Halloween is a time to let loose and try something new. Put aside your responsibilities for the night and say no to that October gloom!

If you don’t have any wild costume parties lined up, why not organize a trip? Use the long weekend to visit someplace you’ve never been before. Take your kids to a Halloween festival, or whisk away your partner for a spooky, romantic adventure. If you’re traveling alone, you can still dress up and show a side of you that you usually keep hidden.

In case you’re short on ideas, we’ve compiled a list of the most memorable US destinations for Halloween 2022. We wish you a frightfully fun time. ?

1. Salem, MA

We tend to think of Salem as a relic of past times. Everyone knows about the 1692 witch trials, and it’s not too surprising that the town’s got plenty of museums and attractions documenting that part of its history.

What you might find unexpected is that Salem is home to the largest Halloween celebration in the world! This is Salem Haunted Happenings, an annual celebration of all things spooky and morbid.

Have you always secretly wanted to attend a seance? Now’s your chance! Salem’s a great place to meet with psychics and clairvoyants. Get your fortune told, get a tarot reading, or just have fun watching the masters at work.

Witch house in Salem.

You can also learn about the history of witchcraft in the city. Salem’s museums are great at combining educational content with more lighthearted elements, and many of its historical attractions are open to kids.

Read more: The world’s best mortuary museum

If you want to take a break from history, check out the International Monster Museum and learn all about ghouls and ghosts in an interactive experience! Or you can spend some time at a haunted house or get spooked at the Chambers of Terror down on Wharf Street.

To get a better feel of the town, book a trolley tour or guided walking tour of the architecture. Don’t miss out on the harbor tours, or go on a Halloween-themed cruise you’ll never forget. You can always hop on a train and spend an evening out in Boston — it’s a half-hour trip and the city’s nightlife is more than worth it.

Best of all, Salem Haunted Happenings is turning 40 years old this year! If you ever wanted to visit Salem, 2022 is the time to go.

2. New Orleans, LA

The city of jazz, crawfish, and stunning architecture — everyone should get to visit it at least once.

But when Halloween comes around, New Orleans goes through a transformation. Fusing Halloween and Day of the Dead traditions, the costume party on Frenchmen Street is a gorgeous sight.

Read more: Festivals to attend before you die

Explore the most haunted spots in town! Learn about Le Petit Theatre’s macabre history or visit the Ursuline Convent where young girls lived, prayed, studied, and sometimes died. You can book a reservation at the Pere Antoine Restaurant and learn about the ghost of the kindly priest who cannot find rest in the afterlife.

A New Orleans mansion, its lawn decorated with skeletons.

Every home in New Orleans celebrates Halloween in style, so you’ll see decorations that will sear into your mind. There are plenty of haunted houses up and down the city, but we especially recommend Hotel Monteleone and other ghost-ridden hotels and motels.

3. Philadelphia, PA

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the best-guarded, most expensive prison in the world. Today, it’s a historic site. You can visit it all year long and learn about its rise and fall, the time it housed Al Capone, and the way its prisoners used to spend their day-to-day lives.

But on Halloween, the site changes into one of the greatest seasonal attractions in the country.

You can learn stories about restless spirits or go on tours across the 10-acre prison area. There are five haunted houses on site as well. If you can’t decide which one to visit, here’s a little guide:

  • The Crypt is for vampire enthusiasts
  • Big Top Terror is for anyone who loves/hates spooky clowns and circus attractions
  • Nightmares gives you a waking approximation of sleep paralysis
  • Machine Shop has the feel of a grim survival game
  • Delirium offers a slew of puzzles and optical illusions that will leave you feeling disoriented.

The architecture takes on a spooky gothic vibe under the Halloween lighting. Enjoy the bars, go dancing, and celebrate life in the face of a grim historical reality!

Creepy abandoned hallway in Philadelphia prison.

Of course, Philly has even more to offer to Halloween visitors. There’s the Bates Motel, a must-see for fans of Psycho. If you love macabre medical history facts, visit the Mütter Museum.

For a more family-friendly daytime event, check out the scarecrow competition at Peddler’s Village. If you’ve got toddlers and you want to put them in that Halloween spirit, Linvilla Orchards has a pumpkin-themed garden they’ll love, as well as seasonal games for kids of all ages.

4. New York, NY

When October comes around, every part of the Big Apple lights up in orange-and-black.

Greenwich Village celebrates Halloween in style. Join the procession of over 50,000 celebrants wearing the most creative and bizarre costumes you’ll ever see.

Or if you’re looking for something a bit more restrained but no less spooky, there’s the Crypt Crawl starting from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. If you’re in the mood for a haunted house that will chill you to the bones, visit Blood Manor in downtown Manhattan. (Note that the Manor only accepts visitors aged 14+.)

Of course, this is a holiday for the whole family. NYC is full of unforgettable activities for kids and you can find a Halloween attraction fit for any age. For example, Luna Park offers unforgettable Halloween-themed rides and harvest events. This is also a great place to get your fill of delicious autumn snacks like funnel cakes!

New York City blurs the lines between everyday life and the macabre spirit of the season. It’s inevitable that you’ll get that creative itch and want to join in on the fun. For some ideas, check out this amazing compilation of people riding New York subways in their costumes!

One of the passengers on a New York subway is dressed like an Avatar character.