Celebrated throughout the world with different names and traditions, Halloween is about more than costumes, trick-or-treating, and scary movies. From the country where the holiday is thought to originate from witch tales to remembering the dead, Halloween is a diverse occasion. Haunted happenings around the globe make the end of October a great time of year to jet off in a chartered flight.
Halloween Destinations around the World
Many historians believe Halloween originated from Derry, Ireland. The ancient Gaelic festival Samhain Night marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of darker, shorter days when the dead were thought to revisit the mortal world. Toward the end of October, people flock to the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival in Derry for nine days of spooky fun. Festivities include parades, fireworks, a haunted harvest market, rides, concerts, haunted houses, bus tours, scary movies, workshops, tours of historic sites, and trail tours.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
A visit to the town Washington Irving made famous in the classic horror story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a great place for ghoulish fun. Sleepy Hollow goes all out throughout October with activities such as the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, Champagne Cocktails with the Dead, bonfires, fall crafts, haunted hayrides, street fairs, live music, and murder mysteries. Colonial-era Phillipsburg Manor transforms into a haunted estate complete with ghosts, vampires, witches and spooky special effects. Lyndhurst Mansion, a Gothic Revival country estate in nearby Tarrytown, offers family-friendly tours with a Halloween twist.
With stunning gothic architecture and dark enveloping forests, Romania is rich with history and culture. Transylvania, Latin for “the land beyond the forest,” is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe. It’s surrounded by the Apuseni Mountain range, making it beautifully eerie during the autumn. October is one of the best times of year to see the citadel ruins and Old Saxon architecture of Brașov, Sibiu’s cobblestone streets, Sighisoara’s hilltop citadel, a 14th-century clock tower with a torture chamber, and secret passageways. Drawing visitors to the area is the impressive Bran Castle, which many believe was Prince Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler’s, home. The castle inspired Bram Stoker’s famous novel, Dracula, and is open to the public on Halloween for guided tours.
Throughout Mexico, residents celebrate día de los muertos, or Day of the Day, which begins on October 31. The celebration commemorates the departed, and many believe spirits return during the three-day festival to be with their loved ones. Each city in the country celebrates the occasion differently. Take a boat trip to the island of Janitzio to see fishermen with torches on their boats, folk dances and families gathering in cemeteries. Oaxaca transforms into a large festival where the streets are decorated with flowers, skeletons, and skulls, and people eat and dance well into the night.
Get the full Halloween experience throughout October in Salem, where 26 people once endured the grueling witch trials. The month-long Festival of the Dead includes psychic readings, paranormal experiences, mourning-themed events, and a Halloween Ball. On Halloween night, you’ll find magic shows, parties, fireworks, and several events.