10. NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDEN: HAUNTED PUMPKIN GARDEN
Scare Level: 2
Location: Bronx, NY
Open: September 20th – October 31st
The New York Botanical Garden is known for is intricate beauty and extravagant display of plants of all kinds. However, Halloween brings a different kind of appeal to the exhibit. The Haunted Pumpkin Garden consists of a large display of pumpkins and gourds from North America, ranging from strange shapes to ones massive in size!
Many people also flock to see the carvings of Ray Villafane, a famous American sculptor best known for his three-dimensional pumpkin carvings. With its large “Pumpkin House,” the “Pumpkin Puppet Theater,” and a wiggly-worm hunt under a rotten log, The Haunted Pumpkin Garden makes for a great Halloween outing for the entire family.
9. HALLOWEEN IN SLEEPY HOLLOW: SLEEPY HALLOWEEN
Scare Level: 1-10 (there is something for everyone here)
Location: Sleepy Hollow, NY
Open: Throughout October
Because of Washington Irving’s short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” this small town has caught the eye of ghost hunters and ghoul lovers everywhere. In fact, the town is considered by some to be one of the most haunted towns in the world, with supposed Headless Horseman sightings to this day. Still, there’s something for everyone during Sleepy Holloween. The town turns into a huge destination that offers haunted hayrides, gothic mansions, blazing pumpkins, farmers markets, live music, street fairs, parades, and of course, the Headless Horseman himself!
8. HALLOWEEN IN SALEM, MASSACHUSSETS: SALEM HAUNTED HAPPENINGS
Scare Level: 1-10 (there is something for all types of thrill-seekers here)
Location: Salem, Massachusetts
Open: October 1st – October 31st
Salem, Massachusetts, most well known for its dark history of supposed witchcraft and magic, is a huge Halloween destination for those who dare to visit. They town offers numerous tours and museums dedicated to the witch trials of 1692, pointing out specific sites and displaying many artifacts from the time. Salem also hosts several haunted walk-throughs, parades of all kinds, and a Halloween Carnival for all ages. Visitors can also pay a visit to the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, a tribute to those condemned long ago. Be aware, many people still believe the town is haunted by those who perished at the gallows. You never know who or what you could stumble upon in the shadows!
7. WAVERLY HILLS SANATORIUM
Scare Level: 8
Location: Louisville, KY
Open: September 25th – October 31st
Known to many as “one of the most haunted places on earth,” The Waverly Hills Sanatorium has been a top destination for paranormal investigators since it closed down due to the discovery of tuberculosis-curing antibiotics. Yes, that right, Waverly Hills operated as an actual tuberculosis hospital from 1910-1964. Throughout the year, visitors can tour the property and hear about the rich history that lies behind its doors. However, Halloween brings out a very different side of the Sanatorium. During the month of October, Waverly hosts a walk-through haunted house that brings people in from all over the country. This year it’s entitled “A Time to Fear.” Visitors can purchase VIP tickets which include a no-wait entry into the haunted house, as well as a 30 minute tour of the upper floors of the hospital.
6. Anne Rice Vampire Ball
Scare Level: 4
Location: New Orleans, LA
Open: Friday, October 30th
Each year on the night before Halloween, the Anne Rice Vampire Lestat Fan Club (ARVLFC) hosts a Vampire Ball with appearances from well known musicians and entertainers from across the country. This year, Anne Rice herself, author of Interview with a Vampire, will make a personal appearance at the 2015 ball, entitled “The Gathering of the Ancients.” The ball will also feature Aurelio Volaire, Jill Tracy, Paul Mercer, The Ghosts Project, and Marquis of Vaudeville. Attendees come to the ball in their most extravagant vampire attire, ranging anywhere from large ball gowns to costumes from famous Halloween movies. This is sure to be a night of fun, music, and spooks had by all.
5. NETHERWORLD HAUNTED HOUSE
Scare Level: 10
Location: Atlanta, GA
Open: September 25th – November 7th
Netherworld Haunted House, a multi-story, multi-attraction event in Atlanta, GA, is annually spotlighted by CNN, AOL, The Wall Street Journal, and Hauntworld Magazine. With movie-quality special effects, unique themes, and intricate sets, Netherworld has definitely earned its place as one of the country’s most visited haunted destinations. This year, their walk-through attraction entitled “Vault 13: Unearthed” is a hidden chamber full of clone creations that seek to take revenge on the human race. Make sure to check out this haunt if you’re anywhere in the Southeast this October!
4. HEADLESS HORSEMAN
Scare Level: 10
Open: Last two weekends in September, weekends in October. (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.)
The Headless Horseman’s hayrides and haunted houses are a huge Halloween attraction for not only New York residents, but also for Halloween thrill seekers from all over America. Stretching across 45 acres of a 250 year-old farm, this elaborate Halloween wonderland consists of hay rides, corn mazes, and SIX different haunted houses. Because of rave reviews from those who have made it out in one piece, Headless Horseman has been rated as the “#1 Haunted Attraction in the US” by Haunt World Magazine, “#1 Hallow Scream” by The Weather Channel, and as “America’s Scariest Haunted House in the Northeast” by MTV to name a few.
3. MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY
Scare Level: 1
Location: Walt Disney World Resort
Open: September 15th – November 1st
During Halloween, people of all ages can join Mickey and his friends in a “not so scary,” 26-night event at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The park is transformed into a spooky, kid-friendly party that consists of fireworks, costume parades, and special Halloween shows. This year, you can enjoy the Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular starring the mischievous Sanderson sisters from the popular movie, a barbershop quartet of dead cowboys, and Happy HalloWishes – a Villain concert with remixes of their popular theme songs. Adults and kids alike are encouraged to come in costume and trick-or-treat with their favorite Disney characters! For those of us who are still kids at heart, this is definitely one not to miss.
2. KNOTT’S SCARY FARM
Scare Level: 8
Location: Buena Park, CA
Open: September 24th – October 31st
Knott’s Scary Farm is an annual Halloween event at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. The theme park is converted into “160 acres of horror,” as rides are reimagined and recreated for the month of October. With over 1000 monsters, haunted mazes, and three different walk-though “scare zones,” Knott’s Scary Farm has something for Halloween lovers everywhere (the thrill rides are all open as well!). One of the most notable parts of the event is “Elvira’s Asylum,” where Elvira, the famous mistress of the dark, hosts a show that takes guests on a terrifying journey of music, dance, and comedy. Spend $50 at Elvira’s Boo-Tique, and you can earn yourself a ticket to meet the mistress herself!
1. UNIVERSAL ORLANDO’S HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS
Scare Level: 10
Location: Universal Orlando
Open: September 18th – November 1st
Halloween Horror nights at Universal Orlando is one of the biggest Halloween attractions in the US. This year, the park is offering NINE haunted houses for whose who are brave enough, themed after popular movies and television shows like The Walking Dead, Freddy vs. Jason, Insidious, and The Purge. Costumed actors also roam the streets in five different “scare zones,” appearing in front of unexpected guests as horrifying mutants, monsters, and maniacs. Visitors can enjoy two stage shows, “Bill and Teds Awesome Halloween Adventure,” based off the movie, and “The Carnage Returns,” a murderous adventure hosted by Jack the Clown. With all of the rides and roller coasters still in operation, Halloween Horror Nights is everything the ultimate Halloween thrill-seeker could ask for.