It’s that spooky time of year and each state has its own grand celebrations. The South has some of the oldest, and of course haunted, cities in the country. Expect plenty of tours of haunted cemeteries and homes, as well as parades of the funky and freaky. There are events for both families and adults and whatever costume and persona you decide to take on for All Hallows Eve. Here are just a few of our favorites.
The annual Little Five Points Halloween Parade in Atlanta is reminiscent of the one in New York’s Greenwich Village, bringing in over 30,000 people for the one day event. Locals dress up in costumes for a day of concerts and eating and drinking on the street. The parade has floats from local businesses and they even throw out candy for the kids. Best of all, the event is free to attend, but take MARTA if you can, as parking is a mess.
Key West, Florida
No part of the South can party quite like the island of Key West, so of course they would have an epic Halloween celebration. Fantasy Fest is a weeklong celebration that brings in visitors to the islands in an otherwise slow part of the season. Since 1979, each fest has had a theme for costumes. It can be more adult in nature than other Halloween events, particularly at the bars on Duval Street and costumes are racier. Dozens of individual events make up the festival, so you can find something for nearly everyone.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Photo: Infrogmation of New Orleans
The land of Anne Rice and Marie Laveau is certainly the spookiest place to spend Halloween in the South for its ghost stories and legends of vampires and voodoo priestesses. While you can easily just tour one of the many cemeteries, New Orleans has no shortage of Halloween events. Most notable are Halloween New Orleans, thrown by the LGBTQ community, Voodoo Music + Art Experience, a music festival bringing in international acts, and Krewe of Boo, a Mardi Gras style Halloween parade.
Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Photo: Tweetsie Railroad
The beloved Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock, North Carolina gets a spooky makeover every fall for Ghost Train. The event features a ghost train ride, trick or treating, a haunted house, maze, shows and more. On the ghost train ride, you’ll pass through the park in darkness. Some attractions are scarier than others, so you may want to leave the smaller children at home.
Photo: Dale Goodwin
Known as the “world’s largest Halloween party,” the Louisville Zoo in Louisville, Kentucky offers the most family friendly day of fun for younger travelers. Children dress up and are able to trick or treat around the sprawling zoo, as well as explore the mazes and playgrounds. There are plenty of photo opportunities with costumed characters and even a costume contest for the most clever.