The Spookiest Halloween Celebrations Across the U.S.

With Halloween just weeks away, everyone is preparing to celebrate the scariest time of the year. From a Michael Jackson "Thriller"-themed flash mob in Lexington to a walking ghost tour through Fort Worth's Stockyards, this year’s Halloween season is shaping up to be the scariest ever! These eight cities are celebrating the holiday with a variety of spooky, yet fun, activities for a range of ages.

New Orleans, LA

When it comes to Halloween, New Orleans is a city that few others can rival. The Krewe of Boo, the official New Orleans Halloween parade since its inception in 2007, features 3-D papier mâché and fiberglass props that mimic all of Halloween’s spooky creatures to frighten and excite the crowds. Located steps from the festivities, travelers can stay at Hilton New Orleans Riverside and enjoy proximity to the parade and get insider tips from the hotel’s resident Spookmaster concierge including local ghost tours and haunted houses.

Fort Worth, TX

Venture to Fort Worth, TX and go to Cutting Edge Haunted Housefor scares and screams. For something not so basic… become a ghost hunter and go on the 90-minute walking Stockyard’s Ghost Tour though the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, where you can hear stories of paranormal activity and visit haunted places along the way, including Miss Molly’s B & B, Fort Worth’s oldest bed and breakfast and one of the city’s most haunted properties.

Honolulu, HI

Halloween takes over Honolulu, from Waikiki Beach to the island’s historic Chinatown Arts District, visitors and kama’aina fill the streets in their best costumes to celebrate the spooky holiday. Head over to Chinatown for the not-to-miss annual Hallowbaloo Music + Arts Festival, the island’s largest celebration. Down on Kalakaua Avenue and Waikiki Beach, travelers can join the costume parade before stopping at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club for a special pride-filled Halloween pool party at the property’s Swim Club or stop by the Haunted House at Lotus Honolulu at Diamond Head where proceeds from the admission fee will be donated to a local charity.

Charleston, SC

Get spooked with a visit to the haunted southern city where the 2018 reboot of the famed iconic slasher film “Halloween” was filmed. Travelers can enjoy captivating tales of notorious ghosts while walking through Charleston’s oldest graveyard after dark, go deep into the cells of the Old City Jail and bike ride through the Holy City’s downtown historic district.  Guests staying at the only waterfront property in Holy City’s downtown Historic District can embark on a spooky journey through the storied waters of the Charleston harbor with the HarbourView Inn’s Harbor & Hauntings Package. After setting sail on the historic harbor aboard the Schooner Pride, families can enjoy captivating tales of notorious ghosts and a walking tour through a ghoulish Revolutionary War era dungeon to round out an ideal southern Halloween getaway.

Lexington, KY

Prepping for its 17th year, Lexington’s ”Thriller” Halloween event on October 28 features thousands of local residents and visitors turned would-be zombies for the re-enactment of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video performed “flash mob” style in the streets. The day-long celebration features a marketplace, dance showcase and costume parade concluding with “Thriller” that evening, and several businesses feature a “zombie lounge” with food and drink specials.

Key West, FL

This October 19–28, Fantasy Fest is taking over Key West where visitors will enjoy an over-the-top 10-day festival filled with whimsical costumes, street fairs, and parades showcasing floats, including one carrying the annually-elected Conch King and Queen.

Chicago, IL

On October 24, Chicago’s “Halloween Gathering” features a parade filled with large-scale spectacle, tarot card readings, acrobatics, music and DJ dance party along the Chicago Cultural Mile in the downtown Loop. Located directly across from Hilton Chicago, Millennium Park and Grant Park come alive with performances during the daytime festival from 2-8pm, as well as face painting, mask making workshops, ghost stories and interactive activities for all ages.

Bristol, VA

Home to scores of haunted graveyards filled with fallen soldiers from the Civil War and stories from America’s old frontier, Bristol offers travelers access to spooky activities such as Appalachian Ghost Walks where visitors can take thrilling night tours throughout the town’s oldest streets or Bristol’s annual family-friendly Pumpkin Palooza which includes a spooky costume contest and pumpkin carving for all ages. Before Bristol’s downtown trick or treating, families can also take part in the Annual Zombie Walk and show off their best Zombie impersonation as they straddle the state lines of Tennessee and Virginia walking down State Street. Guests staying at The Bristol Hotel can get a taste for the region’s seasonal bounty at the hotel’s family-style Appalachian-inspired restaurant, Vivian’s Table.

For more Halloween fun, try one of these spook-tacular recipes that kids will love.