Get spooked: Five sensational Halloween destinations
For a deliciously sinful vibe, start on notorious Bourbon Street and strut your stuff through the heart of the French Quarter, an exotic spectacle of Halloween fashion. Expect "treats" (Mardi Gras beads) to rain down from the elegant balconies for "tricks" (usually a smile and a wave will do, though expect to see plenty more). Feeling adventurous? Head to historic Jackson Square to seek your fortune with a mystic, brave a moonlit cemetery tour, or dress your wicked best at the city's sexiest party, the Endless Night Vampire Ball at the House of Blues.
Hong Kong: A global party
Mix plenty of international expats with a general dash of local traditions, and you have got one of Asia's most festive Halloween celebrations. Head to the Lan Kwai Fong district to find the epicentre of the party-all-night action. The restaurants and bars here are known to take their Halloween decor seriously, so it is also the perfect spot to kick off the night with atmospheric dinner and drinks.
Got kids in tow? Head to Hong Kong Disneyland, where the "Mistress of All Evil" - otherwise known as Maleficent, Sleeping Beauty's dark nemesis - presides over the park. Expect plenty of special-effects delights, from a ghostly rollercoaster to show-stopping pyrotechnics designed to impress even jaded adults.
Dublin: Unleash your pagan side at Samhain
Originating in Druid and Celtic rituals, Samhain literally means “summer’s end”. Drawing upon its rich Celtic history (and claim to fame as the birthplace of none other than Dracula author Bram Stoker), Dublin offers a mysteriously romantic twist on the holiday.
Annual events include a carnival-style parade along with plenty of traditional bonfires around town. Care to mix your horror with a bit of history? Brave a haunted Dublin tour, watch Hitchcock’s iconic Psycho accompanied by live orchestra at the National Concert Hall, or join gothic horror enthusiasts at the Bram Stoker Dracula Halloween Horror festival, complete with a vampire cloak race (bring your own fangs).
For a posh night out, shake your devil’s tail at the Monster Weekend bash put on by Lillie’s Bordello, arguably Dublin’s sultriest nightclub. For a truly otherworldly celebration with a decidedly ancient flair, don’t miss the superstition-rich festivities at the National Leprechaun Museum. Along with Celtic-inspired stories and games, expect to be haunted by costumed characters straight out of Irish mythology.
Sarah Chandler is an American Lonely Planet author currently based in Amsterdam. Last year she celebrated Halloween at NYC's epic Greenwich Village parade.