While Halloween falls on October 31, there are destinations around the world that seem to carry over this frightfully fun holiday before or after that date or even year-round. They have longstanding venues that are allegedly haunted or linked to sad stories or provide a scarily good time. Here are ten places where it feels like Halloween all year round.
10 Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is widely known for the Salem Witch Trials, which were conducted between 1692 and 1693 in modern-day Salem. Nineteen people - both men and women - were hung, while one man was pressed to death. Visitors can learn about these trials at certain locations throughout Salem.
The Salem Witch Trials Memorial has benches with the names and dates of those executed, along with their means of death, and a granite wall detailed with their protests of innocence. Today, Salem has embraced a modern witchery vibe with various shops, attractions such as the Salem Witch Museum and the Salem Wax Museum, and Salem Witch Village and as a filming location for “Hocus Pocus.” There’s also The House of the Seven Gables, a mansion made famous in a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel, and Salem Haunted Happenings, the city’s annual Halloween celebration.
9 New Orleans
This Louisiana city will forever be linked to Mardi Gras, but NOLA also has ties to hauntings and supernatural history. The restaurant, Muriel’s Jackson Square, might have a patron from its past who has never left. One tale goes that back in 1814 when the property once was a home, its owner Pierre Antoine Lepardi Jourdan committed suicide upstairs after wagering and losing it in a poker game. He’s been seen wandering around as “a glimmer of sparkly light” on the second-floor lounge. Also on that floor, Muriel’s has a séance bar!
At the Court of Two Sisters, a legend says that in one night, a pirate named Jean Lafitte killed three men in three separate duels under the restaurant’s no longer standing courtyard willow tree. Besides ghosts, thanks to NOLA native and author Anne Rice, vampires have their place at Boutique Du Vampyre, a Goth-themed shop. Yet what’s hauntingly beautiful is New Orleans’ above-ground cemeteries, where some may be open to the public. Check before visiting, and be sure to be respectful while you’re there.
8 Sleepy Hollow, New York
Whether you’re familiar with Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” or not, you can visit the New York village where the story is based in. Located in the Hudson Valley, Sleepy Hollow still recognizes this famous short story. Visit Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, where Living is buried, and where walking tours of the cemetery honor his literary legacy. One cemetery tour is conducted at dusk and features other famous inhabitants, including Andrew Carnegie and William Rockefeller. More so held before Halloween, there are Sleepy Hollow Haunted Hayrides in which riders go around town and past sights such as the Headless Horseman Bridge. From September through November, Irving’s home, Sunnyside, is open to the public; tickets must be purchased in advance. In October, at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze showcases hand-carved and lighted pumpkins used to build visual displays.
Yes, there is a region in Central Romania called Transylvania. It contains a number of medieval towns, including ones named Brasov, Sibiu, and Sighisoara. Yet Transylvania is famous for another location - Bran Castle. Preceded by a medieval fortress in 1211, the construction of Bran Castle would be completed in 1377. Over time, the castle would be a witness to upheavals in ownership between heads of European royalty and the Ottoman Empire; it was opened to the public as a tourist sight in 1993.
Among the rulers who occupied the castle, Vlad Tepes, or more commonly referred to as Vlad the Impaler, is the most well-known. Born into a family of nobility known as Vlad II Dracul, Vlad the Impaler earned his name due to his ruthlessness during his reign. While Bram Stoker authored “Dracula,” there’s no evidence that Vlad the Impaler is the basis for the literary Transylvanian count. Stoker also never visited Romania, but he was said to be aware of Bran Castle.
6 St. Helens, Oregon
St. Helens has been a film set for some vampire-related activity. If you’re still swooning over the “Twilight” series, you might already know that the movie version has locations in Oregon and British Columbia, Canada. Specifically, in St. Helens, visitors can book through an Airbnb listing a stay at the home that was staged as the residence of Bella Swan and her father, Charlie. Parts of St. Helens’ Olde Towne District were used as backdrops in the franchise. Yet before Twilight, St. Helens was used as a backdrop for the Disney Channel original movie “Halloweentown” in 1998. Since that time, St. Helens has been the location of the Spirit of Halloweentown, an over month-long celebration of all things scary with ongoing Halloween-related activities from September through October 31.
5 Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is the setting for “The Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” and there are places where you can follow in the novel’s footsteps. Among them, the Bonaventure Cemetery has an eerie Victorian era eloquence with statues and markers amid its grave occupants. The most heart-pulling story is about Gracie Watson, a six-year-old who died suddenly after being photographed in her Easter outfit. Forsyth Park is a well-photographed spot where his fountain makes for a background amid the park’s grand old oak trees.
As for more haunting venues, The Marshall House was once a hospital during the Civil War and yellow fever epidemics. Supposedly, the inn’s fourth room - and in particular room 414 - may have some guests who’ve never checked out. 17 Hundred 90 Inn & Restaurant might have three onsite ghosts. The first is Anna, who was a 19th-century bride who arranged to be married and fell in love with a sailor, but sadly she died from a fall from a third-floor window. Then there’s Thaddeus, who is said to leave shiny pennies in the restaurant and tavern. The third ghost seems to be nameless but also a bit nasty in that it’s said to cause havoc in the kitchen at times.
4 Charleston, South Carolina
This city also has a good amount of ghost stories. The Old Charleston Jail is supposedly a supernatural site; it was run from 1806 to 1939 and had poor living conditions, and is where those who were executed or incarcerated may still linger. The Dock Street Theatre has had claims of ghostly presence felt inside the facility, such as this hospitality worker’s account. The restaurant, Poogan's Porch, is said to still have its former owner and her dog, its namesake, hanging around. As for cemeteries, the Magnolia Cemetery is Charleston’s oldest and is the final resting place for prominent past figures.
3 Anoka, Minnesota
This city holds the moniker of “the "Halloween Capital of the World'' because it hosted one of the first Halloween parades in 1920. Yet its nickname grew out of necessity as area children were being quite naughty by committing pranks. The story goes that as a way to put a stop to this behavior, civic leaders put on a costume parade and block party. Since then, Anoka’s Halloween festivities have grown to encompass much of October; only between 1942 and 1943 were festivities canceled due to World War II. Halloween-related events include a Costume Parade and a House Decorating Contest but also non-Halloween ones such as Bingo nights and a blood drive.
2 Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico
Located south of Mexico City, between the canals of the borough of Xochimilco, Isla de las Muñecas (Island of the Dolls) has toys in dilapidated states (think missing a limb). In terms of how this doll-island came to be, it’s said to have been prompted by the drowning of a young girl. A man named Don Julian Santana Barrera later came across a doll floating in the canals’ waters and hung up the doll on a tree in homage to the deceased girl. But then he became an island caretaker and would begin to build a mass of toys on the island to keep the girl’s memory alive. These days, Isla de las Munecas can be visited by boat as ferry businesses offer trips. You can also pay to take a trajinera, a colorful flat-bottomed boat.
1 Dublin, Ireland
Ireland is the birthplace of Halloween, which is derived from an old Celtic tradition called Samhain. While Halloween is celebrated throughout the Emerald Isle, Dublin makes for a good stop with spooky sites year-round. At Glasnevin Cemetery, the story goes that when the owner of a Newfoundland dog died, his pet refused to leave his tombstone and would die of starvation. The dog’s ghost has been said to be seen at the grave. Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison turned museum, held executions, including prisoners convicted in the 1916 Easter Uprising. Dublin's pubs have ghost stories too. John Kavanagh's "The Gravediggers" has been around since 1833, and whose patronage has been gravediggers. St. Michan’s church holds crypts containing the remains of the Sheares brothers, heroes of the 1798 Rebellion. Of course, Dublin honors Bram Stoker with a festival every October.