The Best Places to Celebrate Halloween This Year - Family Traveller (USA)
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Halloween is one of the most fun nights of the year for kids. From festivals to costumes, from apple-bobbing to candy, there are myriad ways to celebrate the holiday. We've rounded up some of the most spook-tacular festivities across the country.

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA

Blacklight Art Show | Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018

Young artists can enjoy a total glow in the dark art experience at this annual event organized by Studio 23. Vibrant colors will pop under the lights, with a spooky Halloween theme – and the best part is that guests will be supporting local artists.

Day of the Dead Celebration | Friday, Nov. 2, 2018

Families can celebrate Day of the Dead right in the heart of Downtown Berkeley with DIY art projects, free skeletal face paintings, food trucks and music. Costumes and traditional skull face paintings will commemorate this cultural holiday. Sugartown Band will perform, and admission is free.

BUENA PARK, CALIFORNIA

Knott’s Scary Farm | Sept. 2 – Oct. 31, 2018

Buena Park transforms into a spooky adventure in September and October, known as Halloween Capital of Southern California. Get scared senseless by over 1,000 horrifying creatures lurking at Knott’s Scary Farm at this ultimate haunted house.

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

Ruby Falls: Dread Hollow | Sept. 28 – Oct. 31

The nightmare knows no boundaries for the 14th year as Ruby Falls joins Fear Connection for the annual Haunted Cavern at a new location. Dread Hollow's cryptic reality and appalling past loom ominously inside 20,000 square feet of pure terror. This location offers a whole new terrifying experience, less wait times, new characters, sliders and two separate haunts. The Haunted Cavern was listed #4 on Buzzfeed’s “National Haunt List” and named a 2016 Top Haunt by the Haunted Attraction Association.

Halloween Eerie Express at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum| October 2018 / Friday and Saturday

Jump aboard the Halloween Eerie Express vintage train for a spooky, family-friendly round trip ride from Grand Junction Station to the Funhouse Station and back. The fun-filled journey includes storytelling, hot cider, black-light mini golf, costume contest, petting zoo, pony rides, and a tour through the “gentle thrills” Eerie Fun House, a 20-room, 2,000 square foot “old time” fun experience.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

Eastern State Penitentiary | Sept. 21 – Nov. 10, 2018

Consistently ranked among the top haunted attractions in the nation, Eastern State Penitentiary is a massive, castle-like building with tons of frightening history located in Philadelphia. To celebrate its 2018 season of scares, Terror Behind the Walls brings the revamped Infirmary, a highly interactive attraction where visitors will encounter maniacal surgeons, orderlies, dentists, and nurses preparing for some unusual, unnatural operations. If visitors aren’t careful, they may become patients themselves. General admission to Eastern State Penitentiary is included with CityPASS. Admission to Terror Behind the Walls is separately ticketed and is not included in the CityPASS booklet.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Fernbank Museum of Natural History – “Woodland Spirits” | Sept. 29 – Nov. 11, 2018

This Halloween, Fernbank Museum of Natural History invites guests to experience the darker mysteries of the forest as ghostly spirits begin to appear in the shadows at the new outdoor experience, Woodland Spirits. In this new outdoor experience, guests will encounter dozens of ghostly visitors who inhabit the shadows and lurk in the far reaches of WildWoods and Fernbank Forest. Guests are encouraged to stay aware, as the apparitions and ethereal spirits could lurk all around – up in the trees, deep in the vistas and even in plain sight. There will also be Ghostly Gatherings every Sunday in October.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular | Oct. 27 – Nov. 3, 2018 / Sun. – Thurs.

This Louisville event celebrates its sixth year in 2018, with 5,000 carved pumpkins lining a walking trail, illuminated at night as an art show. Spooky music accompanies the spectacular display of professionally carved pumpkins.

HOUSTON, TEXAS

Houston Zoo – “Spend the Night at the Zoo: Halloween Night Prowl” | Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018 at 7 p.m. – Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 at 9 a.m.

Experience the Zoo under the cover of darkness during this special overnight adventure. Visitors of, Spend the Night at the Zoo: Halloween Night Prowl, will experience the Zoo under the cover of darkness during this special overnight adventure. Spend the night exploring the nighttime habits of nocturnal creatures and partake in family-friendly activities to learn about the Zoo’s most impressive animals and colorful creepy crawlies. Themed activities, educational encounter with program animals, night hike and more, is included in this indoor camping experience at the Brown Education Center.

PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA

Halloween Block Party | Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018

From block parties and concerts to 5K memorial runs, this oasis is filled with Halloween events and Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. Make plans to check out the gay-friendly Arenas Road in Palm Springs on Halloween with an all-out block party featuring a stunning lineup of entertainment, outrageous costumes and all-night dancing. Love musicals? Travelers can enjoy a musical adaption of the Halloween classic, Carrie, at Theatre 29!from Oct. 5-28, 2018.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA 

Oktoberfest Dachshund Weiner Dog Race| Sept. 9 – Oct. 28, 2018

Guests can celebrate Halloween with their furry friends at the dog-friendly Huntington Beach. Witness the cutest dog race in the area during the Oktoberfest Dachshund Weiner Dog Race, happening every Sunday through Oct. 28, 2018.

Halloween Fest | Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018

All are encouraged to join locals and travelers alike on Halloween for a fun-filled evening where the city turns their beautiful downtown into a Halloween extravaganza with entertainment and trick-or-treating. There will also be a Halloween costume contest for kids and dogs on 5th Street.

Orlando, Florida

Boasting all of the treats and zero tricks, DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld welcomes guests to the perfect locale for visiting Halloween events at Orlando theme parks with rates starting at a spooky-low $119 per night*, through Nov. 1, 2018. Whether attending Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorldMickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party or Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, guests staying at DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld find themselves with steps-away access to SeaWorld Parks, and ideal proximity to Disney and Universal. After enjoying halloween fun at the theme parks, families staying on-property the week of Halloween (Oct. 26-31, 2018), enjoy a ‘bloody’ good time with activities from Moonlight Movies and Scare-venger Hunts to Bloody Sno Cones or Ooey Gooey Dirt Cups at Spooky Pool Parties and Halloween Costume Contests.

JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

Family Frights | Oct. 26-27, 2018

This Halloween-themed museum night includes trick-or-treating, ghostly tales, crafts and games. Smoke, lanterns and sound effects will create an eerie atmosphere in Jamestown Settlement’s living-history areas. Along with trick-or-treating at buildings in the re-created early 1600s fort, families can participate in a witch trial and explore friendly and frightful haunted houses.

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Haunted Queen Mary | Sept. 27 – Nov. 2, 2018

Descend into the Dark Harbor at the haunted Queen Mary in 2018. The attraction will present over 200 heinous monsters within six terrifying mazes, promising the most intense season yet. Guests will have 23 nights of terror to brave new paths and secret rooms, nightly live entertainment, haunted bars and exciting rides with tickets starting at just $20.

Long Beach Zombie Fest | Oct. 19 – 21, 2018

Prefer zombies over ghosts? The annual 2018 Long Beach Zombie Fest will be held at the Rainbow Lagoon in truly macabre fashion with an assortment of activities for the whole family – especially the infamous Zombie Walk.

Danger Run | Oct. 5-26, 2018 / Friday and Saturday

Danger Run is a thrilling Halloween experience in Louisville. The adventure begins when guests are provided with clues that will lead them to two haunted houses. The game is to solve the clues, find the haunted houses and accumulate the exact mileage of the course after driving it by car. Awaiting guests at the end of the road are two haunted houses to walk (or run) through, that are sure to get blood pumping.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Boo at the Zoo | Oct. 27-28, 2018

Experience an eerie overnight adventure at Oakland Zoo, where guests can take a trick-or-treat night tour through the zoo, participate in Halloween enrichment about animals, meet creepy-crawly animals up close, and more! Then, wake up the next morning for the Boo at the Zoo event, for an opportunity to stroll around in costume and collect yummy treats, ride the spooky boo train and join a dance party. Plus, guests can get face painted, make treats for the animals, and see how the animals at Oakland Zoo celebrate Halloween. Kids in costumes receive a free ride ticket.

ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS

Anderson Japanese Gardens: Spook-Tacular Haunts | Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018

One of the top Japanese gardens in North America, Anderson Japanese Gardens will host its annual spook-tacular event, where children are invited to come dressed in costume and explore the Garden in a new and spooky way. Activities include fun Halloween games, trick or treating throughout the gardens, Halloween craft & candy apple station, haunted Rockford Garden tours and a spooky graveyard.

Tinker Swiss Cottage’s Paranormal Events  | Oct. 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2018

Tinker Swiss Cottage is a historic house museum located in the heart of Rockford, built in the style of architecture in Switzerland. The museum complex contains the historic house museum, barn and carriage house from the Tinker family. It’s rumored that the Tinkers still live in their house. Paranormal sightings of Mr. Tinker and his late wife have been witnessed by museum curators, staff and visitors. For fans of the paranormal and spooky, the Tinker Swiss Cottage offers a few special events including a Paranormal Tour of the house (which is located right next to an Indian burial grave.)

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

31 Days of Horror at Museum of Pop Culture | Oct. 1 – 31, 2018

The Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) offers 31 Days of Horror with fun events happening over the month, like movie screenings and a costume party. For those needing some spooky refreshments, Ghost Alley Espresso at Pike Place Market is the perfect spot. This haunted café is in a little alley right before the gum wall.

Pumpkin Bash at Woodland Park Zoo | Saturday, Sept. 27, 2018

Pumpkins for the animals, trick-or-treating and more are in store for little goblins and ghosts at Woodland Park Zoo’s family-friendly Pumpkin Bash. Visitors will discover a repertoire of animal behavior as hippos, bears, Malayan tigers, lemurs and other animals crunch, smash or stomp on pumpkins! The pumpkins are part of the zoo’s excellent animal care program to help enrich the lives of the zoo’s animals. The safe activities help encourage natural animal behavior, keep animals mentally and physically stimulated and engage zoo guests.

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Halloween Nights at Grant’s Farm | Oct. 5-28, 2018

Get into the Halloween spirit with themed rides through Deer Park, featuring a dazzling Halloween lights display. The Halloween celebration begins with a nighttime tram ride to the center of the park. Along the route, there are a variety of ghosts, goblins and other spooky sights along the way. After the tram ride, guests can walk around and see farm animals, feed the goats, ride the carousel, decorate pumpkins and more.  For older guests looking for a great place to hang out, head over to the Bauernhof for music, food, and free samples of Anheuser-Busch beers for those 21 and older.

Boo at the Zoo Nights | Oct. 16-30, 2018

This family-friendly Halloween experience is the perfect place to enjoy nightly entertainment, decorate pumpkins, frolic in the Fragile Forest Fairyland, and play Halloween-themed games. Pose for a photo with the pirates, walk the plank in Pirates’ Cove or learn about some of the zoo’s creepy-crawly animals. 

Halloween Celebration in the Central West End | Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018

Set in the vibrant and cosmopolitan Central West End (CWE), the neighborhood’s annual Halloween Celebration is the can’t-miss celebration of the season. Festivities kick off with fun daytime activities for the whole family. As the sun sets, the party continues with an adults-only bash and costume contest, known for its elaborate, complex and outrageous costumes – and $6,000 in cash and prizes! The CWE Halloween party is open to the public and free to attend.