With October knocking on the door, it’s time for travel agents to set up their clients’ Halloween activities. While holiday events take place all around the country, there are three towns in particular where witches, ghosts and vampires feel right at home.
Built between 1891 and 1894, Belcourt Castle in Newport, RI, is reputedly home to frequent ghost activity
Newport is considered one of the most haunted places in the U.S. And to emphasize that, the town has plenty of ghost-chasing opportunities during what it calls Haunted Newport. Ghost Tours of Newport has two tours to choose from. The “Olde Town” is a lantern-lit walking tour of creepy Newport spots. “Carved in Stone” is a 90-minute tour of the Common Burying Ground, Newport’s oldest and largest colonial cemetery. Guests will hear by lamplight tales of the restless souls that are believed to still haunt the cemetery. Tickets for both tours can be purchased online. For private group tour arrangements, e-mail [email protected].
The Harvest Moon Pirate Halloween Party Cruise takes place on October 14 on Narragansett Bay. Cruise on The Majestic under the full moon and dance to DJ Butch’s tunes from 8 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $25, which includes two drink tickets, and can be purchased at the dock or at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/33975. For more information, call 401-662-3934 or e-mail [email protected].
The French Gothic-style grand hall is the most haunted room at Belcourt Castle
Belcourt Castle is a museum as well as the residence of the Tinney family. No fewer than 17 ghosts supposedly roam among the house’s antiques and artwork (the grand hall is the most haunted room of the castle). The castle hosts its Belcourt’s Famous 2nd Halloween Ball on both October 18 and October 25. There will be food and beverages, a costume contest with prizes, a live band and a DJ. Purchase tickets at www.regonline.com/halloweenbash2008. Tickets are $95 until October 14; after, they are $100. Visit the website or call 401-846-0669.
There is no official website for Halloween events in Newport, but more information can be read at www.associatedcontent.com; type “Halloween in Newport” in the search bar.
Next to Mardi Gras, Halloween may be the biggest event in New Orleans. If your clients choose to hit the Big Easy, schedule them for some of these events.
New Orleans is well known for paranormal activity in its famed cemeteries
The Louisiana Pharmacy Museum offers what some may consider a somewhat gruesome exhibit, explaining the mythologies, lessons and superstitions surrounding healthcare. Call 504-565-8027 for times and information.
The Annual Les Temps Des Vampires Costume Party/Queen of the Damned Ball is an Anne Rice fan club party that is open to the public. A limited number of tickets are available at www.sagebrushonline.com. Call 504-896-7679 for information.
Held at Voodoo Authentica, a French Quarter Voodoo shop, the Voodoo Festival is a free annual event. Join in voodoo rituals, drumming circles and voodoo lessons. For more information, call 504-522-2111 or visit www.voodooshop.com.
Endless Night Festival XI/Day of the Dead is a Masque Ball that takes place Saturday evening, November 1, at The House of Blues. During the day, it is the Dark Bazaar, where attendees can find vendors, book signings and performances. Purchase tickets at www.ticketweb.com.
The Krewe of Boo is New Orleans’ Official Halloween Parade, and proceeds go to the First Responders Fund, benefiting police, fire and EMS departments, which all suffered after Hurricane Katrina. The parade is followed by the Halloween Costume Expose celebration.
The Mortuary is verified as a real haunted house by the International Society of Paranormal Research. This place goes all out to create a terrifying experience, including live bats, snakes and other “creatures of the night.” General admission is $20; VIP tickets are $30; a Frequent Fear Pass is $39.95.
House of Shock is a controversial horror show that is sure to send your clients screaming all the way home. Entrance is $20.
For more Halloween happenings in New Orleans, visit www.nola.com/haunted.
One cannot discuss Halloween destinations without mentioning Salem. The town has embraced its witchy past, and offers several opportunities to indulge in Halloween happenings. For a complete calendar, visit www.haunted happenings.org. Here are a few highlights.
At the Festival of the Dead: Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo, guests can get psychic readings and attend a psychic fair, which takes place all month long. The Haunted Happenings Grand Parade is an annual parade presented by the Salem Chamber of Commerce, which also hosts the Haunted Biz Baz, a two-day street festival taking place Saturday and Sunday, October 11-12. There will be crafts, food and entertainment.
Legacy of the Hanging Judge is a re-creation of the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, held at the legendary House of the Seven Gables. Reservations are highly recommended. Visit the website or call 978-744-0991, ext. 104.
Eerie Evenings is six nights of scary storytelling in the infamous Witch House of Salem, with costumed actors and authentic settings. Call 978-744-8815 for tickets. The Halloween Costume Cruise aboard Voyager III is available on several evenings and includes music, dancing and food. Tickets are $35 at the dock, or save $5 by booking in advance. Call 978-741-0220 or visit www.salemferry.com. The Hawthorne Hotel’s Carn-Evil Creep Show Ball has a ticket price of $90 that includes three floors of entertainment, food, a limited-edition T-shirt and a photo. The costume contest has $1,500 in cash prizes. Call 978-744-4080 for tickets and information or purchase tickets online at www.ticketweb.com.
Festival of the Dead is an event series that hosts numerous parties and events, including the Vampire’s Masquerade Ball, the Retro Zombie Ball, the Dumb Supper: Dinner With the Dead and the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball, arguably the biggest party of the season. Visit the website for individual ticket prices and information.