15 Spook-Tacular Halloween Festivals Around the Country
Don't miss the best Halloween events near you.
There are people who love Halloween, and then there are people who really love Halloween. You know, the folks who start their countdown on Independence Day, buy their costumes over Labor Day weekend, and throw up decorations the minute October begins. No matter what, those who enjoy Halloween want to embrace it as much as possible—and just one night of Halloween isn't enough. That's where Halloween festivals come in. Throughout the month of October (and sometimes even into early November), Halloween festivals give you the best the year's spookiest holiday has to offer. From the spooky to the bizarre to the purely enchanting, plan out a trip to one of the best Halloween festivals near you, and prepare for a little extra Hocus Pocus this season.
The Best Halloween Festivals In the Northeast
Sleepy Hollow Halloween
Location: Sleepy Hallow, New York
Dates: Weekends in October
Visit the birthplace of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the tale of the Headless Horseman (maybe even catch a glimpse of him!) by taking part in this family-friendly festival that's filled with ghoulish delights. Hop on a haunted hayride; explore-old school, historic Philipsburg Manor (complete with a chilling haunted house experience called Horseman's Hollow); view blazing pumpkins; and enjoy live music—all in the place where the Legend of Sleepy Hollow began.
Salem Haunted Happenings
Location: Salem, Massachusetts
Dates: October 1 to November 3, 2019
Kick off the Halloween season with a festive parade that takes place in one of the spookiest places in America—Salem, Massachusetts, where the Salem Witch Trials infamously occurred—and enjoy all the music, food, and historic fun that awaits throughout the entire month in this well-known town. Salem hosts a month-long psychic fair and witches market, a Horror Fest, and a haunted magic show, among other spooky events that honor its namesake lore.
The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze
Location: Croton-on-Hudson, New York
Dates: Select weekends from September through November
Bask in the warm glow of more 7,000 illuminated pumpkins created by a team of talented artisans for arguably the most Instagrammable Halloween festival on the planet. Mesmerizing sculptures—from skeletons and ghosts to witches, monsters, and even a merry-go-round—are created from hundreds of jack-o-lanterns that come alive at night. Complete with synchronized lightning and a custom soundtrack, this event can't be missed.
Delaware Sea Witch Festival
Location: Rehobooth Beach, Delaware
Dates: October 25–27, 2019
Get ready for a costume parade (and even a dog costume parade!), trick-or-treating, and beach games, from a not-so-spooky scavenger hunt to a sorta-spooky broom toss on the Delaware shores. The three-day festival is jam-packed with activities for the entire family, whether that's face painting for the little ones or hayrides for the whole family. Nautical-themed floats with dressed "sea witches" add a bit of seaside festivity to the Halloween holiday.
Village Halloween Parade
Location: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York
Date: October 31, 2019
Join the city that never sleeps for its annual Halloween celebration, which includes more than 50 bands, dancers of all styles, artists, and of course, thousands of costume-clad New Yorkers ready to party. The best part? Everyone who comes in full costume can march! Just find your friends or a good group and follow the massive crowd as it makes its way up sixth avenue. (Reportedly, tens of thousands march every year.)
C-K Autumn Fest
Location: Kenova, West Virginia
Dates: October 25–26, 2019
If you're looking for an awesome Halloween festival near you, there's a reason why people call this West Virginia one "The Ultimate Pumpkin Experience." Check out an old Victorian home that has been decked out with thousands of hand-carved pumpkins, participate in an old fashioned bake-off, and eat all the yummy local food vendors at this family-friendly Halloween night. Plus, don't miss a cruise-in and tractor show that beckons back to the days when the festival first started.
The Best Halloween Festivals In the Southeast
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Location: Orlando, Florida
Dates: August 16 to November 1, 2019
True Halloween-lovers will adore this Halloween-themed event held annually during the months of August, September, and October at Walt Disney World Resort. There's a parade of costumed characters, devilishly delightful treats, and even an opportunity to go trick-or-treating throughout the park. Families will get in the Halloween spirit with enchanting entertainment—from a Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show featuring those sinister Sanderson sisters to Disney's newest addition, the Not So Spooky Spectacular, which features lasers, fireworks and more.
Krewe of Boo
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date: October 19, 2019
New Orleans loves to throw a good parade, and their Halloween celebration is no exception. Full size floats covered in skulls and other creepy cool designs grace the French Quarter, accompanied by special marching units, plus lots of food and music. If you can't make Mardi Gras, this is the next best thing. Fair warning, though: Costumes are required to attend—so don't be afraid to go all out!
Louisville Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Dates: October 8 to November 3, 2019
We guarantee you've never seen anything quite like this. Thousands of twinkling, expertly-carved pumpkins line a walking trail, and their glow guides you along your way. Each year, the spectacular adheres to a different theme, so even if you have ventured to this incredible installation before, there's always something new and different to see. Last year, the event was centered around "A Night at the Library," so we can't wait to see what this year's has in store.
The Best Halloween Festivals In the Midwest
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Dates: October 11–12 and 18–19, 2019
Hailed as "The Greatest Masquerade on Earth," those in the Michigan area absolutely cannot miss this insane Halloween festival near you. Taking place at Detroit's Masonic Temple, attendees can wander throughout seven of the building's 16 floors (plus countless hidden passages) and marvel at different Halloween-themed acts. Performers include everything from music acts to burlesque dancers, suspension artists, fire jugglers, circus demons and even unique sideshow presentations that are like nothing you've ever seen. This is a costume-mandatory event, and the adult-only guest list is advised to dress accordingly.
Historic Irvington Halloween Festival
Location: Irvington, Indiana
Dates: October 19–26, 2019
Set in the same state as the fictional scary story, Stranger Things, this community-based Halloween festival brings together all the best things about the season. From local food and business vendors to a masquerade ball and haunted puppet show, this longtime tradition is near and dear to this town. Throughout the multiple day event there's a spooky organ concert, a slightly haunted puppet show and a zombie bike ride, among other festivities.
The Best Halloween Festivals In the Southwest
West Hollywood Halloween Carnival
Location: West Hollywood, California
Date: October 31, 2019
Killer costumes, killer dancing, local eats, and other Halloween treats make this free, adult-only Halloween carnival that's an extra special way to ring in the season for people 21+. Live music stages and DJs set the mood for a fun time all the way down Santa Monica Boulevard while adventurous carnival-goers can participate in activities like Scary-oke or a Witches Ball at one of the participating bars.
Salt River Fields Spooktacular Balloon Festival
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Dates: October 25–26, 2019
More than 4,000 pounds of candy plus 20 hot air balloons, live music, food, a haunted spooky trail, and an epic fireworks display equals the perfect way for the whole family to enjoy some fall fun. Take a tethered hot air balloon ride and see the entire festival against the night sky, or just stop by each balloon, which acts as it's own trick-or-treat destination, to gather up on all the candy. Bonus: there are nightly costume contests with fun prizes!
The Best Halloween Festivals Around the U.S.
Six Flags Fright Fest
Dates: Varies by location
When the sun goes down at various Six Flags amusements parks across the country, it's all thrills and chills. Ghouls and zombies take over the parks—so beware! They wander through the several haunted houses and scare zones throughout.
Universal's Halloween Horror Nights
Locations: Hollywood, California | Orlando, Florida
For the month of October, nightfall transforms Universal Studios into a creepy wonderland of horrors. Complete with terrifying haunted houses, several pulse-pounding scare zones, and live entertainment featuring characters from your favorite cult-classic horror movies, this event will tap into all your fears.
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