Check Out The Best Towns To Celebrate Halloween In America

As October goes by, we get more and more excited about Halloween. The tradition comes from the pagan Celtic festivity of Samhain, celebrating the Celtic new year. The Celtic believed that spirits and ghosts came around to haunt the living at this date, so they gave them treats to appease the haunters, and that became to the modern trick-or-treat. European immigrants brought Halloween to America and the cities began celebrating it in the 1920s, nowadays it’s the second most popular holiday in the country. Keeping this great tradition, we have already planned our costume, the parties to go and what movies to watch that will make us shiver. However, what’s really awesome is to see our city getting down Halloween-style, but some cities take Halloween to the next level. Here is a list of 30 cities that have it all: a deep and rich haunted history and even ghost sightings and festivals. Read on and find out the most spooky Halloween towns, are you brave enough to visit them?

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#30. Salem, MA

Known as the home of real-life witch trials back in the 1600s, there might not be another American town that says Halloween in every corner quite like Salem. If you’re visiting the city for Halloween, you should definitely see the Salem Witch Trial Reenactments or check out Orlok’s Monster Museum and their real-life movie monsters and haunted house. Even you can join the Witches’ Halloween Ball or visit the Haunted Dinner Theatre.

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For those witchy-thing lovers, there’s a lot of stuff to do in Salem. If you like history, you should check out the Salem Witch Museum, where you can learn about the trials and how life was in Salem at the time. Also, you should visit the Festival of the Dead every October or hear more stories at Gallows Hill Park or the Old Burying Point. All of these activities will give you a spooky, thought-provoking, and a bit of educational experience.

#29. Sleepy Hollow, NY

Home of the iconic Headless Horseman from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, this tiny hamlet in upstate New York will give a variety of goosebump-worthy entertainment for Halloween junkies and bookworms alike. You can catch a live performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the Old Dutch Burying Ground where is said the Headless Hessian – who inspired the legend of the Headless Horseman- has ridden since his death at the Revolutionary War.

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While in Sleepy Hollow, check out the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, and the Horseman’s Hollow. Also the Lyndhurst Castle, the Philipsburg Manor, and Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities. And if you are brave enough you must visit the Bronze Lady of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Rumour has it that looking at the statue curses the visitors with weeks of nightmares after their visit. To get a full ghostly experience the later at night, the better. Will you dare?

#28. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is one of America’s historic most haunted cities, but that doesn’t seem to change any time of the year. And when Halloween is around the corner, they embrace their reputation more strongly than ever. There are plenty of ghostly stuff to do in New Orleans and a whole list of spooky activities appropriate for every age group. But a must in your to-do-list has to be the Krewe of Boo parade and the voodoo priestess Marie Laveau’s Tomb at St. Louis Cemetery #1.

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This city is world-famous for the supernatural and scary, and if you are looking for a perfect Halloween night here’s a list with some of the creepy stuff you can do: starting with Voodoo Music+Arts Experience, the New Orleans Vampire Ball, Boo at the Zoo, Crawloween at Audubon Center and the fantastic Ghost City Tours Haunted Pub Crawl. There’s also the LaLaurie House, where poor souls were brutally tortured in the early 19th century and the Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, where a pirate watches over visitors.

#27. New York, NY

In the city that never sleeps, ghosts are lurking around in every corner and the numerous events for those looking for some real scares too! The Village Halloween Parade’s costume march draws thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. Down the lower Manhattan streets, there is a march with bands, dancers, and giant scary puppets. But if you’re looking for some serious goosebumps you should check out the after-dark crypt tour of the Cathedral of St. John’s the Divine and a Broadway show that swears to be a tormenting and frightful experience.

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Near NYC is The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Hudson Valley, a place you must visit if you love glowing carved pumpkins. However, the most spooky thing to see is the St. Patrick’s Graveyard, which is said to be haunted by many of its occupants. A legend says that headless ghost from English actor George Frederick Cooke -who is buried there and it’s presumed he sold his head for research- wanders the graveyard and a nearby alley where a theater used to be.

#26. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia has seen a lot of American history and played a central role in it, so it’s not a surprise that it’s a place known for its many haunted locations and the many troubled souls that still wander around. While in Philly for Halloween, you’ll find several haunted places with decorations -and even actors- to visit. There’s also the Eastern State Penitentiary, reported to be plagued by past inmates’ ghosts, and there, you should check out the Terror Behind the Walls tour, and look into the Pennhurst Asylum too!

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One of the most interesting places to visit is the Baleroy Mansion, an estate in Chestnut Hill that once earned the “Most Haunted Home in America” title. Mysterious bangs and knocks, ghosts, and other paranormal activity have been reported there. According to a local tale, the man who built Baleroy murdered his wife in the main house and some people reported to see a woman dressed in black hovering in a corner. Also, the ghost of Thomas Jefferson has been seen standing in the dining room. Will you dare to visit them?

#25. Las Vegas, NV

Sin City is fulfilled with spooky and absolutely fun parties for everyone. If you are in Las Vegas for Halloween you should head straight for the Strip, where visitors and locals take the streets in amazing costumes, drinks in hand and music all night. However, if you prefer Halloween’s historical side, there are plenty of haunted sites all over the city, and ghost tours you should check out.

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Local legends say that lots of hotels and casinos are wandered by famous characters’ souls. But the eeriest place to visit has to be the Flamingo Hotel and Casino, where infamous gangster Bugsy Siegel lived in the hotel’s early years. Some people reported seeing a mysterious dark figure standing at the room at night or seeing his soul haunting the hotel and the chapel gardens. Would you spend the night there?

#24. Savannah, GA

Known for their Civil War battlefields, its bloody colonial history, and slavery, and even terrible diseases and fires, Savannah has been called one of the most haunted cities in the country. There are more than 40 guided ghost tours in the historic district, but the most special is the Savannah Ghostwalker Tour, where you will hear spooky stories and visit cemeteries and battlefields. If you’re looking for a more family-friendly plan you will enjoy the hike at the Oatland Island Wildlife Center.

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But if you’re looking for something more adult-ish events, you should check out the Boo Bash Halloween Party at the Alee Shriner’s Temple and participate in their costume contest. Or you could visit the battlefields and feel the souls of fallen soldiers captured by General T. Sherman during the Civil War. Isn’t it spooky enough? Wait till you read about the next city…

#23. Williamsburg, VA

Its long history embraces the spookiness of the colonial city all year round. If you find yourself at Williamsburg for Halloween, you can experience A Haunting on DoG -or Duke of Gloucester-  Street and have an evening of ghost tours, ghostly carriage rides, museum talks, and special events. There’s also the Ghost Among Us, a tour through the Williamsburg’s historic areas, where you can take a look into haunted properties and hear stories about witch trials and ghosts.

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And if you dare, you have to check the spookiest place in town, the centuries-old Brick House Tavern, where visitors had reported ghostly footsteps, the sweet odor of tobacco, lights turning on and off and even shadows that disappear into the dark. Some say dark figures play with faucets in the hallways, and if you spend the night there, maybe you’ll find yourself sharing the bed with some shadowy stranger…

#22. Los Angeles, CA

If you find yourself in the place where people make-believe for a living while Halloween festivities, you should check out the several creepy stuff to do. Run from clowns, vampires, and zombies at Universal Studios Horror Nights. While in LA, you should try a haunted hayride at Griffith Park. Also, you could enjoy one of the most popular Halloween celebrations in California when the iconic 1930s Queen Mary ocean liner is transformed into a haunted ship for the holiday at Long Beach.

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It’s said the ghost of Marilyn Monroe still haunts The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, built in the 1920s, where guests reported her image appearing in photographs. Actor Montgomery Clift has been heard practicing his trumpet from his former suite as well. If you’re brave enough, you may experience lights and faucets turning on and off on their own and feel the glamour and terror from Hollywood’s Golden Age ghosts.

#21. St. Louis, MO

The Gateway City has plenty of Halloween festivities for everyone. For those looking for not-so-scary events, there’s the Saint Louis Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo Spooky Saturday, where you’ll find haystacks and pumpkins, and take home as a souvenir a t-shirt with a cute grizzly bear dressed as Wonder Woman. But if you’re in the mood for some real thrills, make sure you don’t miss the ghost tour at the Fabulous Fox Theater, and hear the tales of ghost sightings and unexplained phenomena over the theatre’s history.

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According to the St. Louis Paranormal Research Society, the Grandel Theatre is truly haunted. So, if you’re willing to get some real goosebumps you should definitely check out the interactive haunted tour at Grandel, where you could explore off-limit to the public areas, use high-tech equipment like a pro ghost hunter, and even watch real ghost hunters conduct spirit communication sessions in paranormal hot spots.

#20. Seattle, WA

With a dark and gloomy wheater in the Pacific Northwest, while in Seattle you’ll feel more like Halloween than ever! Enjoy the popular Capitol Hills neighborhood’s event Halloween, featuring a circus-themed indoor carnival with games, rides and even a bounce house. Also, you can celebrate Mexican art and culture at Festál: Dia de Muertos, or join the trick-or-treat event and the costume parade at the West Seattle Harvest Fest. Or you can dance all night in the FreakNight music festival at Seattle’s WaMu Theatre.

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If you dare to visit a haunted bar to kick-off your Halloween evening, you should check out the Kells Irish Restaurant, one of the most haunted bars in America. It’s said the bar stands over a former embalming room of a mortuary, and many ghosts have been spotted there. Find more spooky things at the park where there was the Martha Washington School for Girls, home for delinquent children, and paranormals events that still take place there.

#19. Chicago, IL

Full of a long violent history, Chicago seems to be the perfect place for Halloween festivities. There’s a dystopian dance party at the Underworld’s Fair, hosted by the Chicago Athletic Association, or you can join the Haunted Halsted Halloween Parade and the Masquerade Ball at Drake Hotel. For horror film fans there is plenty of horror movie screenings around the city. And if you prefer something more historical, you can take a peek into Chicago’s past with a tour of the city’s haunted places, those frequented by spirits from the American Gangsters’ golden era.

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However, the spookiest place is the Graceland Cemetery, where many of the colorful characters of Chicago’s history rest their souls. One of the most famous is Inez Clarke, a 6-year-old girl who was struck by lightning while she was playing in the rain. There’s a statue protected by a glass box of the child placed on her tomb and it’s said that the statue vanishes from the box on stormy days. After the weather breaks, she always returns.

#18. San Francisco, CA

The City by the Bay has plenty of options for Halloween celebrations. At Pier 39, you can enjoy a kid-friendly festival and pumpkin carving throughout the season. For grown-ups, there are Halloween parties at Eve’s Waterfront, 25 Lusk or the Alchemist Bar & Lounge. Or you could choose something more touristic like staying at the Queen Anne Hotel, enjoy the SF Zombie Walk or a tour of Chinatown’s haunted locations.

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If you’re willing for historic San Francisco, you can visit Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, where the country’s most notorious criminals were once imprisoned. You should look for the souls of former convicts like Machine Gun Kelly or Bumpy Johnson if you take the night tour at the infamous prison. One thing for sure, San Francisco will keep you funny and frightened all night long.

#17. Ceredo And Kenova, WV

These Southern small towns are full of history and ghosts as well. The traces of the Civil War have these two towns teaming up for the spookiest Halloween festivity. You can’t miss the main draw at the famous Pumpkin House and its 3,000 jack-o-lanterns on display. Also, you could enjoy the Halloween home decorating contest, a book sale, and bake-offs and festivals.

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There’s a particularly creepy location in Ceredo called the Ramsdell House. The Ramsdell House played a huge role in the Civil War, so it makes sense to be full of spirits and also being a favorite place for paranormal investigations. The team from the Original West Virginia Paranormal reported having seen large shadows moving inside the house and felt a cold chill while in there. So, if you want some serious scares you should definitely go there.

#16. Buena Park, CA

When Buena Park turns into Boo-uena Park when fall arrives, even when the weather is almost always the same in Southern California and you can’t really tell when the season change. Including arts and crafts fest and an 80´s-themed costume party, the Halloween events draw hundreds of visitors every year. Also, you should check out the Vampirates Halloween Show at the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure Theater, and the Olde Tyme Fall Festival.

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For a more family-friendly time, attend Mickey’s Halloween Party, Cars Land “Haul-O-Ween”, and Guardians of the Galaxy -Monsters After Dark- at Disneyland. But if you’re looking for something spookier, check out Knott’s Berry Farm turning into Knott’s Scary Farm, with an interactive zombie experience and over 1,000 monsters roaming around the mazes.

#15. Estes Park, CO

The place that inspired Stephen King’s classic “The Shining” is nowhere else than Estes Park. Stanley Hotel gave the novelist the chills that inspired him to write his bone-chilling best-seller. You can visit the hotel and be part of the Stanley Hotel’s murder mystery dinner known as the Shining Ball. You’ll find more scary fun outside the hotel. If you head to the Main Street, join the locals for trick-and-treating.

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Two spooky places to visit are the Baldpate Inn and the Elkhorn Lodge. While at Baldpate, guests reported to been visited by the original owners of the inn, who still make appearances -from beyond the grave. And if you dare to stay at Elkhorn Lodge, you may be visited by cattle ranchers who lived there back in the 1870s.

#14. Austin, TX

Halloween-inspired science, burlesque shows, and themed dance parties are some of the events you can enjoy during the Halloween holidays at Austin, TX. You can visit the Spooktacular at the Bullock Museum where kids can dissect owl pellets, make slime, program Sphero robots, and more. If you’re a grown-up, choose one of the several parties around the city. One of the most popular is the Halloween Ball at the Belmont, featuring a costume contest and DJs’ live music.

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The spookiest place in town is Austin’s Inn at Pearl Street, where the apparition of a woman carrying a child has been seen wandering the halls or sitting in a rocking chair in the residence. Also, music, lights, and other strange noises have been reported by those who dare to spend the night there. Think you’re brave enough? Head to Austin and find out.

#13. San Diego, CA

When it comes to the dark and creepy, San Diego never disappoints, even when the city is known for having some of the best weather in the country, not-so-Halloween style. But don’t be fooled by the sunshine, this place has plenty of haunted locations like the Haunted Hotel, the Whaley House or El Campo Santo Cemetery. And if you dare, take a stroll through the Haunted Trail at Balboa Park to see creatures straight out of your creepiest dreams.

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If you’re looking for real goosebumps, visit the Horton Grand Hotel and head straight to room 309, where the brutal murder of gambler Roger Whitaker happened there more than 150 years ago. Locals believe Whitaker’s soul still haunts the room and some guests experienced the bed shaking as they sleep, and the door of the armoire where Whitaker was shot often opens and closes on its own.

#12. Romeo, MI

When it’s Halloween season, people travel to the small village of Romeo to be part of Michigan’s most well-known Halloween celebration “Terror on Tillson Street”. Local homeowners decorate their property with creepy and detailed Halloween displays and people walk around the neighborhood to get haunted-house frights. It all started 35 years ago when resident Vicky Lee first decorated her house to make Halloween more special for her children. Nowadays, the event hosts up to 2,000 trick-or-treaters every year, and thousands of visitors wandering up and down Tilson Street.

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If you dare, there’s a chance to see some real spirits and apparitions at the Haunted Romeo. Check out this place and get a night of paranormal investigations visiting Romeo’s most haunted locations in a guided tour with real paranormal investigators.

#11. Telluride, CO

In Telluride, people love to be scared so much they host an annual horror film festival. Among the horror show, there are other Halloween festivities to enjoy like a town parade or the Haunted Hospital, the old Telluride hospital which opens up to create the most spooky place to be in the city. Also, visitors can take a tour at Lone Tree Cemetery by lamplight. And for those looking to party, check out the Halloween Bash and its costume contest and live sets of music.

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You can visit the Telluride Historical Museum, which was once a hospital and since its opening in 1896, it’s said to be haunted. Spirits of former patients have been reported at this place, also voices and footsteps have been heard from the former operating rooms. Would you dare to visit the museum?

#10. St. Helens, OR

If Disney movie Halloweentown has been shot in St Helens, it has to be a truly spooky town to visit, right? Halloween’s a pretty big deal in here and there is plenty of ghostly stuff to do during festivities. Visitors can attend the Spirit of Halloweentown events like a Gothic Dance Party, a Haunted Hot Rod, Auto & Hearse Rally, or a Boo’s Cruise. Other spooky activities include the St. Helens’ annual giant pumpkin lighting.

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There’s also a self-guided tour around haunted places of St. Helens. And after hitting Halloweentown, check out Nightmare on Main Street’s Haunted House, a historic building where visitors wanders through 10 rooms and hallways taken straight out of your worst nightmares.

#9. Chattanooga, TN

While in Chattanooga, you can visit several haunted places all around the town. You can’t miss one of the top Halloween haunts in the country, Dread Hollow, where visitors make their way through plenty of hair-raising thrills. And make yourself into the Winnepespookah! on Lake Winnepesukah, or check out other attractions like the Halloween Eerie Express and Boo in the Zoo at the Chattanooga Zoo.

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Until 1970, all trains heading to the South has a stop at Chattanooga’s Train Terminal. Nowadays, this place is known as the Chattanooga Choo Choo, home of the world’s largest model train display. Its ancient building has been the place where visitors spotted spirits and apparitions while passing through.

#8. Fort Worth, TX

This Old West Texas town has a heavy spooky atmosphere, and when Halloween is around the corner, they take full advantage of it. If you’re at Fort Worth during festivities, you can trick-or-treat through historic stockyards, and enjoy the Ghost Bus visiting bone-chilling sites around the city. Visit the Cowtown Winery Ghost Tour for some pumpkin decorating, hayrides and more.

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The spookiest place to visit in town is The Stockyards Hotel, a place that, since 1907, has seen a lot of characters throughout the hallways. There are plenty of ghost sightings and paranormal activities that have been reported all over the building, especially in the elevator. Infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde stayed in room 306, where water faucets tend to turn on and off on its own. Also, TVs and radios turn on by themselves and some believe this is occasionated by an old employee whose soul is still unaware of his own passing.

#7. Chatham, MA

With an abundant spooky history, Chatham has plenty of Halloween celebration opportunities. The most popular event in town is Chatham’s Pumpkin People in the Park, where locals show off in a contest their creative and spooky carvings. This Massachusetts’ small town also hosts its own Oktoberfest event, full of food and funny activities on the Saturday before Halloween.

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Looking for something more spooky to do? Take the Dead of Night Ghost Tour. Here you can see where the Pilgrims once lived and where they are now resting. Also, you can hear tales about King Philip’s curse over the town square. If you want real goosebumps try the sunset cemetery tours and the Twilight Lantern Tour, and take a look inside some truly scary houses.

#6. Anoka, MN

The “Halloween Capital of the World” is believed to be one of the first towns in the USA to celebrate Halloween ever. The first celebration dates back to the 1920s and today, it’s the main event of the year. Many events start in early September, giving the locals and visitors a full Halloween experience and the time to get really spooky. You can enjoy parties and balls, hunts, bonfires and even participate in scarecrow contests.

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While in Anoka, visit the Knights of Columbus Haunted House, or the Gruesome Twosome Pickleball Tournament. Also, check out the Haunted Dining at Billy’s Bar and Grill, located in a Victorian hotel that was once a brothel. It’s said to be haunted by the former brothel’s staff. There have been ghost sightings on the stairs of the restaurant and even people reported machines strangely behaving and unexpected drops in temperature.

#5. Louisville, KY

With tons of bone-chilling things to do, and being the home of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville seems to be the perfect place to celebrate Halloween. Visit the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, where hopeless souls still wander the hallways, and their haunted house, running from September to Halloween’s date. Also, check out the Louisville Zoo Halloween Party, the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, and the Dead End Hotel.

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And if you are brave enough, you may meet the most famous soul haunting the Seelbach Hotel, the Lady in Blue. The ghost is supposed to be the spirit of Patricia Wilson, a woman who died in the hotel back in 1936. Her body was found at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Some believed it was a suicide because minutes before her death, she found out her husband was killed in a car accident on his way to see her. But some other theories say it could have been an accident, or even something more sinister.

#4. Laconia, NH

Known for the famous NH Pumpkin Festival, more than 40,000 visitors get ready to head plenty of haunted attractions, live music, and food events at Laconia’s festivities. Every year, locals attempt to hit the largest number of lit jack-o-lanterns in one place, hoping to beat the world record. The festival set the record with about 1,600 carved pumpkins in 1992.

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Feel the voices and the sound of people walking throughout the hallways that some have reported to hear at the Colonial Theater. Also, you can visit several private residences in Laconia, which are said to be haunted, if you take the Underground Railroad.

#3. Orlando, FL

All the famous theme parks of Orlando do the most amazing Halloween events for all ages. SeaWorld, Legoland, and Disney World’s Magic Kingdom host the best family-friendly Halloween parties of all, where kids can collect lots of treats all night long. And if you want some more thrilling diversion for adults, head straight to Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights, known as the world’s premier Halloween event.

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Outside the theme parks, there’s the Princeton Hospital, an old psychiatric hospital that is said to be the most haunted place in the city. Many locals reported unexplained knockings, disembodied moans and voices, and lights turning on and off on their own, all of this is believed to come from spirits of patients, doctors, and nurses. Visitors even reported seeing an empty wheelchair being pushed down the hallway by no one.

#2. Independence, KS

One Halloween night is not enough, right? Luckily, if you are looking for a never-ending Halloween celebration, head to Independence and its 9-day Neewollah —or backward spelled Halloween— Festival. The largest annual event in the state draws up to 75,000 visitors every year and includes dozens of family-friendly activities like parades, carnivals, food festivals, and more.

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The main -and favorite- event is the DooDah Parade, a party sprinkled with the odd drill team, bearded beauties, and unusual creatures, in the best Mardi Gras style. While in the city, you have to visit the Shattered Souls Haunted House & Shatter Vision 3D, the largest haunted house in the state. If you dare to visit, there’s “always a surprise waiting for you”, according to visitors.

#1. Portland, OR

With naturally spooky weather, Portland has to be the greatest place to spend Halloween season. While in Portland, visitors can tour the tunnel systems, where once sailors were dragged to the waterfront to be shipped away; or check one of the spooky events from the long places-to-see list: Witches’ Ball and haunted corn mazes as well. For some grown-up fun, try the Haunted Pub Tour or join the annual half marathon Zombie Run.

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The Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour is not to be missed. There, you could use real ghost-hunting equipment and join the pros on their visits to the most ghostly and spooky places in the city and get the real experience of what life is like as a paranormal investigator. Are you willing to visit one of the most haunted cities in the country?

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