We have a few Halloween treats across the country for those of you whose clients are thinking of spicing up their Halloween celebrations this year. These getaways still allow travelers the usual trick-or-treating, but others will have them sharing ghost stories, exploring real-life haunted houses, or just hanging with a drink as their treat—and that’s no trick.
“New Orleans has a haunted history year-round, so it is no surprise that Halloween is a major holiday in the Big Easy. If you thought that Halloween was just a night for the kids to go trick-or-treating with their parents in tow, think again,” says Sarah Forman of the New Orleans CVB. “Here in New Orleans, like nearly everything else, it’s different. Halloween, Crescent City-style, is second only to Mardi Gras for wild and crazy, dressing-up-in-costume kind of fun and it isn’t just for kids, either. In fact, it’s probably even more fun for the grown-ups than it is for the little ones! New Orleanians are devilishly clever when it comes to devising imaginative and outlandish costumes. No other city in the world does Halloween better than us,” she adds.
In New Orleans, Windsor Court Hotel is hosting its annual Halloween Tea in Le Salon, and the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium will bring in creepy crawly visitors to interact with the kids. The kids will also enjoy Halloween-themed treats by the in-house pastry chef, while meeting with representatives from the Insectarium, who will be teaching them about the creatures. Costumes are encouraged; and a door prize for two tickets to the Audubon Nature Institute will be awarded to one guest at each seating—Saturday, Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Adult tea menu is priced at $37 pp; and children’s tea menu is $27 pp.
“Windsor Court Hotel has some of the largest—if not THE largest—room offerings in the city, with 80 percent of the hotel composed of suites. Being located in the Central Business District offers travelers a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, from which we are just a five minutes’ walk,” says Megan Uram, director of sales and marketing for Windsor Court.
“Travel agents are extremely important to our business. Year-to-date they represent roughly 16 percent of our room nights and are tied to over 20 percent of our room revenue. Travel agents’ customers are typically affluent, well-traveled and are looking for more than just a hotel room—they want to experience the destination. On average, the incremental spend of a guest booked by a travel agent is also typically higher,” adds Uram.
Other activities around New Orleans include:
- Krewe of Boo, a Halloween parade through the streets of the French Quarter taking place Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m.; the after party continues at Mardi Gras World.
- Voodoo Music + Art Experience, one of the largest annually held festivities, runs from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 and mixes local favorites with well-known headliners for a musical line-up, and travelers can now camp at City Park—new last year.
- Same-sex couples have their own festivities carved into the mix on Oct. 23 to 26 during Halloween New Orleans, which includes a costume contest, second line and brunch.
- Children up to 12 years old enjoy the festivities on Oct. 17-18 and Oct. 24-25 from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at Boo at the Zoo presented by Carnival Cruise Lines, featuring trick-or-treat houses with candy, a Ghost Train, a haunted house—both scary and not so scary—games, entertainment and more. Games and treats (except concessions) are complimentary with admission to the Audubon Zoo.
- Kids can also take part in a Halloween History Tour, taking them back in time to the start of Hallow’s Eve and exploring why this holiday is popular and how it was passed down through time.
For more information, visit neworleanscvb.com.
Finger Lakes, NY, offers a variety of spooky events during the Halloween season, as well as a gorgeous fall foliage. A getaway to this area gives travelers an array of experiences to take in with more than 100 vineyards, new breweries and distilleries, farm-to-table cuisine, and hands-on experiences.
“Visiting the Finger Lakes in the fall, Tioga County especially, is a treat that appeals to all of the senses and satisfies a yearning for old-fashioned rural America. Restaurants shift their menus to warm and savory dishes prepared with locally grown produce, such as squash and apples. The local brewery adds the warm and crisp flavors of autumn to the beer they produce with their own malt made from New York State barley,” says Rebecca Maffei, Tioga County tourism director. “Pumpkin farms offer traditional, fun fall fare such as cider, donuts and candied apples, to be enjoyed as visitors wander through displays of ‘pumpkin people’ portraying scenes from favorite movies and stories. Stoughton’s Corn Maze is a challenging labyrinth; and the leaves begin to turn the rolling hills from green to bright orange, yellow and red, making for scenic drives as you travel through the county. Fall is a time of harvest and plenty in Tioga County, which embraces the season with events that celebrate Tioga County’s agricultural roots,” she adds. For more information, visit visitfingerlakes.com.
“One of the gateways to the Finger Lakes, Syracuse itself is a mid-sized city that offers the amenities of a larger city and the prices of a smaller one—truly the best of both worlds! Not only is Syracuse affordable, it is conveniently located just 15-30 minutes from state parks. One minute visitors can be in a city, and 15 minutes later, they are surrounded by nature’s majestic brilliance,” says Nikita Jankowski of the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Some of the top Halloween events include the Haunted History Trail of New York State, a ghost-infused trail including the Allegiance Bed & Breakfast, Spook Hill, and the Naples Hotel—said to be haunted by at least six friendly ghosts. For more information, visit hauntedhistorytrail.com/finger-lakes.
A less spooky experiences is the Jack-O-Lantern Land at Enchanted Beaver Lake with over 500 specially carved jack-o-lanterns lighting the way along two winding, wooded trails through the darkness at Enchanted Beaver Lake. This event also features face painting, fortune telling, magic shows and storytelling. Travelers are encouraged to purchase a parking ticket in advance, as this event is known to sell out. For more information, visit onondagacountyparks.com/beaver-lake-nature-center.
“Beyond Halloween, the Finger Lakes region’s leaf-peeping opportunities are what keeps travelers visiting year after year. Known to have some of the best fall foliage in the country, visitors can expect to enjoy stunning oranges, reds and yellows against the contrasting shimmery blue lakes. Whether enjoyed by land (via bike or hike), water (via boat), or air (via hot air balloon and gliding rides), the Finger Lakes in the fall is a must-see,” says Jankowski.
For clients interested in visiting the Finger Lakes area, suggest a stay at La Tourelle Resort and Spa, which opened in August and features 70 acres of hiking trails that lead to the waterfalls of Buttermilk State Park in Ithaca, NY, travelers can hike one of five trails throughout the park to a natural swimming hole at the bottom of the waterfalls. For more information, visit latourelle.com.
Great Wolf Lodge
Eleven Great Wolf Lodge locations across the country, from Kansas City to New England, will be offering family fun at their indoor waterparks with Howl-O-Ween, starting at $199 per night throughout October. Families can participate in an array of seasonal thrills when mentioning the promo code, HOWL when booking. Kids will be able to join trick-or-treaters along a spooky path while collecting treats; view a parade; and participate in a monster-themed dance party at the end of the night, as well as listen to scary stories. For more information, visit greatwolf.com/howloween.