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The Ultimate Halloween Bucket List: The 7 Best Destinations To Get Your Spook On

It’s that time of year again folks, when the veil between worlds is thin, and the spooks hit the streets for tricks and treats. Instead of cutting holes in your favourite sheet and ghouling around at home this year, why not look elsewhere for your Halloween kicks?

From New Orleans, to Salem, Massachusetts, to Romania’s Transylvania, here’s our hot list of international spots to spook it up in true Halloween style.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

 

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We kick things off with N’Orleans: home of jazz, gumbo, and, come the end of October, a Halloween fest like no other. Cue: the Krewe of Boo, a Louisiana specialty Mardi Gras of epic proportions, and by far one of the best Halloween Parades in the south. It’s Halloween here alright, but with a little voodoo spice.

Ghouls, pirates, devils and freaky vibes are to be expected, as well as a whole bunch of festive Halloween French Quarter party action, not forgetting the awesome Voodoo Music & Arts Experience at City Park.

Salem, Massachusetts, USA

 

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America is the biggest champion of Halloween on the planet, so it makes sense that we showcase at least a couple of prime US spook-spots. They don’t get much more spook-fuelled, or historically significant, than Salem – as the site of the infamous witch trials, Salem has always carried a spirited vibe with its grim colonial past.

You can soak it all up here with one of the country’s biggest Halloween parades; so too, haunted harbour cruises, tours of the witch houses, and enough pumpkin painting to get you through another winter.

Mexico

 

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No matter the town, no matter the city, you’ll find festive Halloween spirit pretty much anywhere in Mexico come the end of October (though especially in the Central and South regions). Of course, it’s all about Dia de Los Muertos around these parts, aka ‘the Day of the Dead’: a three day celebration that kicks off on October 31 and lasts through November 2.

As ancient as it is colourful, the Dio de Los Muertos festival is awesome time to find yourself in Mexico, with some of the best celebrations happening in UNESCO city Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende, Guadalajara, and Mexico City itself.

Romania

This one’s for the horror lovers and the romancers: an old school vampire-inspired haunt-fest through the spooky castles and forests of Romania’s Transylvania (without a doubt one of the most spectacular and highly sought after regions in Eastern Europe). Not least of all for its legacy as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler, the loose inspiration for Bram Stoker’s most famous blood-loving fictional character.

There ain’t no Halloween party like a Transylvanian Halloween party – get your scary kicks on this year at Bran Castle, Dracula’s 14th century gothic fortress high in the forest-laden Carpathian Mountains.

Ireland

Ireland, you say? Absolutely! Where do you think all this modern day American Halloween action actually started? With the Irish Celts, of course, whose celebration of Samhein (aka Celtic New Year) used to herald in the “darker” half of the seasonal year with bonfires and ghostly dress-ups.

Samhein is still celebrated in pockets of Ireland (and Scotland too) – for the most authentic taste of old Gaelic Halloween action, head to county Meath for the annual Sprits of Meath Festival, held until November 2. All the good stuff can be expected: fires, witches, haunted houses, spooky pumpkins, and a whole lot of magical pagan enchantment.

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

 

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Who doesn’t love a good bone church? Just an hour’s train ride from Prague, Kutna Hora’s Sedlec Ossuary is a hair-raising, human skull-fuelled experience. Constructed from 40,000 human skeletons, the interior of this gothic church makes for a strangely serene experience, despite the macabre décor.

While the Czechs tend to celebrate November 2 as the holiday of Dušičky or “All Souls Day”, there’s a fair bit of Halloween action to be had – take a day trip to pay respects at the bone church, then party Halloween style and travel back in time through the spooky Bohemian nooks of old Prague.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

No one ever needs an excuse to go to Amsterdam – the canals, Dutch colonial homes, and all out beauty of this hub makes it a must-visit destination for any occasion. But come the chillier months, the scenes of Amsterdam take on the perfect setting for a Halloween moment.

The Dutch don’t celebrate Halloween as such, but they do celebrate Sint Maarten, a slightly different (though similar) take on the whole affair, celebrated on November 11 instead October 31. Whatever the case, the city gets on board with a good smattering of Halloween action in the lead up – get down with spooky dungeon parties, magic apothecaries, and eerie wanderings through the spirited old school canal-side streets.

Check out Qantas flights to begin your next adventure.

(Lead image: Krewe of Boo / Facebook)