Halloween 2018: Ghostly Getaways and Trick or Treat Travel Tips
6 Of The World's Coolest Halloween Celebrations
October 31 is definitely our favorite fall festival, so before you thrown on your plaid scarf and run out to grab a pumpkin spice latte, check out some of the awesome ways Halloween is celebrated around the world. The perfect chance for some fall vacation, isn't it?
Castle Frankenstein, Germany
Halloween is not widely celebrated in Germany, since October 31 coincides with the holiday Reformation Day. However, if you find yourself in Frankfurt in October, you should head 20 minutes outside the city to Castle Frankenstein.
The castle, rich in spooky history, is believed to have inspired Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein. Nowadays, it comes alive with ghouls of a different sort as it transforms into a terrifyingly fun haunted house—a tradition celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos, Mexico
From October 31 to November 2, Mexican families celebrate the brief return of their loved ones’ souls. They build colorful altars covered with favorite foods of the deceased. At the end of the holiday, the living eat the food so that they can symbolically share a meal with their ancestors.
Gravesites are often decorated sugar skulls and marigolds. In Oaxaca, people celebrate with vibrant parades and marketplaces, and near Pátzcuaro, townspeople will row lighted boats across a lake to an island cemetery. Here you can read more about vacations in Mexico.
Guy Fawkes Night, United Kingdom
Guy Fawkes Night (November 5) has historically conflicted with All Saints Day and Halloween. The holiday began in 1605 with the arrest of Guy Fawkes, a conspirator planning to blow up Parliament and assassinate King James I. People across Great Britain celebrated by lighting bonfires.
Today, people still light fires and burn effigies—imagery ghoulish enough to match Halloween. The biggest celebration is held in the English town of Lewes, Sussex. Residents light five separate bonfires across the town, and effigies of public figures are set alight, often to much controversy. Here you can read more about vacations in England.
Halloween Capital of the World, Anoka, MN
This town north of Minneapolis is distinguished for having held one of the first Halloween parades in American history back in 1920. Since then, they've held a parade almost every year, and even sent a young boy to Washinton, D.C. to declare them the "Halloween Capital of the World."
Full of family-friendly activities, the festival draws visitors from all over the country. It also raises thousands of dollars in scholarship money through races, a Halloween ball, and more.
Hungry Ghost Festival & Double Ninth Festival, China, Japan, & More
These are actually two separate holidays with similar themes. The Hungry Ghost (or Yulan) Festival is held in late August or early September, and is less scary than the name suggests. Families lay out tables of food for the dead, burn paper money, and light lotus-shaped lantern boats. Musicians will perform to empty seats reserved for the dead.
Normally celebrated in October, the Double Ninth Festival is held on a traditionally unlucky day. In addition to honoring ancestors and cleaning up and decorating gravesites, people will also climb mountains as a protection ritual. Read more about vacations in Japan here.
Samhain, Ireland & Salem, MA
Samhain—pronounced “Sow-in”—is an ancient pagan Celtic holiday that preceded Halloween. It was originally a harvest festival, and a time for families to rekindle their hearthfires. The Celts also believed it was when the spirit world and the human world came closest together.
Samhain is still celebrated in Ireland and Salem, Massachusetts. It is a sacred holiday in the Wiccan community, and Salem is filled with witch gatherings and spirit calling throughout October. In Ireland, there are several Samhain music festivals, normally featuring Irish artists and traditional music.
Travel Inspiration For Halloween: 7 Creepy Locations That Inspired Horror Movies
The world is certainly full of spooky scary places, from abandoned amusement parks to dead cities. It's no surprise that some of these locations have inspired dreadful tales of terror and woe–that is to say, horror films. Check out the list below to see if you're brave enough to visit any of the places that inspired your favorite scary movies.
Aokigahara Forest (Mount Fuji, Japan)
The Aokigahara Forest at the base of Japan’s Mount Fuji has a pitch black reputation. Every year, dozens of people enter and don’t return, having taken their lives among the quiet trees. It is said to be haunted by yūrei, or ghosts of people who died in violent manners. Unsurprisingly, the woods have inspired many films, including The Forest, starring Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer.
Catacombs (Paris, France)
The Paris Catacombs, with their skull-lined walls and labyrinthine passages, definitely constitute one of the creepiest man-made places on the planet. Construction of the catacombs began in the 1700s to combat overcrowded cemeteries. Their influence is felt throughout pop culture in everything from Disney to horror movies. The found footage film As Above, So Below was actually shot inside the catacombs (with special permission).Here you can get all information and the cheapest deals for city trips to Paris.
Centralia (Pennsylvania, United States)
With its fissured broken streets and smoke-veiled hills, it’s no surprise that the almost-abandoned town of Centalia, Pennsylvania inspired the disturbing yet atmospheric Silent Hill films. After a mine fire broke out in 1962, almost all residents abandoned the once-thriving coal town. Today, only seven stubborn citizens remain—and the fires are predicted to burn for another 250 years. Here you can find more travel inpiration for the USA.
Chichen Itza (Yúcatan Peninsula, Mexico)
Built over 1000 years ago, Chichen Itza was once a thriving city in the Mayan empire. Today, it is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Mexico, attracting over two million people a year. Of course, tales of lost jungle cities and the Mayans' bloody human sacrifices always spark the imagination, which has led to the creation of creepy travel-gone-bad films like The Ruins.
Martha’s Vineyard (Massachusetts, United States)
The novel Jaws was partly based on real-life shark attacks that took place on the Jersey Shore in 1916 that claimed the lives of four people. Stephen Spielburg’s 1975 film adaptation moved the story to the fictional Amity Island, a New England resort town based on—and filmed in—the ratherun-scary Martha’s Vineyard in Massachussetts.
Stanley Hotel (Colorado, United States)
On a fateful night in 1974, Stephen King and his wife stopped for a night at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. The hotel was all but abandoned for the end of season, and it was in those eerie empty halls that King was inspired to write his 1977 novel The Shining. The best-selling book was transformed into Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking film of the same name in 1980. Visitors today can book ghost tours and haunted rooms.
Wolfe Creek Crater (Western Australia)
About 300,000 years ago, a meterorite crashed to Earth, leaving a massive crater in the Australian outback. Now a national park, the area is as beautiful as it is remote, being almost 100 miles from the closest major town.
It's no wonder that director Greg McLean chose the crater as the setting for his ultra-violent Wolf Creek, along with its sequel and TV series. Even worse? The serial killings in the films were inspired by a string of backpacker murders that swept Australia in the 80s and 90s. Fancy some vacations in Australia now? ;)
by Alanna Smith
Where To Travel For Halloween? The Spookiest Cities Around The World
Halloween is upon us, pirates, and who doesn't love a good scare? Across the globe travelers will find cities filled with an eerie ambiance, sinister stories, and rich histories of spine-chilling horrors. Whether you're looking for a creepy small town, maybe one that's close to home, or a grisly international metropolis, we've rounded up some of our favorite haunted places and cities from across the world.
Located just north of Boston, lies the haunted town of Salem. Infamously home to the 1692 Witch Trials in which over twenty locals were executed for allegedly practicing witchcraft, it is no surprise that this small town experiences paranormal activities. Numerous visitors to The House of the Seven Gables, Joshua Ward's House, The Hawthorne Hotel, and the Witch House (featured on Ghost Adventures) have all reported ghostly encounters such as bursts of cold air, hearing voices, and felt their arms being touched.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Arguably the most haunted city in the United States, New Orleans offers much more than food, art and jazz. Surrounded by cemeteries, and roots deep with voodoo history, supernatural experiences are reported by residents and visitors regularly. The LaLaurie Mansion, also known as 'the Haunted House' by locals, experienced a fire in 1834 which revealed a heinous history, making 1140 Royal Street perhaps the most haunted place in town. New Orleans is dripping with haunted locations, to get the full spooky scope of the city book a nighttime walking tour. Here you can read more about city trips to New Orleans.
Cities saturated with history are more prone to experience spooky occurrences, so it's no surprise that London has many haunted locations throughout the city. The Tower of London has received many reports of strange happenings over the years, and is the alleged home to the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn. Among other spooky residents, visitors have claimed to see Lady Jane Grey and two children (presumably former Prince's who were deemed illegitimate) who went missing. There is a Jack the Ripper walking tour available each night hosted by various companies—for those who dare. Check out our city trips to London page for more information.
Singapore has a reputation of being clean, organized, expensive.... and haunted. Take a walk through the Choa Chu Kang Cemetery, where visitors frequently report sightings of spirits and ladies clad in white. Taxi drivers have stories of late-night passengers requesting to be dropped off at the cemetery only to disappear into the night. On the opposite side of this sovereign state is Changi, a town filled with spooky attractions including the Old Changi Hospital—perhaps the most haunted place in Singapore— which was formerly awar hospital and place where black magic was performed.
Poveglia Island, also known as the island of madness, is a short ferry ride from stunning Venice and was once used as a place to quarantine over 160,000 sufferers of the Black Plague. Boat rides for the ill were one-way, and nobody sent to the island returned. Fast forward to the late 1800s, Poveglia Island was utilized as a makeshift asylum for mentally ill, and it is rumored that cruel and unusual experiments on patients occurred. Visitors to the island have reported extreme amounts of paranormal activity, ranging from the feeling of being watched or scratched by invisible apparitions. Venetian locals say that sometimes a bell chime echoing at night, even though the bell from the island's tower was removed years ago. Here you can read more about vacations in Italy.
The Hoia-Baciu Forest occupies 250 hectares near the town of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Allegedly the most haunted forest in the world, visitors have reported intense feelings of paranormal activity which manifested itself in anxiety, nausea, headaches, burns, scratches, rashes, and other types of physical harm. Feelings of being watched, ghost sightings, and faces appearing in photos that were not present or visible at the time have also been described by many travelers. Most locals avoid the forest as they believe it is cursed due to the unexplained activities that have taken place within its limits. Near the middle of the Hoia-Baciu Forest is an inexplicable clearing which is believed to be the heart of this haunted woodland.
Prague, Czech Republic
Beautiful bridges, castles and gorgeous cobblestone streets make Prague a very charming city to travelers and spirits of those who've passed. Many headless ghost sightings have been reported from various parts of town, including a headless Knight Templar, The Mad Barber and The Murdered Nun. Those seeking a glimpse of the Knight Templar should head to picturesque and somewhat creepy Liliova Street between midnight and 1:00am, while The Mad Barber has been spotted wandering Karlova Street. Most of the ghosts in Prague are reportedly very friendly, but you can make up your own mind. Take a trip to the Kutna Hora Bone Church for an interesting, and eerie experience.
by Jessica Bisesto