Summer is fading, and the spookiest season of the year is almost upon us - meaning it's time for pumpkin-flavored treats, delightfully frightening entertainment, and lots of fall fun as the leaves begin to change into vibrant hues of reds, oranges and yellows. Most importantly, the weather is finally cooling down, so we can cozy up in front of the fire and enjoy everything the season of Halloween has to offer. Queue up your favorite Halloween movies for the whole family, get ready to load up on Halloween candy to dish out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween night and consider getting your house all decorated for the new season. Consider making your own DIY haunted house, taking a trip to go apple picking, or throwing a party featuring a delicious fall cocktail or Halloween punch.
To help you get in the Halloween spirit, we've rounded up a list of the most lively and unique festivals celebrating October 31 taking place across the country - ranging from terrifying to amusing. So, whether you love getting absolutely terrified at haunted houses, participating in elaborate pumpkin carving contests or just getting dressed up in your favorite Halloween costumes, there's something for everyone in the family to enjoy this season.
Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Festival
Where: Manitou Springs, CO
When: October 28
This one-of-a-kind event has a quirky history that dates back to the 1800s when Emma Crawford came to Manitou Springs, Colorado, hoping to find a cure for her tuberculosis. Unfortunately, she passed just two years later, and when she did, she was buried at the top of the nearby Red Mountain. A few decades later, in 1929, after a series of harsh winters and spring rain, her coffin went racing down the mountain. Today, her memory is honored by the annual coffin races that have been taking place for nearly 30 years.
Festival of the Dead
Where: Salem, MA
When: October 1 - 30
Witches, warlocks, psychics, and Halloween enthusiasts can come together for 31 days of Halloween festivities at this annual event series, which takes place at the site of the now-infamous Salem Witch Trials. Celebrations include The Official Witches' Halloween Ball, The Salem Psychic Fair and Witches' Market, The Mourning Tea, and The Annual Salem Witches' Magic Circle.
Village Halloween Parade
Where: New York, NY
When: October 31
The 50th Annual Village Halloween Parade promises to be one of the best yet - welcoming more than 50,000 participants in their most dazzling costumes. It's free to participate, however those who prefer to watch from the sidelines can head to 6th Ave to view. This year's theme is Upside/Down: Inside/Out, and encourages parade participants to show up as their dreamiest selves - even as the world is turned upside down.
Krewe of Boo!
Where: New Orleans, LA
When: October 20-21
The Krewe of Boo! celebrated 15 years of its vibrant 3-mile parade through New Orleans' French Quarter last year. This year's festivities will include a Royal Luncheon with local eats, a Cocktails in the Courtyard happy hour, the Captain's Masquerade Ball, zombie run, the iconic parade, and the Monster Mash Post-Parade Costume Party.
Where: Independence, Kansas
When: October 20-28
Neewollah - Halloween spelled backward - is Kansas' largest annual festival with a history spanning over a hundred years. Today, the event features more than a week of festivities, including a 10K (or 5K or fun run!), BBQ cook-off, the annual medallion hunt, the Queen Neelah pageant, a carnival, three parades, and live music.
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival
Where: Laconia, New Hampshire
When: October 27-28
Pumpkin carving aficionados won't want to miss this one-of-a-kind event that features a stunning 34 foot tower lined with all varieties of pumpkins. In addition to the tower, attendees are sure to see thousands of pumpkins as they enjoy the weekend events, which include a cornhole tournament, live music, children's costume parade, zombie walk - and of course, the lighting of the jack-o'-lanterns.
Where: Anoka, Minnesota
When: October 1 - 28
Anoka - known as the Halloween Capital of the World - takes the scary holiday seriously. Activities kick off on October 1 with a pumpkin weigh-off, scarecrow contest and adult pumpkin carving contest, then continues on with children's pumpkin carving contest, parade, medallion hunt and house decorating contest - to name a few. The celebrations culminate with Grande Day Parade and the Anoka Halloween Ambassador Coronation.
The Spirit of Halloweentown Festival
Where: St. Helens, OR
When: September 16 - October 31
The Spirit of Halloweentown Festival takes place where the cult-favorite Disney Halloweentown movies and parts of the Twilight moves were filmed - but the festival celebrates all of Halloween with a month and a half of events. This year, there will be a Twilight weekend, Hocus Pocus weekend and a special 25th-anniversary celebration of Halloweentown.
Louisville Boo at the Zoo
Where: Louisville, Kentucky
When: September 30 - October 29
Louisville Boo at the Zoo has been a go-to Halloween event for more than 40 years, with live music, a Spooktacular Carousel ride, photo opportunities with storybook characters, The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow experience, and trick-or-treating for kids with more than 20 treat booths.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Where: Orlando, FL
When: August 11 - November 1
For those that prefer a cute Halloween to a scary one, there's Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney World. In addition to access to the Magic Kingdom Park, attendees will enjoy a Halloween parade, fireworks, Halloween-themed snacks, trick-or-treating, glimpses of Halloween-themed characters, and more.
Historic Irvington Halloween Festival
Where: Indianapolis, IN
When: October 21 - October 28
This event has more than 75 years of history, bringing together locals and Halloween enthusiasts alike. In addition to its street fair - which draws more than 250 artists and vendors - festivalgoers can look forward to a variety of Halloween-themed activities such as a masquerade ball, family movie night and zombie bike ride - to name a few.
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival
Where: Sycamore, Illinois
When: October 25 - October 29
Each October, thousands of pumpkin artists enter their creations for a chance to win the honor of the best pumpkin prize. Themes have ranged from pumpkins in disguise to masked pumpkins - inspiring creativity and delight. In addition to the contest, the festival hosts a parade, carnival, pie eating contests, and craft shows - plus, lots of great, fall-themed food.
Terror on Tillson Street
Where: Romeo, Michigan
When: October 31
For those that love an over-the-top decorated home, look no further than Tillson Street - a street of historic homes known for their festive décor and trick-or-treating. 30 homes put up their most elaborate decorations to greet thousands of families and trick-or-treaters - with homeowners handing out approximately 75,000 pieces of candy each year.
The Great Jack-O'-Lantern Blaze
Where: Croton-on-Hudson, NY
When: September 15 - 19
Take an awe-inspiring, Halloween-themed walk through more than 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins with synchronized lighting and music. The beautiful and creative displays extend beyond the pumpkins too - you'll see skeletons, witches, and more festive creatures in lights during your 45-minute stroll. Plus, it's a short drive from Sleepy Hollow - the resting place of the Headless Horseman and another must-see spooky stop for Halloween lovers.
Great Pumpkin Carve
Where: Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
When: October 19 - 21
Each year local artists gather to carve over 70 giant pumpkins that can be viewed and enjoyed during this three-day event. The pumpkins go above and beyond your typical jack-o'-lantern with unforgettable designs executed flawlessly. In addition to viewing the pumpkins, attendees can walk the kid-friendly haunted trail, enter a raffle, and enjoy live music.
Where: Providence, RI
When: September 28 - October 31
This Halloween celebration, which takes place at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, offers an exhibit of thousands of carved pumpkins, with this year's theme being 'Around the World.' Guests can also look forward to the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and festive treats.
Screams Halloween Theme Park
Where: Waxahachie, Texas
When: September 29 - October 28
Thrill-seekers will love this theme park which features five themed haunted houses, a 'Cool Ghoul Boolevard,' the Taboo Tavern Stage with a DJ, 'Scary-Oke' and more. For those who want a more laidback experience, there are shops with Halloween-themed items, a 13th Hour Bakery, Full Moon Café, and Headless Horseman Tavern.
Spooktacular Balloon Festival
Where: Scottsdale, AZ
When: October 27 - October 29
This Halloween celebration brings more than 20 hot air balloons from around the country together for a one-of-a-kind event complete with hot air balloon rides, a costume contest and trick-or-treating. Plus, there's no shortage of treats with more than 4,000 pounds of candy being handed out across all of the balloons.
Knott's Scary Farm
Where: Buena Park, California
When: September 21 - October 31
Knott's Berry Farm - known as California's original theme park - is about to transform into Knott's Scary Farm, home of the longest-running Halloween event in Southern California. It has a 50-year history of terrifying entertainment with haunted mazes and Halloween-themed shows. Even walking around the park is a thrill, with scary creatures lurking at every turn.
Dollywood Harvest Festival
Where: Pigeon Ford, Tennessee
When: September 20 - October 30
This fit-for-Dolly Parton festival is filled with Halloween magic - from whimsical, award-winning light displays to apple and pumpkin-flavored treats, live music and 50 different rides. There's plenty to do and see at Dollywood this Halloween season. If you visit, make sure you don't miss the Hoot Owl Hollow - a one-of-a-kind giant, glowing owl!
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