Top 10 Halloween Attractions in the US

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey
Dress up, dress down, and maybe bring a change of pants for these fun-but-terrifying Halloween events. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 Halloween attractions in the US. For this list, we're looking at the most lauded Halloween-themed festivals, haunted houses, parades, and parties in the United States.
Top 10 Halloween Attractions in the US

Dress up, dress down, and maybe bring a change of pants for these fun-but-terrifying Halloween events. Welcome to MojoTravels, and today we're counting down our picks for the top 10 Halloween attractions in the US. For this list, we're looking at the most lauded Halloween-themed festivals, haunted houses, parades, and parties in the United States.

#10: The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze

Croton-on-Hudson, New York

Sure, gutting a vegetable, giving it a face, and lighting a fire inside isn’t the most intuitive tradition. But then, neither is dressing up like a sexy undead schoolgirl. It is, however, a whole lot of fun, and is part-and-parcel of the traditional festival, courtesy of the Gaels who gave us Halloween in the first place. Each year, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson takes the pumpkinning to the next level, showcasing elaborate displays of diabolical grinning gourds on the riverside by Van Cortlandt Manor. The work of over one thousand volunteers, the 7,000 carved pumpkins are the perfect way to kick off the spooky season.

#9: Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terrors

Las Vegas, Nevada

How would you escape ravenous vampires? Or repel flying witches? Could you ever break out of Hell? These are the questions that keep some of us awake at night. The Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terrors provides some horrifying answers. Sure, you might make it through the haunted house’s immersive Castle Vampyre and Coven of 13 without needing that change of pants. But the Victim Experience in the R-Rated Gates of Hell is another story . . . . Experience your own death, descend into darkness, and prepare to be bitten, electrocuted, and reduced to a quivering mound of fear-pudding. It sounds traumatic . . . because it is. But for some reason, we like that at Halloween! So consider yourselves dared.

#8: Sleepy Hollow Halloween

Hudson Valley, New York

Where better to celebrate Halloween than the home of the headless horseman? Washington Irving’s tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” made the village a household name, and residents have embraced the legend with gusto. A lantern tour of the cemetery makes for a good initiation, as does the hair-raising hayride and block afterparty. But the centrepiece of the festivities is the Horseman’s Hollow, where guests stumble through the grounds of a 300-year old manor transformed into a nightmare plane of witches, the undead, and of course our favourite cranially-challenged equestrian himself. Even better, it’s just down the road from the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.

#7: Universal's Halloween Horror Nights

Hollywood. California and Orlando, Florida

It’s the closest thing to really living a horror movie. Sooo . . . don’t answer the phone, split up, or run around in your underwear. For eight weekends starting in mid-September, Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood transform with the sunset, thanks to movie-themed live shows, multiple scare zones, and more haunted houses than you can shake a skeleton at. Flee zombies from “The Walking Dead,” dart through the Upside Down from “Stranger Things” and scamper away from “Halloween’s” murderous Mike Myers. The attractions change, but the quality keeps going up, making the theme parks a guaranteed scare

#6: Endless Night Vampire Ball

New Orleans. Louisiana

Finally. No more hiding among the humans. For Halloween weekend, rambunctious bloodsuckers gather openly at the House of Blues in the Big Easy for what TripAdvisor has called “the number one Halloween party in the world”. There’s a strict dress code, so polish your mask and brush your fangs. It’s a no-holds-barred, adult-oriented extravaganza that combines Venetian masquerade, burlesque cabaret, and a rock concert - with vampires! The result is a rollicking good time, with entertainment galore, including a Midnight Cirque and of course the fancied-up vampirified guests themselves - some of which we have to admit are disturbingly convincingly.

#5: Festival of the Dead

Salem. Massachusetts

Salem really comes alive for Halloween - with both the living and the dead. Throughout the month of October, the city infamous for the witch trials of 1692 is host to ghost tours, haunted houses, and dazzling magic shows. A Grand Parade kicks off the festivities, which culminates towards the end of the month in the Witches’ Halloween Ball and Magic Circle. You can also peer into the future at the Psychic Fair and Witches’ Market, or sit in on the Dumb Supper, a silent dinner served in reverse from desserts to appetizers in honour of the dead.

#4: Knott’s Scary Farm

Buena Park, California

In the haze of fog from giant smoke machines in late September, Knott’s Berry Farm undergoes a grotesque metamorphosis - into Knott’s Scary Farm, a theme park “where nightmares never end”. While Universal’s Halloween-themed nights immerse visitors in familiar Hollywood worlds, Knott’s experiences are entirely original and unique, spread out over a sprawling 160 acres of claustrophobic mazes, adrenaline-spiking scare zones, and live shows that combine horror and dark humour. With over 1,000 monsters stalking the grounds and attractions, nowhere is really safe - so expect the unexpected, and scream away.

#3: West Hollywood Carnaval

Los Angeles, California

For decadence, debauchery, and outrageous getups, you can’t beat Hollywood. On October 31st, half a million people flock to Santa Monica Boulevard for what’s touted as the world’s largest Halloween street party. Drag performers cavort with dinosaurs, demons dine at food trucks, and a fantastic array of funky freakazoids dance to beats spun out by respected DJs. It’s a celebrity-studded extravaganza where past performers have included Boy George, Pink, and Robyn. Come early to watch the revelers from the bustling Santa Monica bars, or better yet, glitter up and join the fun.

#2: Village Halloween Parade

New York, New York

Billing itself as “the nation’s most wildly creative participatory event”, the Village Halloween Parade down 6th Avenue draws an estimated 60,000 costumed merrymakers and two million spectators. Started in 1973, the parade is now an iconic New York Halloween tradition. Gigantic puppets lumber through crowds of zombies, superheroes, pirates, and ghosts, while over 50 bands provide music. A costume is required in order to march, but you’re welcome to watch too - it’s just not nearly as fun as getting in on the action.

#1: The 13th Gate

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

You know you shouldn’t. But you’re going to anyway. Leave good sense aside, head back to Louisiana and step across the threshold of 13th Gate, the ultimate haunted house. For Halloween, 13th Gate ups their game to include over 160 professional actors to scare the bejesus out of you. Crawl through a crematory oven, scramble out of an ice cave, and sway over a pit of live snakes. The haunted house also features detailed, elaborate escape games that plunge players into realistic rooms, caverns, and vaults, giving teams 60 minutes to breakout - or suffer the consequences.