With Halloween approaching this week, I wanted to compile my own list of places to go for a spooky scarecation.
Around the globe the 31st of October is celebrated in different ways, not just in the U.S.A as it might seem. So if you want an unusual, creep filled trip then keep reading...
1. Dracula's Castle, Romania
Let's begin with the ultimate destination of Horror: Bran Castle set in the mountains of Transylvania, Romania.
It was here the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula was created, so it seems only right to visit this Castle and learn about how Stoker developed his literary creation and find out all about the real Dracula:Vlad the Impaler.
Not to far from the city of Brasov , with good transport links you can explore the castle for as little as 7 Euros per person.
Photo by Bran Castle
2. Salem, Massachusetts
This town near Boston is famous for one thing in particular: witches.
Way back in the late 1600's, the brutal Salem witch trials took place where over 200 people were accused of practising witchcraft.
Nowadays, there is the Salem Witch Museum dedicated to that period in history and in the month of October the town begins to buzz with activity. You can experience Salem's 4D Walking adventure tour, or the large scale event of Haunting Happenings where there is a chance to go on graveyard tours, hear sinister tales and visit haunted houses.
Salem is a popular choice for Halloween so it's recommended that you book tours and accommodation well in advance.
3. London Dungeons, U.K.
This one was a bit gimmicky, but they claim they are the "home of Halloween", I've opted for London over Edinburgh and Amsterdam because the stories are recognised worldwide such as Jack The Ripper and Sweeney Todd.
Picture by- Time Out London
There is 19 interactive shows with interactive (creepy) actors and a few underground rides to thrill you. They have a dedicated Halloween special this year all about the "Death Express " which they describe as a one way ticket for the dead which is sure to scare any passengers.
If you are a thrifty traveller like me you can pre-book your tickets online and save a few bucks by using the London Pass card which includes entry to the dungeons. Otherwise standard entrance is £21.
4. Day of the Dead, Mexico
Day of the Dead festivities happen all throughout Mexico and have done for over 3000 years, with each village having slightly different ways of honouring the dead. The celebrations happen because they believe that the spirits of the deceased return to be together with their families.
Cemeteries have night time processions called Comparas which incorporates brightly coloured tapestries, ribbons and masks. In some towns a brightly coloured path can be made from orange marigolds so the spirits can find their way home. Throughout this festival offerings such as the famous sugar skulls are made to the deceased and candle lit vigils take place.
Photo by - Kenneth Garrett
Of course Mexico City is a great choice, but the southern cities of Oaxaca and Chiapas also have public displays.
Picture by - Mario Guzman
I have to put Edinburgh in this list, especially as I work in the tourism industry here. Edinburgh is haunted and considering the Old town is 400 years old there is a lot of ghost stories to be told. If you want a classic walking ghost tour where you will listen to the gory past of the city then there are plenty on offer. There is also a jazzed up version by which explores the city in a "ghost bus", step on board for a grim parade around Edinburgh.
Free ones around the Grayfriars Graveyard are also a good shout if you are on a budget.
This week there will be midnight tours available. (Links below)
However in my opinion the best way to be seriously unsettled is by going underground into the cities vaults. For adults only I should mention, a tour into the spooky vaults will involve hearing all about the body snatchers, murderers and perhaps discover some a lot more sinister...
Photo by Visit Scotland
If that's too much for you, then there is the Samhuinn Fire Festival which goes through the Old Town area and the performances are based around Scottish Celtic folklore and there will be street performers, music and plenty of fire... (In Edinburgh at this time of year, you'll be glad of some warmth)
The celebrations go right back to the Pagan times and best of all it's free to watch.
Photo by Visit Scotland
Happy Halloween everyone!
Day of dead tours in Mexico:
London Dungeon Tickets:
Edinburgh Vaults tours
Ghost Bus tour
Bran Castle :