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7 Best Halloween Towns in the U.S.

Searching for the best places to go for Halloween? There are several October destinations across the U.S. where Halloween celebrations aren’t limited to just one night. From month-long festivals to haunted balls, these seven best Halloween towns in America have plenty of frightful fun to offer!

Anoka, MN

Group of people running a marathon in costumes. Photo by Instagram user @getnorth

Photo via @getnorth

  • Perfect For: Family-friendly Halloween events

When it comes to the best places to celebrate Halloween, it’s hard to beat the Halloween Capital of the WorldAnoka hosts what’s believed to be the first organized Halloween event in the U.S., which originally started as a way to keep kids from pulling pranks and creating mischief. Today, the event has turned into a month full of festivities and family fun. About 30 minutes north of Minneapolis, Anoka’s riverfront location also makes this a beautiful spot to view fall foliage and enjoy outdoor adventures. While you’re there, see why Anoka is considered a major shopping destination by perusing local boutiques and antique dealers.

Halloween Things to Do in Anoka

Be on the lookout for ghosts and goblins by taking a visit to the Anoka Haunted House. Show off your finest pumpkin carving skills to win a prize or enter yourself into the scarecrow contest at the Pumpkin Weigh-Off, Scarecrow Contest, & Adult Pumpkin Carving Contest at the Anoka City Hall Plaza. Pick a great spot at the Grande Day Parade (the largest parade in the state) or view floats, costumes, and displays in the dark at the Light Up the Night Parade. Stroll the streets to see the handiwork of locals competing in the House Decorating Contest. Get a move on at the Anoka Halloween Gray Ghost Run, where participants are encouraged to wear costumes and run a 5K.

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Buena Park, CA

  • Perfect For: All-age theme park thrills

Searching for one of the best cities for Halloween? Travel to Buena Park! Named the Halloween Capital of SoCal, the area transforms into “Boo-uena Park” for Halloween season during September and October. This is largely due to the transformation of the Knott’s Berry Farm theme park into “Knott’s Scary Farm”—the first and longest-running Halloween theme park in the U.S. that includes mazes and an interactive zombie experience. When you’re not busy checking out Buena Park’s seasonal haunts, enjoy the beautiful weather, indulge in sweet treats, or visit nearby Disneyland.

Halloween Things to Do in Buena Park

Head to Knott’s Scary Farm to ride the transformed rollercoasters, participate in interactive thrills, and get lost in eerie mazes. Discover more mellow scares, go trick-or-treating through Ghost Town, and see Halloween shows at Camp Snoopy Theater at Knott’s Spooky Farm, which is recommended for those 13 and younger. Explore a haunted house, pick up pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, or enter the little ones in the kids costume contest at the Fall Spooktacular. Attend Vampirates for a seasonal twist on the original two-hour, four-course Pirate’s Dinner Adventure. End the night at the witch-themed bar The Cauldron Spirits & Brews for a craft cocktail or hearty, seasonal dish in an intimate setting. Or travel to Disneyland for Halloween events, including the Oogie Boogie Bash and the Main Street Pumpkin Festival.

Las Vegas, NV

  • Perfect For: 21+ Halloween parties

If you’re dreaming of dancing the night away at some of the biggest Halloween parties in the USA, there’s a good chance you’ll find them in Las Vegas! The month of October brings spine-chilling cocktails, haunted street parades, and even more costume-clad individuals roaming The Strip than usual. While you’re there, make the most of Vegas resorts and casinos, which are home to luxurious pools, boutique shopping, one-of-a-kind museumsfine dining, and lots of free entertainment!

Halloween Things to Do in Las Vegas

Head to Hakkasan Nightclub during Halloween weekend to see popular DJ sets and themed dance parties. Celebrate the Day of the Dead at the Freak the Beat music festival, which features two stages, a silent disco, and a $3,000 costume contest. Go dancing and listen to hip music on Halloween Saturday at the Tao nightclub. Visit Fremont Street for the month-long Rock of Horror event, featuring live music, light shows, costume contests, and a Halloween Bar Crawl. Put your puzzle-solving skills to the test in a truly terrifying setting at the Official SAW Escape. Or get your fill of scares at the Asylum & Hotel Fear haunted houses.

New Orleans, LA

  • Perfect For: Holiday festivals, haunted historical sites

While New Orleans has a big Mardi Gras reputation, the Big Easy is also one of the best vacation spots for Halloween! As one of America’s most haunted cities, there are tons of events centered around the area’s voodoo and supernatural history. Ghostly activities like exploring New Orleans cemeteries—also known as “Cities of the Dead”—or taking a haunted tour are popular activities year-round, but costume parties, parades, and interactive experiences only get more elaborate as October 31st approaches. In your time between tours, sample a variety of beignets, get your fill of creole food, stop by a jazz club, or visit one of many thriving LGBTQ bars and events.

Halloween Things to Do in New Orleans

Watch the Krewe of Boo parade in the French Quarter to see participants wearing extravagant costumes, riding on one-of-a-kind floats, and tossing candy for the kids! Participate in spooktacular family-friendly activities like riding the Ghost Train at Boo at the Zoo. Explore eight acres of frights with the Devil’s Swamp Haunted Terror Tour or enjoy more mild fun like live music and carnival rides at Scout Island Scream Park. Hear the stories of famous voodoo queen Marie Laveau and see her tomb on a Cemetery Voodoo Tour. Test out your ghost hunting skills at The Mortuary Haunted House while you make your way through a haunted mansion. Or see national touring acts and visit the fright zone at the Voodoo Festival.

Salem, MA

  • Perfect For: Witch-themed Halloween festivities

If you’re not sure where to go for Halloween, look no further than Salem! The infamous setting for the Witch Trials of 1692 has a reputation for being full of supernatural oddities. Witch museums, witch-trial re-enactments, and magic shops fill the city during the Halloween season. Plan your visit for October to participate in the special Haunted Happening festivities, which include parades, film screenings, psychic readings, and more throughout the entire month. There’s also endless local history to experience any time of year on the Salem Heritage Trail, as well as great dining and breathtaking outdoor activities.

Halloween Things to Do in Salem

Visit at the beginning of the month to attend the Grand Parade, which is full of festive floats, vehicles, and performances. Watch the Salem witch trials come to life through ghostly projections and 4D effects by attending The Gallows Hill Main Show at the Gallows Hill Museum. Let your animals be the star of the show at the Howl-o-Ween Pet Parade. Tour the city on foot to uncover the history of Salem with a local historian as your guide by taking a Bewitched Historical Tour. Hop aboard the Ghosts & Legends Trolley for an eerie ride that will drive you past spots like The House of the Seven Gables. Take part in the month-long Festival of the Dead by attending events like the Salem Psychic Fair or Witches’ Halloween Ball. Or watch your favorite horror movies on the big screen or stop by for a live podcast taping at Salem Horror Fest.

Sleepy Hollow, NY

Headless horseman in a cemetery. Photo by Instagram user @dmitry217

Photo via @dmitry217

  • Perfect For: Haunted historical sites, live theatre

Thanks to the legend of the Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow is one of the best places in America for Halloween! Plan a trip to the haunted village that inspired Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” to see the story performed as a musical, take part in live-action thrills, and much more! While Halloween provides an ideal time to visit, this tiny Hudson Valley town is home to haunted history and theatrical performances year-round! Plus, you can stay at a castle or quaint bed and breakfast, challenge yourself to a murder mystery game, sample tavern food, check out a nearby winery, or extend your trip to visit nearby New York City as well.

Halloween Things to Do in Sleepy Hollow

Explore Horseman’s Hollow in the Philipsburg Manor to travel back in time to the 18th century and see the Legend of Sleepy Hollow unfold—just be ready for the undead to pay a visit! Visit the grave of Washington Irving, William Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie during the day or see the cemetery by lantern at night on a Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Walking Tour. Sign up for a Sleepy Hollow Haunted Hayride to follow the same path as the legendary tale, which takes you past the historic Old Dutch Church, across the infamous wooden bridge, and into the woods. Travel to the Irvington Town Hall Theater for a musical retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Or check out more than 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins arranged on a carousel, in a planetarium, on a windmill, and more at The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze.

St. Helens, OR

  • Perfect For: All-age Halloween festivities

Dreaming of visiting the real Halloweentown? Head to St. Helens! Referred by some as Halloween, USA, this charming small town is where most of the Disney Channel movie Halloweentown was originally filmed. Visit the iconic town square from the movie, attend parades, participate in costume contests, and view supernatural exhibits for the perfect October getaway. But the fun doesn’t stop there! The home of the famous Twilight movie house also offers outdoor adventures and great places to eat and drink, making it a year-round travel destination!

Halloween Things to Do in St. Helens

Start participating in the month-long Spirit of Halloweentown festivities by heading to the famous town square to check out decorations, food vendors, live performances, and the lighting of the Great Pumpkin. Venture to the CMC Scare Factory to tour a family-friendly haunted mansion. Follow the Scarecrow Trail through the city’s business district and around town to see contestants of the annual Scarecrow Contest. Partake in the riverfront Festival of the Fairies to go on a scavenger hunt, play a giant Whack-a-Witch game, or be a part of a spooky story time. Learn the lore of alien encounters in the area and peruse artifacts at the Alien Museum in the Masonic Ballroom. Or get into the Halloween spirit by taking a tour of the Haunted Hotel Haunted House.

Pinterest Graphic: Halloween Towns: America's 7 Best

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.