8 Halloween Experiences that will give you Goosebumps

Not sure how to spend the scariest night of the year? Forget the usual trick-or-treating and discover Halloween experiences that will give you goosebumps.

Whether you’re at home or on vacation, the night of October 31 is not something to be taken lightly. For centuries it’s been celebrated as a time when the dead walk among the living. Discover the dark side of the city you’re in, explore the world of ghosts and ghouls and immerse yourself in some seriously spooky surrounds. If you think Halloween is for kids in oversized superman costumes and trick-or-treating, we have experiences that will make you think again.

Read on to discover 8 things to do this Halloween that’ll make your skin crawl.

1. Get chills at an amusement park

Amusement parks aren’t just for summer! In fact come Halloween and they turn into the ideal place for the whole family to enjoy some eerie thrills. Universal Orlando Resort, Florida, organizes the “Halloween Horror Nights” which from September to October 31 brings to the park 10 haunted houses, five scare zones and live shows that will test even the bravest. If, on the other hand, you prefer an atmosphere suitable even for the very little ones, then Legoland California with its “Brick-Or-Treat” is the right place for you.

Europe also has some excellent amusement parks for this terrifying night. Disneyland Paris has a Halloween Party where you can meet all the villains from your favorite cartoons. PortAventura, in Tarragona, instead is haunted by demons, monsters and ghosts from late September to late October and sets up two horror zones and thrill-seeking shows. In Toverland, the Netherlands, the nights come alive with monstrous parades, five scare zones and other chilling experiences. Finally, in Italy, Mirabilandia’s Halloween is by far the most terrifying in the whole country, with the Halloween Horror Festival, horror tunnels for both adults and children and other adrenaline-infused activities.

2. Discover the dark side of the city

Many don’t realize that some of the most charming and cosmopolitan cities around the world hide a dark past, made up of gruesome crimes, haunted locales and unsolved mysteries. It’s a great way to see another side to a city you’re visiting or the place you live.

If you’re traveling to New Orleans, join one of the ghost, spirit and vampire tours where you’ll uncover the secrets of the most mysterious and haunted city in the United States. Otherwise in Europe, there’s no city more famous for its darker side than London. Here you can join a ghost tour at dusk or dare to follow in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper, the notorious serial killer who terrorized the Whitechapel neighborhood in the late 19th century. Munich also has its fair share of blood-thirsty stories, which you can discover on a tour of the most chilling crimes in the city’s history.

3. Visit a creepy castle

Castles have long been synonymous with the sinister. They’ve been the backdrop of many a gothic film and are known for their ghostly visitors, often tortured souls desperate for vengeance and ready to terrify any innocent guests they stumble upon.

Fear addicts don’t want to miss the Bran Castle in Romania, also known as Dracula’s castle. And while there’s no evidence that blood-thirsty Vlad the Impaler, nor any vampire for that matter, ever lived here there it still lives up to its name. Its fourth floor is entirely dedicated to nightmarish creatures from Roman mythology. Another castle as beautiful as it is creepy is the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. This fascinating medieval fortress is said to be inhabited by several ghosts, including the Lone Piper, who apparently is trapped in the basement playing his sorrowful song for all to hear. In Portugal instead there’s the Mafra Palace, said to be inhabited by giant mice, and in the Netherlands the Muiderslot, haunted by the spirit of Count Floris V, who was betrayed and killed by his hunting companions.

Beneath some of the largest European cities lies a fascinating underground world made up of catacombs, bunkers and secret passages. Exploring them is an electrifying and macabre experience that sheds new light on any city. Rome’s catacombs seem endless, with over 50 tunnels extending around 150km and covering a time span that goes from the end of the 2nd to the 9th century. Although less extensive, the catacombs of Naples are equally impressive and explore the city’s history and connection with death. Other famous catacombs include those of Paris, which are much more recent (built between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century) and preserve the bones of six million people.

5. Experience an eerie cemetery

Not quite creepy enough for you? Then we have something that will scare even the bravest. Visiting a cemetery on Halloween is not for the faint of heart. Inextricably linked to death, one can only imagine how many bodies have been buried here and how many souls might still be trapped to this patch of earth.

Genova’s Staglieno Cemetery is one of the most fascinating (and largest) of its kind in Europe and is known for capturing the attention of Mark Twain, Friedrick Nietzche and Ernest Hemingway. St Mary’s Church in Whitby is also adequately eerie for a Halloween visit. Perched atop a 199-step stone staircase, this cemetery is said to have inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. Don’t miss the Huntrodd memorial dedicated to a couple born on the same day in 1600, who died the exact same day 80 years later. Pretty disturbing, right?

6. Dare to enter a haunted place

Castles, catacombs and cemeteries aren’t the only places with the power to scare. Forests, abandoned prisons and haunted houses can be equally petrifying. Some of these forests can be found in Europe. The Black Forest, for example, in southern Germany is not only a beautiful vacation destination, it’s also the setting for legends about werewolves, beheaded knights and witches… You might not want to linger here long after dark! The Hoia Forest in Transylvania is arguably even creepier. Not only do the trees have unusual shapes after becoming contorted over the years, in the middle of the forest lies a strange patch of barren land said to be a portal to another world. They say the people who’ve passed through it never returned…

Nature not your thing? No worries, there are a plenty of haunted urban spaces. London’s Tube is just one example. Apparently at Farrington Station the cry of a young woman killed here in the 18th century can still be heard. Moreover at Elephant & Castle station a woman is said to enter every day only to disappear into thin air.

7. Feel the fear at a museum

A visit to a quietly terrifying museum adds an educational aspect to your Halloween. Two perfect examples of this are the Dungeons of Amsterdam and London. These museums show you the dark history of these two capitals through special effects, artifacts and live performances. Raucous laughter and high-pitched squeals are all part and parcel of the audience experience.

The Jack The Ripper Museum is also worth a visit, especially if you’re the type who’s fascinated by murder cases. It tells (in gruesome detail) the story of this infamous London serial killer who killed several women in the East End in 1888. Another creepy museum you don’t want to miss is the Pharmacy Museum in the French Quarter of New Orleans. All kinds of bizarre 19th-century medical objects are on display, while the ghost of the first owner, who conducted Voodoo experiments, is said to roam here in spirit form.

8. Pick pumpkins for Halloween

Looking for things to do on Halloween that are also suitable for the little ones? Then head to a pumpkin patch! With pumpkin fields being fairly easy to find in the UK, it makes for an unmissable activity if you happen to be in London in October. Crockford Bridge Farm, just an hour southwest of central London has thousands of pumpkins on display and gives you the opportunity to pick your own and stroll around the farm enjoying the festive atmosphere.

If there’s one country known to take Halloween and their pumpkins seriously, it’s the United States. If you want to know just how seriously and you’re in New York during this time, we suggest taking the Maple Leaf train to the Hudson Valley, where you can discover the magical Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze®. On this immersive experience you’ll walk among over 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins all eerily illuminated.

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