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Halloween, the annual festival, brought to America by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland has become America's biggest party day, perhaps after New Year's eve. For the last 200 years Americans have celebrated Halloween. The customs of carving pumpkins, jack o' lanterns comes to us from the Celtic traditions. What is the magical allure that so many folks want to celebrate at Halloween? The costumes? The Halloween parties? The memory of childhood? A chance to throw off inhibitions and to become someone else for the night? ... Or, be somewhere else in some magical never-never land? From its pagan roots, Halloween has become a day in the United States where children wear costumes and go trick or treating. While children go door trick-or-treating, adults also dress in costume and party the night away. Neighbors, not wanting a trick played on them, usually provide children with a treat, normally candy. Adults use the day to dress up in lavish costumes and revel at house or block parties, bars, clubs, Many cities in the U.S. have elaborate block parties, where the streets are closed to traffic. In areas such as New York's Greenwich Village and just about anywhere in San Francisco,especially on Castro Street, the partying can last well into the morning.
Here are five cities to "get your ghoul on."
Girls on the Halloween prowl in Las Vegas (Photo Courtesy of Visit Las Vegas)
Not that "Sin City" needs another celebration. Las Vegas is synonymous with non stop party action. But Halloween in Las Vegas is indeed something special. Goblins and vixens unite for one of the biggest party days on the year. Hotel Casinos draped in black and orange, masquerade balls, house parties, and costume contests. You'll find the yearly Fright Dome at Circus-Circus casino, Bite Las Vegas at the Stratosphere where Vampires meet Classic Rock-n-Roll, the annual Fetish & Fantasy Ball and these are just the biggies! You can always find a house party. And where else but Las Vegas can you see Elvis dressed as a Vampire, Sinatra, Marilyn, partying past sunrise. The Ghost Bar at the Palms is one of the many clubs celebrating. All Hallows Day. Don't miss the bone chilling action at Fright Dome at Circus Circus.
New York Village Halloween Parade (Photo Courtesy of Zimbio.com)
What would any Halloween theme be without a mention of "the city that never sleeps," New York City. Whether you prefer parties or parades, you won't have any trouble finding fun things to do on Halloween in New York. From a Halloween parade in Greenwich Village to various spooky and kooky parties throughout the city, no place beats Halloween in New York. A haunted Halloween carnival, Ghost tours of haunted Wall Street, Joonbug Halloween Party with Cocktails, Costumes and DJ's, and an $8,000 prize for the best costume. Get your drink on and join a pub crawl through the bars of New York. Simply stated, New Yorkers know how to party hard, and perhaps they do it better than most. The Halloween Masquerade Ball at the Puck Building is a night of costume madness. The party of all parties will be in Greenwich Village. A mile-long stetch featuring close to 60,0000 costumed ghouls, witches, ghosts, stilt walkers, jugglers, street performers, and other zany characters.
Halloween in the Big Easy - New Orleans (Photo courtesy of Visit New Orleans)
Mardi Gras may define New Orleans, and is perhaps the biggest party in America, but Halloween in the "Crescent City," is a close second. After all, the city is haunted to begin with. Yes, in the most haunted city in America, on Halloween "the freaks come out at night." You'll find the most creative costumes of any Halloween in the U.S. Ghoulish Vampires, wicked witches, goblins. The city is filled with many costume shops, and the French Quarter is lined with Voodoo shops. Learn a little more about the history behind these centuries-old spiritual practices. One of the biggest Halloween celebrations occurs every year on Frenchmen Street in the Faubourg Marigny. Of course Bourbon Street is filled with party revelers. What better time to take a haunted tour through the French Quarter. Come to New Orleans and find a kindred spirit, or a "blood relative" or two.
West Hollywood gone mad on Halloween ( courtesy of westhollywood.com)
Halloween, Hollywood style. The city that brings us the glitz and glamour of Hollywood provides a natural back drop for Halloween. Much like San Francisco, Angelenos have embraced Halloween as its own. The city is full of party celebrations. The West Hollywood Halloween Carnival brings people from all over Los Angeles and from all walks of life. A Halloween costume party to end all others. Halloween night Santa Monica Blvd. is closed in West Hollywood and turned over to the wildness of imagination. You'll see some of the most electrifying, strangest, daringest, gaudiest costumes to dare to strut down a public street. It has been titled "the largest Halloween street party in the world." Los Angeles being a multi cultured city celebrates Dia De Los Muertos or Day of Dead celebrations during Halloween as well. The Queen Mary's Dark Harbor party attracts many Halloween revelers. And no Halloween in "Tinsel Town" would be complete without a Hollywood stars cemetery tour. Guest at the Roosevelt Hotel have been said to have ghostly encounters the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Rudolph Valentino. Now, that's L.A.
San Fransisco's Castro Street (Photo from The San Francisco Chronicle)
Perhaps the city most in sync with Halloween. After all, isn't Halloween a local holiday in the "city by the bay?" Just about! Despite the sad closure of the Castro Street parade, which started on Market street and culminated in one of San Francisco's most vibrant neighborhoods, the drinking and Halloween debauchery marches on, just in other locations.Haunted Hotel at the W San Francisco, Spookfest 2012 at the Oracle Arena is one of the best Halloween parties in the Bay Area. One favorite area is around 16th and Valencia in the Mission district. A city filled with Victorian mansions, well over 100 years old, and yes, many are said to be haunted. Masquerotica is a 'big tent' sex positive only in San Francisco affair, a Halloween costume party with a sexy twist, a chance for a certain kind of benignly fun and freaky expression. The party's begin in mid October and continue into the first week of November. In one of the most multi cultured and open-minded cities on the plant, everyday is Halloween. Should the 2012 World Series featuring the San Francisco Giants need a game six. The game will played at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Halloween night. The city will be madness.
October 31st, 2012 falls on a Wednesday. Expect big parties on the weekend before Halloween throughout the U.S.
About the Author: Nick Kontis - Travel Expert and Founder of World Travel List
Nick Kontis started out as a world traveler at an early age traveling back and forth between California and Greece every summer. But it was a backpacking trip around the world at age 24 that proved to be a life changing experience. After traveling by car, train, plane, bike and, boat around the world, it would be this trip of a lifetime that would lead to a life as a travel entrepreneur and world traveler. Nick has been on both radio and television. Featured on Arthur Frommer’s television show, and referred by Lonely Planet writers. Frequently mentioned as the “father of around the world airfares.” Arthur Frommer once said, “If Jules Verne were alive today he would use Nick to go around the world in 80 days.” Nick and his various travel companies have sent over 10,000 people taking their dream trip through airfare discounts of as much as 50% off the airlines published fares. Now Nick promotes travel through his World Travel List and "Trip Rambler" by World Travel List. Having traveled to over 80 countries Nick hopes to inspire others to travel the world. Follow Nick's "passion for travel" on the World Travel List.