Halloween isn’t celebrated all over the world, but there are a few destinations where a combination of history, culture and myths come together to create the perfect place to participate in the spooky holiday. Some of the events will have you screaming in fear while others will have you partying with thousands of people in elaborate costumes. If you’re sick of doing the same thing every year, considering taking a trip to one of these cities below for a special treat.
Salem, Massachusetts, USA
You can visit Salem anytime during the month of October and get the full Halloween experience here. It was in Salem that twenty-six people were once tried and put to death for being witches and Halloween is when the town now celebrates witches. Visitors here can expect guided tours of haunted and infamous spots, trial and hanging re-enactments, fireworks, parades and a witch’s circle all month long. On the night of Halloween there are magic shows, witches balls, séances, fireworks and more to choose from. With plenty of accommodation options, dining options and interesting shops there will be no shortage of things to do in this town.
The entire country of Romania has a creepy reputation, with is stunning Gothic architecture and spooky forests. But it is the impressive Bran Castle that draws most visitors here, as it was once said to be the home of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula. The castle is where tens of thousands of enemies were impaled on stakes. Today only the brave visit the castle and nothing seems creepier than touring through here on the night of Halloween, learning the truth about the terrifying story behind Dracula.
Known as Day of the Dead here, a three day celebration that begins on October 31st each year. Day of the Dead is a celebration of the dead and it is believed that spirits return each year on these three days to spend time with their loved ones. Each city and town offers a different way of celebrating Day of the Dead, so be sure to research and choose which city is best for you. In Oaxaca for example, you will find the streets transformed into a huge street festival where the town gets decorated with skulls, skeletons and flowers. The main square is where the biggest party happens, with an abundance of food, drinks and dancing all night long. Sounds like a fun way to celebrate Halloween!
Known as Samhain Night, Ireland is arguably where Halloween originated. This medieval Irish festival started as a mark of the end of the harvest, which brought shorter days and the dark half of the year. It was this time that the dead are believed to revisit the mortal world. Head to Derry City for the best Halloween celebrations in the country. Expect parades, fireworks, ghost tours, haunted houses, workshops, scary movies and even a Dragon Safari. There are also a slew of family-friendly programs for those with youngsters in-tow.
Known as Belgium’s Halloween City, Ostend celebrates the holiday in numerous different ways as soon as October 1st. With the city decked out in spooky paraphernalia and ghoulish figures, there is plenty to see as you stroll through the cobbled streets. With carnivals, fairs, and parties taking place throughout October, you have the whole month to explore the city and take part in Halloween-themed events. On the 31st, be sure to participate in the Night of Magic in Kursaal. Don’t think twice and get in touch with the paranormal!
There are a slew of awesome Halloween events that happen in London. For visitors who are looking to be frightened there is no better place to head than the popular Dungeon, which has been giving scaring visitors since 1976. An elaborate, interactive experience takes you face to face with notorious villains such as Jack the Ripper and Sweeny Todd. For those looking for a little less intense experience, the ghost walks that happen through the city are always a hit. Join along as you visit the site of Sir William Wallace’s execution and an old churchyard that is haunted by Queen Isabella. Or take a guided tour around Jack the Ripper’s old haunts in East London and even have a pint where two of his victims were allegedly drinking.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
It is the second most celebrated time in the city, trumped only by Mardi Gras, but it is still one of the coolest places to celebrate Halloween in the world. Combine the city’s reputation for voodoo with some of the best-haunted and paranormal tours in the world and you have yourself an incredible Halloween. It is known as the most haunted city in the United States. Be sure to book a tour in the French Quarter or through one of the world famous cemeteries. Frenchmen Street is where you will find the biggest Halloween street parties, in which locals and tourists flood the streets in elaborate costumes.
I hope you all have a spooktacular halloween, wherever you are! Happy travels and happy halloween!