6 Halloween Destinations, from Fun to CREEPY!

Happy October! Can you believe it’s time to start planning for Halloween again? If you’re planning to get out of town for the haunted holiday,  here are 7 destinations where you can experience everything from typical Halloween parades to downright creepy ghost hunting.

1. Salem, Massachusetts

Opening Parade

Of course there’s no Halloween destination round up without a mention of Salem, the location of the famed Salem Witch Trials. There are plenty of museums and historical places you can visit and listen to tales told by costumed characters, along with haunted harbor cruises and even a “Festival of the Dead.” For a full list of events, click here.

To get to Salem, you can drive or take the MBTA commuter rail easily from Boston. Stay at the historic Hawthorne Hotel, which  has an annual Halloween costume party if you prefer a short trip from the bar to your bed. There are also plenty of B&Bs and larger hotel chains located in the area.

2. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Washington Irving's Grave

About 30 miles and a short MetroNorth train ride from Midtown Manhattan, the village of Sleepy Hollow is the burial place of Washington Irving and the home of his most famous character, the Headless Horseman.

Sleepy Hollow has numerous Halloween-inspired events taking place throughout the month of October, including an annual haunted hayride Oct. 25-26,  cemetery tours, and the terrifying “Horseman’s Hollow,” which warns visitors, “This event is NOT suitable for adults who are claustrophic, have heart or respiratory conditions, are prone to seizures, or have other chronic health conditions. Enter at your own risk.”

3. Savannah, Georgia

Old Town Trolley- Savannah Georgia River Street

Celebrate Halloween on the River for free on October 31st at Rousakis Riverfront Plaza. You’ll find costume contests and plenty of family-friendly haunted mansions, restaurants and hotels in this historic area.

If you’re ready for something scarier/boozier, stop by The Pirate’s House, a historic restaurant that opened in 1753 to provide lodging for pirates and sailors. For an entertaining evening, sign up for the Savannah Creepy Crawl Haunted Pub Tour ($20, reservations recommended).

Rest up at the rumored-to-be-haunted Eliza Thompson House, a cozy, charming and historic bed and breakfast located right near all the action.

4. Transylvania, Romania

Bran's Castle

That’s right, I just jumped from Savannah to Romania. Can you think of a spookier place to spend Halloween than Dracula’s Transylvania? Skip the pumpkins and witch hats you traditionally associate with the holiday and celebrate in this magical realm filled with haunting legends and medieval streets.  Choose which of the 118 eery local castles, you’d like to explore, all filled with Gothic architecture. Entertain yourself with tours aplenty that will do everything from scare you to death to throw a killer Halloween bash.

Two well-recommended hotels near Bran Castle (rumored to be where Dracula lived) are Casa Wagner and Natural Guesthouse. For more cool photos, follower my Transylvania-inspired Pinterest board here.

5. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Halloween Parade 2008

And we’re back in the South. Every day is an excuse to party in the home of Mardi Gras, and Halloween is no exception. Opt for a haunted tour of the French Quarter and visit some Voodoo shops, or head to one of New Orleans’ many haunted houses. The best part of Halloween here? You can party hop with a drink in hand to calm the nerves. For a full list of local events, click here.

If you’re heading to NOLA, my favorite local spot is the Dauphine Orleans Hotel. It’s steps away from the madness of Bourbon Street, but a nice place to relax when you need a break.

6. Ostend, Belgium

Belgium Beer Festival_20051022_016

Halloween is an American holiday, but I couldn’t leave you with only one European destination to check out. A less terrifying alternative to hunting for ghosts in the castles of rural Romania, Ostend has a famous annual Halloween festival at the end of October. The whole city is decorated for the holiday, and hosts everything from themed club nights to kid-friendly activities.

Stay in the perfect location at the Hotel de Hofkamers, which receives rave reviews but won’t break the bank.

What are your plans for Halloween? Have you ever celebrated in any of these cities? I’m planning to head to Sleepy Hollow this time around – hit subscribe to follow along!

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Exploring New York: Adventures with Citi Bike

Bike sharing is new to New York City this year, and there’s been a lot of buzz surrounding the Citi Bike program. Unfortunately I hadn’t gotten around to trying one out yet before yesterday, since they don’t have a docking station in my neighborhood (or anywhere in Queens). So how was it? Read on for my review…

Citi Bike, Bike Sharing NYC

I hadn’t been on a bike in years, but what could be a more perfect way to burn off an indulgent brunch? So I downloaded the free Citi Bike app and located a docking station nearby in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We found one a short walk away at the corner of Wythe Street and North 3rd Street, where we went to purchase day passes and unlock our bikes.

Citi Bike, Bike Sharing NYC

Using the Citi Bike kiosk was a bit confusing. At first, it didn’t accept my credit card but after three tries our purchase finally went through. The day pass for a Citi Bike is $10, which means you can ride it in 30 minute increments for a 24-hour period. You are also required to put down a $50 deposit per bike, which will be held against your credit card. If you want to ride the bike for more than 30 minutes, you can simply dock and then unlock the bike again and time resets, or you can go over for an extra charge (all the pricing details can be found here).

Citi Bike, Bike Sharing NYC

After selecting the lucky bike that was to be mine for the next 30 minutes, I hopped on and started cruising around Brooklyn. We biked into Greenpoint, through a warehouse district where we could see the waterfront. The neighborhood had pretty good bike lanes so there were limited near-death experiences. It was a great place to try out bike sharing for someone who is inexperienced with riding a bike in the city!

Citi Bike, Bike Sharing NYC Citi Bike, Bike Sharing NYC

When our 30 minutes were up, we simply returned the bikes to the station and were on our way, a little sweatier and a few calories lighter. The neat thing about the Citi Bike program is that you can drop the bike off at ANY station. So you could pick it up in Brooklyn and bike to Manhattan with no concerns about bike locks, parking, etc. If you enjoy biking, then it’s the perfect affordable and eco-friendly alternative to a taxi or subway ride on a nice day – for tourists and daily commuters alike!

Of course my number one concern knowing I was going bike riding was what I was going to wear. I opted for skinny stretch cargo pants from JustFab (c/o), Keds sneakers (c/o) and my Brandy Melville backpack. The bikes do have a space for your handbag where you can strap it in, but I thought having a backpack was more convenient.

I’ve seen so many street style shots of girls wearing a skirt or dress biking, but it just didn’t seem like the best idea to me! I’d recommend jeans or pants with some stretch in them so you can move around and a loose, breathable top. Here are some Citi Bike-ready outfit ideas:

Stylish Biking Outfits

tops: La Garconne // Steffen Schraut // Rails

bottoms: LOFT // Blank Denim // Cheap Monday

shoes: Franco Sarto | Keds | Sam Edelman

Have you used Citi Bike or another bike sharing program? Do share!