October is the perfect month for a spooky road trip. Our friends at the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) have rounded up nine Halloween destination ideas sure to add some fun to your fall season. Some are downright frightful, while others are family-friendly. So pick your poison, pack up the RV, and have a fang-tastic time!
1. Jack O’Lantern Spectacular – Louisville, Kentucky
Jack-O-Lantern events are held across the U.S., but one of the largest celebrations takes place in central Kentucky. The event is held in Louisville’s Iroquois Park with 5,000 carved pumpkins lining a walking trail. The trail is illuminated at night as an “art show” complete with themed scenes and music.
Louisville South KOA Holiday
2. Jerome, Arizona
Jerome is located in Arizona’s Black Hills, about 100 miles north of Phoenix. It was founded as a mining town in 1876, an industry that it sustained until the Great Depression. Although the town’s boom was considered short-lived, many grand buildings had been constructed and the town had a bustling business district, including a hotel and community hall. These buildings still stand today, and many have been restored. But not only the buildings have lived on. The town boasts many local ghost stories, centering around the old mines. Each year, the Jerome Historical Society shares its ghostly history with an annual Ghostwalk, an hour-long tour through the town’s colorful past.
Flagstaff KOA Holiday
3. Coon Dog Cemetery – Tuscumbia, Alabama
If you’ve seen the movie “Sweet Home Alabama,” you may be familiar with the Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, AKA the “Coon Dog Cemetery.” Approximately 150 coon dogs, including several world champions, have been laid to rest in this remote area near the Natchez Trace. Keep in mind the movie shows a recreated cemetery located near town. The actual cemetery is much harder to find, yet it doesn’t keep visitors away. The Coon Dog Cemetery is seven miles west of Tuscumbia on U.S. Highway 72. Turn left on Alabama Highway 247, and travel approximately 12 miles. Then turn right on Coondog Cemetery Road, and follow the signs. The graveyard is open every day during daylight hours.
4. Salem Witch Museum – Salem, Massachusetts
Fly your broom – or drive your RV – to Salem, site of the Witch Trials of 1692, which resulted in the execution of 14 women and six men who were believed to be practicing witchcraft. Visit the Salem Witch Museum, which features 13 life-size stage sets that make the visitor feel as if he or she is in the middle of the “Witchcraft Hysteria.” You can also take a self-guided tour of nearby towns that were embroiled in the witch hunt. In these towns, you can visit original houses or foundations, as well as gravesites, relevant to the trials. It’s worth noting that Salem is pedestrian and cyclist-friendly.
5. Sleepy Hallow, New York
Yes, Sleepy Hollow is a real place! Visitors can see (most of) the famous locations that were featured in Washington Irving’s short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Visit the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, complete with spooky tombstones, twisting roads, mausoleums, and statues. Guided cemetery tours take place April through November.
However, the bridge over the Pocantico River that Ichabod Crane feverishly crossed to escape the Headless Horseman is not real – at least not how it was described in the story. Whatever bridge existed in the 1700s has since rotted away, and chances are it was not a covered bridge. Covered bridges were not typically built in this part of New York. So let your imagination run wild on your trip to Sleepy Hollow!
New York City North / Newburgh KOA Holiday
6. Stanley Hotel – Estes Park, Colorado
REDRUM. Are you a fan of The Shining? Take a road trip to the Stanley Hotel, the inspiration of Stephen King’s novel and the eventual movie by the same name. The hotel opened in 1909 in Estes Park. Shortly after, the hotel’s owner helped to develop the town as a posh mountain getaway. Take the Night Spirit Tour to hear the tales of the hotel’s unearthly residents. The tour is not recommended for children under age 10.
Estes Park KOA Holiday
7. The Queen Mary – Long Beach, California
The Queen Mary is regarded as one of the world’s most haunted ships and declared one of “America’s Top 10 Most Haunted” places by Time magazine. The ship has many events to help visitors explore its haunted past…if you’re brave enough:
- Paranormal Ship Walk Tour – probably the tamest adventure.
- Feeling more brave? Consider joining a Paranormal Investigation, where you will be able to explore active spirit locations not open to the general public.
- Dining with the Spirits – a group dining experience and history tour.
- Dark Harbor – Instead of a traditional haunted house, think of this like a haunted ship. The event normally runs September through November and features costumed figures that will give you a bone-chilling experience. May not be suitable for all ages.
Temecula / Vail Lake KOA
8. Kentucky Horse Park – Lexington, Kentucky
The Kentucky Horse Park transforms into Halloween heaven for two weeks each October. Check out this video of the festivities. Each year, the park presents an annual Halloween show where horses and their riders wear costumes.
Natural Bridge / Lexington KOA Holiday
9. Denver Downs Farm Corn Maze – Anderson, South Carolina
What’s more fun than a good, old-fashioned corn maze? Denver Downs Farm has been ranked on several “Top-10 Corn Maze” lists, thanks in part to the unique images it etches to create the maze. The farm boasts more than 35 family activities, including a pumpkin patch, live entertainment, petting zoo, and fall fun like bonfires. And if you’re feeling brave, there’s a Harvest of Horror scare-fest for adults, too.