If you’re fixin’ to take a trip this Halloween, here are some of our personal favorite destinations that really bring their a-game when it comes to fall festivities.
Ah, Halloween… the crisp air, the rustle of fall leaves, and the anticipation of a night where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. But some towns don’t just celebrate Halloween; they embody it.
As an Anoka, Minnesota native, I’ve had my fair share of incredible Halloween moments. And, over the years, I’ve ventured out, ready to see how other towns match up to my cherished childhood memories.
6 U.S. Towns That Take Halloween Celebrations to Another Level
So, as a Halloween enthusiast myself, let me take you through the six towns that celebrate Halloween the best:
1. Salem, Massachusetts
When you think of Halloween towns, Salem is often the first to come to mind. And why wouldn’t it be? Not only was it the location of the Salem Witch Trials back in the early 1500s, but it was also the destination featured in Disney’s incredibly popular Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus.
The town hosts several themed events, including moonlit ghost tours, witchcraft expos, and actors in period costumes that relive the notorious witch trials.
The Salem Witch Museum, with its lifelike exhibits, will give you a deeper appreciation of the town’s history, and the sheer number of visitors from across the globe will add to the exciting yet eerie atmosphere.
2. Anoka, Minnesota
My hometown pride shines brightest when talking about Anoka’s Halloween festivities. But before we dive in, let me explain why our small town is on this list (and every list associated with Halloween).
Anoka, Minnesota, is known as the Halloween Capital of the World (no, seriously, look it up!). But the title wasn’t just self-proclaimed out of thin air; it was earned. For over 100 years, Anoka has embraced the spirit of Halloween like no other.
Let’s rewind to the early 1920s when Halloween in Anoka was celebrated like any other town. Lots of pranks, kids getting in trouble, etc. From soaping windows to letting cows loose on Main Street, it was all fun and games until the people of Anoka thought, “There’s got to be a better way to celebrate.”
Did you know? Anoka was the first place in the USA to celebrate Halloween with festivities.
Determined to transition the holiday from mischievous pranks to a community-centered celebration, local town leaders organized one of the first-ever Halloween parades. The Anoka Halloween parade continues to this day with over three hours of floats and parade participants.
3. Sleepy Hollow, New York
This should be a recognizable town, considering its reputation… Sleepy Hollow in New York is one of the best places to celebrate Halloween this October. A few of the best things to do in Sleepy Hollow include:
- Watching local actors recreate the tale of the Headless Horseman
- Joining a nighttime lantern tour, where guides narrate tales of haunted happenings in the area
- Visiting the Old Dutch Church and the adjoining cemetery, dating back to the 1680s
This town holds a particularly haunting aura with centuries of history. As October’s chill settles in, there’s truly no place that embodies the spirit of Halloween quite like Sleepy Hollow. So, if you’re seeking an authentic Halloween adventure, this storied New York town calls you.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana
NOLA’s Halloween celebrations are an entirely different ballgame. The city’s rich cultural tapestry weaves in voodoo legends, ghost tales, and Creole traditions.
The French Quarter, with its historic buildings and gas lamps, whisper tales of yesteryears. The haunted pub crawl is a huge highlight, mixing ghostly tales with a touch of New Orleans’ famed nightlife.
NOTE: Be sure to book your tours and activities early as things get crazy for Halloween in New Orleans. We like to book day tours with Viator.
5. St. Helens, Oregon
The Halloween childhood nostalgia hits hard in St. Helens. Why? St. Helens, Oregon, is the inspiration behind the spooky Disney classic Halloweentown.
Each October, St. Helens doesn’t just remember its claim to fame, it relives it. The town square bursts to life, mirroring the very scenes from “Halloweentown”.
Remember when Marnie had to save the family using her new magic? Yeah, those same cobblestone streets in St. Helen’s will be lined with whimsical decorations, and festive local storefronts, making you feel like you’ve stepped right into the movie itself.
But it’s not just the events or decorations that make St. Helens special during Halloween. It’s the spirit of the community. You’ll love the way they come together, celebrating not just a movie but the essence of childhood, magic, and of course, Halloween.
6. Savannah, Georgia
If you’re looking for a mix of charm and chills, Savannah’s got you covered. This historic Georgia city doesn’t mess around when it comes to ghost stories and eerie vibes.
Walking around town, especially when it starts to get dark, you can’t help but feel there are stories lurking in the shadows. Places like the Bonaventure Cemetery? Yeah, it’s as spooky as it sounds, with old tombstones and enough ghost tales to make you check over your shoulder.
You might’ve heard of the book, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. Well, Savannah’s the backdrop for this story, and trust me, it adds a whole layer to the town’s mysterious feel. The Mercer-Williams House from the story is right here, and if walls could talk, they would have some tales to tell you.
But, it’s not all just ghost tales (although there are lots of them). Savannah knows how to have fun, too.
Visiting Savannah for Halloween means movie nights, cool costume parties in Forsyth Park, and just the right amount of festive craziness. If you’re thinking of dropping by, wear a costume and bring a flashlight. After all, you never know what’s lurking in those cobblestone streets.
The Wrap-Up: 6 U.S. Destinations That Take Halloween Celebrations to Another Level
I can’t be the only one, can I? Halloween has this incredible way of bringing out the kid in all of us. From the nostalgic streets of my hometown in Anoka to the eerie charm of Savannah, each place offers its own unique brand of Halloween magic.
If you’re on the hunt for a memorable October 31st, give these places a shot. And who knows… maybe you’ll bump into us on one of those cobblestone streets!
Whatever you decide, here’s to chilly nights, spooky tales, and making memories that last long after the candy’s gone.