Get ready to immerse yourself in the spooky spirit of Halloween as we take you on a thrilling journey around the world. From ancient traditions to modern-day spectacles, we’ll guide you through some of the best places to celebrate Halloween around the world. Whether you’re seeking haunted houses, spine-chilling festivals, or ghoulish parades, these destinations offer an unforgettable experience filled with eerie delights and hair-raising adventures. So grab your costume and get ready for a frightfully good time as we explore the top locations that are sure to make your Halloween one for the books.

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The Best Places to Celebrate Halloween Around the World

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Salem Witch Museum

Salem, Massachusetts

Nestled on the coast of Massachusetts, the city of Salem is notorious for its rich history steeped in witchcraft trials. Every year, millions of visitors flock to this bewitching destination to immerse themselves in a unique and spine-tingling experience. With its dark past and vibrant present, Salem offers an unforgettable blend of historical significance and thrilling festivities all year long, but especially during Halloween.

Salem’s connection to witchcraft dates back to 1692 when a series of witch trials, now mostly known as the Salem Witch Trials, gripped the town. You can read a fictionalized history of this time in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Today, visitors can explore this captivating history through various attractions such as the Salem Witch Museum or Giles Corey’s Memorial Stone. These immersive experiences provide insight into the hysteria that once plagued the city, allowing visitors to understand how these events unfolded.

Each Fall, Salem hosts the Haunted Happenings, the largest celebration of Halloween in the world. Salem welcomes more than a half-million visitors to parties, parades, vendor fairs, walking tours, museums, attractions, and special events during the month-long event.

To truly embrace Salem’s eerie ambiance, embark on one of their famous walking tours to hear infamous tales about landmarks like Gallows Hill or notable figures like Tituba, an enslaved woman who played a significant role during the witch trials.

You can also visit museums like The Witch Dungeon Museum, shop at stores like Pyramid Books or Emporium 32, or try coffee shops like Jaho Coffee Roaster and Wine Bar

For places to stay, check out the Hawthorne Hotel, Northey Street House B&B, or the Hampton Inn Salem

Apparently, rooms 612 and 325 in the Hawthorne Hotel are haunted. People have experienced flickering lights, sounds of crying babies, and shadowing figures in doorways at night. Book those if you like spooky experiences.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Bran Castle

Transylvania, Romania

Transylvania, the mystical region in central Romania, is renowned for its association with vampires, werewolves, and other haunting creatures that have become synonymous with the Halloween season. As the birthplace of Dracula, thanks to Bram Stoker’s iconic novel, many people flock to the region to celebrate Halloween and ring in the spooky season. 

Read Also: The Best Spooky Books to Read This Halloween

While in Transylvania, head to Bran Castle in Braşov, often referred to as Dracula’s Castle due to its resemblance to Stoker’s descriptions. Learn about its history, architectural marvels, and spine-tingling stories that still echo within its walls. Every year during Halloween season, this majestic fortress transforms into a nightmarish haven. The castle hosts frightful tours where visitors can wander through dimly lit corridors while encountering eerie characters from Transylvanian lore. 

Another Dracula-connected location, Sighişoara Citadel is not only a UNESCO World Heritage site but also happens to be the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler himself, who was the inspiration behind Dracula. During Halloween week, this medieval citadel turns into a bewitching carnival filled with parades, street performances by costumed locals depicting mythical creatures and historical figures. Don’t miss out on their famous Witch Trial reenactments that transport you back to dark times.

When in the area, head to the Vlad Dracul Restaurant Sighişoara for a Dracula-inspired experience with Medieval portraits or castles and Vlad the Impaler. Try hearty dishes of meaty stews and a bottle of Dracula wine. Or, head to the Cărturești bookstore to browse an impressive selection of English books along with local favorites in a beautiful setting.

For places to stay, try the Kronwell Braşov Hotel, Radisson Blu Aurum Hotel, Hotel Casa Wagner, or Casa Savri

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Mexico City

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City, known for its vibrant culture and rich history, has a unique way of celebrating Halloween that blends ancient traditions with modern festivities. Day of the Dead in Mexico is celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd, is deeply rooted in Mexican tradition. 

It is a time when families come together to honor and remember their deceased loved ones by creating beautiful altars, called Ofrenda, adorned with marigolds, candles, photographs, favorite food items, and sugar skulls. These offerings are believed to guide the spirits back to the earthly realm for a joyful reunion.

Possibly the most well-known activity during Dia de los Muertos is a spectacular parade, featuring giant floats, colorfully costumed entertainers, and beautifully painted skeletons. The parade runs from the Estela de Luz (Pillar of Light) monument to the city’s main square. Each block of the parade is lined by joyful spectators enjoying the fun. 

The festivities don’t just stop at the parade, people dress up as traditional characters like La Catrina (Elegant Skull), inspired by Jose Guadalupe Posada‘s iconic etchings depicting stylish skeletons dressed in elegant attire. 

Many neighborhoods also organize parades where people showcase their creative costumes while dancing through the streets amidst music and laughter. Other activities include the Great Ofrenda in the Zocalo, visiting the special displays in Mexico City’s museums, or cemeteries in the city, decorated for the day (just remember to be respectful). Join a Day of the Dead tour to see all of the sights with a knowledgable guide.

Halloween wouldn’t be complete without indulging in delicious treats. Bakeries throughout Mexico City offer special pastries such as pan de muerto (bread of the dead), which is sweetened bread shaped like bones or skulls, adorned with sugar and often flavored with orange blossom water. Additionally, traditional Mexican candies like alegrías (amaranth bars) and sugar-coated pumpkin seeds are enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

When in Mexico City don’t forget to stop by the beautiful, nature-filled bookstore ​​Porrúa Chapultepec or Almanegra Cafe for some great coffee and atmosphere.

For places to stay, check out The Wild Oscar, Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel, Sofitel Mexico City Reforma, or Hotel Patriotismo.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- Dublin

Dublin and Boyne Valley, Ireland

Dublin, the vibrant capital city of Ireland, comes alive with an eerie charm as Halloween approaches. With Halloween’s roots starting with the roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (SAH-win), and Dublin’s penchant for storytelling, the city offers a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern festivities that make it an ideal destination to celebrate this spooky holiday.

To get a glimpse of the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain that marks the beginning of winter and honors departed souls, head to the Puca Festival, found in Ireland’s Boyne Valley that showcases Meath’s and Louth’s most mystical sites. The Hill of Ward was the site of druid ceremonies and the first Samhain celebrations. Trim Castle and Drogheda bear many legends and stories about the past. The festival inspired by Irish folklore was named Puca after a mysterious creature that can change the fortunes of anyone who meets it. 

During three nights, Puca Halloween Festival features dazzling light shows, musical events, and interactive experiences in these famous venues. On October 31st, you can witness the ancient ritual of the Coming of Samhain procession that goes from Athboy to The Hill of Ward and ends with a giant bonfire, as it would have a thousand years ago.

Another well-known event worth visiting is the Bram Stoker Festival, named after one of Ireland’s most famous authors who gave birth to Count Dracula himself. The festival is a four-day extravaganza around Halloween, celebrating all things gothic and macabre. Expect immersive theater experiences, film screenings, and live performances inspired by Stoker’s works alongside vampire-themed parties. 

When in Dublin, don’t forget to check out the Trinity College Library, the Temple Bar Book Market, or the Gutter Bookshop. To grab some coffee where the likes of Joyce, Beckett, and Kavanagh were frequent visitors, head to Bewley’s (Grafton Street Cafe).

As a UNESCO City of Literature, be sure check out a Dublin Literature Tour.

For places to stay, I recommend the Temple Bar Hotel, The Grafton Hotel, The Westbury, or Trinity Townhouse Hotel.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-New Orleans
Courtesy of Krewe of Boo

New Orleans, Louisiana

Halloween in New Orleans is a unique and vibrant celebration, combining the city’s rich history, cultural traditions, and spooky charm. From haunted tours to extravagant costume parties, there’s something for everyone during this bewitching season. New Orleans is an unforgettable experience and one of the best places to go for Halloween in the United States

Embrace the supernatural side of New Orleans by embarking on a ghost tour through the city’s eerie streets. Explore reputedly haunted sites such as St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 or take part in ghost hunts at famous locations like the LaLaurie Mansion. These spine-chilling experiences offer insight into New Orleans’ dark past and provide an adrenaline rush for thrill-seekers.

Voodoo Fest is one of New Orleans’ most popular music festivals held annually during Halloween weekend. This three-day event showcases renowned artists from various genres against the backdrop of City Park’s lush greenery. Enjoy live music performances, indulge in local cuisine from food vendors, and immerse yourself in a festive atmosphere that perfectly blends Halloween spirit with NOLA’s vibrant culture.

For those seeking an immersive scare experience, “The Mortuary” should be on your must-visit list. Housed within an actual former mortuary building, this haunted attraction offers visitors a thrilling journey through theatrical sets filled with terrifying creatures lurking around every corner.

New Orleanians take Halloween costumes seriously, and you can witness their creativity firsthand at various costume contests and parades. The Krewe of Boo Parade is a highlight, featuring elaborate floats, marching bands, and costumed revelers throwing candy to the crowd. Don’t forget to join in on the fun and show off your own unique attire for one of the best Halloween parties in the world.

While in town, check out Garden District Book Shop, Faulkner House Books, or Tubby & Coo’s Traveling Book Shop. And don’t forget Cafe Du Monde for their famous beignets or Cafe Bon Ami for pastries and coffee. 

For places to stay, try the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, or the Crowne Plaza New Orleans French Quarter.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- Derry

Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Known as the “City of Bones,” Derry is famous for its hauntingly beautiful Gothic architecture and rich Celtic history. With its mystical charm and eerie atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Halloween (or Samhain) is celebrated with great fervor in this captivating city and Derry has become the best place to celebrate Halloween in Europe.

Read Also: Books to Read Before Visiting the U.K.

The top event in Derry for Halloween is Derry Halloween, Europe’s largest Halloween festival. Every year, thousands of locals and tourists gather in Derry to enjoy a wide range of events and activities. Here are some of the best events you can experience at Derry Halloween:

  • Awakening the Walls: This spectacular event kicks off the festival with a mesmerizing light show projected onto Derry’s historic city walls. As darkness falls, witness an enchanting display that combines storytelling, music, and stunning visual effects.
  • Samhain Sessions: Music lovers shouldn’t miss out on this series of live performances showcasing local talent from various genres like folk, rock, pop, and traditional Irish music. These sessions take place in intimate venues across the city, providing an up-close and personal musical experience.
  • Haunted Harvest Market: Prepare to be spooked while browsing through this eerie market filled with unique crafts, handmade goods, and delicious food stalls offering seasonal treats like caramel apples and pumpkin pies. Dress up in your favorite costume to fully immerse yourself in this creepy shopping experience.

Be sure to visit Little Acorns Bookstore or Foyle Books to browse the bookshelves, or Hidden City Cafe or The Coffee Tree to grab something to eat and a coffee.

For places to stay, check out Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Shipquay Boutique Hotel, or Maldron Hotel Derry.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow, New York

The small town of Sleepy Hollow, a short road trip from New York City, is the birthplace of a legendary ghost story. Immerse yourself in the town made famous by Washington Irving’s legendary tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” It’s the perfect destination for thrill-seekers looking for a spine-chilling adventure. 

While Sleepy Hollow can be experienced all year round, it truly comes alive in October. From haunted hayrides, Gothic mansions, blazing pumpkins, farmers markets, a Halloween parade featuring the Headless Horseman, and even more.

Van Cortlandt Manor’s Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is a dazzling display of over 7,000 intricately carved jack o’ lanterns. This mesmerizing display transforms ordinary pumpkins into stunning works of art illuminated against the night sky. Wander along pumpkin-lined paths, marvel at massive pumpkin sculptures, and soak in the eerie atmosphere as you immerse yourself in this enchanting Halloween spectacle.

The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Tours take you inside the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the final resting place of Washington Irving himself. Take a guided tour through the historic Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, home to centuries-old tombstones and inhabitants like Irving and Andrew Carnegie. Learn about local legends and folklore as you wander through this hauntingly beautiful cemetery.

The Lyndhurst Mansion, a 19th-century Gothic Revival Mansion, can be toured during the day, but Lyndhurst After Dark offers a guided tour that discusses the darker side of the mansion’s history of Spiritualism and other mystical leanings. 

And don’t forget to attend the Headless Horseman Ball at the Castle Hotel & Spa. The unique ball features a costume contest, food, drinks, and amusements like a tarot card readers, a psychic, and illusionist in an atmosphere of mystery and suspense.

More locations of note include the Dutch Reform Church where Ichabod Crane hid from the Headless Horseman in “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the Headless Horseman Bridge, Philipsburg Manor, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside Estate, and the Headless Horseman Statue

When in town, check out The Sleepy Hollow Bookshop or Transom Bookshop to search for books, or Muddy Water Coffee or Jane Bakes to try some local coffee and baked goods.

For places to stay check out the Sleepy Hollow Hotel, Tarrytown House Estate on The Hudson, the Castle Hotel & Spa, or the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Nanuet.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, is known for its rich history and ancient architecture. With its eerie past and countless ghost stories, Edinburgh becomes a captivating destination to experience the spooky atmosphere during Halloween. From haunted tours through dark alleyways to immersive experiences in haunted locations, there’s something for everyone looking to embrace the supernatural side of this enchanting city.

Start your haunting adventure by visiting the iconic Edinburgh Castle – a place steeped in legends and ghostly tales. Explore the castle’s atmospheric dungeons where prisoners were once held captive or encounter sightings of phantom soldiers who are said to wander around its grounds. The chilling tales from centuries past will send shivers down your spine.

Delve into the depths beneath Edinburgh’s bustling streets with an underground vaults tour. These hidden chambers once housed taverns, workshops, and even illicit activities but have since become notorious for their paranormal activity. As you explore pitch-black corridors with only candlelight guiding your way, listen closely to spine-tingling stories about restless spirits that still reside within these eerie chambers.

Greyfriars Kirkyard is one of Scotland’s most haunted graveyards and a must-visit location for those seeking an otherworldly experience on Halloween night. Join guided tours that take you through this historic cemetery while sharing chilling tales about infamous characters such as Sir George “Bloody” Mackenzie.

As a UNESCO City of Literature, there are so many literary sites to see like The Edinburgh Writers Museum, Greyfriars Kirk, or The Conan Doyle pub. Join a literary tour, like the Literary Pub Tour, to get a firsthand look at them all. Also, check out my bookish guide to Edinbrugh.

When in town, you must visit the bookstores Armchair Books, Topping & Company, or Blackwell’s Bookshop. For coffee, you have to try Cafe Portrait, Artisan Roast, Lowdown, or The Elephant House to get a glimpse of where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. 

Read Also: Must-Visit Harry Potter Edinburgh Locations

For hotels, look for The Balmoral, ibis Styles Edinburgh St Andrews, the Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre, or Kick Ass Greyfriars Hostel.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Universal Studios

Are you a fan of Harry Potter and looking for a magical way to celebrate Halloween? Look no further than the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. This immersive theme park offers an enchanting experience that will transport you into the world of witches, wizards, and all things magical. Here are some spooktacular activities you can enjoy during Halloween in the Wizarding World.

The Wizarding World, which includes Hogsmeade Village in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Park, is a year-round experience that any Harry Potter lover would enjoy. You can Explore Hogsmeade Village including Honeydukes, Zonko’s Joke Shop, and Ollivanders Wand Shop, ride must-visit attractions,like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Hagrid’s Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure, or Escape from Gringotts, eat treats mentioned in the books like pumpkin pasties, Butterbeer, and Chocolate Frogs, plus much more immersive experiences. 

But during the Halloween season, the two areas of the Wizarding World come alive with spooky experiences and Halloween decor. When there, you can:

  • View Halloween Decorations: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are adorned with eerie decorations featuring pumpkins, cobwebs, floating candles, and other spooky delights. The attention to detail will transport you into the heart of the wizarding world. 
  • Watch the Dark Arts Light Show: As darkness falls over Hogwarts Castle each evening during October, witness a spectacular display known as The Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle light show. Bewitching projections illuminate the castle walls while eerie music sets the mood, showcasing magical creatures and villains from the Harry Potter series. 
  • Interact with Death Eaters: On select nights (usually matching the Halloween Horror Nights) Death Eaters will roam the streets of Hogsmeade Village to come face-to-face with guests and challenge them to duels. 

Read Also: Best Harry Potter Attractions Around the World

If looking to stay on Universal Property, check out Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort for a budget option or Universal’s Loew’s Portofino Bay Hotel for Early Park Admission and Free Universal Express Pass.

Bonus Places:

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- St. Helens Oregon
Courtesy of ABC News

St. Helens, Oregon- the setting for the Halloweentown movie series.

Check out: The Spirit of Halloweentown event, select days mid-September through Halloween.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- Forks, Washington

Forks, Washington- Setting for Twilight Series

Check out: La Push Beach, Jacob Black’s House, Forks High School, Bella’s Truck at the Forks Chamber of Commerce, or join a Twilight Forks Tour to see them all with a guide.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Prague

Prague, Czech Republic- A UNESCO City of Literature, home to Franz Kafka, and reportedly Haunted City. 

Check out: The spirits at the Old Jewish Cemetery, spooky experiences on the Charles Bridge, or the Franz Kafka Museum.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- Anoka Minnesota

Anoka, Minnesota- A town that celebrates Halloween all year

Check out: The Pumpkin Weigh-Off, the Pumpkin Bowel, the Haunted House, or the Haloowen Parade.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Paris Catacombs

Paris, France- Beautiful city with a dark past and spooky experiences.

Check out: The Paris Catacombs, Père Lachaise Cemetery, Versailles Palace, or La Bastille prison.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Savannah Georgia

Savannah, Georgia- Widely considered a very haunted city.

Check out: Sorrel-Weed House and the Mercer-Williams House are considered to be a few of the most haunted houses in the city. 

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Winchester Mystery House
Courtesy of the Winchester Mystery House

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose- House that was said to be designed by spirits that now haunt within.

Check out: The guided tour of 110 rooms, the 3rd and 4th floors, and the Victorian Gardens. For an even spookier time, the Unhinged Housewarming Party events are a must.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween- Disney World

Disney World or Disneyland– One of the best places to visit for Halloween with family for fall fun with a not-so-scary spooks.

Check out: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Disney World, The Haunted Manion Nightmare Before Christmas layover in Disneyland, plus all the Halloween decorations and character costumes.

Best Places to Visit on Halloween-Bangor Maine

Bangor, Maine- Home to horror-extraordinaire Stephen King. 

Check out: King’s House at 47 West Broadway, the drain that inspired the “It” scene where Pennywise lures children at the corner of Union and Jackson streets, and the inspiration for “Pet Sematary” at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Halloween is not just an American holiday but a global celebration that brings people together to embrace the spooky and supernatural. From the historic streets of Salem to the vibrant parades in Mexico City, there are countless incredible destinations around the world where you can immerse yourself in the festivities of Halloween. So whether you’re seeking ghostly encounters, elaborate costumes, or simply want to experience a different cultural perspective on this bewitching holiday, these best places to celebrate Halloween will surely deliver an unforgettable experience. Get ready to unleash your inner ghoul and embark on an adventure that will leave you spellbound.

Suggested Reading List:


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