New Orleans, Chattanooga? Popular U.S. Halloween hotspots will surprise you

Tourism is a big part of Halloween, with people flocking to these sites

Editor’s note: This article was published in October 2018. It has since been updated, but we’ll continue to track developments considering the situation with COVID-19 in the U.S. Many more closures are expected.

Whether you enjoy the day without kids or want to take the family to sample something new to celebrate Halloween, there are hotspots around the country to visit to enhance your Halloween experience.

Here’s a look at five places to visit that will give you all sorts of spooky Halloween delights.

Salem, Massachusetts

The home of the 1692 Salem witch trials, Salem, located 16 miles north of Boston, has a museum to help people understand perceptions of witchcraft and interpretation of witches.

For the entire month of October, the town typically hosts a festival called “Haunted Happenings in Salem,” which features a parade, family film nights, a fairy door trail featuring fairy doors created by local artists, ghost tours and haunted houses.

New Orleans

With a bevy of haunted hotels and a “Krewe of Boo” parade, it’s no wonder that New Orleans is one of the spookiest cities in America.

The Louisiana Children’s Museum hosts a kid-friendly “Museum Mash,” with games, prizes, a science lab and a dance party, and the French Quarter has a ghost tour for visitors.

Sleepy Hollow, New York

The highlight of visiting this town, located in New York’s Hudson Valley, is the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, which is a jaw-dropping display of more than 7,000 jack o’-lanterns hand-carved by local artists.

The jack o’-lanterns decorate a bridge that is named the “Pumpkin Zee Bridge,” a carousel called the “Pumpkin Carousel Twirl,” and a color-changing star show in the “Pumpkin Planetarium.”

There is also a jack o’-lantern Statue of Liberty.

Knott’s Berry Farm/Walt Disney World

Located just west of Anaheim, Buena Park is home to the famous Knott’s Berry Farm, an amusement park that hosts “Knott’s Scary Farm” during the Halloween season. The park is turned into a 160-acre Halloween playground full of mazes, rides, roaming monsters and scare zones.

Walt Disney World in Orlando has "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party," which features trick-or-treating throughout the park, entertainment, a fireworks show, parades and costume characters.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

This city is home to one of the top Halloween haunts in the country, Ruby Falls Dread Hollow. It’s a 20,000-square-foot haunt with storylines, illusions and actors that will make it a “spooktacular” experience.

The Chattanooga Zoo also hosts a kid-friendly event called “Boo in the Zoo,” and Halloween-themed cruises can be taken on the Chattanooga River.

Just south of Chattanooga in Rossville, Georgia, is an amusement park called Lake Winnepesauka (or WinnepeSPOOKah around Halloween) that has costumed characters, parades every hour and haunted rides.

Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado

This hotel is famous because it inspired horror novelist Stephen King’s to write “The Shining,” and thus, it turns into a Halloween hotspot for tourists each October.

For two weekends in October, the hotel puts on a murder mystery dinner in which guests dress in 1920s-style mafia costumes and eat a four-course meal; along with enjoying a ball with dancing, drinks and theater characters from “The Shining,” and a theater performance in a concert hall with food, beverages and costumes.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.