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my top happening halloween for kids and their parents: la & nyc

I spend a lot of time in the USA exploring the best places to travel and – east coast to west – this is one place that knows how to have a devil of a good time when it comes to Halloween. From the world’s largest Halloween street party to family-friendly Halloween events at museums and other cultural institutions, spell-binding attractions and spine-tingling nightlife, LA and NYC are the Capitals of Fright and Delight. 
Here’s my pick of the fiendish fun and spooky halloween scares:

Los Angeles

1.    The West Hollywood Carnival (31st Oct) Mingle with the mortals at this famed Halloween street party celebrations, drawing more than half a million people to revel in the streets around the Santa Monica Boulevard. The free carnival also includes a pet costume contest, ‘Drag Racing’ – relay races for people dressed in drag, and pumpkin carving competitions.

2.    Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood (dates until 31st Oct) Southern California’s most terrifying and exciting annual Halloween event, Universal Studios Hollywood hosts a set of spine-chillingly haunted attractions with five new unrivalled film production-quality mazes, including one by legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper. A new signature backlot attraction ‘Terror Tram: Invaded by the Walking Dead’ takes daring visitors behind the scenes to the historic Universal backlot where the horror film genre was born.

3.    Dearly Departed Tours (daily, year-round) Dearly Departed offers various tours that explore the twisted underbelly of Los Angeles, everything from celebrity scandals and deaths to horror film locations and infamous crime scenes. Options include Hollywood’s Tragical History Tour and the Helter Skelter Tour. Just for Halloween, Dearly Departed will take guests on a Halloween tour devoted to world-famous horror film locations around Hollywood and Pasadena.
4.    Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, Long Beach (select dates until 31st Oct) With a reputation as one of Los Angeles’ most haunted places, enter the harbour to witness blood-curdling attractions on ship and shore with mazes, monsters, and 20-foot tall flames. The annual event will host guests with potent potions, devilishly good food and riveting live entertainment.

5.    Annual King Tut’s Tomb at the Egyptian Theatre (27th Oct) Dubbed the biggest Halloween party in Hollywood, party with Egyptian queens and pharaohs in the classic courtyard illuminated with red and amber lighting at this red carpet moonlit masquerade party. Party-goers can boogie in classic Hollywood style to the tunes of three DJ. The event will also showcase a dazzling laser and lightshow, dance floors – including the Haunted Pyramid Dance Room, go-go dancers and a Halloween costume contest.


6.    Haunted Museum at the Natural History Museum (28th Oct)
The theme for the 9th Annual Haunted Museum is ‘Land of Awes’, a family-friendly event where guests can help put the Scarecrow back together, watch a performance by Dancing Flying Monkeys, learn about marine fossils from Kansas City, see tree frogs in the Enchanted Rainforest and go on a scavenger hunt to find the ruby slippers.

7.    Los Angeles Haunted Hayride at the Old Zoo at Griffith Park (dates until 31st Oct) One of the city’s most idyllic locations by day with fantastic views over the city, Friffith Park is the backdrop for one of LA’s creepiest locations on select October nights. This tour takes thrill-seekers on a night ride through abandoned cages and habitats set deep in the dark woods of Griffith Park. Also returning to the Haunted Hayride experience is the ‘In Between’ dark maze where visitors are given a small lantern to find their way through amongst unknown creatures in the shadows. A sideshow area includes magic shows, psychics and a house of mirrors.

8.    Old Town Haunt (select dates until 31st Oct) Descend into the dark basement of the historical Union Savings Bank Building for a devil of a good time; sealed off for decades, it is reported to be haunted. Enhanced with detailed sets from Hollywood shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Haunted Mansion and Indiana Jones, visitors will find this attraction truly spook-tacluar.

9.    Halloween Silent Film at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (31st Oct) Film buffs will enjoy visual chills accompanied by live aural thrills when silent film ‘Cat & The Canary’ is shown. The film is about the wealthy Cyrus West whose will is read to his relatives who spend the night in his mansion and are stalked by ‘The Cat’, a mysterious escapee from the local asylum. This 1927 classic silent film is accompanied by Clark Wilson on the Walt Disney Concert Hall’s organ to add a suitably eerie musical backdrop.

10.  Halloween & Mourning Tours at Heritage Square (28th & 29th Oct) A two day event where visitors can learn about Victoria era death and mourning etiquette and participate in a funeral inside one of Heritage Square’s historic homes. See how other cultures celebrate and remember their loved, find out what hair jewellery is, and consult fortune tellers. Children can play period games, make 19th century harvest crafts, choose a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch to take home and carve, bob for apples and listen to spooky stories by the San Gabriel Valley Storytellers.


Providing the perfect playground for the US’s favourite festival, New York will come alive with the un-dead next month. From ogling shop fronts full of pumpkins and petrifying paraphernalia, to joining the city’s biggest party of the year; the annual Halloween Parade, a trip to the Big Apple at this time promises spine-tingling excitement and hilarious Halloween fun! This year is the 40th anniversary of the Halloween Parade and for those wanting to take part, nyma, the new york manhattan hotel is offering a special ‘Parade Promotion’ on stays in October.

Situated in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, nyma is perfectly located for the parade, which takes place on nearby Sixth Avenue. Only those who dress up are allowed to participate, therefore nyma’s special promotion includes a $40 gift voucher to spend on fancy dress at the city’s biggest costume shop, New York Costumes with every stay. Offering a vast selection of costumes, wigs, masks and props, this East Village shop even has a celebrity following, with Chloe Sevigny, Hugh Jackman, Kate Hudson and many more famous faces having graced its rails.

halloweenOnce suitably attired, join hundreds of puppets, numerous bands, dancers and artists and thousands of revellers in costumes of their own creation for a night to remember, or head to Times Square or Madison Square Garden for more Halloween horror. Alternatively, those wanting to visit earlier or avoid the masses can enjoy the promotion during the weeks preceding the event, as there is no escaping the excitement and anticipation of Halloween in the city that never sleeps!

Centrally situated on West 32nd street, nyma, the new york manhattan hotel provides guests with a host of FREE amenities, including free continental breakfast, free wi-fi and national phone calls, a free fitness suite open 24 hours a day and free stays for children aged 12 and under. The Parade Promotion is available throughout October, from US$274.99 per room per night (which equates to £88 per person). The rate is based on two sharing and includes one night’s stay and $40 per couple to spend at New York Costumes.  Quote code: HALLOWEEN. Minimum stay two nights.

For more information on visiting Los Angeles & NYC go get lost… recommends, like at, and follow on Twitter @discoverLA. Also, like at, and follow on Twitter @nycgo

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