For anyone who loves a good scare, October is the best month of the year with many opportunities for fun and frightening experiences. From witches to seances, the season has spawned a host of frightening events for all ages. If you’re ready to get spooked this fall, these are the best Halloween festivals in the U.S. you won’t want to miss.
1. The Festival of the Dead – Salem, Massachusetts
Considering the city’s sinister past, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Salem, MA hosts one of the most epic Halloween festivals in the entire country. The Festival of the Dead runs the entire month of October and offers daily activities. Start off your Witch City trip with a visit to The Salem Psychic Fair and Witches’ Market for a tarot card reading, crystal ball scrying, or spirit mediumship. Follow it up with an evening séance at Messages From the Spirit World.
During the last week of the month, there are special events held nightly with witchdoctors, high priestesses, and mediums. Yet, the must-see main attraction is the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball. The dance features live music, exciting rituals, a costume contest, and plenty of potions, which are actually alcoholic drinks. The festival wraps up the month with the Salem Witches’ Magic Circle on Halloween.
Want to take your spooky getaway to the next level? Stay at one of Salem’s many historic — and allegedly haunted — hotels. The Hawthorne Hotel is one of the most beautiful yet eerie lodges in the city, dating back to 1925. If you’re feeling brave, book Room 325 and you just might get up close and personal with the dearly departed. The Salem Inn is another favorite local haunt, and it offers the added benefit of being located within walking distance to the Witch House.
2. Sleepy Holloween – Sleepy Hollow, New York
Inspired by the legendary Headless Horseman, the small village of Sleepy Hollow, NY goes full force in October with a long list of Sleepy Holloween events. One of the most frightening activities is Horseman’s Hollow. Located at Philipsburg Manor, the attraction ups the fear factor ante with a haunted trail and maze filled with spooks behind every corner, including zombies, ghosts, vampires, and witches. Keep an eye out and you might even see the Headless Horseman himself.
If you enjoy a dash of theatrics with your fear, head to the Old Dutch Church for a performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. There’s also a Haunted Hayride. While the concept may sound childish, the ride through Sleepy Hollow is full of plenty of scream-inducing scares. Finish off your chilling adventure with a trip to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery for a walking tour.
3. West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval – Los Angeles County, CA
The City of West Hollywood, CA knows how to throw a good party, and their annual Halloween Carnaval is a true testament of it. The larger-than-life event is held every year on October 31. While it’s not the most frightening event, it definitely provides a huge dose of fun with plenty of live music and DJ sets. Grab your favorite costume and enjoy street performers and spooky exhibits for free. Or, hit one of the many special parties at the businesses lining the strip, including the Witches Ball and Halloween Scaryoke.
4. Sea Witch Festival – Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
If you’re looking for some family fun, the Sea Witch Festival in Rehoboth Beach, DE is one of the best Halloween festivals in the U.S. Located in Downtown, the event runs the last weekend of October. On Friday, hit up the Jolly Trolley Magical History Tour before taking the kids to ride the Choo Choo Train Express. Follow the tour with the Not-So-Spooky Scavenger Hunt.
Be sure to stick around the rest of the weekend to catch both beloved costume parades. On Saturday morning, the humans get to strut their stuff, while Sunday is dedicated to the city’s four-legged friends with the Costumed Dog Parade. During the event, there’s also horse shows, fiddle contests, and trick or treating at local businesses.
5. Anoka Halloween – Anoka, Minnesota
What better place to visit in October than the Halloween Capital of the World. Anoka, MN earned the title after becoming the first U.S. city to host a Halloween celebration. While the initial event was held in an effort to curb destructive pranksters, the Anoka Halloween festival has evolved to a massive and family-friendly celebration.
There are various events throughout October, including the annual Bonfire and Light Up the Night Parade, but the schedule intensifies the weekend before Halloween. The festivities kick off with the Big Parade of Little People on Friday, which allows local kids to show off their costumes. There’s also a Preschool Costume Contest. On Saturday, the Grande Day Parade shuts down Main Street with the largest Halloween parade in Minnesota. To round out the weekend, head to the historic Coronation ceremony at the local high school.
Save on Your Spooky Halloween Festival Getaway With BusTickets.com
From hair-raising to family-friendly, there’s a spooktacular festival for every level of fright during October. Luckily, BusTickets.com is here to help you get to the events without breaking the bank. Use our convenient service to compare ticket prices and purchase the most budget-friendly option for your needs. Want to make it a group trip? Bring the whole coven by requesting a charter bus quote. Don’t miss out on the best Halloween festivals in the U.S. — buy your bus tickets today!