Top Ten Halloween Destinations for a Road Trip

What used to be a single evening of celebration, Halloween – my favorite holiday – has turned into a month-long extravaganza of harvest-and-horror themed events and activities. If you’re itching to take a road trip in October, this list of the top ten Halloween destinations in the U.S. will help you get you started planning a frightfully fun trip.

What’s great about every place on this list is that it’s not just one "haunted" ride or show or house – each place has tons to see and do and loads of Halloween spirit. From places celebrating Halloween’s ultimate icon (the jack-o-lantern) to full-throttle scarefests to famous haunted places, this list of Halloween destinations has it all. Get ready to get spooked!

Halloween destinations

Top Halloween Destinations – Number 10
Anoka, MN
Halloween Capitol of the World
Halloween Capitol of the World since 1920, a weeklong celebration with parties, contests, and parades makes this place number ten on this countdown. The original reason for the events in this town date back to when trick-or-treat had more to do with tricks and vandalism than cute costumes and candy. In an effort to redirect the high-energy hi-jinks, the famous annual parade was born.

There are tons of events to enjoy including parades (this town held the very first Halloween parade in the U.S.), costume contests, a "Gray Ghost" 5-k run, wine-tastings, costume balls (the Orange Tie Ball), pumpkin-carving contests, haunted attractions, pumpkin pie bake-offs, and Halloween home-decorating contests. For a complete calendar of events, check out this link:Anoka Halloween .

Top Halloween Destinations – Number 9
Hollywood, CA
Halloween Stars in Your Eyes
Not only does Universal Studios host its annual Halloween Horror Nights that will turn your hair white, tinsel town has great haunted tours - especially those focused on the horrifying and unsolved Black Dahlia murder.

The must-do highlight when visiting this destination on your road trip is the infamous annual West Hollywood Costume Carnaval. A half-million people converge yearly for this huge Halloween street festival that features street performers, live music, and costume contests. Held on what used to be a stretch of Route 66, this once primarily gay event has become a favorite for people from every walk of life and the electricity and energy in the air is palpable as people dance and party the night away. Talk about a wild Halloween party!

Top Halloween Destinations – Number 8
Las Vegas, NV
Entertainment Capital Turns Scary-Sexy
Speaking of wild Halloween parties, it’s hard to top Vegas! Scantily clad costumed partiers abound and there are tons of haunted attractions, parties and events to choose from.

If I had to pick one word for this Halloween destination, it would be sexy. If you associate Halloween with dressing in a costume using as little fabric as possible, Vegas is the place to be. It’s also a huge Halloween destination for people with all kinds of predilections. Whatever floats your boat, there’s something here for you during the month of October!

Top Halloween Destinations – Number 7
New Orleans, LA
Voodoo and Vampires
Some of the best ghost tours in the U.S. are in New Orleans, and they just get better in October! Wander the shadowy streets of the French Quarter and the raised cemetery Cities of the Dead, find out about witchcraft ceremonies and voodoo spells, or just attend one of the many events like the Voodoo Fest or the Vampire Ball. It’s frightening how much there is to do!

What do I mean by frightening? Here’s even more to see and do: go to Boo at the Zoo, visit the Boo Carre festival at the French Market, see the amazing floats at the Crew of Boo parade, or watch the annual Molly’s at the Markets Halloween parade in the French Quarter. There are tons of parties to attend and multiple hosted haunted houses to visit – it’s a feast of a fright night.

Top Halloween Destinations – Number 6
Eastern State Penitentiary and Brandywine Valley, PA
Sinister Souls Still in Shackles
This Gothic church-like ruin is one of America’s most historic prisons and also one of the most haunted! Nighttime ghost tours down these corridors and past the deteriorating cells are terrifying and many television shows and movies about reported haunting have been filmed here. Visit the famed "Terror Behind the Walls" Halloween haunted house held in this truly haunted prison, and be scared out of your wits! Many say this is the best Halloween experience in the U.S.

Of course, great destinations have more than one attraction or sight – and that’s where the Brandywine valley area takes over. A growing wine destination, the local vineyards and orchards come together to create corn mazes, ghost story-telling events, pumpkin patches, and wine tastings. Longwood Gardens, one of the most amazing gardens in the U.S., also hosts their annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off where you’ll see the largest pumpkins ever grown as well as the year’s gargantuan winner.

Click here for the top five road trip Halloween destinations in the U.S.

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