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Celebrate Halloween in the USA and Canada

Clive Wedderburn October 28, 2015

Halloween – We love the dark nights and scary stories, jack-o-lanterns and tales of the un-dead roaming the streets. Surely the epicentre of ghostly celebrations for Halloween has to be the USA and Canada. Here’s a round-up of what to expect Stateside on the scariest night of the year.

Keene Pumpkin Festival Keene, New Hampshire

Keene is famous for its towering display of jack-o-lanterns and once held the world record for having over 28,000 pumpkins lining the streets. Considering the town has a population of 24,000 that’s quite some feat.

Chicagoween Chicago, Illinois

The city marks the Halloween with activities for all the family. Visit the Daley Plaza which becomes the Franken Plaza for spooky movie nights, theatre and the Midnight Flying Circus. Plus there’s the Halloween Party Chicago, while the Park District offers pumpkin patches, haunted houses and scary theatre. The Navy Pier also has a calendar of ghostly events for all the family.

Universal Studios, Orlando

Universal Studios Orlando holds a special Halloween event every year, guaranteed to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. It’s not for the faint-hearted. This is what our experts had to say:

Gemma, USA Destination Specialist 

“I love Halloween in the USA and I visited Halloween Horror nights at Universal Studios in Florida last year.  As the gates finally opened, the crowds cautiously tip-toed through the make-believe streets. Every one of the haunted houses made you feel like you were starring  in your very own scary movie; they were so well thought out and designed, it was hard to believe that it wasn’t real. I would very much recommend buying front of line passes at Universal, as the queues are immense!”

Sally, USA Destination Specialist 

“I was petrified! You couldn’t walk down the street at Universal without looking over your shoulder. Strange noises are piped in over the speakers, such as chainsaws, weird music and voices. It was truly frightening. I recommend going to City Walk after as all the bars and restaurants are fantastically decorated too.”

Texas Chainsaw Maze Houston, Houston, Texas

In Texas everything is bigger – including fright night. Try out the Texas Chainsaw Maze and see if you can avoid iconic B-movie ghouls: Leather face, the Old Man and the Hitchhiker. There’s also a scream of a night out when you visit the Haunted Woods, the Sanatorium or the Castle of Doom.

West Hollywood Carnival, Los Angeles

In what is regarded as the world’s largest Halloween event with up 500,000 ghouls in attendance, the West Hollywood Carnival in Los Angeles regularly features A-lister celebrities, music acts, contests and live performances.

Sleepy Hollow – New York

The background to this festival is Washington Irving’s classic horror story, Sleepy Hollow, and includes street fairs and lantern tours through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Irving’s resting place. Just watch out for the Headless Horseman and make sure you don’t lose your head.  

Festival of the Dead - Salem Massachusetts

Salem is riddled with dark secrets from the infamous witch-hunts of the 17th century and every year half a million visitor’s flock to the town for the annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, not forgetting the Halloween Ball at Hawthorne Hotel including a parade of witch-doctors and ritual drummers.

New Orleans Halloween

Fabled to be one of the most haunted cities in the USA, New Orleans will treat visitors to a plethora of ghost tours. The district of Faubourg Marigny is the centre of paranormal activity when party-goers flock to this corner of the Old Quarter for midnight parties to mark the rising of the dead.

Haunted Canada


Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta Canada

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel could quite possibly be one of the most luxurious hotels in Canada, but it can also lay claim to be one of the most haunted too. Over the years there have been many reported sightings, including a famous lift attendant who still wanders the corridors dressed in full uniform years after his death.

Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa,

Not to be outdone is the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, built by tycoon Charles Melville Hays who died in 1912 having invested a fortune in the project, just days before completion. His spirit is reported to still wander the corridors of this superb french-gothic chateau style hotel. Maybe he’s just soaking up the atmosphere and the grand antique surroundings.   

Visit our USA and Canada pages for more spooky travel inspiration.

Happy Halloween!


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