Last summer, my boyfriend and I moved into an adorable townhome in the center of Old Town, Alexandria right outside of D.C.. We adored our new neighborhood and were obsessed with exploring every nook and cranny it had to offer. On one of the first cool evenings in our new ‘hood, we headed out for walk through the cobbled streets. As we enjoyed spectating at all the historical homes, we were startled to see a house covered completely in spider web with giant fake spiders glued up the side of it. Um, excuse me? It was only the beginning of October and this felt a bit extreme for trick or treaters. But oh, were we wrong.
Little did we know, our sweet and charming town transforms during the month of October to become a gloriously over-the-top haunted village. Every house works to make their decorations more elaborate than the year before, creating this incredible strip that looks like it’s straight out of a Tim Burton movie. On the night of Halloween, the streets close down so kids and adults alike can trick or treat, or simply walk their pups along the road admiring this year’s decor. My favorite part was an illuminated parade of costumed bicyclist that weaved through the city. It was unreal. Having lived in this area for nearly seven years, I couldn’t beleive I hadn’t stumbled on this event before! And now, we’re setting the bar high this year with some excellent Wizard of Oz themed getups for our humble home. It got me thinking, what other towns hold their own fantastical Halloween celebration? Check out these awesome places that show their true colors on All Hallow’s Eve, would you dare to go?
Salem is so dedicated to this holiday that they have an entire webpage dedicated to it! With a fascinating and downright creepy history of witch trials, you’re sure to find a spook in every hidden corner. Luckily, there are family friendly events such as a 4-D museum and intriguing walking tours in case the monster mash and ‘spirits’ scene is a bit too scary for you.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Sleepy Hollow gives haunted houses a new meaning. Visit Horseman’s Hollow if you’re looking to truly be be frightened to your core. Or, perhaps you might opt for a terrifying cemetery walk. Looking to be able to sleep at night? Head to the pumpkin lantern walk-through display to round out this naturally scary neighborhood.
Buena Park, California
The largest Halloween experience in Southern California, this Knott’s Berry Farm theme park transforms every ride and experience into a delightful fright. One ticket will get you into numerous haunted mazes, sinister shows and horrifying creatures sneaking through the fog. Do you dare?
New Orleans, Louisiana
True to New Orleans style, the party only gets spookier and more crazy when October 31st comes. Although the Halloween pub crawl is the best people watching ever, don’t forget to check out Boo at the Zoo and Crawloween at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium. Nothing saws Halloween quite like being surrounded by spiders, amiright?
New York City, New York
Noted as the Halloween party of all Halloween parties, the Village Halloween Parade has a record number of zombies, goblins (and tbh, Donald Trumps) strolling through the streets of Manhattan. Be warned, you can’t march unless you’re costume’d up!
Bar Harbor, Maine
I’ve written about my love for this charming town before, but Halloween certainly brings out a different side of this sweet village. Sign up for a spooky ghost tour to hear the tales of these cobbled streets or check out the creepy exhibits and spooky snacks at The George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History.
I couldn’t finish this list without a shout out to my own ‘hood. Although we offer ghost tours year round, our streets stay rather gremlin-free 354 days a year. However, come All Hallow’s Eve, this charming city is overrun by thousands of people dressed as witches and vikings to fairies and puppies as townhomes turn into haunted houses, cemeteries and thriller movie scenes. Lee Street in old town glows in orange lighting as kids run from door to door for candy while adults enjoy a leisurely bar crawl with creepy-themed drinks.
How do you like to celebrate Halloween? Any costume ideas yet?!
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