They say the freaks come out at night – and on no night more so than October 31. Our top ten places to are a frightful blend of spine-chilling cities, weird wayside towns, and baffling bodies of water. We propose four uncanny urban settings, both stateside and across the pond, where ghosts and ghouls add to the daily hustle and bustle. Or, discover the places where legends are born, like Transylvania, Roswell, or Salem. We’ve also hacked our way through several hair-raising hotels to recommend a night where a notorious ax-murder once slashed or the hotel where Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining. So pack your best costume, vampire stake, or ghost buster, and head out for the Halloween night of your dreams (or nightmares)!
Bermuda TriangleWe’ve all heard of the Bermuda Triangle – that mysterious oceanic abyss blamed for swallowing a slew of aircrafts and ships, and, more humorously, all of the socks that seem to vanish from washing machines. Plan on a cruise through the baffling Bermuda Triangle this Halloween and you just might get to witness some eerie sights.
EdinburghDescend into the underworld, literally! A forgotten city lies beneath Edinburgh’s South Bridge – an underground maze of chambers, vaulted rooms, tunnels, and passageways where thousands of people are thought to have lived and died. Not surprisingly, the vaults are famous for their strong paranormal presence; many visitors swear they’ve seen wraithlike ghost shadows down below – and some have even managed to photograph them.
Lizzie Borden B & BGood night, sleep tight – don’t let the axe-murderers fright! For a bone-chillingly good scare and a guaranteed sleepless night, book a Halloween getaway to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast, a Greek Revival house in Fall River, Massachusetts (about 50 miles south of Boston). Built in 1845, the house famously became the setting of the 1892 ax murders of Abby and Andrew Borden, allegedly by their very own daughter, Lizzie!
While it may be merrie olde England on the surface, there is a frightening underbelly in this ancient capital city. Forget high tea – and head out for a spot of ghost-hunting instead, in haunted nooks and crannies in courtyards, churches, and alleyways that recall bloody and brutal events from times long ago.
As if the streets of New York weren’t freakish enough all year long, the freakiest of them all get to show off their eccentricities to applause and prizes on Halloween, as part of the annual parade that celebrates the spooky – and kooky – spirit. The fun doesn't end when it does – countless costume parties abound around town as well.
RoswellU.F.O. enthusiasts today relish this tiny town as the U.F.O. capital of the world, citing the “Roswell Incident,” in which a craft carrying four large-headed alien beings purportedly crashed, followed closely by an entourage of military and government personnel, who swooped in to collect the wreckage. Arrange to tour the crash site with a local guide for an out-of-this-world Halloween – just be sure to keep your eye on the sky.
Home to the ill-reputed witch trials of 1692, Salem, MA, today is, according to legend, still haunted by the women executed as part of the hysteria. Every October, Salem milks its gruesome past with its annual month-long Haunted Happenings festival of ghost tours, street fairs, and costume balls.
SavannahThere’s no way around it – a saunter through the Southern city of Savannah is just plain spooky. What is it about this deceptively pretty city that makes it so ghoulishly grim? Believers cite a long history of violence and bloodshed dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil wars, not to mention widespread diseases and fires. As if that weren't sufficient, much of Savannah's historic section was built over old cemeteries, to boot.
Who hasn’t gotten the goose bumps from reading (or watching) Steven King’s haunting thriller, The Shining? Test your tolerance for the terrifying by spending a night in the place that inspired the novel, the Stanley Hotel. This grand estate, with its spectacular Colorado mountainside location, dates from 1909 and is known to house a few otherworldly residents.
It’s hard to deny the fright factor of fanged, bloodsucking vampires who awake from coffins in the night to hunt their prey. So why not up the horror ante this Halloween and visit Transylvania, the birthplace of Count Dracula; you can even tour his alleged keep, the daunting Bran Castle, an eerie 14th-century bastion that’s said to have briefly housed the Romanian prince on whom the great fictional vampire is based.
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