The best way to celebrate Halloween in every state

Flickr/Anna FoxDisneyland loves Halloween.

There are plenty of reasons why we should be celebrating the arrival of fall – sweater weather and pumpkin spice lattes come to mind – but most importantly, it means Halloween season is upon us.

Between carving pumpkins, creating costumes, and visiting haunted houses, Halloween is undoubtedly the best time of year.

And best of all, every state has its own events and traditions. Here’s the best thing to do for Halloween in every state.

ALABAMA: Tomb of the Risen Dead in DeSoto Caverns

Located at the DeSoto Caverns, a privately owned park boasting the first caverns in the US on record, Tomb of the Risen Dead occurs every weekend in October.

The event ranges from “fire dancing to acrobatics to comedic juggling,” with new live entertainment every weekend.

ALASKA: Halloween Train in Anchorage

By October 31, it’s already pretty cold in Alaska, which is why the Halloween Train is key. The train, which travels from Anchorage to Indian in a 2.5-hour roundtrip, features a magician, crafts, balloon animals, Halloween-themed Bingo, and a raffle, among other kid-friendly Halloween activities – plus amazing views.

ARIZONA: Salt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular in Scottsdale

Facebook/SRF Balloon SpooktacularSalt River Fields Balloon Spooktacular.

The Balloon Spooktacular this year is on October 26 and 27, and is in its eighth year. There will be over 20 hot air balloons to marvel at, plus 4,000 pounds of candy, fireworks, and a “haunted trail.”

ARKANSAS: Nash Back at Ya Monster Ball in Rogers

Facebook/Nash Back at Ya Car ClubNash Back at Ya Monster Ball.

The Monster Ball is a car show put on by the Nash Back at Ya Car Club. Any vehicle is welcome to attend, as long as it’s decorated in the Halloween spirit.

The cars participate in a “Trick or Trunk,” and other events include a silent auction, and decoration and costume contests. The 2018 Monster Ball is on October 13.

CALIFORNIA: Disneyland in Anaheim

Flickr/Anna FoxDisneyland goes all out.

Disneyland goes all out for Halloween. There are too many events to name, but the whole park is decorated with lights, pumpkins, and other spooky things. Your favourite characters, like Mickey and Minnie, also dress up for the holiday.

However, the highlight is arguably the special fireworks show, called Halloween Screams: A Villainous Surprise in the Skies at Mickey’s Halloween Party.

COLORADO: Denver Zombie Crawl in Denver

Facebook/Denver Zombie CrawlDenver Zombie Crawl.

The 13th Annual Zombie Crawl will take place on October 6 this year. The day-long event includes a costume contest, parties across the city, an event-wide dance class to learn the moves to Michael Jackson song “Thriller,” vendors, and makeup booths.

CONNECTICUT: The Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum in Bristol

Facebook/The Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie MuseumThe Witch’s Dungeon Classic Movie Museum.

The museum opens every year at the end of September, and stays open through Halloween. It’s filled with life-size models of classic monsters, like the Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein, as well as original movie props.

According to its website, the museum is “the longest running exhibit of its kind in the country” – it’s been open since 1966.

DELAWARE: Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival in Rehoboth Beach

YouTube/RBDBChamberA parade at Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival.

The 28th Annual Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival will take place this year from October 26 to 28.

The festival has both a costume and dog parade, trick or treating, beach games, a 5K race, horse shows, and live entertainment. It also all takes place right on the beach.

FLORIDA: A Petrified Forest Scare Trail in Altamonte Springs

Facebook/A Petrified ForestPetrified Forest Scare Trail.

The Petrified Forest received a makeover this year, with a completely new layout that features “85,000 square feet of sheer horror” – all located inside a giant Floridian swamp. There are also backstage tours for those wanting behind-the-scenes info and tricks of the trade.

One of this year’s new attractions? The Terror Trolley.

This year the Petrified Forest opens for the season on October 5.

GEORGIA: Run Like Hell 5K in Atlanta

Facebook/Historic Oakland CemeteryRunners dress in intricate costumes.

This 5K is the largest cemetery run in the country, passing through Oakland Cemetery’s historic Jewish grounds, Confederate section, new Beaumont Allen Greenhouse, and Hogpen Corner, to name a few.

Proceeds go towards preserving the cemetery, which was founded in 1850.

The eleventh annual Run Like Hell 5K will be held on October 13.

HAWAII: Hallowbaloo Music & Arts Festival in Honolulu

Facebook/Hallowbaloo Music & Arts FestivalHallowbaloo Music & Arts Festival.

There are four components to this event – a street festival filled with crafts, vendors, and general holiday merriment, Club Hallowbaloo, which includes 11 distinct clubs that each have their own special events and DJs, Ono Eats, which is a food festival, and a special craft beer festival.

This year’s Hallowbaloo is being held on October 27.

IDAHO: Idaho Horror Film Festival in Boise

Facebook/Idaho Horror Film FestivalA panel at Idaho Horror Film.

Last year, more than 60 scary movies were screened, and this year will undoubtedly be no different. The event, which aims to “shine a spotlight on Idaho’s emerging filmmakers,” also features classic flicks, horror movie trivia, panels, live music, and a special “Hangover Brunch.”

The festival is returning to Boise for its fifth year, from October 12 to 14.

ILLINOIS: Arts in the Dark in Chicago

Facebook/LUMA8The costumes are breathtaking.

Arts in the Dark is a parade that is part Halloween part art exhibition, put together by artists, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Lookingglass Theatre Company, to name a few.

Expect stunning costumes, intricate floats, and dramatic performances.

This year’s parade will be held on October 20.

INDIANA: The Historic Irvington Halloween Festival in Irvington

The entire town of Irvington gets in on the spooky fun during the Irvington Halloween Festival, which is celebrating its 72nd year this year.

There are events throughout September and October all over the town, including a Charity Ball, a Vampire Run, a “Spooky Organ Concert,” puppet shows, a blood drive, and much more.

IOWA: Family Halloween in Urbandale

Facebook/Living History FarmsA family-friendly option.

Family Halloween takes place every year at Living History Farms, “an interactive outdoor museum which educates, entertains and connects people of all ages to Midwestern rural life experiences.”

This year, it will take place the last two weekends in October. Activities include trick or treating at the historic businesses, pumpkin bowling, horse-drawn wagon rides, and scary stories.

KANSAS: Neewollah in Independence

Facebook/Neewollah (Independence, Kansas)All of Independence celebrates Neewollah.

Neewollah, or “Halloween” spelled backwards, is a week-long celebration during the last week of October.

According to its website, “Neewollah became part of Independence in 1919 as a way to keep playful pranksters out of mischief on Halloween night. For one full week, Neewollah entertains people from all walks of life, and Independence, a town of around 10,000, becomes a city of over 80,000.”

In addition to three parades, there are multiple races, a town-wide “Medallion Hunt,” a “Queen Neelah” competition, and a carnival.

KENTUCKY: Disturbia at the Distillery in Frankfort

Facebook/Buffalo Trace DistilleryDisturbia at the Distillery.

Disturbia at the Distillery is an annual event that takes place at the Buffalo Trace Distillery, which produces Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey.

The event, which takes place on October 26 and 27 this year, includes a ghost tour of the distillery, tastings, and a whodunit mystery dinner theatre.

LOUISIANA: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience in New Orleans

Facebook/Voodoo Music + Arts ExperienceVoodoo Music + Arts Experience.

You can’t go wrong celebrating Halloween in New Orleans, which is the Voodoo capital of America, but the Voodoo Festival, on October 26 to 28, is an experience all its own. The city’s largest park transforms into a spooky carnival, filled with art installations, vendors, a faux graveyard, carnival rides, and iconic musical acts.

This year’s festival boasts Childish Gambino, Mumford and Sons, and the Arctic Monkeys, to name a few.

MAINE: Fright at the Fort in Prospect

Facebook/Fright at the FortFort Knox was built in 1844.

On October 13, 19, 20, 26, and 27, the historic Fort Knox turns into a giant haunted house, called Fright at the Fort. This year’s theme, King of Horror, will bring the chilling works of Maine native Stephen King to life.

According to the website, you can “Experience the most terrifying frights and scariest sights from the mind of the master himself as you wind your way among the darkest corridors and deepest recesses of the century and a half old stronghold.”

MARYLAND: The Nevermore Haunt in Baltimore

Facebook/The Nevermore HauntThe Nevermore Haunt.

The Nevermore Haunt, a critically lauded haunted house in Baltimore, contains two components. First is the haunted house itself, which, according to its website, contains “Bizarre creatures, terrifying visions of the past, and heart pounding horrors.”

The other part is Isac’s Maleficent Sideshow, which is made up of “sinister magicians and freak-show performances.”

It’s open throughout the month of October.

MASSACHUSETTS: Haunted Happenings in Salem

Nick Beer/ShutterstockJust one of a few witch-related attractions.

Salem’s claim to fame are the infamous witch trials that took place during the late 1600s – so of course, the town goes hard on Halloween.

Of all the Haunted Happenings, which begin in late September, our favourites are the The Salem Psychic Fair & Witches’ Market, the Salem Horror Fest, The Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball: Elements of Magic, and The Annual Salem Witches’ Magic Circle.

MICHIGAN: Stonewall Pumpkin Festival in Rochester Hills

This year’s Pumpkin Festival will take place on October 13. The day’s activities include pumpkin bowling, Jack-o-Lantern carving, and an outdoor exhibit of scarecrows.

Every available pumpkin will be lit during the Lighting Ceremony (the record is currently at 1,011 pumpkins), which is so beautiful that it inspired a children’s book entitled “Night of 1,000 Pumpkins.”

MINNESOTA: Anoka Halloween in Anoka

Anoka calls itself the Halloween Capital of the World, because the entire town gets in on the fun. The city’s website claims that it was the first town to put on a Halloween celebration to “divert its youngsters from Halloween pranks.”

Every weekend in October boasts plenty of events to choose from, like the Great Pumpkin Weigh Off, a Medallion Hunt, multiple parades, and a “Spooktacular Carnival,” to name a few.

MISSISSIPPI: Creepy Creek Haunted Trail in Booneville

Facebook/Creepy Creek Haunted TrailCreepy Creek Haunted Trail.

Creepy Creek, a haunted house, has been open since the beginning of September. It sits in the middle of a quiet forest, where “something isn’t quite right…”

All proceeds go towards Dry Creek Fire and First Response.

MISSOURI: Thriller on C-Street in Springfield

Facebook/Thriller on C-StreetThriller on C-Street.

Thriller on C-Street is definitely a sight to see – hundreds of zombies will take to the street to perform the infamous Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance.

The town takes it seriously – participants need to attend a minimum of three classes to in order to partake in the October 27 event, which ends in a giant block party.

MONTANA: Boo at the Zoo in Billings

Facebook/ZooMontanaBoo at the Zoo.

Every year, ZooMontana, Montana’s only zoo, transforms for Boo at the Zoo, which will be held on October 27 this year.

The kid-friendly event features lots of candy, games, food stalls and entertainment, like a “mad scientist show.”

NEBRASKA: Haunted Hollow in Omaha

Haunted Hollow is an entire theme park dedicated to scaring the daylights out of you. With 15 scary attractions spread out over seven acres, you won’t be able to catch your breath.

For starters, there’s a three-story haunted house, a barn maze, a carnival, bonfires, and tarot card readings. The park opens for the season on September 21.

NEVADA: HallOVeen in Las Vegas

Sure, you could go to one of Sin City’s many clubs to celebrate Halloween, but HallOVeen at the Opportunity Village supports a good cause, as the not-for-profit organisation serves “adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities.”

Some signature attractions of HallOVween include a ghost train, an enchanted carousel, an “Avalanche Slide,” and a mini-coaster. You can even experience what it would be like to be buried alive in The Last Ride, a simulation.

HallOVeen is happening all October long.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Spooky World in Litchfield

Spooky World describes itself as “over 80 acres of fear” and boasts five different haunted attractions. It also features fire pits, a beer garden, paintball, mini-golf, and go-karts.

Spooky World opens September 21.

NEW JERSEY: Bane Haunted House in Livingston

Yelp/Bane Haunted HouseBane Haunted House.

The Bane Haunted House was rated the scariest haunted house in New Jersey five years in a row, according to the site.

What sets it apart? Its interactive nature: according to the website, “visitors may have to climb up, jump over, crawl through, and spin around what lurks inside the haunted house for a spine-chilling, interactive experience.”

It also boasts over 100 live actors spread out across the 40,000 square-foot building.

The haunted house opens September 21.

NEW MEXICO: Fright Night at the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces

Facebook/Rio Grande TheatreFright Night at the Rio Grande Theatre.

What is Fright Night? A Halloween movie marathon, of course! This year it’s a triple feature – “Gremlins,” “Ghostbusters,” and “The Exorcist.” Snacks, refreshments, beer, wine, and spirits will be available.

This year’s Fright Night will take place on October 27.

NEW YORK: The Village Halloween Parade in New York City

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe Village Parade.

This year marks the 45th annual Village Halloween Parade, which takes place on October 31 every year, and claims to be the world’s largest Halloween parade with over 50,000 participants and millions of spectators.

This year’s theme is “I AM a Robot,” and if you want to join, all you need to do is rock a costume.

NORTH CAROLINA: Woods of Terror in Greensboro

Facebook/Woods of TerrorWoods of Terror.

Woods of Terror has various terrifying areas.

To name a few, there’s Chaos 3D (“a wild ride through the all-new dimension of horror. You’ll wonder if the walls are actually coming alive”), Horror Movie Classics (“you will recognise the homes of three horror movie icons”), and A Blackout Terror (“a totally dark experience that plays on all your senses.”).

There’s also Monster Midway, which has carnival games and food, and features a parade every night. Woods of Terror will open September 21.

NORTH DAKOTA: Haunted Fort in Mandan

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, which houses reconstructed historic military buildings, turns into the Haunted Fort every Halloween, when it opens four different haunted houses within its walls.

Opening day is October 5.

OHIO: Ghoulardifest in Cleveland

Ghoulardi was a fictional character created by radio host Ernie Anderson. He became iconic in the ’60s, hosting multiple TV shows that included “Shock Theatre” and “Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy.”

The festival takes place every year in honour of Ghoulardi, with appearances by local TV legends, live entertainment, games, and prizes.

If you’re feeling nostalgic this year, Ghoulardifest will be held from October 12 to 14.

OKLAHOMA: Spider Ball in Tulsa

This year’s Spider Ball will celebrate its 10th anniversary on October 27. The massive dance party boasts the best local DJs spread across three distinct clubs housed in the same building.

But be warned: you’re only allowed in if you have a costume.

OREGON: Davis Graveyard in Milwaukie

Facebook/Davis GraveyardDavis Graveyard.

Despite what it looks like, the Davis Graveyard isn’t some giant haunted house run by hundreds of volunteers and employees – it’s just the brainchild of a normal Oregon couple that admittedly goes a little harder than most with their Halloween decorations. And they have been doing it for 18 years.

The house will be open for viewing starting October 3. Weekends see the addition of video, animatronic effects, and fog.

PENNSYLVANIA: Great Pumpkin Carve in Chadds Ford

This year’s Great Pumpkin Carve will be held from October 18 to 20. Over the course of three days, 70 local artists come together to carve giant pumpkins, and then light them.

There’s also local food, beer, wine, and cider for purchase, as well as live music, hayrides, and a haunted trail.

RHODE ISLAND: Fortress of Nightmares in Newport

Facebook/Fortress of NightmaresFortress of Nightmares.

Every weekend in October, Fort Adams transforms into the Fortress of Nightmares. This year boasts a horrific maze called Tunnels of Terror, a haunted house called Spirits Rising, and a brand new virtual reality attraction called Paranormal360.

It’s all for a good cause though – proceeds go directly towards the restoration and preservation of the historic fort.

SOUTH CAROLINA: SCarowinds in Fort Mill

Technically, the amusement park Carowinds is located within both North andSouth Carolina. Either way, it’s not messing around when it comes to Halloween. From September 21, the park transforms into SCarowinds at night, with haunted attractions, shows, and “over 500 ghastly monsters waiting to feed off your screams.”

SOUTH DAKOTA: Deadweird in Deadwood

During the last weekend of October (October 26 and 27 this year), the historic town of Deadwood transforms into Deadweird. This year’s roster of events includes the “Monster Ball” and a costume contest boasting a $US12,000 prize. Street closures and the allowance of open containers mean a giant, weekend-long block party.

TENNESSEE: Day of the Dead Tequila Festival in Nashville

Facebook/Day of the Dead Tequila FestivalDay of the Dead Tequila Festival.

Nashville’s Day of the Dead Tequila Festival (October 26) turns an entire block into a giant party featuring live DJs, tequila tastings, and no shortage of tacos.

TEXAS: Screams Halloween Theme Park in Waxahachie

Yelp/Wren T.Screams Halloween Theme Park.

Texas Haunts called Screams “the best haunted theme park,” and it just may be world’s largest, too.

The massive, terrifying park contains five brand new areas: Cursed… The Witches of TerraMythica Castle, PT Harmum’s Carnival of Chaos Maze, Captain Babarossa’s Blood Harbour, Hotel D’feers, and the Zombie Wasteland… Apocalypse.

Screams will open for the season September 28.

UTAH: Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus in American Fork

Facebook/Strangling Brothers Haunted CircusStrangling Brothers Haunted Circus.

Strangling Bros. opened for the season on September 14. According to its website, it was voted the scariest haunted house in the entire state of Utah. It features a Haunted Circus, a year-round escape room called Eskape, a 90-foot-long Tunnel of Foam, and paintball.

VERMONT: Nightmare Vermont in Essex Junction

Facebook/Nightmare VermontNightmare Vermont.

Nightmare Vermont combines “live stage combat, an original theatrical storyline, and all the best in interactive scares and special effects.” This year’s theme is a women’s prison that includes riots, demons, and “a little satisfying vengeance.”

What makes Nightmare Vermont special are its two traditions: Ghost Wards and Monster Teasers. For those on the scaredy-cat side, Ghost Wards are ornaments you can buy that make you “invisible” to all the characters – meaning, they won’t get in your face, scare you, or touch you. Monster Teasers are the exact opposite. Someone wearing a Monster Teaser is basically asking to be scared.

Nightmare Vermont will be open for the last two weekends of October.

VIRGINIA: Pumpkinville in Toano

Pumpkinville isn’t for the thrill-seeking types – it’s on a family-owned farm and makes for a perfect fall day. The entire farm is decorated for the holiday, and offers activities like a hayride, a cornfield maze, bean bag and ring tosses, and other field games. Of course, there are also tons of pumpkins, gourds, and arts and crafts.

Pumpkinville is open all-year-round, seven days a week.

WASHINGTON: Can Can Culinary Cabaret in Seattle

Facebook/Can Can Culinary CabaretCan Can Culinary Cabaret.

The Can Can Cabaret is located underneath Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. Each year, it offers two delightfully creepy Halloween-themed shows.

The first, “This is Halloween,” is an adaptation of classic Halloween – or Christmas, depending on your opinion – film, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The second is “Zombie Cheerleaders From Hell,” which is filled with “spookalicious adornments, playfully scary characters, and delightfully frightful multimedia madness.”

“Zombie Cheerleaders” starts October 3, and “This is Halloween” starts October 19.

WEST VIRGINIA: The Pumpkin House in Kenova

Flickr/Frank PiersonThe Pumpkin House.

The owner of the Pumpkin House, Ric Griffith, used to be Kenova’s mayor. Now, he opens his home up to the public, and decorates it with 3,000 pumpkins. It takes hundreds of volunteers, and weeks to complete, but the final result is breathtaking. Plus, there are food trucks out front to grab a bite to eat while you marvel.

The house will open starting October 26.

WISCONSIN: Ghost Boat in Wisconsin Dells

Ghost Boat is open year-round, but in September and October the tour takes on a decidedly creepier feel. The tour’s name changes to Season of the Witch, named for the Witch of the Wisconsin Dells.

The tour includes “hearing legends and folklore of the Dells as you ride upriver. Then comes a walk through a forest haunted by all manner of ghost and ghoul, vampire and werewolf, leading you straight to the dark heart of the witch’s canyon crypt!”

WYOMING: Cheyenne Boo Ball in Cheyenne

Facebook/Cheyenne Boo BallCheyenne Boo Ball.

The Boo Ball, a masquerade ball, raises money for a different charity every year. The 2018 ball, which will be held on October 27, is dedicated to a parks improvement project.

Besides music and dancing, there’s also a silent auction.


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