As the seasons change from summer to autumn, some people go straight for the red and green, the holly and the ivy, or the tinsel and jingle bells.
But not us. At RAVE Reviews, when the air grows cold, we get spooky. The fat man in red is just going to have to wait.
In other words, we love Halloween.
Halloween comes from the pagan Celtic feast of Samhain, celebrating the Celtic new year.
The Celtic people, who lived around 2,000 years ago, believed this was the time when ghosts and spirits came out to haunt the living. They appeased the spirits with treats, a tradition that became modern trick-or-treating.
European immigrants brought Halloween to America, and the popularity has increased year after year. Cities first began coming together to celebrate Halloween in the 1920s. Now, Halloween is America’s second largest commercial holiday.
But many people think Halloween is just for kids. We at RAVE disagree.
To prove it, we conducted a search for America’s most Halloween-tastic towns. Read on and find out how folks get down Halloween-style in their neck of the deep, dark, spiderweb-y woods.
In our list, we gave each town a Scare Score ranging from 1-10.
Each city earned points based on the frequency with which it was mentioned in similar lists across the internet. We also looked at the number of frightful things and haunted locations in each city. The small, out-of-the-way locations did earn a little extra love.
Some of these towns even celebrate Halloween all year, and that’s just fine by us.
The Spooky Things to Do and See section is for the extreme Halloween junkie, not satisfied with costumes and candy but instead looking for real honest-to-goodness ghost sightings and more.
To earn the highest score, the city had to have it all: a deep and rich haunted history as well as strong community support of our favorite holiday.
After reading the list, maybe you’ll visit these towns. Or simply use it to inspire your own Halloween festivities.
Are you brave enough? Dive into our list and find out.
Best Place to Stay: Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites
Maybe no other American town says Halloween quite like Salem, MA, the home of real-life witch trials in the late 1600s.
While in Salem for Halloween, see the Salem Witch Trial Reenactments. Or check out Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum, known for bringing movie monsters to life. In October, Orlok’s even features a haunted house.
There’s also the Haunted Dinner Theatre, or the Witches’ Halloween Ball.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Salem Witch Museum
Those enchanted by all things witchy should check out the Salem Witch Museum, presenting the era of the witch trials in ways that are educational, thought-provoking, and, of course, a bit spooky. Learn about the trials, as well as what life was like in Salem at the time.
Scare Score: 10
There’s tons of stuff to do in Salem for the Halloween and history buff as well. Feel the history at Gallows Hill Park or the Old Burying Point, as well as the month-long Festival of the Dead every October.
Sleepy Hollow, NY
Best Place to Stay: Tarrytown House Estate on the Hudson
One of literature’s most enduring icons of Halloween is The Headless Horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. And visiting real-life Sleepy Hollow, a tiny hamlet in upstate New York, offers a variety of goosebump-worthy diversions for bookworms and Halloween junkies alike.
You can even visit the Old Dutch Burying Ground, where the Headless Hessian — the inspiration behind The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’s Headless Horseman — has ridden since he met his end in the Revolutionary War. You can also catch a live performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
While in Sleepy Hollow, also check out the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, Horseman’s Hollow, Lyndhurst Castle, Philipsburg Manor, Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Visit the Bronze Lady of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery — the later at night the better.
Viewing the statue has been said to curse visitors with nightmares for weeks after their visit. Will you survive?
Scare Score: 10
I mean, c’mon — The Headless Horseman comes from here. How Halloween is that?
New Orleans, LA
Best Place to Stay: Royal St Charles Hotel
Any time of the year, New Orleans is one of America’s most historic and reportedly haunted cities. And when it comes Halloween time, the Big Easy embraces this reputation.
There are plenty of seasonal and year-round ghostly activities in New Orleans appropriate for every age group. First off, there’s the Krewe of Boo parade with eerie floats and music.
Then head to voodoo priestess Marie Laveau’s tomb at St. Louis Cemetery #1.
In fact, there’s so much creepy stuff to do in New Orleans, we’ll just leave a list here: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, New Orleans Vampire Ball, Boo at the Zoo, Crawloween at the Audubon Nature Center, and the Ghost City Tours Haunted Pub Crawl.
Spooky Things to See and Do: The LaLaurie House
Visit The LaLaurie House, absolutely silly with poor souls brutally tortured in the early 19th century. There’s also Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, where a long-gone pirate watches over visitors.
Scare Score: 10
New Orleans is world-famous for the supernatural and scary. Perfect for Halloween.
New York, NY
Best Place to Stay: YOTEL New York
New York City is the city that never sleeps – and after learning about all the ghosts lurking around every corner, neither will you.
The Village Halloween Parade draws visitors from all over the world. There’s a costume march down the streets of lower Manhattan with bands, dancers, and giant, mile-long puppets.
Gotham also hosts numerous events for those looking for some real scares. There’s an after-dark crypt tour of the Cathedral of St. John’s the Divine, a ghost walk, and a Broadway show immersing visitors in a tormenting and frightful experience.
Also near New York City is The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Hudson Valley, NY. While there, see more than 7,000 glowing, intricately carved pumpkins along the riverside near Van Cortlandt Manor.
Spooky Things to Do and See: St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s graveyard, dating to 1697, is said to be haunted by many of its occupants.
One of the graves from the 17th century belongs to the English actor George Frederick Cooke. In life, he loved to gamble. When he lost all of his money, it’s said he sold his head for research. A headless ghost has been seen wandering the graveyard and a nearby alley where there used to be a theater.
Scare Score: 10
It doesn’t get any better than Halloween in New York.
Best Place to Stay: Kimpton Hotel Monaco Philadelphia
Philly has played a central role in American history, so it makes sense it’s a place known for numerous haunted locations.
There’s the Eastern State Penitentiary, reported to be plagued by the ghosts of past inmates.
During Halloween, you’ll find several haunted houses with Hollywood-quality decorations and actors. At the Penitentiary, check out the Terror Behind the Walls tour. Or look into the eerie Pennhurst Asylum.
There’s also the kid-friendly Scarecrow Competition and straw mazes.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Baleroy Mansion
A 32-room estate in Chestnut Hill, Baleroy Mansion once earned the title “Most Haunted Home in America.” Ghosts, spirits, and other paranormal activity have long been reported on the estate.
According to lore, the carpenter who built Baleroy eventually murdered his wife in the main house.
Some report an elderly woman with a cane, dressed in black, hovering in a corner on the second floor.
There are also mysterious bangs and knocks, and the ghost of Thomas Jefferson has been seen standing near a tall grandfather clock in the dining room.
Scare Score: 10
Philadelphia has seen a lot of history, and many troubled souls from America’s past still wander there.
Las Vegas, NV
Best Place to Stay: The Palazzo at The Venetian
What happens in Vegas stay in Vegas, and that goes for Halloween parties as well.
If you find yourself in Vegas for the holiday, head straight for the Strip. There, visitors and locals alike take to the streets in over-the-top costumes, drinks in hand.
If you prefer your Halloween festivities on the historical side, there are plenty of ghost tours to take you to the haunted sites of Sin City.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV
At the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, some people to get married and some come to gamble. Still others are in for the fright their lives.
Infamous Gangster Bugsy Siegel had a hand in the Flamingo’s early years. In business since 1946, some say his ghost still haunts the hotel.
See a mysterious dark figure standing at the end of the bed at night, hear eerie whispers, or experience doors opening and closing on their own.
Or maybe find his wandering apparition in the chapel gardens, home to the Bugsy Memorial.
Scare Score: 9.5
With all the outlandish characters that have called Vegas home over the years, it’s certain some souls still wander the halls of the hotels and casinos.
Best Place to Stay: The Inn on West Liberty
Between Civil War battlefields, a bloody colonial history, slavery, fires, and terrible diseases, Savannah, GA has been called one of America’s most haunted cities.
In fact, there are over 40 guided ghost tours in Savannah’s historic district that run all year round. We especially like the Savannah Ghostwalker Tour, highlighting stories, legends, cemeteries, and battlefields around the city.
Around Halloween, younger visitors enjoy the Halloween hike at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center with family-friendly costumed animal characters passing out candy.
Adults can head to the Boo Bash Halloween Party at the Alee Shriner’s Temple, a charity event including a costume contest.
Spooky Stuff to Do and See: Savannah’s battlefields
From the Siege of Savannah in 1779 (240 killed, 600 wounded), to the American Civil War’s Savannah capture by General T. Sherman, war has left its mark on Savannah. Visit the battlefields and feel the souls of fallen soldiers, still restless in the afterlife.
Scare Score: 9.5
There are tons of Halloween chills to be had in America’s most haunted city.
Best Place to Stay: Woodlands Hotel & Suites – Colonial Williamsburg
All year round, Colonial Williamsburg embraces the spookiness of its long history.
While in Williamsburg for Halloween, visitors can experience A Haunting on DoG, or Duke of Gloucester, Street. It’s an evening of ghost tours, spooky carriage rides, museum talks, and special events.
And other ghost tours happen all over Colonial Williamsburg’s historic areas. Guides tell ghost stories and recount Williamsburg’s witch trial. There’s also the “Ghosts Amongst Us” tour for teens and adults, taking visitors inside haunted properties.
Near Colonial Williamsburg is Busch Gardens theme park, featuring an annual Howl-O-Scream event.
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Brick House Tavern
The centuries-old Brick House Tavern has always been used as lodging. Back in the 1770s, it was common to share a bed. These days, guests get their own bed, but that doesn’t mean spirits won’t try to share the bed with you.
At the Brick House, visitors report ghostly footsteps as well as the sweet odor of tobacco. Keys jangle and shadowy figures stalk the hallways, turning lights on and off and playing with faucets. One woman even woke to a man in breeches and long hair only to see him disappear into the dark.
Scare Score: 9.5
Souls from America’s colonial past will frighten you to the core.
Los Angeles, CA
Best Place to Stay: The Rose Hotel
Los Angeles is a place where people make-believe for a living. And Halloween is the perfect time for imagining all kinds of creepy crawlies.
Long Beach is only 45 minutes outside LA. While there, enjoy one of California’s most popular Halloween celebrations when iconic 1930s ocean liner The Queen Mary is transformed into a haunted ship for the holiday.
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Hollywood Roosevelt
The ghost of Marilyn Monroe still haunts this hotel, built in the 1920s. Guests report her image appearing in photographs. And late actor Montgomery Clift has also been heard practicing his trumpet from his former suite.
Lights and faucets turn on and off on their own, and the switchboard gets calls from vacant rooms.
Scare Score: 9.5
Ghosts from Hollywood’s Golden Age = that perfect balance of glamour and terror.
St. Louis, MO
Best Place to Stay: Angad Arts Hotel
Known as the Gateway City (perhaps explaining why so many spirits cross over here), St. Louis has plenty of Halloween festivities for all ages, ranging from not-so-scary to truly unnerving.
First, there’s the Saint Louis Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo Spooky Saturday. You’ll find haystacks and pumpkins. As a souvenir, pick up a too cute T-shirt complete with costumed grizzly bear dressed as Wonder Woman.
But those in the mood for some real thrills should check out the ghost tour at the Fabulous Fox Theater. Guides tell tales of ghost sightings and unexplained phenomena over the theater’s 88-year history.
Spooky Stuff to Do and See: The Grandel Theatre Haunted Tour.
The Grandel Theatre is truly haunted, at least according to the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society. And now you too can experience the Grandel in an interactive haunted tour.
On the tour, explore areas of the theatre normally off-limits to the public, using the same high-tech investigation equipment used by professional ghost hunters. And watch the pros conduct two spirit communication sessions in known paranormal hot spots.
Scare Score: 9
There’s plenty of haunted history in St. Louis, if you’re brave enough to explore it.
Best Place to Stay: The Maxwell Hotel
It’s famously dark and gloomy in the Pacific Northwest, and Seattle makes the most of the weather every Halloween.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood’s Hilloween is a popular event for families, featuring a circus-themed indoor carnival with rides, games, bounce houses, and more.
Other festivities include Festál: Dia de Muertos, which celebrates Mexican art, culture, and spirituality; the West Seattle Harvest Fest, featuring a costume parade and trick-or-treat event; and FreakNight music festival at Seattle’s WaMu Theatre.
Spooky Stuff to Do and See: Kells Irish Restaurant
Kells Irish Restaurant has been called the most haunted bar in America. Check this out: The bar is said to be in the former embalming room of a mortuary.
Many ghosts have been spotted at Kells, most notably a little girl with red hair and a man named Charlie, who is said to appear in the Guinness mirror.
Also in Seattle is The Martha Washington School for Girls. Once a home for delinquent children, the location is now a park. But it’s said paranormal events continue to happen there, particularly around old trees planted by some of the original residents of the school.
Scare Score: 9
Visiting a haunted bar is a great way for grown-ups to kick off their Halloween festivities.
Best Place to Stay: Kinzie Hotel
The Windy City goes all out for Halloween.
There’s the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade and the Masquerade Ball at the famous Drake Hotel. For a dystopian dance party (“think Mad Max meets 80’s warehouse gathering”), head to the Underworld’s Fair, hosted by the Chicago Athletic Association.
Horror film fans can feast on horror movie screenings around the city, and history buffs can take a peek into the past of Chicago with a tour of the city’s numerous haunted locations. Many are allegedly frequented by spirits from the golden era of the American gangster.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Graceland Cemetery
Graceland Cemetery is the final resting place for many colorful characters from Chicago’s notorious history. But one of its most famous residents is Inez Clarke.
Inez was a 6-year-old girl who was killed after being struck by lightning while she played in the rain. Her parents commissioned a stone statue of Inez’s likeness and had it placed directly on the child’s tomb. The statue is protected from the elements by a glass box.
Cemetery workers and tourists have reported that the statue vanishes from the box, particularly on stormy days. The statue always returns once the weather breaks.
Many speculate the statue leaves to play in the storm, reliving its final moments for all eternity.
Scare Score: 9
Chicago has a long and violent history, perfect to send chills up your spine.
San Francisco, CA
Best Place to Stay: Chancellor Hotel on Union Square
The City by the Bay offers tons of options for those looking to celebrate Halloween.
There are kid-friendly festivals and pumpkin carving at Pier 39 throughout the season. And for the grown-ups, there’s a Halloween party for every taste, with venues ranging from Eve’s Waterfront to 25 Lusk to the Alchemist Bar & Lounge.
Other options include staying at the Queen Anne Hotel, the San Francisco Zombie Walk, a tour of Chinatown’s haunted locations, and the Haunted Pirate Ship Tour.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary
Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary once imprisoned the country’s most notorious criminals. Those brave enough to take a night tour should look out for the souls of Machine Gun Kelly or Bumpy Johnson.
Scare Score: 9
With tons of extravagant history, San Francisco will keep you up all Halloween night with fun and frights.
Ceredo and Kenova, WV
Best Place to Stay: Hampton Inn Huntington University Area
The South is full of history and where there’s history, there are ghosts.
See traces of the Civil War in Ceredo and Kenova, WV. These 2 small towns that team up to celebrate the season with bake-offs, festivals, tractor shows, and more fall fun.
But main draw is definitely the 3,000 jack-‘o-lanterns on display at the famous Pumpkin House.
There’s also a Halloween home decorating contest, a craft and collectibles show, and a book sale.
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Ramsdell House
Among all the popular haunted sites in West Virginia, there’s a particularly creepy locale in Ceredo called the Ramsdell House.
The Ramsdell House played a huge role in the Civil War era. It’s believed to be full of spirits, and it’s a favorite place for paranormal investigations.
Rob Henry, founder and lead investigator of the Original West Virginia Paranormal, says his team has seen large shadows moving in the Ramsdell House and felt a cold chill from time to time. “I have felt something actually move through me here,” he adds.
Scare Score: 8.5
This place offers the perfect mix of quaint autumn festivities and paranormal scares.
Buena Park, CA
Best Place to Stay: Good Nite Inn Buena Park
Okay, so you can’t really tell when fall arrives in Buena Park, considering the weather is almost always the same in Southern California. But Buena Park transforms into Boo-uena Park to mark the change in seasons.
The event features an arts and crafts fest and an 80’s-themed costume party. Other festivities include the Vampirates Halloween Show at the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Theater, Rock & Brews Monster Beer Fest, and the Olde Tyme Fall Festival.
Disneyland is near Buena Park, so families can attend Mickey’s Halloween Party, Cars Land “Haul-O-Ween,” and Guardians of the Galaxy – Monsters After Dark.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Knott’s Scary Farm
There are all sorts of events at Boo-uena Park, including the nation’s longest-running theme park Halloween party. Knott’s Berry Farm transforms into Knott’s Scary Farm, with mazes and an interactive zombie experience. There are over 1,000 monsters roaming the park and lurking in the fog.
A less scary option is Knott’s Spooky Farm. Think less jump scares and more kiddie-friendly trick-or-treating.
Scare Score: 8.5
An interactive zombie experience has our attention.
Photo courtesy of McMenamins Crystal Ballroom/Kathleen Nyberg
Best Place to Stay: Dossier Hotel
With a tendency toward naturally spooky weather, Portland is a great place to get your chills during Halloween season.
There’s a long list of city-hosted events, from witches’ balls to haunted corn mazes. Some start as early as the second week of September.
Visitors can even tour the tunnel systems, known as Shanghai Tunnels, where drugged sailors were once dragged to the waterfront to be shipped miles out to sea.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour
Use real ghost-hunting equipment just like the pros on TV. Visit ghostly places and get the feel for what life is like as a paranormal investigator.
Scare Score: 8.5
Those Shanghai Tunnels are not to be missed.
Estes Park, CO
Best Place to Stay: Appenzell Inn
If a town can give legendary horror novelist Stephen King the chills, who are we to argue?
While King was in Estes Park, he paid a visit to the Stanley Hotel. The locale inspired his bone-chilling classic “The Shining.”
When you’re in town, be sure to see the Stanley Hotel’s murder mystery dinner known as the Shining Ball.
Outside of the hotel, there’s more scary fun to be had, and it’s downtown — Main Street to be exact. When in Estes Park, do like the locals do and head to the center of town for your Halloween treats.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Baldpate Inn or Elkhorn Lodge.
While checking in at Baldpate, guests are sometimes visited by the original owners of the inn. They still make appearances — from beyond the grave.
Try Elkhorn Lodge and you may be visited by apparitions of cattle ranchers who lived in the 1870s.
Scare Score: 8
Not only did Estes Park freak out Stephen King, it shows up strong for All Hallow’s Eve.
Best Place to Stay: Aloft Austin Northwest
From Halloween-inspired science to burlesque shows and themed dance parties, Halloween is one of Austin’s biggest holidays.
On the family-friendly side, there’s the Spooktacular at the Bullock Museum. Kids can dissect owl pellets, program Sphero robots, make ooey gooey slime, and more.
For the grown-ups, there are tons of parties and events to choose from. One popular option is the Halloween Ball at The Belmont, featuring DJs and live music, plus a costume contest and silent disco.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street
At Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street, the apparition of a woman carrying a child has been seen walking through the halls or sitting in a rocking chair in the former private residence.
Music, lights, and other noises have also been reported — once when the electricity was turned off.
Scare Score: 7.5
Think your costume game is strong enough to win the big prize at the Halloween Ball? Head to Austin and find out.
San Diego, CA
Best Place to Stay: Bahia Resort Hotel
It’s hard to imagine a place said to have some of the best weather in the country as an excellent destination for Halloween. But when it comes to the dark and creepy, San Diego never disappoints.
While there, visit the Haunted Hotel, or take a mile-long stroll through the Haunted Trail at Balboa Park and see creatures straight out of your nightmares.
Other San Diego haunted destinations include the Whaley House, Hotel Del Coronado, and El Campo Santo Cemetery.
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Horton Grand Hotel
Chill-seekers head to room number 309 at The Horton Grand Hotel, where a brutal murder took place more than 150 years ago. Ill-fated gambler Roger Whitaker met his fate in the room, shot to death by henchmen collecting monies owed.
Many believe Whitaker’s spirit still haunts Room #309. Some guests experience the bed shaking as they sleep. Lights are known to turn on and off, and the door of the armoire in which Whitaker was shot as he hid often opens and closes in the middle of the night.
Scare Score: 7.5
Don’t be fooled by the sunshine — this historic port city has plenty to offer on All Hallow’s Eve.
Best Place to Stay: Royal Park Hotel
When Halloween approaches, people travel from all over to the small Michigan village of Romeo.
The reason? Terror on Tillson Street, one of Michigan’s most well-known Halloween celebrations.
To prep for the event, local homeowners deck out their property with spooky and seriously detailed Halloween displays. For the last 2 weeks of October, participants simply walk around the neighborhood to get haunted house-worthy frights for free.
It all started 35 years ago when Tillson Street resident Vicki Lee first decorated her house for the holiday. She came up with the idea because she wanted to make Halloween more special for her children.
Today, up to 2,000 trick-or-treaters attend the event on the night of Halloween. But tens of thousands of visitors wander up and down the street during the last 2 weeks of October.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Haunted Romeo
For a chance to see some real specters and apparitions, check out Haunted Romeo, a night of paranormal investigation. You’ll visit Romeo’s most haunted locales in a guided tour with respected paranormal investigators.
Scare Score: 7.5
DIY scares are the best!
Best Place to Stay: The Inn at Lost Creek
The scenic mountain town of Telluride loves to be scared — so much so they host an annual horror film festival.
There are other Halloween festivities too, including a town parade. The old Telluride hospital opens up to create the Haunted Hospital. Visitors can even tour Lone Tree Cemetery by lamplight (not for the faint of heart).
For those looking to party, head to the Halloween Bash for music, costume contests, and ghoulish fun. It’s all hosted by KOTO, Telluride’s NPR-affiliated radio station.
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Telluride Historical Museum
Open since 1896, the Telluride Historical Museum was once a hospital. The building is said to be haunted.
The spirits that have been sighted there are thought to be former patients who refused to leave, like a miner who died of lung disease. You can see his chest X-ray at the museum. The light box housing the X-ray is often found turned off.
A little girl has been seen hanging out on the third-floor stairs. Voices and footsteps are also reported from the former operating rooms.
Scare Score: 7.5
A haunted hospital and a horror film festival make Telluride an intriguing Halloween destination.
St. Helens, OR
Best Place to Stay: Lewis River Inn
Halloween is a pretty big deal in St. Helens, a small Oregon town on the Columbia Gorge.
In fact, scenes from the classic Disney movie Halloweentown were shot in St. Helens. How cool is that?
Visitors can get in on the fun by attending various Spirit of Halloweentown events, such as a Gothic Dance Party, a Haunted Hot Rod, Auto & Hearse Rally, or a Boo’s Cruise. Other holiday activities include the St. Helens’ annual giant pumpkin lighting.
There’s also a self-guided tour of haunted locales around St. Helens. And how epic does a Severed Head Tractor Ride sound?
Sign us up!
Spooky Things to Do and See: Nightmare on Main Street’s Haunted House
After hitting Halloweentown, stop by Nightmare on Main Street’s Haunted House. In a 5,000 sq. ft historic building, visitors roam through 10 nightmarish rooms and hallways.
Scare Score: 7
Did we mention the movie Halloweentown filmed here?! That earns at least one full point on its own.
Best Place to Stay: The Crash Pad
There are several haunted places to visit while in Chattanooga, TN. One of them is Dread Hollow, rated as one of the top Halloween haunts in the country.
At Dread Hollow, visitors make their way through over 20,000 sq. feet of hair-raising thrills. It’s the perfect experience for those who like their Halloween with added guts and gore. In other words, it’s not for kids!
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Chattanooga Choo Choo
Up until 1970, all trains heading to the American South passed through Chattanooga’s famous terminal.
Today, the Chattanooga Choo Choo is home to the world’s largest model train display. But that’s not all. With the building’s long history, it’s no surprise that visitors have encountered a variety of spirits and apparitions. You might spot one, too.
Scare Score: 7
Gory haunted houses and a haunted train station? We’re all in.
Fort Worth, TX
Best Place to Stay: The Ashton Hotel
Fort Worth is an Old West Texas town with tons of bone-chilling atmosphere. And when it comes to Halloween, the locals take full advantage of it.
While there, you can trick-or-treat through historic stockyards, or take the Ghost Bus to spooky sites around the city.
On Halloween itself, the Stockyards offer trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating, hayrides, and more at a free, family-friendly event.
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Stockyards Hotel
Since 1907, the Stockyards Hotel has seen a lot of characters, from rowdy outlaws to country music legends. And there are plenty of ghost sightings to go along with that kind of history.
First off, the elevator is reputedly haunted. It’s said a young girl gets off on the second floor and takes three steps before disappearing.
Notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde stayed at the Stockyards, in Room 306 to be exact. In Room 306, the water faucet tends to turn on and off on its own.
And women staying alone in the hotel have felt someone next to them or getting into bed with them that wasn’t there.
TVs and radios turn on by themselves. There have even been prank calls from within the building. Some say they originate from an old employee, unaware of his own passing.
Scare Score: 7
Staying in a room Bonnie and Clyde once stayed in is now on our bucket list.
Best Place to Stay: Nauset Beach Inn
With its abundance of spooky history, Cape Cod offers plenty of great Halloween celebration opportunities.
One such celebration is Chatham’s Pumpkin People in the Park event, where townspeople show off their fun and quirky pumpkin creations.
Chatham also hosts its very own Oktoberfest event with foodie fun and activities on the Saturday before Halloween.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Dead of Night Ghost Tours
In nearby Plymouth, MA, take a tour with the Dead of Night Ghost Tour Company.
See where many of the original Pilgrims once lived, and where they’re now buried. Learn how the town square is said to still be cursed by late King Philip.
There’s also a Twilight Lantern Tour, which takes you inside some truly scary houses.
For some milder frights, try the sunset cemetery tours and history tours of some of Plymouth’s oldest locations.
Scare Score: 7
No matter how you prefer to celebrate, Cape Cod is a great place to spend Halloween.
Best Place to Stay: Wingate By Wyndham Coon Rapids
Known as the “Halloween capital of the world,” Anoka, MN is believed to be one of the first towns in the United States to celebrate Halloween. The town’s first celebration of the holiday dates back to the 1920s. And it was all to give Anoka’s youngsters a diversion from Halloween pranks.
Today, Anoka marks All Hallow’s Eve with activities like scarecrow contests, balls and parties, scavenger hunts, runs, bonfires, and parades.
Many events start in early September, giving residents and visitors to Anoka plenty of time to soak in the spooky atmosphere.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Haunted Dining at Billy’s Bar and Grill
Billy’s Bar and Grill is located in a Victorian hotel on the site of a former brothel. The building is said to be haunted by the brothel’s staff.
Machines have been known to behave strangely, and patrons have noted unexpected drops in temperature. There have even been reports of ghost sightings on the stairs of the restaurant.
Scare Score: 6.5
Lots of love for Anoka celebrating Halloween since the 1920s.
Best Place to Stay: The Seelbach Hilton Louisville
Home to the Kentucky Derby, Louisville, KY also has tons of bone-chilling locales — perfect to celebrate all things dark and ghoulish.
There’s Waverly Hills Sanatorium, where hopeless souls plague the hospital hallways. Waverly Hills features a haunted house running from early September to Halloween.
Spooky Things to Do and See: The Oakroom at the Seelbach Hotel
The most famous soul haunting the Seelbach Hotel is known as the Lady in Blue.
The ghost is thought to be the lingering spirit of Patricia Wilson, a woman who died in the hotel in July of 1936 after finding that her estranged husband was killed in a car accident on his way to make amends with her.
Her body was found at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Was it suicide, an accident, or something more sinister?
The Lady in Blue has been spotted throughout the building. She makes herself known by the sound of footsteps, the floral scent of her perfume, and the feeling of cold spots throughout the hotel.
Feel her presence in the Seelbach bar…if you’re brave enough to try.
Scare Score: 6.5
Old hotels can be scary enough without heartbroken spirits wandering their hallways.
Best Place to Stay: Lake Opechee Inn and Spa
Laconia is known for the famous NH Pumpkin Festival, which attracts more than 40,000 visitors every October. At the fest, get ready for plenty of haunted attractions, live music, and food events.
Each year, participants attempt to amass the largest number of lit jack-o’-lanterns in one place. They hope to meet or beat the world record. In 1992, the festival set the record with about 1,600 carved gourds in one location.
Since then, numbers have exceeded 30,000.
Spooky Stuff to Do and See: Colonial Theater
Disembodied voices and the sound of people walking throughout the building have been reported at this turn-of-the-century theater in Laconia.
There are also numerous private residences in Laconia which are said to be haunted. Many of these locations were stops on the Underground Railroad.
Scare Score: 6
Nothing says Halloween like a good carved pumpkin (especially a record-breaking number of them).
Best Place to Stay: The Grove Resort Orlando
Theme parks are the thing in Orlando. And several of the most well-known theme parks in the city do up Halloween right, with events ranging from not-too-scary to downright spine-tingling.
SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland Florida, and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom all host family-friendly Halloween parties where kids can collect all sorts of treats — but no tricks!
Universal Orlando Resort offers a more thrilling diversion for adults with Halloween Horror Nights, billed as the world’s premier Halloween event.
At Halloween Horror Nights, try to survive haunted houses inspired by the greatest horror stories of all time.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Princeton Hospital
Princeton Hospital, an old psychiatric hospital, is said to be one of the most haunted places in Orlando. Many locals believe that the building is frequented by the spirits of patients, doctors, and nurses.
There are reports of unexplained knocking, disembodied moans and voices, and lights that turn on and off on their own.
Visitors to Princeton Hospital have seen an empty wheelchair being pushed down a corridor by unseen hands.
Scare Score: 6
Halloween is big business in Orlando. Nevertheless, they go all in for our favorite day of the year.
Best Place to Stay: Comfort Inn & Suites
In Independence, Halloween doesn’t last for just one night. Instead, the town hosts the 9-day Neewollah festival — get it? That’s Halloween spelled backward.
Neewollah is the largest annual event in the state, drawing up to 75,000 visitors. The family-friendly party includes dozens of activities like parades, food festivals, carnivals, and more.
One favorite event is the DooDah Parade, a chance for grown-ups to strut their Halloween stuff. The parade is sprinkled with the odd drill team, bearded beauties, and unusual creatures. This Mardi Gras-type parade lets the young at heart celebrate the season in their own way.
Spooky Things to Do and See: Shattered Souls Haunted House & Shatter Vision 3D
While in Independence, don’t miss Shattered Souls Haunted House & Shatter Vision 3D, the largest haunted house in southeast Kansas. Those who’ve been say there’s “always a surprise waiting for you” at Shattered Souls.
Scare Score: 6
Lots of community spirit and a family-friendly environment.