13 Cities That Will Scare You Silly This Halloween

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In case you haven’t noticed, people have a crazy obsession with fall. From partaking in pumpkin-spiced everything to busting out beloved cableknit sweaters, many people believe there’s no better time of year than when the leaves turn rich shades of red and orange and the air becomes crisp.

One of the best reasons to rejoice when autumn graces us with its presence is the arrival of Halloween. If you’re a fan of the frightening, we’ve taken some of the guesswork out for you on the best cities to visit to celebrate this spooktacular season.

Using a collection of dozens of rankings lists from a variety of publishers, we created a Spooky Score scale of 0-13. A city earned points based on the number of times it was mentioned across all of our referenced articles, the number of creeptastic things to do there and the number of haunted locations it has.

Here are the top 13 cities for celebrating Halloween. Have fun, and beware!

rsz_bestcitiesforhalloween_1280x960_hero1. New Orleans, LA

Spooky Score: 12.4 out of 13

City Walk Score: 58

It’s no wonder that New Orleans topped our list — the Big Easy embraces its reputation as being one of the most haunted cities in America, and doesn’t disappoint with its seasonal and year-round ghostly activities. The city offers something for every age group so the entire family can delight in fright all day and into the night: begin with the Krewe of Boo parade (complete with eerie floats and music), head over to voodoo priestess Marie Laveau’s tomb at St. Louis Cemetery and finish the night with a haunted history and paranormal tour — if you dare.


Things to Do / Places to See: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience , Krewe of Boo Halloween Parade , New Orleans Vampire Ball , Ghost City Tours , Halloween in New Orleans Festival, Boo at the Zoo , Tomb of Marie Laveau, Mortuary Haunted Mansion , Voodoo Witchcraft Festival, Crawloween at the Audubon Nature Center , NOLA Halloween Pub Crawl , Halloween New Orleans , LaLaurie House, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar , Hotel Monteleone , Sultan’s Palace, St. Louis Cemetery, Gardette-LaPrete House, Lafitte Guest House Bar


2. Salem, MA

Spooky Score: 10 out of 13

City Walk Score: 66

While Salem — home of the infamous witch trials of the late 1600s — is a fantastic stop for any American history buff, there’s no better time of year to visit than at Halloween. Not only are you likely to run into a restless spirit at Gallows Hill Park or the Old Burying Point, but the city hosts its month-long Festival of the Dead every October, which is sure to send shivers down your spine.


Things to Do / Places to See: Gallows Hill Park, Old Burying Point, Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, Festival of the Dead , Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball , Haunted Happenings , Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo , Salem Witch Trial Reenactments, Chambers of Terror , Ghosts and Legends Trolley Tour , Haunted Dinner Theatre, Nightmare Gallery Monster Museum , Great Pumpkin Carving Contest, Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, Salem Witch Museum , Witch House , Gallows Hill Museum/Theatre


3. Chicago, IL

Spooky Score: 9 out of 13

City Walk Score: 78

Few cities on our list have as many haunted locations as Chicago, so if you’re looking for the thrill of a lifetime with a good, old-fashioned ghost hunt, head over to Chi-Town. Explore the Oriental Theatre, where more than 600 victims were engulfed in flames in 1903; stay a night in the Drake Hotel, where the heartbroken spirit of a young woman wanders the halls; or work with the paranormal investigators of Chicago Ghost Investigations to communicate with the other side in a warehouse once occupied by Al Capone.


Things to Do / Places to See: Oriental Theatre, Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery and Pond, 2122 North Clark Street (location of the Valentine’s Day Massacre), Drake Hotel , Congress Plaza Hotel , Old Town Tatu , Halloween Parade on North Halsted , House of Torment , Six Flags Fright Fest , Chicago Hauntings Tour Company , Wateriders Ghosts and Gangsters Kayak Tour , Race of the Dead , Franken Plaza/Chicagoween, Pumpkin Patches and More


4. Philadelphia, PA

Spooky Score: 8 out of 13

City Walk Score: 79

Whether you prefer your scares to come from Hollywood-style special effects or genuine encounters with spirits from beyond the grave, Philly will give you your fix. Head over to the Bates Motel for a haunted house experience you’ll never forget, or tour Eastern State Penitentiary — which is often ranked the most haunted location in the country — to see if you can hear the echoes of the screams of prisoners past.


Things to Do / Places to See: Eastern State Penitentiary , Fort Mifflin , Bates Motel , Philly Zombie Prom , Fright Factory , Henri David’s Annual Party


5. Portland, OR

Spooky Score: 7.8 out of 13

City Walk Score: 65

Portland is a gorgeous city with friendly residents — but it has a sinister side. Phantom hotspots are scattered throughout the city: you can tour the infamous Shanghai Tunnels and take part in a paranormal investigation; hit up Lovecraft, a horror-themed bar; or even book a room at the McMenimans White Eagle Saloon and Hotel, and see if you spot a long-gone soul at the bar.


Things to Do / Places to See: Shanghai Tunnels , Old Town Pizza , McMenimans White Eagle Saloon and Hotel , Hobo’s Restaurant , Benson Hotel , Pittock Mansion , Portland Walking Tours , Lovecraft , FrightTown


6. Los Angeles, CA

Spooky Score: 7.6 out of 13

City Walk Score: 67

It may be called the City of Angels, but come fall wicked spirits also come out to play. LA is home to Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags, all of which turn into horror fests come October, as well as the Queen Mary, a notoriously haunted cruise ship harbored in Long Beach. To get a true taste of the city at Halloween, take a stroll through the West Hollywood Carnaval, or hitch a ride in Griffith Park’s Haunted Hayride, which offers stunning city views to help take the edge off of being chased by zombies.


Things to Do / Places to See: Queen Mary , West Hollywood Carnaval , Griffith Park Haunted Hayride , Dia de los Muertos , Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights , Knott’s Scary Farm , Magic Mountain Fright Fest


7. San Francisco, CA

Spooky Score: 7.2 out of 13

City Walk Score: 86

San Fran is home to two of the most talked about creepy destinations in the United States. Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary once contained the country’s most notorious criminals, and those brave enough to take a night tour may just cross paths with the souls of Machine Gun Kelly or Bumpy Johnson. The Winchester Mystery House was constructed under the direction of vengeful spirits, and today provides visitors with an uneasy feeling of being watched. For something with a little more family appeal, Pier 39 offers kid-friendly festivals and pumpkin carving.


Things to Do / Places to See: Queen Anne Hotel , Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary , Winchester Mystery House , Presidio , San Francisco Zombie Walk, Chinatown Ghost Tour , Dia de los Muertos , Haunted Pirate Ship Tours


8. New York, NY

Spooky Score: 7 out of 13

City Walk Score: 89

NYC is the city that never sleeps — and when Halloween nears, that probably has something to do with all of the goblins and ghouls roaming the streets of the Big Apple. The Village Halloween Parade completely takes over lower Manhattan with its display of intricate costumes and paper-mâché puppets, and there are haunted houses all over the city all season long. If you’re looking for something slightly more chilling, venture into the crypts below the Cathedral of St. John the Divine — you’ll never look at a chapel the same way again.


Things to Do / Places to See: New Amsterdam Theatre, Village Halloween Parade , Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade , Blackout , Crypt Crawl Under the Cathedral of St. John , Webster Hall Halloween Party, Blood Manor


9. Estes Park, CO

Spooky Score: 6.8 out of 13

City Walk Score: 62

Paranormal and film buffs alike should add a visit to Estes Park to their bucket lists: it’s home to the Stanley Hotel, made famous for being the inspiration behind Stephen King’s book and movie The Shining. The truly bold can reserve a room for an unforgettable evening, while those of us who aren’t quite ready to meet an evil specter can enjoy the historic hotel by attending its Shining Ball or Halloween Masquerade Party.


Things to Do / Places to See: Stanley Hotel , Baldpate Inn, Elkhorn Lodge


10. Savannah, GA

Spooky Score: 6.6 out of 13

City Walk Score: 43

The ghost population in Savannah is as thick as the Spanish moss swaying from the city’s tree branches. Lost souls from the Revolutionary and Civil wars abound, as well as those who lost their lives to the yellow fever epidemic in the late 1800s. If that’s not enough to get your spine tingling, visit the Gribble House — home to a triple ax murder in 1909 — and see if you can sense any unknown presences.


Things to Do / Places to See: Sorrel-Weed House , Moon River Brewing Company , William Kehoe House , Marshall House , Mercer House , Gribble House , Forsyth Park , Bonaventure Cemetery , Calhoun Square Ghost City Tours , Colonial Park Cemetery Ghost Tours , Crawl-O-Ween , Haunted Forest , Annual Halloween Parade


11. San Diego, CA

Spooky Score: 5.6 out of 13

City Walk Score: 51

A historic coastal city is bound to have a rich supply of shadows and apparitions, and San Diego delivers. Keep an eye out for poltergeist activity at the Whaley House or the Horton Grand Hotel — both of which are fraught with ghost sightings — or be the star of your own horror movie at McKamey Manor, and ensure that you’ll have nightmares from now until next October.


Things to Do / Places to See: Whaley House , Hotel Del Coronado , El Campo Santo Cemetery , Horton Grand Hotel , Haunted Hotel Haunted House , Haunted Trail


12. Louisville, KY

Spooky Score: 4.6 out of 13

City Walk Score: 33

Louisville is home to another beloved site by those who have a fascination with the afterlife: the Waverly Hills Sanatorium. Constructed to care for those suffering from tuberculosis in 1910, it’s estimated that more than 63,000 victims lost their lives there. Although the landmark’s paranormal tour season is over by October, it hosts a haunted house that runs from September to Halloween every year — just be warned that not every ghoul you see will be a planned part of the event.


Things to Do / Places to See: Waverly Hills Sanatorium , Louisville Zoo Halloween Party , Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular , Otter Creek Nightmare Forest , Dead End Hotel , Louisville Zombie Attack


13. Sleepy Hollow, NY

Spooky Score: 4.4 out of 13

City Walk Score: 80

New York is home to Sleepy Hollow, one of the most famous haunted settings of literature, and you can even see the formidable Headless Horseman at a live performance of Sleepy Hollow. For a wider array of terrifying creatures of the night, head over to Philipsburg Manor, a 300-year-old structure that becomes home to all manner of demons, vampires, and witches on Halloween.

Things to Do / Places to See: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery , Old Dutch Burying Ground , Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze , Horseman’s Hollow , Lyndhurst Castle , Philipsburg Manor , Jay Ghoul’s House of Curiosities


Honorable Mentions


14. Gettysburg, PA

Spooky Score: 4.2 out of 13

City Walk Score: 85

Things to Do / Places to See: Gettysburg Battlefield , Lightner Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast , Devil’s Den , Farnsworth House , After Dark Investigations


15. Detroit, MI

Spooky Score: 3.8 out of 13

City Walk Score: 55

Things to Do / Places to See: Masonic Temple , Erebus Haunted Attraction , Zombie Walk Detroit , Creepy Cheapy , DAMNED Show , Theatre Bizarre


16. St. Augustine, FL (tied)

Spooky Score: 3.6 out of 13

City Walk Score: 57

Things to Do / Places to See: St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum , Spanish Military Hospital Museum , Old Jail , Castillo de San Marcos , Creatures of the Night


16. San Antonio, TX (tied)

Spooky Score: 3.6 out of 13

City Walk Score: 38

Things to Do / Places to See: Alamo , Emily Morgan Hotel , Menger Hotel , San Fernando Cathedral , Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours , 13th Floor



Using a collection of dozens of rankings lists from a variety of publishers, we created a Spooky Score scale of 0-13. A city earned points based on:

  • The number of times it was mentioned across all of our referenced articles
  • The number of creeptastic things to do there
  • The number of haunted locations it has

In order to get the highest Spooky Score possible, first and foremost, a city had to be mentioned multiple times across the articles we referenced. Then, a city earned bonus points based on the different activities, sites and events the city offers; some of these are seasonal, some are year-round, but they’re all guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. Cities with the highest scores have a rich mix of a haunted history and a welcoming spirit for those seeking out bumps in the night.


Is your city a Halloween haven? Tell us about it in the comments!

The post 13 Cities That Will Scare You Silly This Halloween appeared first on Redfin Real-Time .

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