The best way to celebrate Halloween in every state

·19 min read
The best way to celebrate Halloween in every state
Disneyland Halloween
Halloween decorations on Main Street, U.S.A. at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, on Friday, September 3, 2021. Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images
  • There are many reasons to be excited for fall, but most importantly, it means Halloween is here.

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

  • Every state has its own events and traditions - here's the best one in each.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

ALABAMA: Tomb of the Risen Dead in DeSoto Caverns

desoto caverns in alabama
DeSoto Caverns in Alabama. Ron W./Yelp

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: Alaska Boo-tanical Garden in Anchorage

orange flower
Flowers in Alaska. Nikki Yancey/Shutterstock

The Botanical Garden in Anchorage has "Halloween-inspired displays" throughout the fall from September 15 to October 24.

ARIZONA: 13th Floor Haunted House in Phoenix

13th floor haunted house
13th Floor Haunted House in Phoenix. Juan M./Yelp

The 13th Floor Haunted House was "created by nationally-recognized and award-winning haunted house designers" and will "transport you to new levels of horror."

It opened on October 1.

ARKANSAS: Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours in Eureka Springs

Crescent Hotel eureka springs arkansas
Crescent Hotel and Spa. Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Did you know that the most haunted hotel in America is located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas? The hotel offers ghost tours every day, twice a day.

It was built in 1886, meaning that there's 135 years worth of spirits, ghosts, ghouls, and whatever else you can think of lurking the halls. It was featured on "Ghost Hunters," "Paranormal Witness," and "Ghost Adventures" — you're sure to see something spooky during your visit.

CALIFORNIA: Disneyland in Anaheim

Disneyland Halloween
Halloween decorations on Main Street USA at Disneyland in 2021. Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

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 favorite 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: Haunted Brew Fest in Colorado Springs

pumpkin and beer for halloween
Cheers. Nataliya Arzamasova/Shutterstock

The Haunted Brew Fest will take place on October 16 this year and will feature "100 beverages, from 50 of the best breweries, wine distributors and distilleries around the region."

You might be asking what makes it "haunted" — according to the organizers, it doubles as the largest costume party in southern Colorado. There's even a $50 cash prize for the best male and female costumes.

CONNECTICUT: The Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum in Plainville

The Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum.
The Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum. FOX

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's monster, 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

delaware halloween
A parade at Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler’s Festival. Courtesy of RBDBChamber

This year's Sea Witch Halloween & Fiddler's Festival will take place from October 29 to 31.

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

Petrified Forest Scare Trail.
Petrified Forest Scare Trail. Jenna L./Yelp

The Petrified Forest received a makeover recently, 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.

The overall theme, this year, is Wrath of the Wendigo.

This year the Petrified Forest opens for the season on October 1.

GEORGIA: Run Like Hell 5K in Atlanta

Historic Oakland Cemetery
The cemetery in question. Steve Grundy/Getty Images

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 14th annual Run Like Hell 5K will be held on October 9.

HAWAII: Hallowbaloo Music & Arts Festival in Honolulu

Hallowbaloo Music & Arts Festival.
Hallowbaloo Music & Arts Festival. Joe C./Yelp

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 30.

IDAHO: Squawky & Spirits at the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise

Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site
Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site David R. Daniel/Shutterstock

The Old Idaho Penitentiary, which claims to be one of the most haunted places in the state, offers spooky tours throughout October, like the Paranormal Investigation, Haunting History, or Raising Spirits.

But the day before Halloween, from 6 p.m. to midnight, the place opens up for Squawky & Spirits, promising "music, food trucks, no-host bar, history presentations, and bumps in the night throughout the site."

ILLINOIS: Arts in the Dark in Chicago

art institute of chicago
Art Institute of Chicago. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

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 30.

INDIANA: The Historic Irvington Halloween Festival in Irvington

irvington halloween
The entire town participates. Raechel A./Yelp

The entire town of Irvington gets in on the spooky fun during the Irvington Halloween Festival, which is celebrating its 75th 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

living history farms
A family-friendly option. Sarah N./Yelp

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

Cake pops decorated like jack-o-lanterns displayed in a silver urn with a plastic spider on it
All of Independence celebrates Neewollah. RuthBlack/Getty Images

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: Ultimate Halloween Fest in Louisville

halloween in louisville
Halloween in Louisville. Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

This year's Halloween festival in Louisville is being held at two locations: Pope Lick Park from September 23 to October 23 on Fridays and Saturdays and in Paristown from October 29 to 31.

While this year's parade was pushed to 2022, there are still plenty of other activities, such as the Balloon Glow, a giant screening of "Rocky Horror Picture Show," the Legend at Pope Lick Haunted Woods attraction, a jack-o'-lanterns light show, and more.

LOUISIANA: The New Orleans Vampire Ball in New Orleans

vampires on halloween
Vampires. Cris Faga/NurPhoto via Getty Images

You can't go wrong celebrating Halloween in New Orleans, which is the Voodoo capital of America, but the annual Vampire Ball at the Howlin' Wolf is a very solid choice. It's described as "Venetian masquerade, meets a vampire court, with the elegance of a burlesque cabaret and the energy of a rock concert."

This year's event is on October 30, and the theme is Samhain Masquerade, which is important — they take the dress code very seriously. It goes until 4 a.m., so get ready to party.

MAINE: Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad's Pumpkin Train in Portland

maine train
One of the trains. Dave A./Yelp

On October 23, 24, 30, and 31 the historic Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad turns into the Pumpkin Train.

According to the website, you can "ride back in time, learn about Maine's 2-Foot gauge history and take in the sound and smell of a 100 year old steam locomotive rolling through the autumn air."

Kids even get to decorate and take home a pumpkin as a souvenir.

MARYLAND: The Nevermore Haunt in Baltimore

The Nevermore Haunt.
The Nevermore Haunt. Carlene W./Yelp

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 Isaac's Maleficent Sideshow, which is made up of "sinister magicians and freak-show performances."

It's open throughout October.

MASSACHUSETTS: Haunted Happenings in Salem

salem massachusetts witch museum
Just one of a few witch-related attractions. Nick Beer/Shutterstock

Salem's claims 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 favorites are 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

pumpkin benefits
Pumpkins. paulgmccabe/Getty Images

This year's Pumpkin Festival will take place on October 9. 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

halloween cake
A Halloween cake. Carol Yepes/Getty Images

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

creepy bayou
A creepy bayou. ArtioRaven/Shutterstock

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

michael jackson thriller
The real "Thriller." Michael Jackson/YouTube

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 in order to partake in the October event, which ends in a giant block party.

MONTANA: Sleepy Hollow Haunted Wagon Rides in Billings

halloween zoo
Halloween at a zoo. SofotoCool/Shutterstock

Every year, ZooMontana, Montana's only zoo and botanical park, transforms for Halloween. The hay rides are on October 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, and 30 this year.

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

NEBRASKA: Haunted Hollow in La Vista

Scary Halloween clown mask.
Clowns. Niels Wenstedt/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Haunted Hollow is an entire theme park dedicated to scaring the daylights out of you. With 15 scary attractions spread out over 7 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 24.

NEVADA: HallOVeen in Las Vegas

vegas halloween
HallOVeen. Diana f./Yelp

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 organization 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 every weekend in October.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Spooky World in Litchfield

haunted house
Not pictured. Vladimir Mulder/Shutterstock

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 opened September 25.

NEW JERSEY: Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township

fright fest six flags great adventure
Fright Fest. Julio G./Yelp

Six Flags Great Adventure transforms into a minefield of monsters, ghosts, evil scientists, and more. This year, there are five "Scare Zones," which means that just walking through the area puts you in their path. There are also nine attractions, including "Big Top Terror: Forgotten Carnival 3-D," "The Manor," and "Wicked Woods."

If you prefer sticking to rides, there are also times when performers from the park will hop on with you for an extra thrilling ride. There will also be parades, shows, and more.

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

scary movie
Fright night, indeed. Dean Drobot/Shutterstock

What is Fright Night? A Halloween movie marathon, of course! This year Fright Night is a triple feature of "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Little Shop of Horrors," and "The Blair Witch Project." Snacks, refreshments, beer, wine, and spirits will be available.

Fright Night will be between October 23 and October 30.

NEW YORK: The Village Halloween Parade in New York City

nyc halloween parade
Revelers during the 43rd annual Village Halloween Parade. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

This year marks the 48th 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 "LET'S PLAY!!!" and if you want to join, all you need to do is rock a costume.

NORTH CAROLINA: Woods of Terror in Greensboro

woods of terror
Woods of Terror. Danielle S./Yelp

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 recognize 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 opened on September 17.

NORTH DAKOTA: Haunted Fort in Mandan

fort abraham lincoln
Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. Chris F./Yelp

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 1.

OHIO: Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory in Akron

the Haunted Schoolhouse and laboratory

This year is the Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory's 48th season spooking Ohio residents out of their minds. In addition to the downright terrifying haunted house, there's also the Monster Midway with photo ops, food trucks, and a gift shop, as well as a beer garden for a little liquid courage.

It opened for the season on September 18.

OKLAHOMA: Route 66 Pecan & Music Festival in Claremore

pecan festival in oklahoma
The Nut House. Karen P./Yelp

This year's festival will be on October 30 and 31. According to organizers, there will be "live music, food selections with unique food vendors and food trucks" for the adults, and "camel rides, pony rides, hay rides, face painting, pie eating contest, and sumo wrestling" for the kids.

Driving down Route 66 is an American tradition — make a stop at the Pecan and Music Festival on your road trip.

OREGON: Davis Graveyard in Milwaukie

davis graveyard oregon
Davis Graveyard. NBC

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 who admittedly go a little harder than most with their Halloween decorations. And they've been doing it for over 18 years.

The house opened for viewing starting October 1. Weekends see the addition of video, animatronic effects, and fog.

PENNSYLVANIA: Great Pumpkin Carve in Chadds Ford

carving pumpkins
Pumpkins. alexkich/Shutterstock

This year's Great Pumpkin Carve will be held from October 14 to 16. 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: Night at the Haunted Museum in Providence

museum of natural history in providence
The museum. James M./Yelp

On October 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, and 30, the Museum of Natural History in Providence totally transforms. This year's tours will have "bizarre collections from the vaults and TEN31 spooky living art" shown off for all to see.

If you really want to go all out, you and 11 friends can rent it out for a night, and get a private self-guided tour, a private planetarium show, and a "guided exploration of the Museum's underworld — the collection storage vaults."

SOUTH CAROLINA: SCarowinds in Fort Mill

carowinds
Carowinds. Emily R./Yelp

Technically, the amusement park Carowinds is located within both North and South Carolina. Either way, it's not messing around when it comes to Halloween. From September 17, 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

deadwood south dakota
Deadwood. Kenneth Sponsler/Shutterstock

During the last weekend of October (October 29 and 30 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 $10,000 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

tequila shots with lime wedges
Tequila. Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

Nashville's Day of the Dead Tequila Festival (October 16) 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

Screams Halloween Theme Park
Screams Halloween Theme Park. Screams Halloween Theme Park/Yelp

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

The massive, terrifying park contains two brand new areas: New Klownz in 3D and the Times Up Maze, in addition to old favorites.

Screams opened for the season on October 1.

UTAH: Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus in American Fork

Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus.
Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus. Patricia M./Yelp

Strangling Bros. opened for the season on September 10. 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

vermont haunted house
Not pictured. Mark Martins/Shutterstock

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 post-apocalyptic future with "monsters, cannibals, telekinetic prisoners, and tons of audience interaction and hijinks."

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
Pumpkinville. Jennifer M./Yelp

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

can can culinary cabaret
Can Can Culinary Cabaret. Vee B./Yelp

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, "Zombie Cheerleaders Return," which is filled with "spookalicious adornments, playfully scary characters, and delightfully frightful multimedia madness." The second is "The Midnight Show: Zombie Edition," which focuses on "the dark, glittering underbelly of the Market."

WEST VIRGINIA: The Pumpkin House in Kenova

pumpkin house
Pumpkin House. Lindsay G./Yelp

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 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 29.

WISCONSIN: Ghost Boat in Wisconsin Dells

ghost boat
Ghost Boat. Sarah I./Yelp

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

costume party
Costume party. VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

The Boo Ball, a masquerade ball, raises money for a different charity every year. The 2021 ball, which will be held on October 23, is dedicated to a parks improvement project.

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

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