The Best Halloween Parties, Parades, and Festivals of 2018

West Village Halloween Parade
Photo: Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

A favorite holiday for kids and adults alike, Halloween is celebrated with haunted houses, parades, parties, fright walks, zombies and ghouls, jack-o-lanterns, and of course trick-or-treating.

Whether your Halloween conjures up sweet visions of never-ending candy, creative costumes, or blood-curdling, nightmarish adventures, the following Halloween events across the U.S. will exceed your expectations.

NYC Village Halloween Parade

Celebrating its 45th year, this Halloween night parade/pageant, touted as the world’s largest and held in New York City’s legendary Greenwich Village, spotlights wildly creative costumes, hundreds of puppets, floats, bands, and dancers. All costumed participants are welcome to march in this boisterous gathering to the delight of crowds of spectators.

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West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval

California's West Hollywood “Halloween Carnaval” is one of the largest and most unique Halloween extravaganzas featuring elaborate costumes from innovative to outrageous, celebrity entertainment, and more. Leave the kids at home and avoid parking and transportation nightmares with a stay at the Design District’s gorgeous Kimpton La Peer Hotel.

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Providence Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

This family-friendly jack-o-lantern wonderland at Roger Williams Park Zoo stars over 5,000 elaborately carved pumpkins depicting real-life and imaginary characters from Oct. 4–Nov. 4. A stay in the heart of downtown Providence, Rhode Island's arts and theater district at the boutique Hotel Providence would be a fitting finale.

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Salem Haunted Happenings Grand Parade and More

For maximum spook factor this Halloween, it’s impossible to top Salem, Massachusetts and its month-long list of events from the spine-chilling to the family-friendly. Festivities range from the Grand Parade on Oct. 4 to ghost tours, legendary tales of Salem witchcraft trials, and eerie escape rooms.

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Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights

At this astounding adventure created by the team at Universal Orlando Resort, brave visitors will experience terrifying haunted houses, frightful scare zones and bone-chilling live shows. Be prepared to scream, laugh, and cry out in fear; not recommended for thrill-seekers under 13 years old. Select nights between Sept.14 and Nov. 3, 2018.

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New Orleans Garden District Halloween Decor
Julie Dermansky/Getty Images

New Orleans Krewe of Boo Parade and More

Second only to Mardi Gras for kooky costumes and events, Halloween in “The Most Haunted City in America” is a playground for kids of all ages. Youngsters enjoy the Krewe of Boo Parade (Oct. 20) and Boo at the Zoo while adults get their thrills on haunted tours, the Vampire Ball, and the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience. The WWII Museum will host a haunted happy hour, murder mystery party, and film screening on Oct. 29.

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San Diego Hallo-wine & Spirits

Welcome Halloween with surf, sand, sun, and spirits at the iconic Hotel del Coronado’s Silver Screen-themed adults-only dinner, dessert, and wine tasting dance party on Oct. 27. A separate Transylvania Halloween Costume Party for children 4–12 includes dinner and trick-or-treating.

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Six Flags Fright Fest

From Sept. 15–Oct. 31, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey boasts seven haunted mazes and five scare zones guaranteed to make your worst nightmares come true. Daytime family activities abound, but beware of spine-tingling horror once the sun goes down at Fright by Night.

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Sleepy Hollow Halloween

With activities ranging from street fairs, farmers markets, and haunted hayrides to nighttime cemetery tours, live music, and parades, Sleepy Hollow is a town immersed in Halloween “spirit” throughout October. Only the fearless walk the spooky trail at Horseman’s Hollow leading to the haunted 300-year-old Philipsburg Manor.

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Park City Howl-o-Ween Dog Parade

Mild weather and scenic foliage provide the backdrop for the puppy parade while costumed pets and owners strut their stuff down Main Street. Merchants hand out candy to the happy children and many provide grown-up tricks and treats after dark. Look for Monty and Parker, Montage Deer Valley’s canine ambassadors, dressed up for the occasion.

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Salt River Fields Spooktacular Balloon Festival

This unique Halloween celebration in Scottsdale, Arizona features over 20 colorful hot air balloons, fireworks, a spook trail, tethered balloon rides, costume contests, and two tons of candy for the trick-or-treaters. The Spooktacular marketplace vendors sell locally crafted items, holiday-themed fare, and beverages on Oct. 26 and 27.

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Reno Zombie Crawl
David Fleming

Reno Zombie Crawl

Over 20,000 participants from around the world will be celebrating Halloween at the 10th annual Zombie Crawl in Reno, Nevada, scaring up drinks at more than 50 different bars in their back-from-the dead best. At the Eldorado Resort, in the heart of the action, prizes for best costume will be awarded at their epic Halloween party.


Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkins Festival

Half Moon Bay, California, the “World's Pumpkin Capital,” will host the 48th-annual event for a weekend of gourd-themed festivities (Oct. 13–14) including the great weigh-off, where farmers and families bring their heaviest pumpkins, some weighing over 1,000 pounds. Master carvers create incredible designs while guests enjoy pumpkin pie and watch the Great Pumpkin Parade.

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Miami Beach Halloween Half-marathon and Freaky Four-miler

Runners in full costume, of course, start at Jungle Island and enjoy the South Beach views on their way to the finish line on Oct. 27. With some afternoon relaxation, they can be ready for the “Once Bitten” Halloween Party late that night on the 50th floor of the W Miami, an indoor-outdoor venue with stunning views.

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