by John Morgan
The Cauldron List
Halloween TravelBut not just any travel, mysterious forces have cast a strong spell on us that requires us to solely focus on those destinations that celebrate the rich tradition and spirit of Halloween. These are the enchanting locations that we would like to experience - at least once - before we do any haunting of our own.
Here is The Cauldron List’s top Halloween Travel Destinations:
The Real Dracula’s Castle
And you thought Ravens and Crows got a bad rap when literature refers to them as a “murder of crows” or an “unkindness of ravens.” How would you like to go on Ancestry.com and discover that you are related to Vlad the Impaler and his father Vlad II Dracul from order of the House of the Dragons?
OK, things are never as easy as they seem. There are actually three castles in modern-day Romania that claim to be “Dracula’s Castle”: Bran Castle, Poenari Castle, and Hunyad Castle. Although it's worth pointing out the Stoker’s own notes state that he invented the castle and placed it on an empty mountain top.
We figure it is not every day we get sojourn through the rugged Transylvanian and Wallachian terrain so why not visit all three. Just make sure to drop by the local Romanian Leu Store to pickup plenty of garlic, crucifixes, and wooden stakes – along with greeting cards, batteries and helium balloons (what else does one go to the Dollar Store for?).
Festival of the Dead
Talk about Halloween sensory overload: witches, necromancy, séances, Celtic ceremonies and dramatic fall foliage all in one - better make that two - locations!
Just like in Dracula’s Castle, time seems to cloud the record, as various parties claim to be the real fright deal in order to entice you to spend your boo bucks in their locations. In Massachusetts, both Salem and Danvers claim to be the sight of the original witch trials of 1692 and 1693.
It appears that Mrs. Hickok, my eighth grade history teacher, must have had a broom in the game for promoting Salem, because she never once called it the Danvers Witch Trails. Where do the lies end Mrs. Hickok? Was the Boston Tea Party really a Gloucester Espresso Soiree?
Just like the curtain between the physical and spirit world grows thinnest around Halloween, perhaps you will become clairvoyant enough to decide which witch community has rightful claim to the historic witch trials. Either way, a trip here will leave you enchanted.
Sleepy Hollow, New YorkFinally, a Halloween location that exists without much controversy. After all Halloween is not worth losing your head over - just don’t tell the Hessian I said that!
There is plenty to see and do in this small community to celebrate Halloween. Although there are parades, hayrides, pumpkin patches, and various festivals and events held throughout the community approaching Halloween, the one can’t miss event is the annual Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor (tickets are required and they do sell out quickly).
Sleepy Hollow is a fantastic destination to celebrate Halloween. You will experience the same spooky locations that inspired Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. You might even be unfortunate enough to sight the Headless Horseman himself. If you do, just make sure you can outrun the person next to you. That should be enough to ensure that you come out head and shoulders above the rest of the Halloween revelers.
Stonehenge, Hill of Tara, and an Irish Pub
The foundation of today’s Halloween celebrations can directly trace its origins back to the Ancient Druid, Roman and Catholic traditions and beliefs that blended in the melting cauldron that is Great Britain. As such, Great Britain is a dream location to celebrate Halloween!
Visit to Hill of Tara and other Druid locations where Samhain festivals were originally held. Warm yourself by a bonfire, the likes of which brought some of Halloween’s most recognizable symbols of the bat and owl to become indelibly linked with the holiday.
Then find a warm pub, enjoy a pint or two and recount the legend of “Stingy Jack.” Who tricked the devil in an Irish pub and in the process became the inspiration for the modern-day jack-o-lantern.
So those are our recommendations for perfect Halloween destinations that celebrate the spirit of Halloween's rich history and traditions. As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments.