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The Best Places to Celebrate Halloween in All 50 States

By: Joe Sills

Haunted houses, ghost tours and fall festivals usher in the whistling winds of spooky season.

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Photo: Parks Alliance of Louisville

50 Spooktacular Towns Across America

A chill in the air marks the last gasps of summer as Halloween slides into America’s cultural spotlight. For some, spooky season is a precursor to the holiday season, a frightening introduction to the long nights that winter brings. But for others, Halloween is a reason to celebrate.

Halloween means costumes, candy and celebrations of storytelling. It means ghost stories told over the flicker of firelight tinged by the flavor of melting s’mores. And in big cities and small towns across the country, this supernatural holiday has carved its way into our hearts like the soft glow of a jack-o’-lantern grinning into the night.

From coast to coast and occasionally beyond, these are the best places to celebrate Halloween in each state.

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Mobile, Alabama

As the cool autumn breeze begins to sweep through Mobile’s moss-draped oaks and historic streets, the spirits of this Gulf Coast city’s past edge closer to the veil between the dead and the living.

On the shores of Mobile Bay, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park is home to an array of historic naval craft still standing guard over the nearby city streets. The park’s namesake battleship served in World War II and is rumored to house the spirits of past crew members whose phantom footsteps still clang along its corridors — responding, some say, to ethereal orders and the drum of machinery decommissioned decades ago.

At midtown’s sprawling Oakleigh Historic Complex, the city’s unscrupulous past returns to life between the walls of an 1833 mansion. Oakleigh House guests have reported disembodied voices, a lady in black, a dark-haired man in blue and unexplained cold spots in the home’s parlors and stairways.

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Photo: Getty Images/Walter Bibikow

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska, may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about haunted activities, but this northern city has its own share of eerie experiences to offer.

The Hotel Captain Cook has only been open since 1964, but in that short timeframe, the structure has become shrouded in ghostly lore. Guests have reported encountering spectral figures, mysterious footsteps and unexplained knocks. The most famous ghost is believed to be the spirit of John "Jack" Sturgus, a former chief engineer who died during the hotel's construction. His ghostly presence is said to linger, perhaps still overseeing the hotel he helped build.

At the historic Anchorage Depot, ghost tours unveil chilling tales from the city's past, including the lingering spirits of railroad workers and passengers.

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Tombstone, Arizona

A town with the most Halloween-appropriate name in the nation, Tombstone — famous for its Wild West history — is also renowned for haunted activities that offer visitors eerie and thrilling experiences. Join a ghost tour at the Bird Cage Theatre, where you to learn the lore of the spirits that frequented its stage in the past. Saddle up at the O.K. Corral, which hosts nighttime ghost walks through the grounds made famous by Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp.

Stroll along Allen Street, Tombstone's main drag, where many storefronts and hotels boast ghostly legends and stories. And don't forget to book a night in one of Tombstone's haunted hotels for a chance to experience paranormal activity firsthand or visit the lingering vestiges of patrons past at Big Nose Kate's Saloon, where you may spot ghostly apparitions and enjoy a drink in the company of the lost.

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