3 U.S. cities with the best Halloween parties

Think Halloween is just about passing out candy, wearing the same ol’ costume to the same ol’ bar or watching reruns of old horror films on TV? If so, you need to pack your bags this All Hallows’ Eve and hit up one of these scary good party cities! Just leave the lame Freddy Krueger mask at home!

Salem, MA -- Festival of the Dead

Photo credit: Festivalofthedead.com

These three cities are known for their gigantic Halloween bashes and balls, so you won’t be seeing the same ol’ people you see at your local pub. In fact, Halloween is such a big deal in Salem, New Orleans and Las Vegas that people spend months planning and creating their costumes! If you’re a Halloween junkie craving some real fun this Oct. 31, hit up one of these spooky lovin’ cities.

Salem, Massachusetts

You can’t think Halloween without thinking of Salem. Famous for the witch trials in the 1600s, this spooky city is said to be haunted by the 19 women who were executed. Although many people flock to Salem to hunt for spooks, a majority of the travelers come for the party! The monthlong Festival of the Dead was voted one of the top 10 Halloween parties by AskMen.com and takes place in Salem’s city center. Destination Salem says the city sees more than 200,000 visitors for the festival and makes about 25 percent of their tourism revenue during the month of October.

The event kicks off on Oct. 1 with the opening of the Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo. The parties, events, parades and fairs go all the way until Oct. 31, but the main attraction is the Official Salem Witches Ball in the historic Hawthorne Hotel. Like the movie Hocus Pocus depicts, the town and visitors dress up in elaborate costumes (this year’s theme is witches), enjoy Halloween-inspired hors d’oeuvres and dance the night away to live music. There’s a costume contest this year with a prize of $1,000 for the winner! Hotels book up months in advance, but check for hotel and inn openings at Salem.org.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Big Easy isn’t just known for Mardi Gras. In fact, thousands of visitors flock to the city in October for the huge Halloween parties. The first of the large parties is the Halloween in New Orleans four-day festival. This event is one of the largest charity-driven parties in the city. So far, the four-day extravaganza has raised $4.2 million dollars for Project Lazarus, an assisted living community for people living with AIDS. The party kicks off on Oct. 25 with the Lazarus black tie ball. The biggest party of the festival is the Monster Brawl on Saturday with more than 3,000 people usually in attendance. There’s a costume contest complete with celebrity judges, a celebrity fight, a New Orleans Bounce, costume parade and show. Tickets include drinks and start at $260 for the whole four days or $85 for one.

The Voodoo Experience is a concert festival that starts on Oct. 26 and goes until Oct. 28. The huge concert series draws more than 100,000 people to the Big Easy during Halloween weekend. This year, the concert is featuring the Avett Brothers, Jack White, Nas and Neil Young, among others. Tickets start at $90. Because of the Halloween event and the concert, most of the hotels in New Orleans during Halloween see 85 percent to 90 percent occupancy. In addition to these events, there’s also the Krewe of Brews Halloween parade down Frenchmen street and Boo at the Zoo at the Audubon Zoo.

Las Vegas, Nevada

If there’s one thing Sin City knows how to do, it’s party. Halloween on the famous Las Vegas Strip is one of the craziest times of year for the party city and is home to the best Halloween party in the entire country (as voted by AskMen.com). In addition, this party was also named as the world’s wildest Halloween party by Bizarre magazine and one of the top events in the world by the Travel Channel. So what is this amazing Halloween party? The Fetish and Fantasy Ball at the Hard Rock Casino, happening on Oct. 27!

The ball put Vegas on the map as the best place to go for Halloween because of its dedication to the event. Party goers not wearing a costume are fined $40, and the person with the best costume has a chance to walk home with $1,200! All types of costumes and fantasy apparel are welcome, however, no nudity. In addition to amazing DJs, dancing and booze, this party has erotic stage shows, laser cannons, two haunted houses, a porn slide show, stilt walkers, fire breathers and belly dancers, to name a few! The event costs $88. Another great option is the Haunted Hotel Ball at the Mandalay Bay also taking place on Oct. 27, complete with an Emmy award winning designed set and more than $5,000 in costume prizes.

More Halloween inspired trips

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Checking in: 5 must-see haunted hotels
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