Halloween may have begun as a humble Celtic festival observing the thin line between the living and the dead, but it has risen to become one of the world’s most pre-eminent festivals.

Less macabre than it once was, it’s no less exciting – and fun – for it, and there is no shortage of great activities in which to partake around the globe. 

Let’s take a look at the best Halloween towns around the world. 

Table of Contents

Derry, Ireland – Europe’s Largest Halloween Party

Halloween in Derry Northern Ireland
Europe’s largest Halloween party

Halloween can trace its roots back to the Celtic festival of Samhain (roughly pronounced ‘sow-in’), and nobody throws a grim and ghoulish All Hallows Eve celebration quite like the Irish.

The best Halloween town to go is, hands down, Derry in Northern Ireland. The walled city is alive with the spirits of the dead on October 31st, and the people of Derry celebrate this with Europe’s largest Halloween party.


Projections, installations, and Halloween decorations can be found all around the city during the Halloween festivities.

And the truly daring can venture into the Forest of Shadows, where mesmerizing spirits and ghosts lurk amid the trees, ready to pull the unwary to their doom.

It really is a unique experience like no other, and you’ll definitely come away with lots of unforgettable memories.

So, if you want to join in on the fun, be sure to head to Derry for its unforgettable Halloween celebration.

Transylvania, Romania – The Original Dracula’s Castle

Bran Castle Transylvania
Bran Castle – Transylvania, Romania

There are few places in the world spookier than the haunted forests of Romania.

One location is particularly noted for its ties to all things grim and grisly – the fog-shrouded groves and valleys of Transylvania. 

Bran Castle – more commonly known as “Dracula’s Castle” – may not actually have anything to do with Vlad the Impaler (the inspiration for Dracula), but it’s certainly a striking sight and a spooky place to spend Halloween nonetheless. 

Built atop a steep hill in Transylvania, this fortress is full of stunning Gothic architecture and offers visitors an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue.

Additionally, you can take a guided tour of the castle to learn more about its role in Romania’s past and the myths surrounding its grounds.

After having the day to yourself to explore the renowned castle, the Halloween festivities kick off in the evening with a full bar and spookily dressed hostesses who’ll mingle and keep the guests entertained.

What could be more Halloween than spending October 31st in a vampire’s castle? 

Salem, Massachusetts – The Halloween Capital of the U.S.

City of Salem Massachusetts, site of the Salem Witch Trials and home to one of the best Halloween celebrations
Salem, Massachusetts, USA

The infamous Salem, aka the Halloween capital of America, almost needs no introduction.

Site of the Salem Witch Trials in the 17th century, this town has long capitalized upon its reputation for black magic by hosting a fantastic Halloween party on October 31st.

Salem’s nightlife really comes to unlife over the whole month of October. In fact, with innumerable haunted houses, costume contests, events, and parties across the city.

Right from October 1st, you can get into the swing of things with an After Hours Ghost Hunt Tour. The more cultured folk might appreciate the Haunted Happenings Marketplace with street performers taking place on the same night. 

And all these festivities are just a quick 30-minute train ride from Boston.

On the big night itself, there are no fewer than three huge Halloween parties going on.

You’ll find a Halloween Night Live Music party, a Haunted Speakeasy party, and the Halloween fireworks party finale.

As one of the best cities to celebrate Halloween, Salem attracts thousands of tourists including Boston students, professionals, and tourists from around the world who want to immerse themselves in the spooky festivities.

This Halloween city doesn’t disappoint with lots of events for adults, kids, and families. There’s something for everyone in Salem on Halloween!

You may also like: Boston: The Original College Town

Paris, France – Party in the Catacombs

Paris Catacombs Halloween
Halloween in Paris

Halloween in Paris provides plenty of spooky experiences and thrilling sights to behold.

From the haunted Pere-Lachaise Cemetery to the historical Catacombs, the city is full of places to explore with a unique Halloween atmosphere.

And the Paris Catacombs are spooky whatever time of year you might venture down.

Originally quarry tunnels, they were repurposed in the late 18th century as a makeshift ossuary (a repository for human bones) due to the overflowing graveyards above.

This spooky space draws visitors from across the globe for the experience of being among history and death, something truly unique to the Parisian landscape.

In modern times, the Catacombs make for an excellently creepy tour – and no night is creepier than Halloween.

Enter Kataloween – a (technically illegal) party in parts of the Catacombs that the general public is (technically) not allowed.

The fact that the party is forbidden just adds to the spiciness.

And what is more Halloween than having treacle shots at an illegal underground party, surrounded by human skulls? 

New Orleans, Louisiana – The Great American Halloween Town

Bourbon Street in New Orleans
French Quarter – New Orleans, LA, USA

Reputedly one of America’s most haunted cities, New Orleans (NOLA) has a long and proud history of association with voodoo, vampires, creepy black magic, and things that go bump in the night. 

New Orleans’ celebrations for Halloween are second only to Mardi Gras for pomp and grandeur. And the city goes out not only on the big night itself but also for Devil’s Night (October 30th).

Where to go? NOLA’s Krewe of Boo offers a colorful annual Halloween parade and events throughout the city.

For Anne Rice’s fans, the city that inspired Interview with the Vampire hosts a variety of ghost and vampire tours.

On Halloween night, the bravest revelers can venture into the city’s multi-scene haunted house at the Joe Brown Recreation Center.

Others can simply party in the city’s famous (and extremely haunted) aboveground cemeteries! 

Mexico City, Mexico – Day of the Dead Festivities

Day of the Dead, La Catrina in Mexico City
Day of the Dead in Mexico City

Although Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival doesn’t really have anything to do with Halloween directly, it falls around the same time.

Plus, a trip to Mexico is always a good idea!

This holiday starts on November 2nd, with festivities starting on October 31st.

The Day of the Dead festival features world-famous parades and costumes that really evoke the feel of the season in a flamboyant, colorful fashion. 

Mexican cemeteries are a sight to behold on October 31st, as relatives take to the graves of their loved ones to decorate them with flowers, trinkets, and candles.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of floats and parades in the streets, as the locals don their vibrant Day of the Dead garb and party all night. 

So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Mexico, enjoy exquisite food, party with the locals, and celebrate life while honoring the dead.

Orlando, FL, USA – A Family-Friendly Halloweentown

Disney World Fireworks
Disney World Orlando Halloween Celebration

The Halloween season is fast approaching, and Orlando is one of the perfect places to celebrate.

Universal Studios Orlando has been celebrating Halloween for over 20 years and offers a variety of activities.

For those looking for something a little more thrilling, the theme park’s Halloween Horror Nights is an annual event running from September through October. It offers haunted houses, scare zones, and live entertainment.

Mickey fans (and kids from 0 to 100 years old) might prefer to visit the Disney World Parks and check out all their Halloween-themed events.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party offers live performances, fireworks, costume parades, and more. You can also trick-or-treat throughout the park.

Plus, Orlando is a very popular trip destination this time of the year.

Those looking to book an affordable Orlando vacation home will find plenty of options on Airbnb and VRBO.

Edinburgh, Scotland – The Best Haunted Tours

Edinburgh Scotland
Edinburgh, Scotland

The Scottish capital is renowned as one of the most haunted places in the UK.

In fact, there is a whole raft of events going on to reflect this spooky heritage over Halloween. 

Edinburgh offers plenty of ghost tours to choose from, and the Edinburgh Dungeon is blurring the lines between supper and séance with its Dungeon Tours and Events.

Additionally, the Edinburgh Ghost Bus Tour offers an exciting way to experience Halloween and the city’s darker side with tales of myths, murder, and mayhem taking the stage.

And, if that isn’t enough, the city’s underground vaults provide the perfect setting for a chilling investigation into the paranormal.

Despite being known for its spooks and specters, Edinburgh’s paranormal activities are said to be of the friendly variety, so there’s no need to be scared.

Potter fans and those with an eye for magical adventures should check out the Harry Potter walking tour.

You can book a free public tour (donations are welcome) or a private group tour and explore all the Edinburgh sites that inspired the Harry Potter series. Muggles welcome!

Take a look at these FREE Edinburgh Tours:

London, England – A Beautiful Haunted City

Jack the Ripper Walk in London, UK Halloween activities
Jack the Ripper Walk in London, UK

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London’s fog-shrouded streets have long been home to ghosts and ghouls. And its Halloween scene reflects this with no small number of parties and parades. 

One of the spookiest places you can visit is the Tower of London, where inmates waited before they were hanged or beheaded by the Crown.

The London Dungeons make for a grisly look at the city’s dark past.

And those truly invested in the macabre can do the Jack the Ripper Walk, which takes a look at the Whitechapel district where the infamous serial killer stalked his prey. 

But if you really want to get into the spirit of the season, why not try something a little off the beaten path? If you’re feeling adventurous, head out to the theatre district after dark.

Or, if you prefer an illuminated fright, visit the electric streets of Camden Town and its numerous pubs and clubs.

Whether it’s a jaunt through a cemetery or an evening spent at an old, haunted pub, there’s plenty to do in London that’s sure to make your Halloween a memorable one.

Take a look at these FREE London Tours:

New York City, USA – Spend Halloween in Style

Times Square New York City
New York City, USA

NYC might not immediately strike you as a great place for Halloween parties, but the truth is that New York has everything! (Also, the Ghostbusters are from New York!) 

One of the best Halloween events in the city is the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.

Party-goers do their best to rival New Orleans and Mexico City in colorful, bombastic Halloween costumes.

And the best part is that the parade winds its way through the Village, with a great after-party held nearby for revelers to quench their thirst after all that parading.

Whether people choose to join in the spooky parade or join in the Halloween after-party, there’s something for everyone and no one goes home feeling disappointed.

It’s the perfect way to celebrate Halloween in New York City.

Take a look at these FREE NYC Tours:

Ottawa, Canada – Halloween Escape Town

Ottawa Canada
Ottawa, Canada

Nothing has quite the innate potential for creepiness as escape rooms, and this manor in Ottawa fits the ticket perfectly. 

The manor features a beautiful lounge and several different escape rooms. It puts on special events for Halloween which up the fear factor immensely.

One such activity is called “The Winemaker”. Players are locked in a cellar by a sinister winemaker, who then disappears and leaves them to figure things out for themselves. 

Halloween fans will definitely love the thrills and chills of joining other players in this escape game.

The highly atmospheric setting of this manor makes for a Halloween experience like no other.

And this comes strongly recommended as a great way to spend your Halloween. 

Other Halloween Towns

While Halloween might bring to mind images of small towns in the United States covered in decorations and store-bought costumes, there’s a whole other world of spooky festivities to explore.

Around the world, cities and small towns alike have their own unique takes on the holiday season.

From extravagant parades to horror films to faint lanterns, take a look at some of the best Halloween towns around the world.

Hirosaki Naputa Lights - Halloween City
Hirosaki Neputa Festival, Japan

Hirosaki, Japan

In Japan, the small town of Hirosaki hosts a darkly beautiful event called the Hirosaki Neputa Festival.

Every August, the town celebrates with massive processions of ornately lit, colorful floats that have been crafted from papier-mache.

Onlookers can marvel at the illuminated lanterns and giant drums, some of which depict ancient tales.

Without a doubt, the Hirosaki Neputa Festival is a must-see for anyone who loves a good Halloween tradition.

Midwest and California, USA

In the Midwest, Chicago and St. Louis host large-scale Halloween celebrations that draw thousands of people from across the country, with events ranging from zombie pub crawls to costume parades.

Further west, in places like San Francisco and Hollywood, California, the atmosphere is alive with haunted house attractions, costumed parades, and Halloween parties.

Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Studios Hollywood is a month-long event that is sure to get you in the spirit of the season.

Final Words

From the old streets of London to the haunted mansions of New Orleans, these cities prove that Halloween is celebrated around the world.

With its unique combination of historical folklore, remarkable architecture, and exciting traditions, these Halloween towns can bring out your inner spook.

Whether you’re looking to attend a lively celebration, explore cultural heritage, or to simply have a scary good time, these are the best Halloween cities in the world.

Visit them all if you dare, but remember to save some treats for the ghouls.

Best Cities to Visit for Halloween

As Mark Twain famously said, “The world is divided into two classes—those who believe the incredible and those who do the improbable.”

We invite you to join us in believing the incredible and doing the improbable this Halloween.

Don’t let your imagination take a backseat, but instead, be an explorer and discover the wonders of these amazing Halloween towns.

Let’s all celebrate Halloween, safe and happy!

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