Ditch your daily routine and set off on a spooktacular adventure this Halloween season. Pack your bags because it’s time to leave town and discover the best Halloween celebrations across the United States! These events are the stuff of legends, and you won’t want to miss the spine-tingling fun.
One of the most iconic events is the Village Halloween Parade in New York City, where a kaleidoscope of creative costumes and enormous puppets floods the streets, attracting thousands of onlookers. Meanwhile, Salem, Massachusetts, known for its historical witch trials, transforms into a bewitching haven for Halloween aficionados, offering eerie guided tours, haunted houses, and a grand Witches’ Ball. New Orleans, with its rich culture of voodoo and supernatural folklore, hosts Voodoo Fest, a three-day music and arts festival featuring top-tier acts in a mystical setting.
Further west, Los Angeles boasts the famous West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval, drawing hundreds of thousands of revelers who come to see and be seen in their outrageous attire. Any of these destinations, with their diverse and captivating Halloween celebrations, offers a spooky and unforgettable experience for anyone looking to celebrate the holiday with a touch of American flair.
Ready to dive deeper into the fantastic festivities? StudyFinds has compiled the best Halloween celebrations in the U.S., recommended by experts. Plan your itinerary and get ready! Where will you spend Halloween? Let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Halloween Celebrations, According to Experts
1. Village Halloween Parade in Manhattan, New York
First on our list is the event that tops everyone’s bucket list for Halloween celebrations, the Village Halloween Parade in New York. “Evil demons, rattling skeletons, and… kitty costumes? The Village Halloween Parade checks every Halloween activity off your bucket list: the weird, the horrifying, and the cute!,” writes Time Out. “Over two million people—adults and children alike—line the streets of New York’s Greenwich Village each year to see mammoth puppets, marching bands, and creative costumes at the largest public Halloween celebration in the U.S. And, after the little ones go home to feast on their fresh stash of candy, grown-ups can stick around for the afterparty.”
Forget New Year’s Eve in Times Square, the Village Halloween Parade is much more fun. “Arguably the best Halloween parade in the USA, New York’s Village Halloween Parade attracts thousands of New Yorkers every year. Anyone is allowed to take part in the parade, as long as they’re in costume! That means you can get creative and start making your costume right away,” shares a reviewer from Go City.
Travel Triangle shares a tip, “Held in the Greenwich Village in Manhattan, Village Halloween Parade is a celebration of coming together and partying on the streets. Even the preparation leading up to this parade is something, as you can see the artists working on and building puppets for the main event. The best part about this parade is that it allows people who are not in costumes to participate in it. All you need to do is volunteer to animate one of the many giant puppets which is something amazing.”
2. Festival of the Dead in Salem, Massachusetts
Halloween is the time when you can unleash your inner ghoul, channel your inner witch, and sprinkle some spooky magic into your everyday life. When you are ready, Salem, Massachusetts may be the perfect place for you to start. “Salem is inarguably America’s most infamous Halloween destination, and every year, the residents make damn sure to remind us why they’ve held a firm grip on that title for the past 300 years,” says Thrillist. “Hosted by ‘the foremost authorities on the spirit world,’ the month-long Festival of the Dead celebrates all things witchy, occult, and related to death. There’s a psychic fair and witches’ market, nightly seances, lessons in conjuring spirits, and even a grand Witches’ Ball (which very much gives Hocus Pocus vibes) with live performances from DJs, ritual drummers, and ceremonial dancers, as well as a costume contest with awards of up to $1,000 in cash.”
Salem, Massachusetts seems like a fitting place to spend Halloween weekend, according to Country Living. “Events include a séance, and psychic readings, and the Witches’ Halloween Ball on Friday, October 28.”
Halloween fun in Salem extends beyond just the weekend. Wide Open Country shares, “Witches, warlocks, psychics, and Halloween enthusiasts can come together for 31 days of Halloween festivities at this annual event series, which takes place at the site of the now-infamous Salem Witch Trials. Celebrations include The Official Witches’ Halloween Ball, The Salem Psychic Fair and Witches’ Market, The Mourning Tea, and The Annual Salem Witches’ Magic Circle.”
3. Anoka Halloween in Anoka, Minnesota
Ever wonder how Halloween got its start? Unbekownst to many of us, Anoka had a major influence. “It is the ‘world’s capital of Halloween’ because it was Anoka that held the first proper Halloween parade and made Halloween into the more commercial event that we have today,” writes Attractions of America.
National Geographic elaborates on the notorious birth of Halloween. “In 1920, Anoka, Minnesota, hosted one of the country’s first Halloween celebrations as a fun diversion for would-be pranksters—and the tradition stuck. Join the costumed crowd for a memorable stroll down Main Street in the self-proclaimed ‘Halloween Capital of the World.'”
You don’t have to arrive the weekend of Halloween to enjoy the festivities in Anoka. According to Wide Open Country, “Activities kick off on October 1 with a pumpkin weigh-off, scarecrow contest and adult pumpkin carving contest, then continues on with children’s pumpkin carving contest, parade, medallion hunt and house decorating contest – to name a few. The celebrations culminate with Grande Day Parade and the Anoka Halloween Ambassador Coronation.”
4. Krewe of Boo in New Orleans, Louisiana
When you are ready for some REAL Halloween fun, it’s time to visit New Orleans, Louisiana. “New Orleans has a reputation for being one of the most haunted cities in the United States, and this is something that the city leans into heavily. It has always been a place of spookiness, ghosts, voodoo, and more,” shares Attractions of America. “As one of the best places to celebrate Halloween, New Orleans will have no shortage of events during the spooky season.”
Aside from the awesome ghost tours, street parties and all around safe and happy vibe, there is still much more to do in Nola during the month of Halloween. “The Krewe of Boo is one of the best Halloween events happening in New Orleans, Louisiana. It contains many unique events like a Zombie run, an evening Halloween Parade with freaky costumes, and food events,” shares Travel Advo.
It’s true that New Orleans is famous for its amazing Mardi Gras celebration, but the Halloween celebration is just as much fun. “Halloween gets a Mardi Gras twist with the Krewe of Boo,” adds Time Out. “This parade has been spooking its way through the French Quarter since 2007. Floats with giant paper mache creatures toss out candy, voodoo doll pins, and yes, plenty of beads (this is New Orleans, after all). The festivities kick off with The New Orleans Zombie Run—be sure to dress up like the living dead so you can escape the Big Easy Rollergirls as they hunt down zombies on skates.”
5. Louisville Zoo Party in Louisville, Kentucky
Our list of best Halloween celebrations in the U.S. ends with a Halloween party suitable for the entire family. “Kids dressed up like monkeys can see real monkeys in Louisville, Kentucky. Party animals will find hundreds of artistically carved pumpkins, a goofy tea party with the Mad Hatter at this not-so-scary Halloween fete,” writes National Geographic.
When it seems that the world becomes a giant playground of pumpkins, candy, and eerie decorations, the Louisville Zoo party will be an experience that you treasure. According to Travel Advo, “So, thousands of visitors are attracted to celebrate Halloween at Louisville Zoo. And the most highlighted items in this event are headless horseman and haunted animal decorations. The most important feature of this Halloween event is spending time with adorable animals in this zoo. So, your kids will like this idea.”
With kids at the heart of this Halloween celebration, no child will be left behind. “Party goers will also find costumed characters for meet-and-greets and plenty of trick-or-treating opportunities along the zoo paths. Bringing a child with a food allergy? The zoo has that covered with their allergy-friendly night, which features peanut-free treats, more non-food goodies than any other night such as stickers, bracelets, and pencils, and the ‘Switch Witch’ will be around to help kids swap any treats of concern for a safer option,” says a reviewer from Martha Stewart.
Which Halloween celebration seems most appealing to you? Leave a comment and let us know!
You might also be interested in:
- Best Halloween Candy
- Best U.S. Cities for Halloween
- Best Halloween Costumes
- Best Halloween Couple Costumes
- Martha Stewart
- Travel Advo
- National Geographic
- Time Out
- Attractions of America
- Wide Open Country
- Country Living
- Travel Triangle
- Go City
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.