7 spooky places to visit this October

These spots are perfect for scaredy cats, ghost hunters and everyone in between

Plastic skulls on a black fence for Halloween.
Halloween decorations line a fence in New Orleans' Garden District
(Image credit: bpperry / Getty Images)

Now that Halloween is right around the corner, it's officially time to take that ghost tour, visit that haunted mansion or check into that eerie hotel. Here are a few suggestions for places to visit that will get you into the spooky season spirit. 

New Orleans, Louisiana

A house decorated for Halloween in the French Quarter of New Orleans

Residents in the French Quarter go all out with their Halloween decorations

(Image credit: Mladen Antonov / AFP via Getty Images)

Halloween in New Orleans will have you thinking, "Mardi Gras who?" There's so much to do across this colorful city, from a tour of haunted hot spots in the French Quarter to trips to voodoo shops and cemeteries. Don't miss Krewe of BOO!, the city's official Halloween parade featuring over-the-top floats and costumed participants. Scheduled the weekend before Oct. 31, Krewe of BOO! is actually a series of events, with revelers invited to attend the Captain's Masquerade Ball, the New Orleans Zombie Run and the Monster Mash post-parade party.

Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California

The exterior of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California

There are 10,000 windows and 2,000 doors inside the Winchester Mystery House

(Image credit: Tayfun Coskun / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Only at the Winchester Mystery House will you find stairs to nowhere, doors that open into nothing, walled-off windows, and skylights on the floor. It was originally an eight-room farmhouse, but from 1886 to 1922, Sarah Winchester oversaw a constant renovation that resulted in a sprawling 24,000-square-foot mansion with 10,000 windows and 2,000 doors. No one knows what was behind Winchester's odd architectural style; some say she wanted to confuse the ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles. Visitors can take tours of the allegedly haunted house throughout the year, but they're always better at Halloween. For select dates through Oct. 31, visitors can experience "Unhinged: Housewarming," a new immersive event.

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St. Augustine, Florida

A person walks up the staircase at the St. Augustine Lighthouse

The St. Augustine Lighthouse is said to be haunted by three children who perished at sea

(Image credit: Richard Tribou / Orlando Sentinel / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

It's the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States and apparently one of the most haunted. Ghost hunters enjoy coming to St. Augustine to see what will materialize at the lighthouse, the Sequi-Kirby Smith House, the St. Francis Inn, and Flagler College — all of which have reported paranormal activity at one time or another. There are several guided tours visitors can choose from, but those who would rather drink spirits than see them should opt for the Original Haunted Pub Tour.

Manitou Springs, Colorado

The annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival is a sweetly morbid way of honoring a former Manitou Springs resident. Teams of five build coffins, which are then sent hurtling down Manitou Avenue with one member (the Emma) inside. Awards are given to the top three finishers, with prizes for the best-decorated coffin, best entourage and the best Emma. Crawford died of tuberculosis in 1891 and was buried at the top of Red Mountain. But in 1929, the ground at her burial spot was so eroded that her casket came sliding down into town, where her remains were found by children. The first coffin races were held decades later in 1995 to celebrate Crawford; this year's event is set for Oct. 28.

Resurrection Cemetery in Justice, Illinois

A carved pumpkin at the Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden

If you're too scared to search for Resurrection Mary, go check out the jack-o'-lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden

(Image credit: Chicago Botanic Garden)

Legend has it that a ghost named Resurrection Mary haunts the Resurrection Cemetery just outside of Chicago, sometimes hitching rides or stepping out in front of cars before vanishing into the night. You can take your chances and drive around the cemetery, hoping to summon Mary, and then head over to Chicago for something dramatically more light-hearted: the Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Artist-carved pumpkins flank and light the garden's paths, which just might lead you to one of the evening's live carving demonstrations.

The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts

The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts

The house that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne is open for tours and events

(Image credit: DeAgostini / Getty Images)

Made famous by the Nathaniel Hawthorne classic, The House of the Seven Gables is still standing in Salem and open for tours. Come October, things take a more supernatural turn, and visitors can attend special events like Tales of the Macabre and Haunted Fables at the Gables, where "Nathaniel Hawthorne" regales audiences with ghoulish stories.

San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas

Both the Alamo and the adjacent Emily Morgan Hotel are said to be haunted

(Image credit: Robert Alexander / Getty Images)

Many believe that the ghosts of soldiers who died at the Alamo haunt the mission's grounds, but they aren't the only ones in the neighborhood. Next to the Alamo is the Emily Morgan Hotel, a former hospital that features ailing gargoyles (think toothaches and stomachaches) on its exterior. Guests have reported hearing creepy noises and smelling antiseptic near the rooms where doctors performed surgeries, which is why the property is routinely named one of the most haunted hotels in the United States. 

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