Halloween Destinations of the West: From Parties to Parades to the Paranormal

by Sarah G on October 11, 2010

in Inspiration,Cubicle Escapes,San Francisco

Halloween is the one time of the year you can leave your house looking like a complete weirdo, and no one will even notice. So I say — go out, look as bizarre/creepy/outrageous as you want and have an incredible time! Here are a few Halloween destinations in the Western US to get your festive juices flowing:

Day of the Dead San Francisco San Francisco’s MWE Band during the Dia de los Muertos procession
  • Dia de los Muertos celebration in San Francisco: Every year, San Francisco’s historically Latino Mission District puts on an authentic Dia de los Muertos celebration on November 2. It goes from 6-10:30PM and includes a procession around Garfield Square, lots and lots of altars (you can make an altar if you like), Aztec dancers in elaborate costumes and more. Sadly, they’re underfunded this year, so please make a donation if you go!
  • The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO: You may remember this haunted hotel from the famous horror film, The Shining. The thing is, it is actually (supposedly) haunted in real life too — they even have a psychic and paranormal investigator on staff! For Halloween, they’re offering 5-hr ghost hunts using paranormal equipment, a Murder Mystery Dinner and an elaborate costume ball on Oct. 30th and 31st.
Superheroes at the West Hollywood Costume Carnaval. Photo by Jason in Hollywood


  • West Hollywood Costume Carnaval: What began as a gay and lesbian street fest now brings in almost a half-million outrageously dressed SoCal guests. The Carnaval takes place on a one-mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, where attendees partake in the costume contest and boogie down to live music all night long.
  • Parade of Lost Souls in Vancouver, BC: Taking place on Oct. 30th, the Parade is a Dia-de-los-Muertos–Halloween hybrid. It commemorates the cycles of life and death in a lively procession down Commercial Drive, accompanied by live music, jugglers and the sort. You’ll see people in traditional skeleton costumes along with girls dressed up as Jersey Shore characters. Hosted by a non-profit organization, they too ask for a donation.
  • The Queen Mary’s “Dark Harbor” celebration in Long Beach, CA: Build in 1930, the Queen Mary is often frequented with spooky paranormal activity. Guests can experience it for themselves — in an even greater magnitude — during their month-long Dark Harbor Halloween celebration, which includes a maze, 160 ship-wide monsters, live bands and of course — “real” ghosts. Spend the night… if you’re brave enough!

Photos from SFGate.com and Hollywood Movie Costumes & Props.

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