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Are you looking for somewhere creepy to spend Halloween? Or perhaps you’re looking for a spooky destination that will give you chills year-round? You’re in luck – I’ve collated the top ten best destinations for Halloween, or just any time you want to search for things that go bump in the night!

So, for the next post in my ‘Spooky October’ series, here are ten ultra-creepy destinations. Some of these I’ve visited, and some are on the wishlist – but one thing is for sure, you’ll want to have your wits about you on your visit!

The Creepy Paris Catacombs

#10: Paris Catacombs

It might be a bit of an odd choice to start with the City of Love, but beneath the cobblestone streets of Paris there’s a dark side. You see, in the 18th Century the French capital had a problem – people were dying faster than new cemeteries were being built. In fact, the lack of space in the cemeteries was such a problem that several of the walls to the cemeteries collapsed, leading to a fairly gruesome outcome.

As a result, more than six million people’s bones were placed in abandoned mineshafts under the city. As if that idea wasn’t creepy enough, they were arranged in a very ornate way. Today, the catacombs are open to visitors – as long as you’re not too faint of heart.

New Orleans Cemetery

#9: New Orleans

New Orleans has so much spook-tacular history that I’m including the whole city on the list. NOLA has long been associated with the creepy and the occult: in fact, last week I wrote about the fascinating history of voodoo in the city. If you’re looking for a hex to put on a former lover or work rival, NOLA is the place to go.

It’s not just voodoo that makes New Orleans a place to visit for Halloween. Many of the buildings have a gruesome and macabre history, such as the home of the wicked and cruel Delphine LaLaurie, where at least one young girl jumped to her death to escape her practices. Then, of course, there are the many cemeteries featuring above ground crypts, including that of voodoo High Priestess Marie Laveau.

Bran Castle in Romania

#8: Bran Castle, Romania

I’ve yet to be here but it’s on my list – after all, how could I resist the allure of visiting Dracula’s Castle near Transylvania? Alright, so historians and literature fanatics are pretty divided on whether the castle was actually the fictional home of Count Dracula, but it sure looks like it could be the residence of the world’s most famous vampire.

A castle was first built on this site in 1212, however it was made from wood and sacked by the Mongols in 1242 (they would have benefited from the release of The Three Little Pigs it seems). When Louis I of Hungary came by in 1377, the castle had been rebuilt – this time built of stone. A number of Hungarian kings woud live there, and it is rumoured that Vlad the Impaler may have dropped in during his nearby visits to the town of Bran.

#7: Houska Castle, Czech Republic

A fairly unassuming looking castle hides a dark secret (dun dun!) – it was built by superstitious locals in the thirteenth century to cover up a supposed doorway between earth and the underworld. Legend has it that creepy winged creatures and demons would fly out of the hole, so it was covered up.

More recently, the Castle was taken over by the Germans during World War Two and was the site of numerous atrocities. Undoubtedly, it has an incredibly creepy history – go there if you dare (and can get over the massive fence that surrounds it to keep people out, and demons in.)

Sedlec Ossuary
Pic: Todd Huffman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/oddwick/)

#6: Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic

Let’s stay in the Czech Republic – yes, they get two entries in this list, and I’m sure once you hear about this place you’ll see why. Not content with only having a castle over the gateway to hell, the Czech Republic also boasts the Sedlec Ossuary, a small Roman Catholic chapel that is quite pretty at first glance. That is, until you realise that all of the fixtures and decorations are made from human bones. More than 40,000 people are thought to have contributed (literally) to the chapel.

Why in the everloving f* would you do that? Who knows, really. It all started in the thirteenth century when the Sedlec Ossuary became “the” place to be buried. Hundreds of years later and lacking the space to simply bury the devoted, a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was instructed to “organise” the bones. He got very creative (and some would say very creepy).

Abandoned Mine in Cornwall

#5: Cornwall, England

England’s favourite seaside destination might not seem like an obvious choices for creepy places to spend Halloween, but there’s plenty to give you chills in Cornwall. Once the stomping ground of pirates and smugglers, there are several chilling legends from this time: such as that of Cruel Coppinger, a terrifying man who’s son was equally so and killed his young playmate as a child.

Aside from pirates and smugglers, Cornwall has many other eerie attractions and landmarks such as countless abandoned mines and a museum of witchcraft. Don’t let it’s family-friendly holiday destination fool you: Cornwall has more than its fair share of creepy attractions. 

Hashima Island Japan

#4: Hashima Island, Japan

There’s something very creepy about ghost towns – so what about a whole ghost island? About 15km from Nagasaki, Hashima Island was once the most densely populated place on earth, and once over 5,000 people lived on the so-called ‘Battleship Island’, which spans over just 16 acres.

As industry on the island collapsed, the population moved out swiftly, leaving behind infrastructure and posessions. Over time, these were gradually reclaimed by the island, leaving behind a strange and haunting ghost city. 

Abbotsford Convent Melbourne

#3: Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne

One of the most lively and beloved buildings in Melbourne today has a much darker history. From 1863, it was run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd as a convent for ‘girls considered by the State and/or the Church to be in moral danger’, including those who were orphaned, destitute or had children out of wedlock.

Like many such institutions, conditions were draconian. Residents were forced to work long hours in the gigantic, freezing building, without any pay. Corporal punishment was rife and residents were often forced to work in total silence. Today, the Abbotsford Convent is a lively arts hub, however tours can still give you an insight into the more dark side of the building’s history. 

Chichen Itza

#2: Chichen Itza

When it comes to creepy places, it doesn’t get much ‘better’ than Mexico’s Chichen Itza on the Yucatan Peninsula, although some of the history is left out of the glossy brochures. The Mayans were a particularly bloodthirsty bunch, with an impressive variety of methods for sacrificing people to please their Gods. 

Amongst them, decapitation was the most generally preferred method, and happened frequently at Chichen Itza – including at the top of the altar above. After the sacrifice was killed, he or she was generally thrown into a ‘sacred cenote’ nearby. This continued right up until the Spanish Conquest in the 1500s. Charming.

Day of the Dead in Mexico

#1: Pátzcuaro, Mexico

It’s not just the Mexicans of days gone by who make it on this list. It couldn’t possibly be a list of the best creepy destinations to visit around Halloween without mentioning Mexico’s (arguably superior) alternative, La Dia de Los Muertos (the day of the dead).

The event – once solemn, now more festive – originated about 600 years ago in the city of Pátzcuaro, a few hours from Mexico City. Each year, around the end of October, loved ones journey to cemeteries to pay their respect to those they have lost and make offerings such as their favourite food, or favourite tequila.

It’s currently sitting at #1 on my ‘to see’ list, not just because of its creepy overtones but also because – by contrast – I think it’s beautiful to devote a day to those we’ve loved and lost. I hope to go there soon!

So there we have it, my picks for the top places to visit for Halloween. What do you think? Where would you like to visit for Halloween?

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Best Places to Spend Halloween - Journey with Georgie. Looking for somewhere spooky to spend Halloween? Here's my top ten ideas.
Best Places to Spend Halloween – Journey with Georgie

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3 Comments

  1. Loved your selection! Let’s admit it, Bran Castle is just perfect for Halloween but I really like the idea of visiting Cornwall. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Great article! And just in time for Halloween 🙂 Some really interesting places on here in addition to the more popular spots! We’ll be headed to the Czech Republic around Christmas, so will definitely be adding Houska Castle to the list of spots to visit!

  3. Houska Castle would definitely be my pick. I really enjoyed this post! So many creative ideas for Halloween destinations! Thanks for sharing!

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