From family destinations suitable for the little ones to attractions fit to give you the fright of a lifetime, here are some suggestions for heart-stopping Halloween fun. (Check websites for dates and times, admission fees and other pertinent information.)
5. Louisville Zoo Halloween Party, Louisville, Kentucky:
If you’re looking for a sweet rather than scary outing with the kids, try the Louisville Zoo’s ‘World’s Largest Halloween Party’. There you will meet pirates, mermaids, princesses, walking scarecrows, and even a giant talking pumpkin. Visit the late-night animals – snow leopards, rhinos, and giraffes – and the creepy-crawly inhabitants of the HerpAquarium. Tour Pumpkinville, with its hay maze and hundreds of glowing pumpkins. Kids may wear a costume and bring a bag for trick-or-treating at this rain-or-shine event.
4. Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.:
Keep the kids close during this authentic spooky experience in the legendary towns of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown. Take a walking tour of the cemetery or a haunted hay ride, and hear tales of the unnatural and unexplained. Attend the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, where thousands of hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins are set out against the mysterious Van Cortlandt Manor. Visit Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities at the Lyndurst Mansion or explore historic Philipsburg Manor, transformed into a haunted house ruled by witches, vampires, and their consorts. But beware: the famous Headless Horseman lurks there, too.
3. Festival of the Dead, Salem, Massachusetts:
If witches are your thing, celebrate the Halloween season with the Witches of Salem. Call on your deceased grandmamma at an authentic séance or learn what it takes to become a paranormal investigator at ‘Spectral Evidence: Ghost Hunting 101’. Learn your destiny – if you dare – at the Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo. Share tales of your lost loved ones at The Mourning Tea or The Dumb Supper: Dinner with the Dead. Attend the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball, a gala event where you can summon the spirits and celebrate the afterlife with food, dancing, live music, free psychic readings, and more.
2. Howl-O-Scream, Williamsburg, Virginia:
If you don’t think Busch Gardens is a frightening place, think again! Who knows who or what you will meet after 6:00 p.m. in the ruined cemetery and its dank, dripping catacombs. Vampires haunt 19th century Bitten House, murderous pirates inhabit Cut-Throat Cove, and you may never exit the Deadline Pompeii Metro tunnel. Take an adrenaline-pumping trip on roller coasters Tempesto and Griffon, or a 3D dark ride Curse of DarKastle. If your heart is not lodged in your throat, dine at the Blood Banquet in the Vampire Point Hotel or the Crow’s Nest Grill in the heart of Ports of Skull, or relax with a specialty brew at the Open Casket Bar. (A similar event takes place at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.)
1. Fear Overload Scream Park, San Leandro, California:
Ranked one of the top Halloween events in the U.S, this attraction is for fearless, mature participants with a stout heart only. Along with food and drink, it features horrific, prowling live –
or undead – creatures, and two heart-stopping haunted houses. Escape the maze-like den of the Hostel urban haunted house before you become one of its permanent inhabitants. With only one flashlight per group, make your way through total darkness in the 7 Deadly Sins Haunted House, where a killer using the 7 deadly sins as his modus operandi waits for you. (A similar event takes place in Sacramento, California.)
Pack everything you need to face an evening of Halloween horror in one of ecbc’s stylish, robust and rainproof backpacks. Add a Portable Power Pack and you’ll be able to charge your tablet, cell phone or digital camera on site. Halloween is the time for connecting with the dead, but you can’t miss recording your once-in-a-lifetime meeting with Captain Jack Sparrow, Count Dracula or the Headless Horseman because of a dead battery!