1. Salem, Massachusetts
- Why Visit on Halloween : Celebrate the spirit of witchcraft at one its most infamous sites.
- Book a Rental in : Salem
Twenty-six people were once tried and then put to death in Salem for being witches. Today, the town of Salem is one of the 10 best Halloween vacation spots for its celebration of witches on their most important night of the year. Salem hosts events over the entire month of October, including tours of haunted and infamous spots, trial and hanging re-enactments, witches’ circles, fireworks, and a parade.
Visit the Witch House museum on the corner of North and Essex Streets, the only building left in Salem that has direct links to the Salem Witch Trials. As you might imagine, the museum has extended hours in October. The one-time home of Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges in the trials, it now is a museum of seventeenth century architecture, furnishings, and lifestyle.
2. Dracula’s Castle, Romania
- Why Visit on Halloween: It’s Dracula’s Castle – it doesn't get much spookier than that!
- Book a Rental in: Brasov, Romania
There are lots of pretty vacation rentals in the mountains of Transylvania in Romania, and they are conveniently close to the infamous Bran Castle, once said to be the home of Vlad the Impaler, the reputed inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula.
Vlad the Impaler was known for his incredible cruelty and torture, reportedly impaling tens of thousands of his enemies on stakes and leaving their bodies to rot. Today, the castle is open to the public and you can book a Halloween tour and learn the truth behind the terrifying legends.
3. Paris, France
- Why Visit on Halloween: The City of Light is also home to some of the creepiest places in Europe.
- Book a Rental in: Paris, in the 11th, 14th or 20th Arrondissement
The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Bois de Bologne are wonderfully romantic Parisian landmarks. But on Halloween, skip those sights and head to Père Lachaise Cemetery and the Paris Catacombs.
The Père Lachaise Cemetery has mile after and mile of tombstones, including those of Chopin, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison. The cemetery is utterly eerie and said to be haunted. Even more terrifying and fascinating is what lies underground. In the Paris Catacombs the bones of millions of long-dead Parisians line the tunnels, uprooted from their tombs and assembled here in the 17th century. The catacombs are so haunting that they even inspired Edgar Allen Poe.
4. New Orleans
- Why Visit on Halloween: You can tour the nearby Manchac Swamp by torchlight and shop in an authentic voodoo shop.
- Book a Rental in: The French Quarter or the Garden District
The eerie Manchac Swamp, northwest of New Orleans, certainly has the look of a haunted place, with ancient trees and wispy Spanish moss in abundance. Nighttime tours regale you with tales about the hundreds of people who died in a tidal wave here, and how it earned the nickname “The Haunted Swamp.”
New Orleans itself is also one of the 10 best Halloween vacation spots because the spooky holiday is the second most celebrated time in the city, after Mardi Gras. The city's reputation for voodoo only increases its scary and supernatural feeling. Check out Haunted History Tours, widely considered to have the best haunted and paranormal tours of the French Quarter and New Orleans' famous cemeteries.
5. Oaxaca, Mexico
- Why Visit on Halloween: For the famous Dia de los Muertos Celebration
- Book a Rental in: Oaxaca or nearby Acapulco
On Halloween, the streets of Oaxaca become an enormous street festival for the annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. Hallowing ancient Aztec and Mayan legends, costumed people pay visits to local cemeteries, and decorate the streets with flowers, skulls, and skeletons. There are celebrations for this important Mexican holiday all across the country, but the biggest party is in the Xócalo main square in Oaxaca with tons of food, drinks and dancing all night long.
6. Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica
- Why Visit on Halloween: You
- Book a Rental in: Montego Bay
Annie Palmer was once the pretty young wife of a plantation owner in Montego Bay, Jamaica. She was also said to be a cruel witch who practiced voodoo and tortured and killed her slaves. Tours of Rose Hall focus on reports of hauntings and disembodied voices heard calling from the dungeon. If you’re lucky, you may spot the ghost of the White Witch herself, said to be still roaming these halls.
7. Christ Church, Barbados
- Book a Rental in: The Caribbean Coast of Barbados
High on a hill overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Sea, the Chase Vault is the site of one of the most chilling mysteries in Christ Church, Barbados. The coffins of the wealthy Chase family were found to be tampered with and pillaged over the centuries, but there is no evidence that the massive lead door of the vault had ever been disturbed. The ghosts of two family members are said to haunt the vault, and the tomb makes for a spooky stop on an otherwise sunny and cheery island.
8. Estes Park, Colorao, United States
- Why Visit on Halloween: To have a late night drink at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park
- Book a Rental in: Anywhere in the Rocky Mountain National Park
The Stanley Hotel, with its gorgeous views of the Rocky Mountain National Park, once played host to famed American novelist Stephen King, and it was right here in room 217 that he was inspired to write his horrifying novel The Shining. The hotel is said to be haunted by at least three people, including the hotel’s founder, F. O. Stanley. Have your drink in the billiards room or in the music room, where you are most likely to see a host.
9. New York City
- Why Visit on Halloween: For the massive party in the Village
- Book a Rental in: Greenwich Village
New York City’s Greenwich Village hosts an amazing Halloween party every year, with dancers, costumes and a huge parade with giant puppets. You can also take in an after-dark Crypt Crawl under the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, or sign up for a ghost walk through the Village, where you might run into the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe.
10. Sleepy Hollow, New York
- Why Visit on Halloween: Visit the Old Dutch Burying Ground, one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States, and the Sleepy Hollow cemetery, where Washington Irving is buried.
- Book a Rental in: The town of Sleepy Hollow or base your stay in New York City
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is one of the most iconic American ghost stories. Set here in this Hudson Valley village, there are still reports of the Headless Horseman at cemeteries all around the area. The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery hosts both daytime and lantern tours, but it is advised that you book your tour well in advance because it is very popular year round, but especially near Halloween.