5 Spooktacular Halloween Towns to Visit with Kids


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Photo: Westchester County Tourism & Film

Want to plan a vacation that combines the beauty of fall with the spookiness of Halloween? Visit one of these five small towns, located across the U.S. 

1. Sleepy Hollow, NY: Yes, Sleepy Holly is a real place! In Sleepy Hollow, New York, families can tour Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and take a haunted hayride with sightings of the Headless Horseman. The most popular attraction, however, is Horseman’s Hollow. Best for families with tweens and teens, this experience is so realistic that you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped inside the pages of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Be sure to visit The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze in nearby Croton-on-Hudson, too. 

2. Savannah, GA: This southern city is especially beautiful in the fall, but that’s not the only reason families flock to Savannah come September and October. Savannah is a mysterious town, previously plagued by Yellow Fever, the Seige of Savannah during the Civil War, and the Savannah Fire of 1820. Halloween happenings include haunted houses and attractions and dozens of ghost tours. We recommend the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour, a trolley tour that stops at the some of the area’s most haunted landmarks. 

3. Salem, MA: Have kids who love Hocus Pocus? Take them to a real-life version of the movie in Salem, Massachusetts. It was here that hundreds of people were accused of witchcraft between 1692 and 1693, some of them executed. Today, visitors can tour the Salem With Museum or embark on a ghost tour with Bewitched After Dark Salem Tours. The House of Seven Gables is also a must; the book of the same name, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is said to have been inspired by a witch’s curse on the writer’s own family. 

4. Gettysburg, PA: A storied Civil War town, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is notoriously haunted. Ask the staff at any hotel, shop or even restaurant if they’ve witnessed paranormal activity and chances are, they’ll have a ghost story for you. Take the Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tour to learn about the area’s spooky history. Bonus: Hersheypark is an hour away and celebrates the season with Hersheypark in the Dark. 

5. Estes Park, CO: Estes Park, Colorado, is a charming town in the foothills of Rocky Mountain National Park. The centerpiece of Estes Park—The Stanley Hotel—is what makes this a town worth visiting at Halloween, particularly if you have tweens and teens. It was in this hotel that Stephen King experienced a nightmare so haunting, he was inspired to write a little something called The Shining. The historic hotel is undoubtedly haunted, with guests regularly reporting paranormal activity (particularly in room 217, where Stephen King stayed). Take a guided tour of The Stanley, or book a stay… if you dare. 

Amanda Norcross is Senior Editor at Family Vacation Critic, TripAdvisor's family travel website. Her expertise has been featured in major media outlets including The New York Times, People.com, and Prevention Magazine. Amanda enjoys discovering new destinations and sharing her experiences with parents who are looking to plan the most memorable vacations with their kids. 

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