You may think that when it comes to Halloween, you’ve done the lot – egging the neighbours’ windows, DIY costumes, waking up drunk in a field somewhere, eating yourself sick on sweets – the list goes on. But for the supreme Halloween experience, you need to travel. We’ve compiled this list of the spookiest destinations available to make sure this Halloween is the most memorable of all. Enjoy these halloween holidays from Purple Travel… if you dare!!
Image via @ Bob Woitunski
It’s no surprise that some 200,000 people from all over the world choose to spend Halloween in Salem; with its cobblestone streets of old, clapboard homes, it is the mother of all Halloween destinations. Known for throwing the biggest and best Halloween party out of anywhere in the world, their annual ‘Haunted Happenings’ begins in early October. The entire of Salem gets stuck into the proceedings, which comprise more than 140 festive events throughout the month. Witness Bridget Bishop get accused of witchcraft, watch her trial in the Old Town Hall = in a nightly performance of Cry Innocent, partake in a ghost hunt, seance or walking tour, or try head to the carnival for pumpkin carving, costume contests, parades, live music, crafts, fun runs, fireworks and, of course, trick or treating
Where else could you find a costume contest, bizarro burlesque show and giant spinning jack-o-lantern? Halloween in Las Vegas is the craziest of all, during which hotel clubs host theatrical costume extravanganzas, such as the Fetish and Fantasy Ball at the Hard Rock Hotel, where uniforms, leather, latex, lace and feathers make up the dress code. For your spook fix, book one of the Haunted Vegas Tours, which hunt for the ghosts of Liberace, Bugsy Siegel and Elvis. Halloween is also home to the Vegoose music and arts festival, held annually on the grounds of Sam Boyd Stadium. The festival showcases all the big name headliners, from Rage against the Machine to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Savannah is scary at any time of year, but Halloween is truly when it comes into its own. Legend has it that several areas of historic downtown Savannah have been built on top of ancient cemeteries and many of the houses claim to be haunted. Known as the capital of the supernatural, its creepy old mansions and overhanging trees make for something out of Sleepy Hollow. Try River Street’s bars on Halloween night, where locals and tourists go pub crawling in costume. Dine if you dare at The Olde Pink House restaurant, frequented by the phantom spirit of James Habersham, builder of the 1771 mansion or visit the Mercer Williams House, site of the murder in the true crime novel, Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. Take one of the many ghost tours, which include a tour inside a hearst, visit the creepy gravestones of the Bonaventure Cemetery and then finish up the day with a night at the 17-Hundred-90 Inn, where lovelorn Savannahian Anna Powers committed suicide by leaping to her death from the third-floor balcony. Her ghost occupies room 208.
You don’t need to be in a cold, bleak setting to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve; Maui’s annual Halloween in Lahaina party has been affectionately dubbed the ‘Mardi Gras of the Pacific’ and its warm, aloha backdrop is a surprisingly ideal spot for a spooky Halloween. The historic whaling town of Lahaina is first transformed into a children’s costume parade, then later, some 20,000 costumed revellers, mainlanders and locals take to the street in a range of risqué and ridiculous disguises. A not-to-be-missed opportunity to experience an alternative Halloween, the carnival features food stands, live bands and mai tai-fuelled debauchery.
El Diá de los Muertos aka ‘The Day of the Dead’ connotes all those dark, mysterious allusions that make Mexico a serious contender for top of the Halloween destinations. Taking place on All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2), this Aztec-influenced festival honours the memory of Mexico’s sadly deceased. And there’s no better place to experience this mystic fiesta than in Oaxaca. Candlelit roads, colourful markets and macabre street parties transform the city, which is a Unesco world heritage site, into a wild celebration that’s fit for any immortal wanderer among us. Head to a panaderia when you get a little hungry and pick up some of the assortment of sinister sweet treats on display (think sugar-spun coffinsand pan de muerto (bread of the dead)), then finish up at midnight in a cemetery, where local families compete to create the most extravagantly decorated gravesite.
Known as the most haunted city in the US, New Orleans isn’t short of a few ghosts. Begin on notorious Bourbon Street, then head to the haunted mansions of the French Quarter for an exotic spectacle of Halloween fashion. Treats and tricks will rain down from the elegant balconies, while the entire Big Easy starts to crank up the fright factor in costumes the most daring around. Supplementing the intoxicating dark side of New Orleans that’s celebrated all year round, Jackson Square offers a mystic, moonlit cemetery tour, while the Endless Night Vampire Ball at the House of Blue is a behemoth of a shindig known to last several days.