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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Cool AF Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Anyone who knows me knows that Halloween is my favorite holiday. It's not just one day of the year. In my opinion, every day can be Halloween, which means any chance there is to do something spooky, dress up, or put up skulls and bats, I'm going to take it. Half of the year, my house is decorated as Hogwarts (or some version of Harry Potter). 


When October rolls around, I'm in my element. I love all the pumpkin patches, the corn maizes, the haunted walks, etc. I'm not one for haunted houses, because I'm the biggest chicken, but I jump to go to actual haunted houses, undergrounds, and catacombs. When there is something that sounds awesome that I can take part in, I want to be there. This weekend I'm hitting up Halloweentown (also known as St. Helens, Oregon) with a bunch of friends, but if I could, I'd be doing all of these things as well:

Spend the night in Alcatraz

Okay, so it's not actually Alcatraz Prison, because that is highly secure, though you can take a nighttime tour there, which I highly recommend. Instead, the San Francisco Dungeon will let you sleep in a reconstructed Alcatraz cell, all at the low, low price of $666. Expensive, right? Well, it comes with a spooky bedtime story, themed pajamas, midnight snack, and breakfast in your cell in the morning. That's got to be worth the chills and thrills. {You can also do even more in SF by purchasing a Go Card for your trip.}

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Travel to learn new customs

Though there are destinations in the US on this list (must-visit places like New Orleans and Salem), the others are made up of different countries that do Halloween just a bit (or a whole lot) differently. Why not learn a new way to enjoy the season. Maybe some things you can take home and incorporate into your own celebrations for family and friends. From flying giant kites in cemeteries to a giant furry beast who exorcises evil. There's lots of takeaways from travel all year long.

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Enjoy a movie in a cemetery

Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California often holds fantastic events that people are dying to get into (see what I did there?). The month of October is for spooky movies, where you can pack your blanket and camp out on the lawn and enjoy with a bunch of other peeps who love the same things you do. Unfortunately, this year's movies (Ghostbusters, Night of the Living Dead, and Labyrinth - with a fancy dress ball!) are both sold out, but that just means you need to get on it for next year. {Los Angeles visitors can also save a ton with the LA Go Card.}

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Head to Salem


Where better to celebrate Halloween than witch-central? All October long you’ll find themed festivities and attractions including a carnival, haunted house, spooky tours and more. Every day of the month you’ll find something going on. This is my kind of town.  Where else can you hit the farmers’ market during the day and then see the Crucible at night and get your palm read and go to a witchcraft shop in between? There might be some places, but I doubt many. And there are even fewer places where you can visit the actual places where witch trials took place. This is definitely on my list of must-see places. I can't wait to run down my camera battery here. 
  • 4D Haunted Adventure at Salem Time Machine - It's a "haunted" attraction for the whole family. You get 3D glasses, walk around in a blacklight environment that takes you through a narrated Olde Salem. It sounds really dumb, but also really fun. If you want to be scared, do the 4D Haunted House instead, with live scare actors.
  • Derby Street Carnival
  • Museum Place Mall - They show two 3D short films that tell you about Salem and the history of Halloween. There's also live music on the weekends.
  • Salem Haunted Magic Show - 'Nuff said.
  • Visit Lady Irene - A Greek psychic who reads coffee...? I dunno what that entails, but I want to see!
  • Haunted Dinner Theater at the Hawthorne Hotel - The show changes every year, but it always sounds fun.
  • More things to see and do can be found here.

Get magical to Philly

Yes, I know this sounds like a weird place to tell people to go for Halloween, but it really makes sense, especially if you're a Harry Potter lover like I am. The weekend before Halloween is dedicated to all things Potter, with a three-day festival (and Quidditch tourney!) in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania

Not only will there be witches and wizards aplenty, but you can also visit the Mutter Museum (that museum full of crazy medical oddities) and take a tour of the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary, once the most famous and expensive prison in the world. You can visit the prison during the day or at night in October, and possibly meet with a former inmate. Laurel Hill Cemetery is not only the final resting place of many well known people, but it's also incredibly beautiful, a great way to get exercise, and hosts an annual Gravedigger's Ball.

{If doing a ton of stuff in Philly is important to you, then you may want to invest in the CityPASS, where you can also save up to 44% off your sightseeing.}

Jump in the car for a spooky road trip

Pack your favorite sweater, some boots and whoever makes you feel safe and go on a road trip to/through some of the most haunted places. It may be creepy, or it may be downright terrifying in the case of Clinton Road in West Milford, New Jersey, where you can see some strange apparitions and possibly have a spirit boy control your mind and make you drive off the Ghost Boy Bridge. 

Drown yourself in fall beverages

If you can't get out on a trip for the season, indulge in some October tasty hot drinks. It's not all pumpkin spice out there. Seek out the non-Starbucks coffee shops near you to find yummy flavors like chai, maple, cardamom and others. Here's just a taste (sorry, not sorry) of what Portland's shops are serving up this season. Between you and me, that s'mores latte is legit!

Obviously, there are a ton more ways to celebrate Halloween, like Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and throwing the ultimate bash at home, but these are some of the fun things I've found. Keep watching Facebook for my 31 Days of Halloween event, where I share something cool, spooky, scary each day of the month. 

What are your favorite ways to enjoy the season?
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