When locals set up paranormal-searching equipment at the B&O Museum in Oakland, MD, they were in for a fright: they heard eerie footsteps and a spooky voice inquiring, "Is this hell?"
"None of the volunteers work in the museum alone at night anymore," says B&O's chairman, Terry Helbig. This haunted railway museum, along with Halloween hayrides and an annual autumn festival, helped land Oakland in the top 20 towns for Halloween, according to T+L readers.
For T+L's first America's Favorite Towns survey, we asked our fans, followers, and editors to nominate their favorites with the hashtag #TLTowns -- and then to vote for the small towns in categories including best parades, most historic B&Bs, and vibrant Main Streets.
For some of the winning Halloween towns, the holiday is an excuse to party, with pub crawls, pumpkin beer on tap (Beaver Creek, CO), and late-night shows. Others take a more low-key, kid-friendly approach, hosting costume competitions for pets (Bar Harbor, ME) or autumn festivals with corn mazes and apple-wine tastings.
See More of America's Best Towns for Halloween The zombies are coming! Each Halloween, this 19th-century town in the Adirondacks transforms to make way for the 5K Zombie Run. Main Street closes to traffic so that kids can trick-or-treat, while later on, adults on the Trek-n-Treat pub crawl slink through three bars, each giving out costume competition prizes. There are ghosts to be spotted on tours of Fort Ticonderoga, and performances of The Rocky Horror Show with prop bags so that the audience can play along. Photo: Joseph Sohm/Visions of America/Corbis
See More of America's Best Towns for Halloween Skeletons and bones litter this Rocky Mountain town, specifically, the 150,000-year-old bones, teeth, and tusks from mastodon and mammoth fossils on view at the Ice Age Discovery Center. As you stroll down Divide Road, listen for the howls of wolves—or more likely, the sound of 250 mixed-breed huskies and malamutes employed by Krabloonik, a restaurant that offers dogsled rides. Voted the No. 1 town for family vacations, Snowmass Village also drew high marks for its friendly—and attractive—locals. Mingle over drinks at Zane’s Tavern. Photo: America / Alamy
See More of America's Best Towns for Halloween Squirrels, bees, sheep with Bo Peep, and bratwursts with mustard on buns: these are a few of the elaborately costumed dogs that march with their decked-out owners in “Bark” City’s Howl-o-Ween street party. It’s part of the bewitching charm of this old silver-mining town east of Salt Lake. Park City Ghost Tours takes visitors hunting for spirits while sharing ghastly tales of their lives and deaths. Photo: Courtesy of Friends of Animals Utah
See More of America's Best Towns for Halloween Pumpkin People in the Park turn up to haunt Kate Gould Park each October. Look for pumpkin heads and bodies dressed as lobsters, knights, scarecrows, pigs, pilgrims, brides, and even as the protagonist of Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream. The Saturday before Halloween, musicians join them for an Oktoberfest event complete with donuts, pumpkin bowling, and apple bobbing. When you head back to one of Chatham’s B&Bs—voted No. 2 in the survey—just be sure to check under your bed before turning out the lights. Photo: Lisa Franz / Courtesy of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce
See More of America's Best Towns for Halloween In 1788, the Golden Stage Inn was a stagecoach stop; once it was converted into an inn, owners spotted a ghost in the attic—a ghost that doesn’t want to leave. The current owners have noticed lights, televisions, and stove burners going on and off, and contractors and housekeepers say they’ve heard ghostly footsteps. To stay in the spirit, ahem, of the season, the innkeepers decorate the B&B as a friendly haunted house. It makes a convenient base for skiing at Okemo Mountain or picking up some 18th-century-like skills at the Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts. Photo: Courtesy of the Golden Stage Inn
See More of America's Best Towns for Halloween Where do you prefer to meet ghosts: on an ivy-draped university campus, in a historic neighborhood, on a battlefield, or in a cemetery? The Princeton Tour Company supplies tools to both skeptics and believers on its various ghost hunts: electromagnetic-field meters, dowsing rods, thermal meters for sensing heat, and instructions on how to “take orb shots” using camera phones. For a more kid-friendly take on Halloween, stop by Princeton’s Terhune Orchards for pick-your-own pumpkins, a corn maze, and the Barn of Legends and Lore. Photo: Andre Jenny / Alamy
See More of America's Best Towns for Halloween Halloween is as good an excuse as any to party in this resort town, which counts about 80 bars in a six-block area and claims the survey’s second-place title for attractive residents. It’s the one night that the private Caribou Club opens its doors to all comers—at least those in costume. Or you could spend the night out with Aspen Walking Tours, which offers Walk with the Dead and Ghosts, Murder & Mayhem tours. Photo: Amira Bueno/Courtesy of Aspen Walking Tours LLC
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