Oct. 20, 2009— -- Halloween this year falls on a Saturday night meaning a long weekend of goulish celebrations for all and the travel industry is taking full advantage.
offering up a number of activities from ghost tours to special drinks all to celebrate the holiday.
"Halloween is an extremely visible holiday," said Gabe Saglie, senior editor at travel deal site Travelzoo. "With the onset of fall, it's the next opportunity to come up with creative marketing."
Bill Miller, senior vice president of operations at travel site CheapOair.com, said that there are some good deals for Halloween this year and that more and more people are pegging their trips to some type of activity.
"We're seeing more of a trend towards event travel. Flying to go to sports games or surrounding trips around a major event or holiday is becoming more popular," Miller said. "Halloween over a weekend allows for a full itinerary over two to three days."
Most Halloween travelers tend to stay within a few hours of their home, according to Sadlie.
"I don't think you are going to find a lot of people hopping on a plane and traveling across the country to stay at a paranormal hotel," Saglie said.
But for travelers looking to take advantage of some holiday getaways this year, here is a list of some of the spookiest Halloween destinations.
Jack O'Lantern Spectacular: You've never seen pumpkins like these. Each year the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I., transforms is wetlands trail into a Halloween landscape with the glow of 10,000 pumpkins. A team of 30 pumpkin carvers works to create the Jack O'Lantern Spectacular. Admission for adults is $12; seniors are $10; children ages 3-12 are $9.
Stephen King's "The Shining:" The spine-tingling book, later turned into a Jack Nicholson movie, "The Shining" tells the story of a man and his wife and son who spend the winter as the caretakers of an isolated Colorado hotel and struggle with freaky visions, insanity and fits of violence. So how did King get his idea for the book? He stayed in room 217 of the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo. Today the hotel offers ghost tours to highlight its spooky past.
Join the Stanley's experienced tour guides on a spooky sojourn through time. Enjoy stories highlighting the history of the hotel, the hotel's connection to "The Shining," hear about ghost stories and visit the most haunted places in the hotel. You can even tour the hotel's underground tunnel. The tour costs $13 per person.
Twilight Vampires: Are you a fan of the "Twilight" vampire novels? If so, there's no better way to celebrate Halloween than following the footsteps of Bella, Edward, Jacob and the rest of the "Twilight" characters through the towns of Forks and La Push in Washington state. Dazzled by Twilight offers guided tours of the locations described in Stephenie Meyer's books. The tours start at $39 and include the pictured First Beach.
Witch Capital USA: Nothing says Halloween more than witches, and no place in America is more connected to witchcraft than Salem, Mass. Way, way, way back in 1692 and 1693 Salem and several of the surrounding towns prosecuted more than 150 people who were accused of witchcraft. Some were hanged or crushed to death under heavy stones. Today there is a month-long celebration of parades, spooky tours and spirited events in Salem. For more information visit Salem's Haunted Happenings.
Ghost Ship: A former World War II vessel and luxury cruise ship, The Queen Mary is now permanently docked in Long Beach, Calif., and invites guests to stay overnight in its newly renovated staterooms. Nicknamed the "Grey Ghost" during her years as a World War II transport ship, The Queen Mary is still known for ghostly activity, with more than a dozen reports of apparitions aboard the ship.
This year marks the ship's 15th Annual Halloween Terrorfest. The ship has five different terrifying mazes, including a vampire village, the graveyard, an isolation ward, a pirate maze and the paranoia's house of horror. Tickets start at $29 per person.
Be Freighted in Jail: Boston's Liberty Hotel is a spooky spot all year long, but during the Halloween season its eerie accommodations become downright scary.
From 1851 to 1990, the site was home to the infamous Charles Street Jail, and these halls were walked by some of America's most ruthless high-profile criminals. The building reopened in 2007 as a luxury hotel, but has retained much of the original architecture -- including several cells.
The Liberty's Halloween party, "Nightmare on Charles Street," will leave guests terrified and elated. The event is centered on The Liberty's very own haunted house. After being freightened, guests can celebrate with Scream Cocktails -- featuring Double Cross Vodka -- and then dance the night away. Tickets to the Halloween night even are $25 and include one Scream cocktail.
Scary River Town: Alton, Ill., sts on the Mississippi River, a 30-minute drive from St. Louis and five hours away from Chicago. It is filled with historic homes, great shops and dates back to the 1600s. But it's also got a spooky past.
The McPike Mansion, pictured here, sits atop Mount Lookout Park, the highest point in Alton. Believed to be haunted, thousands of visitors and paranormal investigators have visited the grounds, claiming spirits still roam the property.
Also in town is the Mineral Springs Hotel, once an elegant hotel and spa with a history filled with tragedy, murders and suicides. The legends claim there are several different ghosts that haunt the corridors and rooms of the Mineral Springs. The first is said to be an itinerant artist who was unable to pay his hotel bill back in 1932 and now allegedly haunts the former hotel bar.
The Civil War brought more than 10,000 confederate prisoners to town, all held at the infamous Alton Federal Military Prison. Many died during a small pox outbreak, their bodies left out in the woods. Their ghosts now supposedly haunt a local area around Hop Hollow Road.
Haunted Hotel: The Brown Palace is a Denver icon, a member of the Historic Hotels of America. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has stayed here. But apparently the real famous residents are a group of ghosts.
Legend has it that one evening decades ago a houseman investigating noises coming from the hotel's dining room encountered a quartet of formally dressed musicians practicing their music. The houseman was not amused as it was long past closing time. "You're not supposed to be in here," he said. They replied, "Oh, don't worry about us. We live here."
Then there is Mrs. Louise Crawford Hill, who ruled Denver society and lived in room 904 of The Brown from 1940 to 1955. Hill was one of several permanent guests who lived in 20 apartments located on the hotel's top two floors. Years later, during renovation of these floors, the hotel historian conducted a series of tours which included stories about the apartment residents -- including Mrs. Hill. Once stories about her life and heartbreak over a lost love were recounted on the tours, the hotel's main switchboard began receiving calls from room 904. When answering the calls, the hotel operator heard only static on the line. The calls were a great mystery, because room 904 had been stripped of all furniture, lights, wallpaper, carpet and telephones during the renovation. The historian took Mrs. Hill's saga out of the tour and the calls from room 904 ceased.
Today the hotel still runs historic tours as well as seasonal ghost tours.
Spooky Drinks: It might not quite be a witch's brew, but all of the 45 Omni Hotels are offering guests special spooky signature cocktails for Halloween. Pictured here are the Red Widow and Trick 'R' Treat.
The Red Widow is a mysterious mixture of Skyy Infusions Citrus, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and pomegranate juice, garnished with Twizzler ropes, a lemon wheel and candy corn. The Trick 'R' Treat is a creepy cocktail made with white rum, lime juice, simple syrup and Midori, topped with a lime dimple and featuring assorted Halloween candy.
The other two Halloween-themed drinks being offered by Omni are the Bond's Eye, a drink made for the martini lover. It fuses Plymouth Gin, Ketel One Vodka and Lillet finished with a Lychee "Eyeball" stuffed with a blueberry. And the Red Eye, a mixture of Absolut Vanilla Vodka, Grand Marnier, orange juice and strawberry puree; also garnished with a Lychee "Eyeball" with blueberry and strawberry puree.
That sure beats the Snickers bars you used to get as a kid.
Drink recipes can be found at: trickandtweet.com
Haunted Trail Ride: Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Northwest Florida hosts its 3rd Annual Haunted Trail and Fantasyland this month. Guests can choose between a fully-frightening trail for adults and children over 12 for $3 per person. For the more timid there is a "scare free" walking loop that include $1 treats for young children to go through the trick or treat trail or the fun games with prizes and face painting for $1.