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10 Small Towns That Turn Into Jack Skellington’s Halloweentown Each October

Every fall they go from quaint to spooky.

Halloween enthusiasts everywhere have had to come to terms with the fact that their favorite holiday will look slightly different this year. For kids, this might mean socially distanced trick-or-treating and for adults, your favorite night out will likely be a spooky night in.

To help those looking for a new way to celebrate, we turned toward the towns so done up for Halloween that you can enjoy the holiday all from the comfort of your own car—but feel free to get out and enjoy the socially-distanced festivities, of course. For those needing a new way to get their Halloween-fix, we found 10 places where you can experience this season to its fullest.

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Anoka, Minnesota

This small town in Minnesota is the self-proclaimed Halloween Capital of the World. According to local lore, after years of Halloween pranks gone awry, Anoka decided to put on a costume parade and block party to distract the teens who once caused mischief. Regardless of whether or not they were truly the first town to celebrate Halloween in this fashion, this town has kept their tradition alive. Today you can still view (and be a part of) their Halloween parades and participate in the festive activities leading up to the holiday.

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Eureka, Missouri

A family-friendly Halloween-town, Eureka celebrates the holiday with a ridiculously sweet scarecrow scavenger hunt. Eureka’s Scarecrow Festival runs October 1 all the way up through Halloween, giving you plenty of time to tour the festive town, where local artists have posted their handcrafted scarecrows.

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Salem, Massachusetts

It goes without saying that Salem, with its haunting history, is an ideal town for celebrating Halloween. Salem is infamous for its early-American witch trials and has continued to lean into it’s spookier past, offering the historians and Halloween-enthusiasts alike a unique way to celebrate the holiday. This town decorates and celebrates unlike any other with Salem’s Haunted Happenings, which allows you to choose from Halloween festivals to ghost tours to psychic readings throughout the month of October.

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St. Helens, Oregon

This place is truly Halloweentown—and by that, we do mean the home to the 1998 Disney Channel movie Halloweentown. For fans of the family classic, this town will be like stepping back in time and into your childhood fantasy. St. Helens transforms into the ultimate Halloween stop each October, with giant pumpkins, haunted houses, ghost walks, and more.

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Romeo, Michigan

In Romeo, Michigan, homeowners on Tillson Street go above and beyond when it comes to decorating. This small town is known for its elaborate decor and haunting front yards. Terror on Tilson Street has been going on for over 35 years and is a must-see for Midwesterners. On top of getting you in the Halloween spirit, this activity can be easily done from your car—pack some snacks and drive around town to view the decorations that have made Romeo famous.

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Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga Ghost Tours decided to take matters into their own hands to “save” their favorite holiday. This year, as a way to alleviate parents and children nervous of trick-or-treating, Chattanooga Ghost Tours will be hosting a Halloween home decorating contest so that residents can safely enjoy the holiday. If you’re looking to get in the holiday spirit from a distance, this is the perfect way to enjoy Halloween from the comfort of your car.

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Croton-on-Hudson, New York

This New York town is perfect for both children and adults with their Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, which lights up September through November to get residents and visitors into the Halloween spirit. This event is best viewed after dark when more than 7,000 jack o’ lanterns are lit up and on display for our viewing. With elaborate pumpkins, including a 25-foot-tall pumpkin rendition of the Statue of Liberty, this Halloween event is sure to wow.

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Dearborn, Michigan

Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village is ringing in its 40th anniversary this year, and nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop them from celebrating (though things will be a little different to keep their Halloween festivities safe). The Henry Ford transforms this Michigan neighborhood into a Halloween paradise each October, with over-the-top decor, more jack o’ lanterns than anyone can count, and several different activities—including a Hallowe’en Express that takes visitors around the neighborhood to view the ghoulish homes.

INSIDER TIPTo abide by COVID-19 guidelines, Hallowe’en will be capping the number of guests allowed per night, so it’s advised to buy tickets ahead of time.

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Estes Park, Colorado

Fans of Stephen King’s psychological thriller The Shining know the Stanley Hotel as the inspiration for the lodge that haunted Jack Nicholson, and it can now haunt you. Yes, horror and film lovers, you can visit the very hotel that you’ve seen on your screen for so long, and at Halloween, it becomes more alive than ever. There’s a night-time walking tour where visitors can immerse themselves in the hotel’s history as well as a “Shining Ball”—yes, you can party like it’s 1980 and you’ve been asked to watch over the lodge for the winter months.

And if Stanley Kubrick isn’t your thing, downtown Estes Park offers festivities for the whole family, including trick-or-treating and shopping.

INSIDER TIPThe Stanley Hotel is still open to visitors, though certain aspects might be closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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Sleepy Hollow, New York

Known for being the home to the legendary Headless Horseman, Sleepy Hollow, New York always gets into the Halloween spirit. The town’s popular lore brings travelers and Halloween-enthusiasts from all over ready to experience the haunting place’s holiday. While things have been seriously scaled back this year due to COVID-19, you can still expect some festive decor, as well as the popular Sleepy Hollow Cemetery walking tours.