Like most everything involving holidays, the foundation of Halloween is tradition. Scary lawn decorations, costumes found at the local party store, and of course candy, candy, candy! But Halloween also suffers from the same pitful of the other holidays as well, in that the history of these traditions get lost in the excitement. Trick-or-treating is great, but if you’re looking for a real scare this Halloween, find a travel destination that will help you learn about why the holiday got such a spooky reputation.
Cultures around the world embraced Halloween, then called “All Hallow’s Eve”, as a celebration of the harvest, as well as an ushering in of the winter season. Colonists from England would share stories of the dead, encounters with ghosts that had some unfinished business with the living, and tales of mischief and debauchery. The colonists would also sing, dance and create beautiful atmospheres with festive costumes and foods of the season.
Several places in the U.S., and even around the world, celebrate this long-standing history of frightful story telling and welcoming of the autumn season. Instead of looking at the same fake spiderweb ornament your next door neighbor puts up every year, why not shake the frame with a Halloween vacation to a city with a rich history including witches, voodoo, and returning spirits?
Getting the chills, yet? Well here are three ideas for places to travel this Halloween season that’ll have you learning as much as you are screaming.
New England, of course, has some of the most beautiful foliage in the country, but Salem has something much more specific to offer this season than just colorful leaves. The Massachusetts town, just 30 minutes away from Boston, has an incredible history of spooky lore, dating back all the way to 1692 when the Salem Witch Trials occurred. Historical reenactments of the drama of the Salem Witch Hunt are performed live for most of October at the Salem Witch Museum. Visitors can also embark on several interactive tours exploring the town’s long, dark timeline of hunting and burning the accused witches.
There are, however, more to the festivities in Salem than a fascinating history lesson. The town comes alive with an enormous celebration to get locals and newcomers into the spooky spirit. Visitors can enjoy the carnival on Derby Street, get an all-encompassing witchcraft and ghostly experience at the Gallows Hill Museum and Theatre, or go on any of the town’s numerous tours like the Graveyard Walking Tour and the Candlelit Ghostly tour. Lose your head at the Hawthorne Hotel’s 25th Annual Halloween Party or wax your historical knowledge at the Salem Wax Museum.
For the record, no witches were harmed during the writing of this blog post.
Looking for a scare, southern-style? Take a trip, if you dare, out to the bayou and spend your holiday in “The Most Haunted City in America”. Second only to Mardi Gras, halloween in New Orleans is a city-wide celebration that is taken to the next level and incomparable to any city in America.
Cast a spell on your vacation with the city’s deep history in the dark magic of voodoo. Several shops in the French Quarter will be teaching the spiritual practices of voodoo and you might even learn a spell or two! For concert goers and music lovers, the annual Voodoo festival will be going on from Friday, Oct. 30 through Sunday, Nov. 1 featuring Florence + The Machine, Girl Talk, Ozzy Osbourne and more.
For a more traditional Halloween experience, catch the official New Orleans Halloween parade “Krewe of Boo”, which hosts a variety of Halloween’s creepiest creatures made out of papier mache and fiberglass. Halloween in New Orleans is also family-friendly as well. Check out the Audubon Zoo’s “Boo at the Zoo” which features entertainment, food, trick-or-treat, (not so) scary stories, and much for all the little ghouls out there.
This Halloween, turn Nawlin’s into Nahhhhhhhhhlin’s.
In some parts of the world, like Mexico, Halloween is one of the most important and celebrated holidays on the calendar. Appropriately titled “Dia de Los Muertos”, or Day of the Dead, families in the Mexican community honor the memory of family members and ancestors who’s souls, they believe, return to them only one day of the year.
While Dia de Los Muertos is different from Halloween in that it’s not monster-centric, it’s certainly cause for celebration and offers a terrific insight to the culture of the Mexican people. The city of Oaxaca offers hosts an incredible street festival complete with food, drinks, and dancing all weekend long! Check out the amazing display of flowers, skulls and skeletons and an atmosphere that doesn’t mourn the dead, but instead celebrates the lives and memories of those who have passed away to the next life.
Halloween should be much more than just the same candy–and–costume routine. Learn more about, and become a part of, a new culture this autumn season and discover the history behind your favorite haunts, stories and screams. Search for the best last minute deals at SellMyTimeshareNow.com and save money by renting a timeshare. After all, screams are supposed to be saved for your vacation, not for when you look in your wallet.