Dark Harbor rides during the Halloween celebration in Long Beach at the Queen Mary

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The Best Places To Celebrate Halloween In The US 2024

I have found that people either love or hate Halloween. But I have also found that if you love Halloween, you REALLY LOVE Halloween. That extends to celebrating the spooky holiday to the fullest. Here is a list of the best places to celebrate Halloween and get the most out of your celebrations in 2024.

When searching for a Halloween destination, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, are you looking for a family-friendly event? Or are you looking for a scary, decadent, wild party? There are some that offer both, but many on this list are either adult-oriented or more family-fun time events. So, I have broken out the two types of events below. It doesn’t mean some family-friendly events aren’t great for adults, but this guide will help you take the kids to an age-appropriate celebration.

More Family-Friendly Places To Celebrate Halloween

Anoka, Minnesota

The first destination is also considered one of the oldest Halloween celebrations in the country. When the small town of Anoka woke to find soaped windows and cows wandering the main street, the story goes that the locals decided to create a Halloween festival to divert the energies of the town’s youngsters in a more wholesome fashion. So, in 1920, the city started a Halloween festival. In 1937, it had grown so much that they registered a trademark for the town as Anoka Halloween Capital of the World.

Events for the 2024 event include a Light Up The Night Parade on October 19, starting at 7:00 pm. The following Saturday, the Grande Day Parade takes place at 1:00 pm. You can also check out the houses on the House Decorating Contest Tour and participate in a Gray Ghost Run on October 26. There is also a kiddie parade, making it perfect for families.

Fall foliage at the Salam MA cemetery
Salem, Massachusetts

The event in Salem is probably the longest of them all; it runs the entire month of October, making it one of the best places to celebrate Halloween. As the home to the Salem Witch Trials, this town has earned its spooky reputation. The month-long event is called the Salem Haunted Happenings and features activities that include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Family Film Nights, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, and live music. It’s also a great time to experience some permanent events in Salem, from the Salem Witch Trials Memorial to the Salem Witch Museum and ghost tours. 

Orlando, Florida

In Orlando, you will find so many Halloween events you could never attend all of them, even if you tried. While some are adults-only, most are kid- and family-friendly. Almost every Orlando attraction has a Halloween celebration; here is a short list:

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Walt Disney World Resort
  • SeaWorld Spooktacular
  • Brick or Treat at Legoland
  • Gators, Ghosts, and Goblins at Gatorland
  • Screamin’ Green Hauntoween at Crayola Experience
Haunted looking hotel in Orlando.
Photo courtesy of Park Troopers from Unslash
Sleepy Hollow, New York

Made famous in Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” it only seems logical this would be a great spooky place to visit at this time of year. A visit in October promises lots of Halloween spirit, including haunted hayrides, Gothic mansions, farmers markets, live music, street fairs, a Halloween 10K run (costumes welcome!), a Halloween parade, and the Headless Horseman! The Headless Horseman’s Ball at the Castle Hotel & Spa is one event to check out. It usually takes place in mid-October. 

Combine your visit with a stop at the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in the Hudson Valley. It’s one of the top pumpkin festivals in the US. Find more information on Blaze and other pumpkin festivals at my post The Best Pumpkin Festivals Across The US 2024.

Helens, Oregon

This small Oregon town, located about 45 minutes from Portland, became famous when the movie “Halloweentown” was filmed here in the 1990s. It embraced its fame and hosts a month-long event called the Spirit of Halloweentown every October. 

Events include trick-or-treating through St. Helens’ Old Town, parades, haunted tours, and costume contests. Oh, and fans of the movie will be happy to hear the town is filled with scarecrows and a replica of the vintage taxi driven by the skeleton cab driver, Benny. Everything starts on September 20 and continues through October 31, 2024.

Telluride, Colorado

Do you love a good scary movie on Halloween? Then Telluride is where you should head. The town hosts Horror Show, one of the largest horror film festivals in the world. It’s your chance to see one-of-a-kind horror films, cult classics, and premier showings. Film genres include horror, suspense, dark comedy, and sci-fi. It all happens over three days in mid-October each year. The dates for 2024 run from October 11-13.

Party goers at Dark Harbor Halloween celebration.
Long Beach, CA

The Queen Mary was named one of America’s top 10 most haunted places and is a great place to spend Halloween. If you’re looking for a scare, this haunted hotel is the place to visit for Halloween. And 2024 marks the return of one of the biggest Halloween events in the country, The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor. It has not been held since Halloween 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it returns in 2024.

Dark Harbor is a massive festival on the Queen Mary and in the Harbor where it is docked. Featuring onboard events, themed bars, live music, haunted mazes, and food. It’s an event for just about anyone who loves Halloween. Tickets go on sale during the summer of 2024, so don’t wait. Events are scheduled from September 20 through November 2, 2024.

With the return of the popular Dark Harbor event, Long Beach is definitely one of the best places to celebrate Halloween in 2024.

Spooky sky over the prison in Philadelphia during the halloween event.

Adult-Oriented Halloween Celebrations

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is filled with haunted venues and many things to do on Halloween. One of the most popular is Eastern State Penitentiary Halloween Nights, which takes place at the massive old state prison, which is bound to be filled with lots of spooky ghosts. It’s actually 15 different attractions, including five haunted houses. 

Key West, Florida

Halloween lovers will love Fantasy Fest in Key West. It is this crazy town’s answer to Halloween celebrations in other cities. Part party, part drag show, part Halloween parade, Fantasy Fest is the ultimate adult Halloween event. Held October 18-27, 2024, it’s ten days of wild fun in South Florida. The list of parties and events over the ten days is endless. It’s an adults-only event, but definitely one of the best places to celebrate Halloween.

Carousel made of out lite pumpkins
Photo courtesy of Tom Nycz for Historic Hudson Valley
New York City, New York

NYC features some of the largest parades for Halloween. The biggest is the Village Halloween Parade, held in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. The parade occurs on Halloween night, starts at Canal and 6th Street, and marches north. Anyone can join in, but you must be in costume. The parade features hundreds of giant puppets (you can help animate them if you like), dancers, artists, and live music. And at the end of the night, you can attend a party at Webster Hall; who knows, you might even win the costume contest!

New Orleans, Louisianna

Combine one of the most haunted cities in America with the biggest party town in the country, and you will get Halloween in New Orleans. Take in a haunted ghost tour through the French Quarter, then head over to Halloween New Orleans, a weekend-long party. Halloween New Orleans runs from October 18-20, 2024. Be sure to check out the Krewe of BOO!, New Orleans’ official Halloween parade on October 31. The party never ends in New Orleans on Halloween. 

Door step on a house in Savannah lined with pumpkins for Halloween
Savannah, Georgia

Spooky season is the perfect time to visit Savannah, America’s most haunted city. Savannah is an eerie place to visit all year round, with tons of ghost stories and tours, but Halloween is extra spooky. Second only to St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween is the most popular time of year in the South’s scary city. One of the most popular events is the A Nightmare on Congress Street Bar Crawl (just to let you know, every holiday in Savannah has a bar crawl, but this one is a big one). The crawl is on October 26, 2024. Other events include Savannah Scare on the Square and SCAD Savannah Film Festival. If you brought your furry friend on this trip, attend Wag-O-Ween, a pet-friendly community event in downtown Savannah that attracts 1,000+ participants yearly.

Los Angeles/Hollywood, California

The biggest Halloween party in LA is the West Hollywood Halloween Carnival. It is held on October 31, 2024, from 6 pm to 11 pm along Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of the West Hollywood LGBTQ community. With multiple stages with live entertainment, food vendors, and bars open along the boulevard, it’s one big party. Visitors decked out in costumes flood the streets, making for the best Halloween party around!

Whether you’re seeking family-friendly fun or an adults-only extravaganza, these destinations offer unmatched Halloween celebrations. From the historical hauntings of Salem and the quaint charm of Anoka to the wild festivities in New Orleans and the cinematic scares in Telluride, there’s something for all Halloween enthusiasts. Each of these cities brings a unique flavor to the spooky season, ensuring memorable experiences for everyone. So, grab your costume, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the best places to celebrate Halloween the US offers in 2024.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS
    Booking.com and Expedia.com are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
  • TOURS
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
  • FOOD EXPERIENCES
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
  • TRAINS
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

The links above contain product affiliate links. We may receive a commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links. But your support of Fork & Wander is greatly appreciated!

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