Are you prepared for the creepy creatures that go bump in the night? Well, get ready to be spooked! Vacation is about to take you on a scary tour of six places around the world that are sure to give you goosebumps and make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. From New Orleans to Transylvania, here’s our list of some of the most fun and frightening places to visit in October for Halloween!
Travel to County Meath, Ireland, where Halloween originated more than 2,000 years ago. Celebrate all things spooky at Spirits of the Meath Halloween Festival, usually scheduled from mid-October to early November. On Halloween night or Samhain Night, the Irish marked the end of the harvest with a medieval festival. Locals also believed that a portal opens allowing the dead to roam freely among the living. We’re trying to figure out how many pints of Guinness does it take to make creepy apparitions to appear.
Ghastly Ghost Carnival: Drive an hour south of Limerick to Derry City. This town hosts the nine-day Banks of the Floyle Halloween Carnival – the biggest Halloween celebration in Ireland. Ghost tours, haunted houses, parades, fireworks and scary movies are all part of this annual festival.
Get ready for the scariest three-day festival south of the border! It’s not your typical Halloween fright fest, but the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) commemorates the dead with elaborate festivals and plenty of skull-inspired face painting and masks, flowers, candy, mariachi music and dancing. Locals believe that spirits return for Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to spend time with their loved ones. Towns like Janitzio, Mexico, celebrate with rituals that include folk dancing and family gatherings in the cemetery at night to chant and sing. People singing off-key are more likely to frighten the living rather than conjure the ghosts of their loved ones.
Celebrate the Dead: Get ready to have a ghoulishly fun time in Oaxaca, Mexico. This is the place to be! On the Day of the Dead, Oaxaca is known for its lively street parades and authentic eats, such as mole negro, pan de yema and delicious Oaxacan chocolate.
After Mardi Gras, Halloween is the second-most celebrated holiday in New Orleans. This party city already has a reputation for voodoo and some of the most popular paranormal tours in the world. By bus or on foot, visitors to the Crescent City can explore the creepiest haunts, including St. Louis Cemetery #1, the former house of Anne Rice (author of “Interview with the Vampire”) and a stop at the legendary haunted Vieux Carre tavern. And a travel agent can also help you and other Halloween revelers arrange a bone-chilling tour to visit documented haunted sites around the city.
Horrific Haunted House: Visit the LaLaurie House. Locals believe this was the same house where the “mad” Madame LaLaurie (Marie Jeanne Lerable) performed unspeakable experiments on slaves, and today, their tortured souls are seen and heard lurking throughout the house. An extra pair of undies may be required.
The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West, Sabrina the teenage witch, and the nose-twitching Samantha on Bewitched are a few popular witches, but between February 1692 and May 1963, there were a series of hearings, prosecutions and executions of 20 people accused of witchcraft. And during Halloween, Salem is ripe with terrifying tales based on the town’s colonial history. Visit the Witch House Museum, once home to Judge Jonathan Corwin, one of the judges in the trials. And stop by the Witch Trials Memorial to read the victims’ names and final words carved into stone. Without even knowing it, this quaint northeastern town will cast its spell on you.
Wicked Witch Fest: Celebrate Halloween all month in Salem with spooktacular Festival of the Dead events and workshops such as the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball, Dinner with the Dead, Portals to the Spirit World, a Graveyard Conjuring and the Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo.
From witches to vampires, fang-worthy fans can travel to Transylvania to uncover the history of the original Count Dracula. Take a tour of the mysterious, but impressive Bran Castle, once the home of Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula. Yep, this castle is where tens of thousands of Vlad’s enemies were impaled on stakes, with their bodies left to rot. We totally understand why some historians saw him as a blood-thirsty ruthless despot. And even if Dracula is an old tale, locals do believe in evil spirits called ghosts or steregoi, who would lead normal lives during the day, but at night, during their sleep, their souls left their bodies and haunted the village tormenting people in their sleep. Cue the blood-curdling scream.
Terrifying Tour: Let a Vacation expert agent plan a special Halloween tour that includes Romanian cuisine, live medieval and Romanian folk music, live shows, and a Count Dracula wedding at the Hunyad Castle.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan a spooky Halloween getaway? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with a specialist to plan your next vacay.