If you’re a wimp about the supernatural like me and my family, you’ll be content to spend Halloween safely at home, carving a few jack-o-lanterns and calling it a night. If however, you and your kids are made of heartier stock, read on to find five of the most fun, yet creepy places to spend Halloween this year.
1. Gettysburg, PA:
Don’t get me wrong…we love Gettysburg, but it can feel creepy after dark, no matter the season. If that’s your thing, stay at the Federal Pointe Inn, Gettysburg, PA, located right in town. The historic boutique inn was once a school in 1896. Today, the inn has been beautifully restored to complement its rich past and the history of the town. The inn is located within walking distance of downtown Gettysburg where you can take a candlelight walking tour. Find more tours and haunted offerings in our guide to the town of Gettysburg.
2. Virginia City, Nevada:
Want to spend Halloween in a lovely yet slightly creepy mining boomtown? Of course you do! Virginia City is a great place to teach kids about early pioneering and mining history in the Sierra Nevada, but in autumn, the area’s somewhat seedy past–filled with gunfights and card sharks–takes on a delightfully ghoulish air.
Affectionately called ‘Hauntober’, families can use the Virginia City Comstock Adventure Pass to gain entry into the town’s many museums, living history houses, and mine tours. There’s even a very frightful (yet also highly educational) cemetery in town. Step inside a dark mine, just as early miners did over a century ago, and if you’re brave enough, take one of the town’s many ghost tours (many take place in saloons but are still teen-friendly).
3. Salem, Massachusetts:
Want to be super creeped out this Halloween? Go to the epicenter for hauntings, Salem MA. Best known as the location of the infamous Salem Which Trials, this region plays up their place in history with psychic walks, dark tours, and haunted trolley rides, none of which is for the faint of heart. If you have kids who can handle the dark chapter in history, take a visit to the Witch House museum on the corner of North and Essex Streets. Want something a bit more tame? Salem also hosts a fun costume parade for children and plenty of harvest foods and street foods. Plan your trip to Salem here.
4. New Orleans, Louisiana:
Combine a scary Halloween night with some outdoor adventure and excitement with a visit to New Orleans’ eerie Manchac Swamp, where ancient trees and wispy Spanish moss cast an air of mystery and intrigue. If the hair on the back of your arm is standing up when you visit, there’s a reason: hundreds died in this swamp during a tidal wave, earning it the nickname ‘haunted swamp’.
In the city, plenty of evening walks, ghost tours, and lantern-light costume dramas vie for attention to creep you out. Then there’s the city’s love of voodoo…adding to the ghostly and otherworldly atmosphere. Check out Haunted History Tours in the French Quarter. Need somewhere to stay? Consider a stay at a New Orleans hostel.
5. Estes Park, Colorado:
Estes Park makes the list thanks to the town’s creepiest hotel, also known as one of the most haunted in the nation. The Stanley Hotel is known for two things: its ideal views and location near Rocky Mountain National Park, and being the inspiration behind Stephen King’s The Shining. Multiple witnesses (aka guests) have declared the hotel haunted, as well as the hotel’s founder, F. O. Stanley.
Of course, after braving a night in the lovely Stanley Hotel, take some time to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, which is breathlessly beautiful in the late fall. You might even forget how frightened you were.