularly unforgettable for a Halloween escape.
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Ireland's Castles (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Ireland is home to practically an endless number of castles, and with many centuries-old, there are lots of haunted tales to go along with them, making a castle-visiting experience through the Emerald Isle a fantastic trip for late October. Ross Castle, built in 1563, offers overnights in this medieval castle where guests have been known to wake up hearing voices or the sounds of doors shutting on their own in the middle of the night. Some have even felt the presence of a spirit at the edge of their bed. If sleeping in a haunted castle sounds like a bit much, you can tour Malahide Castle, reportedly home to at least five ghosts, including a 16th-century caretaker known as Puck. By making arrangements with its musician-famous owner Sean Ryan, you may be able to tour Leap Castle too, known as one of the most haunted in all of Europe, as the scene of many dreadful deeds in the past, known today for its rather eerie apparitions.
Salem, Massachusetts (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Halloween in Salem is a month-long event, showcasing all sorts of ghoulish happenings, like the Haunted Happenings Grand Parade, ghostly tales, plenty of witches, vampires and much more. Over two dozen people were once tried and put to death in this town, simply for being called a witch. Today, Salem is considered one of America’s top Halloween vacation destinations for its celebration of witches on their most important night of the year. There are lots of haunted spots to explore as well as fireworks and witches circles. The Hawthorne Hotel also holds its famous Salem Witches Ball.
New Orleans, Louisiana (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The second most celebrated time after only Mardi Gras in New Orleans is Halloween. Its long history of voodoo, endless haunted spots, and an infamous party scene make it an ideal destination to celebrate. Explore the French Quarter to wander through voodoo shops and learn more about the centuries-old practice, and take one of the many haunted tours that include visits to the world-famous cemeteries where the dearly departed are buried in tombs above ground. An after-dark tour of Manchac Swamp is a must – the creepy experience includes tales about the hundreds who died in a tidal wave here.
London, England (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Perhaps one of the world’s most haunted cities, in London the list of places where ghosts are known to roam is practically endless. Take an after-dark ghost walk and visit graveyards and legendary murder sites, or embark on a horse-drawn carriage ride through Richmond Park for the hour-long special Halloween tour to learn all about the ghosts that haunt its grounds. The Tower of London, once home to political prisoners who were tortured and subsequently executed, also offers rather fascinating tours that include ghostly tales. If you want to stay in the city’s most haunted room, book Room 333 at the Langham Hotel which has seen numerous literary greats like Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain as well as several ghosts like the apparition of a silver-haired man wearing Victorian attire that makes appearances only in the month of October.
Deadwood, South Dakota (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Even the town’s name evokes a haunting image, and some believe Deadwood is America’s most haunted town in the country. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s worth visiting around Halloween for its rich and colorful history as well as its “Deadwierd” events that include haunted houses, spirit tours, costume contests, and more. The two-day celebration is typically held the Friday and Saturday closest to October 31, with a big costume contest held that Saturday night. For more haunts, stay at the historic Bullock Hotel which was owned and built by Deadwood’s first sheriff, Seth Bullock. Though he died nearly a century ago, in 1919, it’s said that he still plays host at his beloved hotel.
Tombstone, Arizona (Hotel Prices & Photos)
If you want to take the kids on a Halloween vacation, Tombstone may be a great choice. A fun place all year-round, at Halloween it hosts pumpkin carving and costume contests, ghost stories around the fire and lots of other activities. Adults who are looking for haunted thrills will find lots to indulge in, including visiting Boothill Cemetery after dark to watch for the specters that have often been seen wandering the old wooden grave markers. Though you may not want to tell the little ones, multiple sightings of ghosts have been reported throughout this Old West town, including the Bird Cage Theater, Big Nose Kate’s Saloon and the Cooper Queen Hotel. The dusty streets themselves are said to be the walkways of many lingering spirits.
Cripple Creek, Colorado (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Stepping into Cripple Creek, feels like a trip back in time, into this former gold rush town where old mine shafts, head frames and cabins dot the hills that surround it, and numerous spirits are said to linger. They’ve been reported everywhere from the cemetery to turn-of-the-century hospitals turned B&Bs, hotels, casinos and even the historic Butte Theatre. The Cripple Creek District Museum offers ghost walk tours at night that are especially ideal for Halloween. Stay at Hotel St. Nicholas, a former hospital during the town’s peak mining days with many mysterious incidents reported in Room 11, like spirits that seem to be using their care-taking skills in the afterlife, watching over guests while they’re in bed.
Czech Republic (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Prague in the Czech Republic is famous for its magnificent Gothic architecture, and it also happens to make for an unforgettable Halloween destination. There are many ghost tour options and guided night walks throughout the city as well as multiple attractions like the Torture Museum, Charles Bridge with its creepy-looking statues, St Vitus Cathedral and its gargoyles, and Old Town, the setting of many local legends and ghoulish stories. In Kutna Horna, under an hour east of Prague, you can visit Bone Church. A kind of bizarre skeletal art gallery, inside the Gothic chapel are the skeletons of around 40,000 plague victims plastered from top to bottom.