While big-city Halloween celebrations are fun, there’s something a bit more spooky and authentic about a small-town celebration. Here, our Newark Airport company has compiled a list of eight towns that are all about the holiday festivities, from haunted hayrides to pumpkin carvings to costume contests and more:
Head to Chatham to enjoy some authentic small-town Halloween celebrations. Join loads of locals the Saturday before Halloween for an Oktoberfest complete with musical acts, pumpkin bowling, festive donuts, apple bobbing, and more. You’ll also find a fun event called Pumpkin People in the Park, where pumpkin heads and bodies dress up as scarecrows, pilgrims, brides, knights, and other figures and “haunt” Kate Gould Park.
St. Helens, Oregon
If you’ve ever seen the holiday favorite Halloweentown, you’ve seen the town of St. Helens. Most of the movie was shot in this small town, making it a fun Halloween destination. This year is an especially good time to head west, as the cast is having a reunion. Check out the pumpkin lighting ceremony, pet costume contest, haunted hot rod and hearse car show, a walk through the underworld, and a variety of actor and character appearances.
Princeton, New Jersey
You won’t have to travel far to take part in Princeton’s annual ghost hunting tour. The Princeton Tour Company supplies guests with electromagnetic field meters, thermal sensors, and dowsing rods as well as instructions for taking orb pictures – all so you can discover your very own ghost. After the tour, you can head to Terhune Orchards where you can pick your own pumpkin and meander your way through a corn maze.
Also known as the “Halloween capital of the world” (who knew, right?), Anoka has been working to provide Halloween festivity opportunities for all ages since 1920. You’ll find scarecrow contests, scavenger hunts, holiday runs, parades, haunted houses, costume contests, bonfires, and more. There’s even a murder mystery event, a wine tasting, and a house decorating contest. No matter what you’re into, you’ll find it in Anoka.
If bars are your scene, there’s no better place to spend Halloween than Aspen. With about 80 bars scattered throughout a six-block radius, you’ll find pubs, breweries, cocktail bars, wineries, and more – all filled with Halloween lovers clad in their festive costumes. For a spookier experience, make a reservation with Aspen Walking Tours where you can partake in a Walk with the Dead and Ghosts or a Murder & Mayhem tour.
Sleepy Hollow, New York
As if the town’s name isn’t enough of a reason to visit during Halloween, guests can enjoy more than 10,000 hand-carved pumpkins at the annual Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze. Or, you can take a stroll through Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and channel the ghost of Washington Irving (the creator of the Headless Horseman). For more scares, head out to a haunted hayride or to Philipsburg Manor to enjoy a transformed into a landscape of vampires, witches, undead soldiers, ghouls, and ghosts.
Winter Park, Florida
When it comes to Halloween festivities, this small town outside of Orlando knows how to do it. You’ll find events like Pumpkins and Munchkins in Shady Park, complete with games, bounce houses, a costume contest, and a trick-or-treat trail as well as the annual Halloween Howl at Rollins College. Here, you can enjoy arts and crafts, carnival games, costumes, haunted houses, and more. And if you bring your furry friend with you, be sure to check out the Park Avenue Pet Costume Contest.
New Hope, Pennsylvania
For a quaint getaway, head to the riverside town of New Hope. Here, you’ll find lots of charming little shops to stroll into and each Halloween, the local businesses have a contest to see which storefront can boast the scariest and most originally-decorated themes. Afterwards, head to the Bucks County Playhouse for an annual showing of The Rocky Horror Show. Or if you’re really feeling festive, you can partake in the one-of-a-kind High-Heel Drag Race.