The first day of fall was only a few days ago, but it’s time to start thinking about the next big event: Halloween. If you’ve spent the last few Halloweens skipping the costume and opting for a night avoiding trick-or-treaters, maybe it’s time to think about traveling. These top Halloween sites are as horrifically fun as they are historically rich.
1. Salem, Massachusetts
Even if you didn’t pay attention to The Crucible in high school, you’ve still probably heard about the Salem witch trials. It was in this town of Massachusetts that about twenty people were accused of witchcraft and executed. These events still influence the culture of the town. High school athletic teams are called The Witches, police cars have witch logos, and Gallows Hill, where many public hangings took place, is currently used as a playing field. Between October 1st and 31st, visitors can go on a historical Salem Witch Trial tour, see live musical performances at the Salem Halloween Fountain Stage, go to a haunted carnival, see a haunted magic show or participate in a Zombie walk. For the more historically minded tourist, there are plenty of museums and memorials that display Salem’s history, dating back to the 1600’s. Don’t forget to stop by one of their many haunted houses!
Photo courtesy | Edmund Garman
2. Sleepy Hollow, New York
This village located in Westchester County is the birthplace of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Thanks to the famous short story and to local folklore, Sleepy Hollow is considered by some to be the most haunted place in the world. Irving himself is laid to rest in the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. His gravestone can be seen on one of their lantern cemetery tours through the village. Visitors can also take a walk through the 300-year-old Philipsburg Manor, a walk so horrifying, children aren’t allowed. Sleepy Hollow also hosts a block party where participants can hop on a haunted hayride through the woods. The final scene of the hay ride features the headless horseman on a large black horse. There’s also the Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze featuring thousands of carved pumpkins and a scarecrow festival nearby.
Photo courtesy | Shinya Suzuki
3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Bourbon Street is already infamous for its night life and Halloween season is no different. One of the main events is the annual walking parade where participates begin by Molly’s at the Market and walk through the French Quarter in the most creative costumes. Visitors can also check out the Hermann-Grima House Mourning Tour – a tour of old Creole life. Around Halloween the historic home is draped in black and the parlor is set like it would have been for an old fashioned funeral. It wouldn’t be a perfect New Orleans experience without the music. The city hosts the Voodoo Music Experience: a three day music festival on Halloween weekend with multiple stages in City Park. New Orleans may not have the same kind of history as Sleepy Hollow or Salem, but they have plenty of their own ghost stories. And for the full experience, travelers should book a room in one of their many haunted hotels.
CJ: Yeah, New Orleans east. I filmed a bunch of it last night, we’ve got maybe two more scenes to shoot. We’ll be filming a couple more days.
Photo courtesy | Kim Hill