Halloween is right around the corner and I think I speak for everyone when I say that this year has gone by surprisingly fast, even if we were all quarantined for most of it.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because I love the cooler weather, getting to DIY fun costumes, carving pumpkins and all the other activities that go along with it. Halloween is unlike any other holiday and I have to embrace the spooky vibes, even if I do get too scared watching horror movies and going to haunted houses.
Some day, I want to go on a Halloween vacation and see how the rest of the world celebrates or how the Halloween spirit is alive all year. Here’s my list of Halloween travel destinations for all the other holiday lovers out there.
1. Transylvania, Romania
Of course, this wouldn’t be a proper halloween list if Transylvania wasn’t included. It is a region in central Romania, but it’s mostly known as being the birthplace of Dracula. The character was based off of Prince Vlad the Impaler and has become the world’s most famous vampire.
In Transylvania, tourists can visit Count Dracula’s castle, also known as Bran Castle. Sitting on a hilltop 25 kilometers south of Brasov, the castle is open for group or self-guided tours and used now as a museum to display various art and furniture collected by Queen Marie.
Transylvania is also full of medieval towns with eerie vibes and mountainous borders. Every year for Halloween, there are large parties and festivals, including Dracula film screenings. There’s no doubt that Transylvania would be a perfect place to spend a spooky Halloween vacation.
2. Edinburgh, Scotland
If there’s one thing Edinburgh makes me think of it’s the Harry Potter series and all of the mysterious settings throughout the movies. The large creepy castles, dark woods and hills are exactly what make me think of Edinburgh as a great Halloween destination.
Edinburgh also hosts several Halloween festivals that range in scariness for visitors of all bravery levels. Check out this guide to see which events you think you could handle. Everything from haunted tours though the Edinburgh dungeons, fire festivals and creepy ghost stories can be found here. There are also movie screenings and more fun activities for kids as well.
3. Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is definitely known as one of the spookiest places in the USA. Known for the witch trials in the 1690s when 19 accused witches were executed, Salem is believed to be a haunted wonderland. It’s no surprise that Halloween is a big celebration here.
Visit the Salem Witch House or museum to learn more about the trials, check out the Festival of the Dead and tour the bewitched cemetery after dark all while staying at the Hawthorne Hotel– one of America’s most haunted hotels. Guests who have stayed in room 325 particularly, claim to have felt a hand touching them when no one can be seen. Many other guests have claimed to experience other paranormal activity while staying at the hotel.
4. Derry, Northern Ireland
Halloween is believed to have originated from the Irish holiday of Samhain, meaning “end of summer.” At the time, October 31 was considered the final day of the year, the day when the dead would rise and mingle with the living while returning to their old homes. It is still one of the biggest holidays of the year in Derry and the festivals and celebrations reflect that.
The entire town essentially turns into a haunted house. Everyone dresses in scary costumes and attends the big carnival. In fact, over 80,000 people attend the carnival each year. Of course there are other activities, such as haunted tours, ghost stories and lots of good food to try.
5. Oaxaca, Mexico
The Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico is a huge three day event to honor and celebrate family and friends who have died. Oaxaca has an especially large celebration for this holiday. People believe that during this time, the door between our world and the deceased opens and allows for them to return to their loved ones through offerings left on altars in homes, schools and cemeteries.
Although the Day of the Dead is not the same as Halloween, it is a very special celebration that would be an unbelievable experience. It has the same spooky elements as Halloween, but instead of jack o’lanterns, they decorate sugar skulls and use them as ways to welcome their loved ones back from the spiritual world.