Halloween's biggest communities?
February 15, 2011 7:24 PM   Subscribe

What are the top American cities or regions for Halloween? (or how can I find a way to measure this?)

I'd like to find out what parts of the United States are most dedicated to Halloween. What regions, states, or cities have the most haunted attractions and/or yard haunts? Which go craziest with parties? Which spend the most on candy?

I could easily track down the biggest individual parties or attractions in the U.S., but I'd like to find out which areas are biggest overall... especially if there are communities that are HUGE for Halloween, but are possibly far from an amusement park or large city that puts on a well advertised event...
posted by Unsomnambulist to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Madison, WI is known for a huge, HUGE Halloween party and culture that completely takes over the town. Here's a link to a Google search on the party -- lots of great resources there.
posted by Laura Macbeth at 7:31 PM on February 15, 2011

When it involves public fun, spectacular parties, costumes and indulgent treats, the answer is always New Orleans.
posted by Anitanola at 7:36 PM on February 15, 2011

Anoka, Minnesota bills itself as the Halloween Capital of the World. They do parades, balls, festivals, etc. Suburb of Minneapolis. I can't vouch for it personally but looks neat. I believe it is very family friendly oriented Halloween fun.

posted by supercapitalist at 7:37 PM on February 15, 2011

Response by poster: I'm hoping to compile a list of the biggest areas, based on some exisiting metrics... not just find individual events or towns.
posted by Unsomnambulist at 7:39 PM on February 15, 2011

It seems like to compile a list, you would need data about individual towns.

Portsmouth, NH, has a sleeper of a Halloween, focused on an evening parade, oriented toward adults, that's grassroots-organized and a real celebration of DIY/creativity.
posted by Miko at 7:43 PM on February 15, 2011

Greenwich Village (or just NYC) has to be on the list. Their Halloween parade is epic. Here is a book about it.
posted by mattbucher at 8:01 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

you could also look at how much cities spend on clean-up/cops for their bashes. i know the amount madison spends is published somewhere on madison.com
posted by nanhey at 8:09 PM on February 15, 2011

Salem, MA seriously celebrates Halloween for the entire month of October.
posted by parkerposey at 8:16 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]

there's always a parade in a gay neighborhood... Boystown in Chicago usually has a wacky theme, and West Hollywood in LA puts on large show with lots of audience turn-out. Chicago also seems to have a lot of haunted houses and trails for adults, especially in the near suburbs, and block party-type events for kids on Halloween (thinking specifically of one in Hyde Park where all the houses go all-out).
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 8:17 PM on February 15, 2011

Best answer: Consider researching where Halloween chain stores have the biggest sales/most locations/etc as a starting point. Also, I wonder if the major chain stores (Walmart etc) provide a breakdown of sales to the point of "seasonal merchandise" -- could be another source of sales data.

I assume that big Halloween cities sell more halloween candy; look for sales data from candy vendors.
posted by samthemander at 8:22 PM on February 15, 2011

If you're interested in crazed, college-student debauchery, Isla Vista (the college town adjacent to UC Santa Barbara) is the place to be on Halloween, at least for college-aged kids in the region.
posted by wsquared at 8:39 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

West Hollywood, CA. The local hype is 1/2 mil which is probably inflated. Not remotely family-friendly.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:57 PM on February 15, 2011

I was about to put in for both WeHo-- there is no getting *near* WeHo on Halloween with a car of your own unless you've already got pals in the area who have parking-- and Salem, MA.

Salem really is one nonstop Halloween celebration all October, due to its rep as the "Witch City" and the extremely obvious population of public neopagans of various witchcraft traditions (Cabot witches from the hometown faith, Gardnerian and Alexandrian Witches from the British trads, Our Lady of the Trinacrian Rose Italian-American witches, etc. etc.) If you're interested in what it's like to live in and do politics in a town with so many out pagans doing witch-related business, Jason Pitzl-Waters over at The Wild Hunt blog does a lot of reportage on the town and how it handles its fame.

I grew up in a neighboring town and my mom worked in Salem for years. It is fuck-all crazy trying to walk from one end of downtown Salem to the other in October. I am surprised that no one's ever tried to make a reality show about the Real Witches of Salem, MA, too, given that the intersection of neopaganism and commerce lends itself to high drama at times.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:37 PM on February 15, 2011

Hmm. So you're looking for HUGE for Halloween, but possibly far from an amusement park or large city...

Well, the Halloween celebrations at Southern Illinois University are still legendary, although I think that the true glory days are probably in the past, well before the Halloween riots of 2000.

Definitely check out this video I just came across of Halloween in Carbondale (in the remote hilly southern tip of Illinois), from 1979. Looks like quite a scene. Can't personally vouch for the present scene, but I gotta hope that a little of this spirit carries on.
posted by washburn at 11:53 PM on February 15, 2011

I can't believe no one has mentioned Key West yet. Fantasy fest is supposed to be a major halloween festival, though definitely NSFW.
posted by koolkat at 1:46 AM on February 16, 2011

seconding Greenwich Village and NYC
posted by Flood at 4:46 AM on February 16, 2011

New Orleans. Halloween is the local's Mardi Gras - it's a huge holliday where everyone is out and partying their ass off. The whole week is insane. Not many tourists, either - the weather is awesome, the atmosphere is out of this world, and the crowds are manageable and fun. This and Christmastime are the two times of year to go and see the city as it is in the eyes of the people who live there.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:53 AM on February 16, 2011

Omaha, Nebraska, has the largest number of haunted houses I have ever seen.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:17 PM on February 16, 2011

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