Trick or treat, bag of sweets, ghosts are walking down the street. As Oct. 31 rolls around, people everywhere begin to put finishing touches on their costumes and set out their candy bowls in preparation for one of the best nights of the year. While State College may not have one huge Halloween celebration that takes over downtown, there are month-long Halloween festivals and events that happen across the nation that are to die for. Between psychic readings, terrifying mazes and spooky block parties, VALLEY has compiled the best festivals to give you a look into how intense Halloween celebrations are across the nation.
Festival of the Dead
Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts is unlike any other place in the world. For the entire month of October, The Festival of the Dead explores death’s mysteries as it invites all to come and investigate the ways to honor, celebrate and ultimately immerse yourself into life’s unavoidable destination. The most popular events include The Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, where you can discover your destiny with a psychic reading or talk to your departed loved ones through a psychic medium.
The most magical Halloween events include the Vampire Masquerade Ball and Official Salem Witches Halloween Ball where guests can join the Witches of Salem in celebrating the afterlife with food, dancing, rituals, live music and costume prizes. The festival concludes with large fires being burned on hilltops with witches gather around to cast spells for the upcoming year and to honor the dead one last time during Halloween.
The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor
The Queen Mary, a cruise liner docked off Long Beach, California, is often said to be one of the most haunted places in the world, thus making it one of the ultimate places to celebrate Halloween. Dark Harbor is the main attraction for 23 frightening nights of October where you get to brave six different paths with more than 200 heinous monsters inspired by the actual spirits that haunt the ship. After surviving the most intense and authentic mazes L.A. County has to offer, guests can continue to explore the ship containing secret rooms, live entertainment, haunted bars and more.
Universal Studios Horror Nights
Your darkest fears come to life in the most intense events to be held at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Universal Studios brings the most twisted worlds from the most iconic film and television shows to life within eight terrifying mazes. Step inside the eight different worlds of Stranger Things, Trick ‘R Treat, The First Purge, Poltergeist, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, The Horrors of Blumhouse: Chapter Two, The Walking Dead and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Guests this year will have a chance to enter a specialized wonderland of horror run by Hollywood Harry, the phantom clown infamous for terrorizing the Universal Studios backlot in the all-new Terror Tram Experience. Not only will you be immersed into bloodcurdling experiences within the mazes, but as you walk around the park you may or may not need to outrun a horde of zombies or attempt to survive a chainsaw wielding monster.
West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval
Hollywood is known to have the best festivals, and Halloween is no exception. Over 500,000 people take over Santa Monica Blvd between Doheny Drive and La Cienega Boulevard for the annual West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval for the largest street party of the season. Streets are lined with live musicians, top performing DJs, dancing, local restaurants, food trucks and much more all night long.
Killer costumes are seen every which way with attention to detail seen in everyone’s outfits. Paired with the never-ending street party hundreds of other specialized parties are held for those to enjoy such as “Rainbow’s Annual Halloween Costume Party,” “Underworld Carnival,” “HollyWoodstock,” and more within the buildings right there on Santa Monica — the party truly never stops in West Hollywood for Halloween.
Voted a top 10 place to celebrate Halloween, Louisville, Kentucky holds the annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular from October to early November. The event is held in Iroquois Park where guests walk along a 1/3 mile trail that’s lined with over 5,000 illuminated carved pumpkins that are more like a work of art than any other pumpkin carving you have seen. Each year celebrates a new theme with music and other activities for all guests to enjoy while exploring the trail.
Village Halloween Parade
A cultural phenomenon that shuts down lower Manhattan, the Village Halloween Parade in New York City, New York is the perfect atmosphere for lovers of Halloween. All those in costume are welcome to join in the march down Sixth Avenue between Houston and 16th Street alongside hundreds of puppets, 35 bands, dancers, artists and other New Yorkers. The giant papier-mâché puppets in the parade have been custom-made for the annual celebration ever since the parade was established in 1974 making them a signature piece to the event that everyone looks forward to. The parade concludes with an official masquerade after party that runs all night long.