While many U.S. cities go all out with haunted houses and spooky Halloween events for the entire month of October, some really take Halloween celebrations to the next level. Here are the 10 best Halloween celebrations in the country this year, according to FodorsTravel.
- Village Halloween Parade in New York City: Since 1974, New York residents have been taking part in this outrageous mile-long parade, featuring marchers in costumes and custom-made puppets. “Arrive early to get a spot on 6th Avenue (between Houston and 16th Streets) and marvel at the incredible showmanship and craft of these one-of-a-kind creations,” writes FodorsTravel.
- Sleepy Hollow Halloween in Sleepy Hollow, New York: Sleepy Hollow is the grounds of Washington Irving’s legend of the infamous Headless Horseman. Throughout October, the town hosts haunted hayrides, live music, street fairs, and parades. Plus, evening lantern tours guide people through the ”haunted” Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the resting place of Irving and home to the crypt of vampire Barnabas Collins.
- West Hollywood Carnaval in Los Angeles, California: Carnaval is considered the world’s largest Halloween street party, with more than 500,000 attendees every year. The big draws here? Over 50 music acts, over-the-top costumes, and superb costume contests. Every year, an A-list celebrity (such as Rihanna and Queen Latifah) is named “Queen of the Carnaval.”
- Festival of the Dead in Salem, Massachusetts: While Salem hosts a number of haunted, witchy, and scary activities over the 31 days leading up to Halloween, the celebrations culminate on October 31 with the hugely popular Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball at Hawthorne Hotel. Hundreds gather to “summon the spirits” of Halloween with voodoo ceremonies, ritual drummers, and appearances from witch doctors.
- Halloween in New Orleans, Louisiana: Known as the “most haunted city in America,” you know that the home of Mardi Gras is going to celebrate Halloween right. In addition to a number of guided haunted tours, partygoers congregate in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood, within walking distance from the French Quarter. “The opportunity to join the bacchanal alongside the outlandishly-fashioned partygoers makes for a most memorable Halloween,” notes FodorsTravel.
- Las Vegas Halloween in Las Vegas, Nevada: Talk about great people-watching. Thousands of visitors congregate along the famous Vegas strip to check out everyone’s elaborate costumes. At Circus Circus, the theme park transforms into Fright Dome, with six haunted houses, including Insanitarium, a shuttered insane asylum where the surgeon of slaughter will pursue you to terrifying ends, according to FodorsTravel.
- Halloween on Halsted in Chicago, Illinois: The street party and annual parade in North Halsted features stilt walkers, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and marching bands. A popular costume competition judges best pet costume, best drag costume and others.
- Emma Crawford Festival in Manitou Springs, Colorado: Perhaps one of the most unusual Halloween celebrations, this festival honors pianist Emma Crawford, who died in 1889 from tuberculosis despite swimming in the “healing” springs. “The zany affair hosts coffin races, where impersonators of Crawford ride in wheeled caskets while being pushed by four ‘mourners’,” writes FodorsTravel.
- Little Five Points Halloween Festival in Atlanta, Georgia: This fun festival can last up to two hours, so arrive early. Attendees can also listen to local musicians, browse local art, and eat from food trucks.
- The Louisville Zoo Halloween Party in Louisville, Kentucky: This is one of the most family-friendly Halloween events in the country. Parents and kids walk through the themed walkways featuring favorite characters from Frozen, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Wizard of Oz. “Trick-or-treat alongside zebras, bears, and giraffes as you make your way on a train that slices through the park,” says FodorsTravel.
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