Top Halloween Destinations in the US

Let’s get spooky, Finches! It’s officially October.

This means Halloween movies, pumpkin spice everything and hopefully a change into cooler, crisper air. Since we’re based out of Florida, not only do we often crave the cooler weather during this month, but we wonder what our Halloween plans will be. For some, plans include trick or treating with their little ones, passing out candy or dressing up to party. As this Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, there aren’t much options to fully enjoy without getting the scaries for a regular work day the next day. This is why we’ve been experiencing some serious wanderlust this week. How do other places celebrate All Hallows Eve? What are the spookiest cities in general? Do we need to pack our bags for a last minute getaway? Probably yes, but let’s take a look at our findings.

Top 5 Most Spooky US Cities

Knott's Scary Farm

5. Buena Park, CA

Home of Knott’s Berry Farm, this California city comes in at number 5. Buena Park is a southern California town that transforms to “Boo-uena Park” for the month of October. The town offers plenty of thrills and chills, but they also have family-friendly activities to boot. Their prized pumpkin of Halloween events includes the longest running theme park Halloween party in the US! If you follow your favorite celebrities on social media, you may already have an inkling as to what theme park we are referring to. Posing in front of the event backdrops in Halloween attire with ghoulish characters, guests will get their scare on at Knott’s Berry Farm (or ahem, Knott’s Scary Farm). Similar to a Horror Night’s scenario at Universal, Knott’s could be considered more scary than Universal as it’s been around for 45 years! If getting the life scared out of you isn’t how you celebrate Halloween, pop over to Disney where the thrills are at a chill at Mickey’s Halloween Party.

Little Five Points
4. Atlanta, GA

Maybe getting scared isn’t your number one priority this Halloween season. That’s why Atlanta comes in at number 4 on our list. The Little Five Points Halloween Festival & Parade is an annual celebration of Five Point’s district known for the arts and food. Each year there is a 2-hour parade followed by an artisan market that headlines this district’s event. Don’t forget about all the local restaurants and food trucks supplying their best grub on this festival day too. Even local musicians lend their talent with outdoor concerts. Make sure to get there early though! About 35,000 people attend this festival every year. Thankfully finches, we know a ton about Atlanta! If you plan on visiting anytime soon, especially for this festival, check out our Atlanta guide here.

Blaze Festival
3. Sleepy Hollow, NY

Hudson Valley knows how to celebrate with their Halloween legend, The Headless Horseman. To get your fill of scare in with the legendary horseman, take a tour of Phillipsburg Manor.

A 300-year-old manor turns into a haunted house filled with vampires, ghosts and other demonic creatures all serving their manor’s lord- you guessed it, The Headless Horseman.

Other activities include a tour of the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where author, Washington Irving is laid to rest and vampire, Barnabas Collins lays in his crypt. For more family-fun options House of Curiosities at the Gothic Revival Lynhurst Castle introduces you to Maleficent, the Wicked Witch of the West and Henry VII. Another option is taking in the pumpkin and lights at the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze.

Halloween in Salem
2. Salem, MA

Home of the Salem Witch Trials, its a no-brainer why Salem comes in close to the top of our list! Capitalizing on this historic event we learned about in high school, Salem celebrates with the Festival of the Dead. About 500,000 people visit this festival lasting all 31 days of October. Want to get your fortune read or gaze into a crystal ball? Visit the Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo that also takes place daily. More interested in a seance scenario? Attend the Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball where plenty of summoning ceremonies almost guarantee a run-in with a spirit. Top it all with a parade, movie screenings and live music!

Krewe of Boo

1. New Orleans, LA

Surprised that New Orleans is our top spooky city for Halloween celebrations? You shouldn’t be. Considered one of the most haunted cities in America, New Orleans celebrates Halloween almost as hard as they celebrate Mardi Gras. It’s signature event, Krewe of Boo, is the ultimate Halloween celebration with scary floats, lavish costumes and of course, beads. And sometimes candy.

Haunted tours are of course abundant in the French Quarter, but they often dare you to visit voodoo priestess, Madame Laveau’s tomb. They say if you write an X on her tomb, she may grant you a wish. But you may get arrested trying though. Visiting the iconic houses on St. Charles is a real treat too as many owners decorate their houses to the nines for this special holiday. Museum Mash and Boo At The Zoo are some family-friendly options to keep the kiddos entertained. For our music lovers in the crescent-city, Voodoo Music & Arts Festival is the best choice to see your favorite artists in your costume. There is something for everyone here in our crowned city!

One of our favorite holidays, we hope all our Halloween loving finches take advantage of these cities’ festivities. Be right back, we’re purchasing tickets now. Who’s coming?

PaperFinch Travel TIP: Planning your escape to these Halloween towns? Start by planning your home away from home here.


Paperfinch City Features:

California Collection

Atlanta Collection

New York Collection

Massachusetts Collection

New Orleans Collection


Image Credits:

Knott’s Berry Farm: Chris at Escape Authority

Little Five Points Festival: Event FB page

Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze: Croton Guides

Salem: East Coast Entertaining

Krewe of Boo: