As Halloween fast approaches, you’re likely thinking about what costume you’ll wear and how you’ll carve your pumpkin. But, have you ever considered taking a Halloween road trip? There are countless places to find frightful Halloween fun, but there’s nothing like visiting a haunted small town to celebrate the holiday. Be sure to check out these seven best small towns to visit this Halloween!
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island is most widely known as an upscale summer getaway, but did you know it’s also considered one of the most haunted places in the state of Michigan? Residents and visitors alike have reported ghost encounters and strange paranormal happenings all around the island, including at Fort Mackinac, the local theater, and even the Grand Hotel. The island is not only the site of old battlegrounds from the War of 1812, but it’s also a Native American burial ground. With such a rich history, it’s no wonder the grounds are haunted!
For the full historical background, take a guided haunted history tour of the island. Bonus points if you go on a dreary, foggy morning. The town also holds trick-or-treat festivities, costume contests, and more Halloween fun for the whole family.
As the site of the historic Salem Witchcraft Trials, which took place in the last years of the 1600s, Salem, Massachusetts has laid claim to Halloween in a unique way. The town’s rich history lends itself well to the themes of the holiday. You can peruse all of the reportedly haunted sites and learn the history at the same time. The town holds legendary graveyard tours, and you can even catch a film feature about the town’s infamous past at the town’s many local theaters.
It’s not all so serious, though. The town also throws some fabulous monster balls, costume parties, and other fun events throughout October. If you don’t travel anywhere else this holiday, be sure to put this town on your Halloween to-do list!
Franklin, Tennessee is just packed with ghosts – according to local legend, that is. Historic properties like Carnton Mansion, Lotz House, and Carter House all have their own, uniquely tragic histories that lend to these ghost stories. Franklin was also a central location in Civil War battles, bootlegging, and countless crimes, all of which adds more weight to these spirited tales of the paranormal.
The best way to learn the town lore is to take a guided tour. Some will take you on a stroll through the cemeteries while others showcase the beautiful architecture that’s wrapped up in the town’s seedy past. In the midst of all this mystery, don’t forget to check out Franklin’s annual Pumpkinfest. The family friendly event features lots of food, costumes, entertainment, and, of course, pumpkins. It’s a Halloween celebration you won’t want to miss.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
You’ve, no doubt, heard of the headless horseman, but did you know this piece of folklore was based in a real town? Sleepy Hollow, New York served as the backdrop for the famous short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, written by Washington Irving. Take a stroll through the town, and you’ll soon realize why he chose it as the backdrop for his story. On a chilly autumn day, the real-life thick wooded acres and fog-laden Hudson River are known for giving off haunting vibes to unsuspecting visitors. But the residents of Sleepy Hollow don’t mind one bit. In fact, their annual event, The Legend Lives! sees the villagers happily giving guests a good scare with haunted hayrides, cemetery tours, and scary stories galore. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the legendary headless horseman while you’re in town!
Pine Barrens, New Jersey
The whole state of New Jersey has a reputation for taking Halloween to the extreme, but it all originates from a small town called Pine Barrens, otherwise known as the home of the Jersey Devil. If you’ve never heard of the Jersey Devil, here’s the low down:
Back in the 1730s, several decades after the Salem Witchcraft Trials, a local mother of 12 children was rumored to be a witch. When she announced she was once again pregnant, rumors swirled about the unlucky 13th child. Even the mother herself allegedly said the child would be the Devil. Upon its birth, the demonically deformed child wreaked havoc on the town. Sporting wings and horns, the child was eventually exorcised. Even still, centuries after the child’s early death, townspeople reported sightings of the demonic child in the area’s thick woodlands.
These days, the inhabitants of Pine Barrens embrace this sordid story, and celebrate Halloween with a bang. Beware: Only come to this small town is you’re prepared for terror, mayhem, and tons of fun. If you’re too scared to step foot in Pine Barrens, be sure to visit the brand new Halloween attraction, Scared in Jersey, located just a stone’s throw away from the haunted small town.
St. Augustine, Florida
Go a little off the beaten track this Halloween with a trip to St. Augustine – also referred to as the Ancient City. The purportedly haunted St. Augustine lighthouse should be your first stop. With many spooky stories of unfortunate accidents and tragic deaths, visitors have reported lots of eerie happenings. But that’s not the only spooky site in this coastal town! There’s haunted schoolhouses, chapels, cemeteries, and more. There have even been ghost sightings at most of the local Bed & Breakfasts, so wherever you book your stay, your visit should prove to be an adventure!
What’s Halloween without a spooky parade? Check out the oldest Halloween parade in America in none other than Hiawatha, Kansas – host of the Halloween Frolic. There are two parts to the town’s festivities. There’s an afternoon parade for the youngsters, which is certainly fun, but the nighttime Grand Parade is truly a sight to behold. With over the top floats and elaborate costumes, this is a can’t-miss Halloween experience. You can bet that even the governor of Kansas will be in attendance for the town’s 103rd annual parade!
Save Yourself a Scare With LeafFilter
With so many Halloween frights, you’ll surely be tuckered out. Call LeafFilter to take care of one of the most dreadful fall chores – cleaning the gutters. You’ll be glad you did, as curious creatures like snakes, insects, and raccoons love to make their home in your cozy gutter system. Save yourself the scary surprise of finding one of these critters while cleaning gutters, and call the LeafFilter pros instead. Happy haunting!