Halloween is an estimated $9 billion holiday — with more than $300 million of that spent to dress up family pets — so it’s no wonder that kids have ghost stories and candy on their minds from the beginning of the school year. When the chill winds blow, a family Halloween weekend away at any of America’s haunted houses for kids, an outing to a creepy place, or just a costume shopping spree may restore your sanity and revive your family’s best spooky stories. There are plenty of Halloween ideas to suit your entire family.
What better way to celebrate this Halloween season than to dress up and partake in the frightful festivities opening up for a limited time around America? September and October are the months to feel the change of seasons, making this a great season to take advantage of nature’s beauty and annual spooktacular events all in one vacation.
Across the country, families will find a variety of haunted houses for kids and scares and other organized Halloween ideas and activities. Whether your kids and teens want a scary haunted house, a real haunted hotel, or a haunted house for kids, our suggestions for weekend breaks will supply it. Plus, each destination offers more than just ghosts, creeps and haunted stories; there are hayrides, pick your own pumpkin patches, museums, ma, es and more activities to suit toddlers and younger kids during this special harvest season.
Haunted House Chills & Thrills for the Weekend
Below, each of these feature stories has all of the gruesome (and fun) details about the Halloween and fall festivities in each city. Since they are also slightly off-the-radar, you’ll avoid huge crowds while still having an entertaining and educational (not to mention affordable) experience that the whole family can enjoy. There are more Halloween ideas here than you’ll likely have time for.
Houston, Texas – The city offers a Nightmare on the Bayou tour located right next to the oldest graveyard in town. Plus, there are tons of other, tamer haunted experiences at the NASA center, zoo and elsewhere for families.
Baton Rouge and Southern Louisiana – Home to the famously scary haunted house: The 13th Gate, Baton Rouge has a ton of moss-encrusted, spooky events on land and in the bayou for the family’s Halloween weekend break.
Salt Lake City and Environs, Utah – Whether you are looking for sweet candy, haunted mazes, haunted houses for kids, Nightmare on 13th or a family-friendly farm experience, Salt Lake has it for you this fall.
Westchester and Ulster Counties, Upstate New York – In upstate New York, families can cringe at the Headless Horseman hayride or wander through the creepy Horseman’s Hollow and have plenty of fresh haunted house tales to tell.
Halloween Ideas, Day Trips & Frightfully Fun Excursions
Each fall, the FTF staff does a roundup of some of our favorite Halloween ideas and events centered around the holiday. Take a look at this year’s picks of outings and day-long adventures. You can go for a spooky Halloween getaway, of course, but if any are located near your house, the anticipation, experience, and the recovery time from a day trip will make your family feel like they’ve been “away” for a lifetime.
New York City Free and Cheap Halloween Festivities – Of course, there’s the world-famous Village Halloween Parade through Greenwich Village, where millions watch thousands of revelers, but local-in-the-boroughs Halloween ideas and events in NYC are fun too and even better for your little ones.
Fun & Frights in Pennsylvania – Pittsburgh, Scranton, Philadelphia, and Lancaster boast an amazing variety of weirdly fun outings… especially when you think about what a mellow state this is.
Spooky Thrills in Orlando, Florida – For pro scare tactics, there’s nowhere better than the theme parks of Orlando and central Florida, except maybe for those in Los Angeles…
Happiness & Horror in California – LA area theme parks use all the Hollywood talent at their disposal to create magical frights, but you can also enjoy the no-cost spectacle of the annual West Hollywood Parade and other fine Halloween ideas and events in LA.
Monster Madness in Missouri – If you’re within a day’s drive of Kansas City, those are the places to go to get your freak (out) on.
Enjoy these spooky fun Halloween ideas and events, and let us know if we forgot to mention your favorites!
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.