All Hallows Eve is a particularly interesting festival held in celebration of the dead. While trick-or-treatin’, pumpkin carving and haunted houses are rituals typical of this festival, some towns and countries go that extra mile to make their Halloween a tad bit spookier.

Here are nine of the best Halloween themed festivals we’ve come across.


1.  Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball (Salem, Massachusetts)

Held in small city in USA known for being at the forefront of the witch trials and executions, the Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball is a fantastic version of the festival of the dead. If you’re someone interested in the activities and rituals related to this holiday, Salem is a great place to visit during the month of October. From psychic fairs , witchcraft expos,  vampire masquerade balls and the official Salem’s Witches’ Halloween Ball, there are a multitude of events costumed patrons can take part in. The Halloween Ball is particularly famous for its hilltop burnings.

salem witches


2. Village Halloween Parade (New York City, NY)

This festival is most probably the largest Halloween gathering held in the States. Almost two million people attend the Village Halloween Parade, where they come dressed in the most creative costumes reflecting pop culture figures, comic books, science fiction novels and of course marching bands and other circus-related attire. The best thing? Anyone can participate!



3. The London Dungeon, (London)

The London Dungeon can scare the bejesus out of almost anyone. Touted as one of the scariest Halloween experiences, it takes visitors through the city’s traumatic and bloody past. Through this interactive event you will face many a serial killer that haunted the streets of London, be it Jack The Ripper or Sweeney Todd. Actors will escort you through 14 shows, three frightening rides and also depict events from the infamous Black Plague. Truly terrifying stuff, guys.



4. Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights (Hollywood, California)

Every October, Universal Studios morphs into something from the dark side. The theme park overdoes itself with creepy, morbid rides and attractions. If you’re a horror movie buff, look no further as you’ll be privy to interactive mazes from The Walking Dead and even Texas Chainsaw Massacre.


5. Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind The Walls (Philadelphia, USA)

With an almost Arkham Asylum-type feel to it,  Terror Behind The Walls makes scaring the living daylights out of you worthwhile. The notorious penitentiary opened in 1829  but was closed a century later, and is now an abandoned site with dilapidated walls, cells and isolation areas. If you have the guts, go along for a tour through the old jail and experience psychotic prisoners and sadistic guards.


6. Winchester Mystery House ( San Jose, California)

Undeniably one of the best Halloween tours to take, the Winchester Mystery House is truly one of a kind. The house itself is a gorgeous yet eccentric maze that is said to be haunted by its builder, Sarah Winchester. It is full of weird structural components like a staircase that descends seven steps and then suddenly rises by 11, doors that open into thin air, and the number 13 everywhere. People say the house was built to confuse spirits who were victims of the ‘Winchester rifle’ (the reason behind the Winchester family fortune), while others believe she built this eerie construction because she had nothing else to do with her money. Regardless, Halloween is a great time to take a tour of the house that will leave you spooked, mystified and slightly lost.


7. Voodoo Festival (New Orleans, USA)

Voodoo Festival, held over the Halloween period, is the perfect celebration of all things spooky. Even though, inherently a music and arts festival, the Halloween spirit invariably kicks in with attendees sporting their most well-worked upon outfits. From the truly macabre, to the downright silly, Voodoo Festival does not a dresser disappoint.

Aubree Lennon for Fuse


8. Día de los Muertos (throughout Mexico)

Día de los Muertos has been a tradition in southern and central parts of the nation since before Spanish colonization, with possible origins in an Aztec festival. The festival has now crossed the country’s borders and even seeped into other cultures worldwide. On October 31 every year, private altars called ofrendas are built across Mexico, and people honour the deceased with sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favourite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts, along with old possessions of the dead. The intent behind this is to encourage visits by souls of departed friends and family, and to communicate with them on some level. The day is a public holiday in Mexico, and people dress up in beautiful costumes and masks, taking to the streets in parades or converging at large altars.



9. Samhain (Ireland and Scotland)

Samhain is the original Halloween festival, a cultural celebration that was born in Ireland way before it reached the United States and Canada. Samhain started as a Celtic end-of-harvest holiday, which was believed to be the day when the line between this world and the after-world was thinned, therefore allowing spirits to pass through. In order to trick these spirits, people dressed up as ghouls to escape the notice of the ghosts passing by. These ghosts were often angry and therefore were offered sweets and treats by their earthly companions in an effort to appease them. The birth of Christianity in the region turned Samhain into Halloween. Trick-or-treating, costumes and Jack-o-Lanterns are commonly observed traditions.