Halloween, it’s a time of overindulging on sweets and showcasing our not so innocent side. What was once a more religious themed holiday has turned into a massive commercialised enterprise in the United States. Long gone are the days of its association with All Souls Day and All Saints Day where saints and the souls of Christians who died were honoured.
Today, Halloween is all about costumes, trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins, sweets, decorations, and massive parties. Nowhere does it better than the U.S. when it comes to Halloween where coast to coast massive celebrations play out throughout the month of October. This has made the holiday one of the biggest party days, rivalling football’s Super Bowl and New Year’s celebrations.
Nearly $10 billion is spent by consumers on the event and it’s not just the kids having fun. Adults seem to be taking to the holiday just as much, so whether you have children or not, head to the United States this Halloween to experience the holiday in its grandest form.
Home of the legendary Salem Witch Trials, the city comes to life by honouring the dead each Halloween season. Nearly a half million travellers descend upon the town to celebrate events that takes place throughout the month, especially during the week leading up to the big day.
A visit goes well beyond just the re-enactments of the witch trial hangings. Take in psychic readings, tours with paranormal experts, and the giant Halloween Ball where you can take part in casting spells or just dance the night away. There is also a Witches Circle and silent dinner in which you are not allowed to speak a word so as to encourage spirits to enter the room and your soul.
Long Beach, California
Take your Halloween freights to sea and experience it aboard the retired and haunted RMS Queen Mary. Once a glorious ship offering transatlantic passenger service, it now sits docked off Long Beach, California.
The ship celebrates Halloween through its annual Dark Harbor event. It offers numerous haunted mazes, rides, roaming monsters, and more. The ship is said to be haunted throughout the year, but Halloween seems to encourage the ghosts out even more.
The ship also offers a wonderful museum describing the ships history as well as offering overnight accommodation which is quite nice if you can get over the whole haunted by spirits thing.
New Orleans, Louisiana
What do you get when you put together Louisiana swamps, old historic buildings and cemeteries, and a city that knows how to throw as big a party as Mari Gras? You get one incredible place to spend Halloween!
The Big Easy is often referred to as the most haunted city in America and for good reason. Numerous ghost sightings occur here, some even supposedly being caught on tape. The areas iconic tourist spots like the French Quarter offer haunted house tours along with the opportunity to check out one of the many voodoo shops. No need to bring a costume in your suitcase as you are bound to find one in the numerous costume shops around Bourbon Street.
The Voodoo Music and Arts Experience attracts top notch celebrity musical acts for an all night great music event and there is also the Krewe of Boo Halloween parade. Families with younger children can attend Halloween activities at the Louisiana Children’s Museum as well as Audubon Zoo’s Boo at the Zoo event.
Proceeds from many of the Halloween events go to charities such as Project Lazarus, a home in New Orleans for people living with AIDS. Have fun knowing you are helping out the community.
New York City, New York
Over 40 years running, the Village Halloween Parade shuts down lower Manhattan in New York. To attend this incredible event, costumes are not optional, they’re mandatory. The mile long parade showcases the incredible talents of artists who create hundreds of massive colourful puppets that make their way down the skyscraper lined streets. The Day of the Dead meets Mardi Gras atmosphere is definitely a Halloween you’ll remember.
In addition to the parade you have hotels, museums, and other businesses that run haunted events that are fun for all ages.
Los Angeles, California
Known for its big celebrities and theme parks, L.A. doesn’t disappoint when it comes to Halloween parties. West Hollywood throws what must be the world’s biggest Halloween street party on Santa Monica Blvd. The Halloween Carnaval attracts a half million people and because it’s Hollywood you never know who you might run into. That Johnny Depp Pirates of the Caribbean lookalike next to you might just be Johnny Depp himself. The Carnaval crowns an A-list celebrity Queen of the Carnaval every year as visitors enjoy a large line-up of great bands.
Of course Universal Studios and Disneyland go all out for the Halloween holiday as well, offering countless events for all age groups. A single trip to Southern California for Halloween is bound to give you a lifetime of scary as well as fun memories.
How to Celebrate in Australia
If you won’t be in America this Halloween, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate here. Observing Halloween is a growing trend in Australia, and many businesses coordinate themed parties, and charities will host fundraising events. Keep an eye out for ghost tours and hunts which might be happening in your area at this time of year.
While not on the same scale as the United States, more Australians are embracing the trick-or-treat adventures. It’s normal for groups of parents to accompany their children throughout neighbourhoods to knock on doors for candy.
To truly embrace the spirit of Halloween, visit your local party store to decorate your home with fake cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, and other themed items. Or check-in with your local cinema – they often run special screenings or movie marathons which feature horror movies or those with a supernatural theme.