For Halloween enthusiasts or indeed anyone who relishes the spooky, Gothic and macabre, these 10 places around the world will not disappoint. Promising mythology, culture and eerie festivities, this selection of destinations offers something for every type of Halloween celebration.
The hauntingly beautiful Bran Castle in Braşov
The town of Braşov can be found deep in the historic region of Transylvania, and is the home of legendary fictional character, Count Dracula. This mysterious land is best known for its medieval towns, mountainous borders and Gothic castles. Tour Bran Castle to hear tales of Vlad the Impaler, thought to be the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's spooky Dracula. Or book a night tour and spend the evening celebrating Halloween in the castle. Located in the medieval heart of Braşov, the boutique Vila Katharina hotel is an 18th-century architectural jewel, exuding elegance and sophistication. Guests can enjoy various activities nearby including a historical church tour and scenic hiking.
Take a walking tour past spooky sights like the flamboyant, Gothic Saint-Jacques Tower
Whether you’re looking for a trick or a treat, Paris has it all; from extravagant Halloween displays at Disneyland® Paris to ghostly tours that take in the city's spooky sights (like the 4th arrondissement's flamboyant, Gothic Saint-Jacques Tower). Spend the night at the 19th-century Hôtel Brighton, situated in the heart of Paris just opposite the Louvre and the Jardin des Tuileries (beautiful, manicured gardens). The property is beautifully furnished with antique Parisian furniture and chandeliers, and has rooms that feature picturesque views of the courtyard, the Eiffel Tower or the Jardin des Tuileries.
New Orleans, USA
New Orleans' famous Krewe of Boo street party
New Orleans is largely known for its eccentric carnival celebrations. But when it comes to Halloween, the city is almost as fabulous as during Mardi Gras. New Orleans is also known for its rich history, with ample haunted stories and legends. Experience a spooky guided tour of the French Quarter, voodoo shops and street parties such as the famous Krewe of Boo. Hotel Peter and Paul is a former 19th-century schoolhouse, rectory, church and convent restored and repurposed as a unique hotel. Only a short distance from St Louis Cemetery No 1 and based in the heart of the city, each building of the hotel tells its own story, with no two rooms exactly the same.
Mexico's colourful Day of the Dead celebration
Although celebrated a little later than Halloween, The Day of the Dead makes Mexico a number one destination for Halloween-lovers. Día de los Muertos is held on the 2nd November, featuring sugar skulls that are decorated with colourful patterns. A famous Mexican tradition, it is a celebration of departed souls returning to earth to visit their loved ones. Candles, flowers and favourite foods are presented to graveyards and people dress up in imaginative costumes to parade through the streets. Part of the old convent of San Pablo, the hotel Casa Antonieta is one of the first buildings to be built in Oaxaca and served as a parish for the indigenous population that lived across the city. Located in the Oaxaca Historic Centre and a short walk from the cathedral, this hotel offers a luxurious and convenient stay with a courtyard that provides a peaceful place to relax.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
Sleepy Hollow revels in the legend of the headless horseman
Visit the infamous village of Sleepy Hollow to revel in the legend of the headless horseman from Washington Irving’s eerie novella. Experience haunted hayrides, Gothic mansions, attractions include Sleepy Hollow cemetery tours and street parades in this ghoulish, historic town. Stay at the suitably spooky Castle Hotel & Spa, set in a 19th-century, Norman-style castle overlooking the Hudson River. Washington Irving’s estate and other historic sites like the infamous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery are located just a short drive from the hotel.
Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Fireworks light up Londonderry during its enrapturing Halloween festival
Halloween in Northern Ireland is quite the affair, thanks to the city of Londonderry's bewitching Halloween festival. Deemed the biggest Halloween parade in Europe, it's a devilish week of firework displays, street parades and mythical mayhem. Stay in town amid all the spooky action at the Palace Street Apartments, or check yourself into a rural retreat just outside the city at Larchmount House B&B.
Salem became famous in the 17th century for the Salem Witch Trials
Another North American town with a powerful, haunted history, Salem in Massachusetts became famous in the 17th century for the Salem Witch Trials. It served as inspiration for American playwright, Arthur Miller, in writing his seminal play, The Crucible. Today, the town is full of museums and memorials to the women who lost their lives during the witch hunts. But there is also a more lighthearted side to the town’s celebrations, as the Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo runs throughout October and finishes with the Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball at the Hawthorne Hotel. Both the Expo and the Ball are a great opportunity to meet modern day Wiccans, mediums, psychics and crystal ball readers.
Edinburgh's gothic architecture is the perfect Halloween setting
The 13th-century Dalhousie Castle Hotel (a half-hour drive from Edinburgh) has so many ghosts – including Hollywood favourite, the Grey Lady – that the current day owners have set up their own ghost tours (a Halloween edition will be particularly thrilling), in a bid to make sure that visitors don’t miss any opportunities for spirit-spotting. Another of the famous deceased residents (and a highlight of the ghost tour) is Sir Alexander Ramsay, who was reportedly starved to death in 1342 by the castle’s then-owner. However, visitors don’t have to join the official tour to meet Sir Ramsay or the Grey Lady, with many guests reporting incidents of moving furniture, ghostly hands, unsettling noises and unexplained footsteps while exploring.
Prague, Czech Republic
Take a spooky stroll across the Charles Bridge for a view of the Vltava River
Halloween isn’t a huge celebration in the Czech capital but the extraordinary Gothic architecture that defines the city really lends itself to an eerie holiday. Also known as The City of a Hundred Spires, Prague’s cityscape is marked with looming towers, a 9th-century castle, and cathedrals adorned with macabre gargoyles. Wander the winding medieval lanes of the Old Town, take a pensive walk around the atmospheric Old Jewish Cemetery, and stroll across the Charles Bridge for a view of the Vltava River (hopefully shrouded in spooky mist, come October) . Complete your Gothic fairytale staying in the Old Town Square at Hotel Lippert.
Sin City's lavish costumes stand out from the crowd
For wild Halloween celebrations and lavish costumes, you can’t do much better than Sin City. Stop by one of Las Vegas’ numerous fancy dress shops and pick up an elaborate Elvis or Marilyn outfit before hitting one of the countless parties held for Halloween (fancy dress enthusiasts take note; all over The Strip, nightclubs and casinos hold costume contests with considerable cash prizes). In addition to themed parties, there are also festivals, parades, haunted houses, fantastic cocktails and fine dining, and plenty of spine-chilling free entertainment. Stay just a 15-minute walk from The Strip at Marriott's Grand Chateau.
Get in the mood for your ghostly getaway with these Halloween hits.