13 Spooky Halloween Holiday Destinations
With summer well and truly over, the weather well and truly turned, the nights closing in rapidly, Halloween is almost upon us once more.
So, I thought now would be a good time to provide you with some freakishly, frighteningly fantastic inspiration for a spooky Halloween holiday. 13 spooky Halloween holiday destinations, in fact. Because: Halloween, why any other number for such an occasion?
So, you already know where to get your Glasgow airport parking – Airport Park and Ride, of course, but here is a selection of genuinely scary holidays to take for Halloween.
The home of Halloween, Ireland, and Dublin specifically, hosts an annual Samhain Festival.
Samhain was the Celtic and Gaelic Harvest Festival, marking the end of the season and the beginning of winter and the “darker half” of the year. Samhain was traditionally held from the 31 st of October to the 1 st of November – as the Celtic day began and ended at sunset.
This year’s Samhain Festival in Dublin will feature the usual parades, carnivals and one-day music festival, this year to be headlined by Liam Gallagher. Annie Mac and 2manyDjs will also be playing, making for a pretty spectacular way to spend Halloween.
The home of Dracula. Enough said.
The legend of Vlad “the Impaler” Dracula, first gained popularity in German speaking countries during the 1400s, when tales of his cruelty began to spread. It was this reputation for cruelty coupled with his (pretty cool, if I’m honest) patronymic, Dracula, that inspired the name of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Vlad’s legend was given further weight by the fact that Dracula’s meaning changed from “son of the Dragon” after his father, Vlad Dracul, to “devil” in modern Romanian.
Halloween tours of the region will allow tourists to visit the Snagov Monastery, Poienari Castle and Dracula’s castle in Borgo pass. It also provides an after dark visit to the world-famous Bran Castle, and a special Halloween party in the biggest medieval castle in Romania, Hunyad Castle.
Door to Hell, Turkmenistan
In 1971, near Derweze, Turkmenistan, Soviet geologists discovered a site they believed contained oil. After drilling the site, it became apparent that they had been wrong, and they had in fact stumbled upon a vast gas crater.
Believing the gas to be poisonous, they decided to set the crater on fire, to stop the poisonous gas from spreading and polluting the nearby village of Derweze.
46 years later, the fire is still blazing.
Now a tourist hot-spot (forgive the pun…or don’t), the 230ft wide pit has been dubbed, for good reason, “the Door to Hell”, by the locals.
A fitting place to spend Halloween.
Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic
Sedlec Ossuary, otherwise known as the Church of Bones, is decorated with the skeletons of over 40,000 people.
In 1278 the abbot of the Cistercian Monastery was sent to Jerusalem, and returned with an urn of holy soil from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which he spread around the cemetery at Sedlec.
As a result, of the presence of the Holy Soil, people came from miles around to be buried here. The black death in particular added to the huge number of burials here.
In the 1400s, a Gothic Church was built near the cemetery, and its basement was used as an ossuary, where the 40,000 bones stayed, until 1870, when the Schwarzenburg family employed a local woodcarver, Frantisek Rint, to place the bones in order.
The result, was the thoroughly macabre Sedlec Ossuary as it is today. A bone chandelier, – consisting of at least one of every human bone – and a bone impression of the Schwarzenburg coat of arms, alongside bunting made of skulls are just some of the particularly dark artworks on display.
Halloween could hardly be more Gothic.
Battleship Island, Japan
Hashima, locally known as Gunkanjima or “Battleship Island”, was once a thriving mining town. At its height, around 1960, its 16-acres were home to 5,300 inhabitants, making it the most densely populated city in the world.
In 1974, with the mines, some of which were up to 1,000 metres below sea level, making less and less economic sense, the mines, and thus the island were abandoned.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the island – perhaps best known for being the lair of the villain in the 2012 Bond film, Skyfall – has a dark history of deaths of enforced labour of Korean and Chinese slaves, as well as Japanese workers.
Now deserted and worn down by the elements, you can take spooky tours of this once bustling microcosm of a city. It would certainly be a surreal way to spend Halloween.
You can take a decidedly creepy virtual tour here.
New Orleans, United States
Widely known as the “Most Haunted city in America”, New Orleans is something of a Mecca for Halloween enthusiasts. Only Mardi Gras is more flamboyant and debauched.
Haunted tours through the French quarter; haunted houses Uptown; world famous cemeteries with hundreds upon hundreds of tombs, combining to make “cities of the dead” – where countless sightings of ghosts have been reported (some have been visually captured, apparently); voodoo shops; street parties, and; the Krewe of Boo annual parade all collide in one huge celebration of Halloween mayhem.
Centralia, United States
The town of Centralia, in Pennsylvania, was a well-established mining town.
The Centralia mine fire has been burning under the town since at least 1962, and is suspected to have started when the town council ordered the burning of rubbish and waste at an abandoned strip mine.
The resulting fire, in disused coal mines, at depths of around 300 feet, has left the town levelled, mostly abandoned (from around 2,000 residents in 1962, to 7, now), covered in signs warning of toxic air pollution levels and the possibility of the ground opening up beneath your feet, and has been burning for 55 years.
All that’s left of the town – with the exception of its 7 remaining residents) is a patchwork of cracked streets, with tarmac that’s hot to the touch, that in places spews forth poisonous sulphurous fumes.
A drive through this eerie, post-apocalyptic landscape will creep out even the hardiest Halloween thrill seeker.
California, United States
ome to a number of haunted and haunting places, California is more than just sun, surf and beaches.
Long Beach, California, is not only the home of Snoop Dogg and the Long Beach Crips, it’s also home to what is, apparently, “California’s most haunted Halloween event” on the disused cruise liner, the Queen Mary. A fright-inducing selection of 7 petrifying mazes, with refreshments in between, will get you right in the mood for Halloween.
Also in California, Knott’s Berry Farm – a huge theme park, that on selected nights during October, is entirely transformed into a Halloween nightmare, with mazes, sinister shows and over 1,000 terrifying creatures let loose around the park.
California is the place to be at Halloween.
Salem, United States
The Salem witches and their trials give a particular cadence to modern Halloween celebrations in Salem. A town so steeped in dark history certainly knows how to throw a Halloween party or two.
For October in its entirety, Haunted Happenings takes over the whole town of Salem and provides revellers with a calendar packed full of spooky parties, events, shows and attractions.
Some of the highlights of Halloween in Salem, include: the Salem Witch Museum; the House of Seven Gables; the Derby Street Carnival; Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour, and; the Heaven and Hell Ball.
Salem at Halloween is not to be missed.
Chernobyl isn’t your typical Halloween destination, but it is certainly haunting.
The 1986 explosion of the No. 4 reactor at Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant left the surrounding area completely uninhabitable. Radiation levels were so high, that alarms were set off the day after the explosion at a Swedish nuclear power plant, 1,000 miles away from Chernobyl.
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, spans a 30km radius around the power station, and guided tours are available for tourists who want to visit the power plant and the surrounding areas. Hazmat suits, obviously, must be worn at all times during these tours.
For a stark, creepy look into a post-apocalyptic future, visit Chernobyl at Halloween.
Sleepy Hollow, United States
In New York State, about 30 miles north of New York City, on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, sits the village of Sleepy Hollow.
Famous for the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the headless horseman in it, the town of Sleepy Hollow is a hive of activity at Halloween.
The Horseman’s Hollow takes the legend of Sleepy Hollow to its darkest extremes, turning the village into a hotspot for haunted mayhem for 15 days over the Halloween period.
Philipsburg Manor is transformed into a terrifying landscape, ruled by the undead, evil and insane. Visitors can walk the trail and stumble upon scenes of a town driven mad by the Headless Horseman. Mazes, creatures hiding in the dark, special effects, elaborate costumes and of course, the Headless Horseman all combine to provide a fantastically fearsome Halloween experience.
Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico
The Island of the Dolls, just South of Mexico City, is a truly haunting, and supposedly haunted, place.
The story goes, that the caretake of the island, Don Julian Santana Barrera, found the body of a little girl, drowned in mysterious circumstances, floating in an inlet on the shores of the island. Julian was unable to save her life.
Not long after, he found a doll floating, and assuming it to belong to the girl, picked it up and hung it in a tree on the island as a mark of respect. Apparently truly disturbed by the fact that he couldn’t save the girl, Julian began to believe that the dolls themselves were possessed by the spirits of dead girls, and spent the next 50 years decorating the entire island with dolls to appease her soul.
After 50 years of collecting and hanging dolls, Julian was found dead, in the exact same spot where he found the girl. Many believe his soul has joined those of the dead girls in the dolls.
In addition, a visit to Mexico around Halloween will see you there for the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead). Which is a haunting festival celebrated all around Mexico.
Although Halloween isn’t a traditional holiday in Italy, Venice has a particular aura that lends itself particularly well to spooky, ethereal celebrations.
A disturbing past, an abundance of shadowy corners and winding alleys, its slow canals, the stunning architecture and the spectacular masquerade balls all combine to make Venice the perfect place to do Halloween a little differently.
Glasgow Airport Parking
So, now you’ve been inspired to take your leave from Glasgow’s scary weather and find some frights of a different sort, remember that for spookily low prices and fearsomely safe car parks, book your Glasgow Airport parking with Airport Park and Ride.