Now that it’s finally fall, the temperatures have dropped and we’re living through the spookiest month of the year, I’ve put together a little travel bucket list that not only combines my love of travel but also my love of anything and everything horror and Halloween related. All of these places on this list are not only creepy and give off serious Halloween vibes, but they are also locations that have inspired some of the best horror movies out there. So sit back with your pumpkin spiced latte and your over sized sweaters and enjoy this bucket list that will make you want to start planning your own horror related trip.
Centralia, Pennsylvania | Silent Hill
Virtually abandoned, minus a few stragglers who’ve decided to stay put, the town of Centralia, Pennsylvania is now only a shell of what it used to be. During the 20th century, there was an underground fire that spread throughout the mining town. Cracks began to form in the ground and smoke would often be seen billowing out from the holes. Eventually the ground became extremely weak and was deemed too dangerous to be driving on and the town was abandoned when the fire destroyed most of the plumbing and gas lines found throughout Centralia. Because of it’s eerie and spooky atmosphere after it became a ghost town, Centralia was the perfect place to film the movie Silent Hill. The movie is based on the story of a woman who takes her dying daughter to a faith healer where they end up driving through a reality portal which leads to a creepy town known as Silent Hill.
Stanley Hotel, Colorado | The Shining
A horror related list wouldn’t be complete without including The Shining, one of the cult favorites of many horror fans as well as one of the most well known movies of our time. Though the movie adaptation of the novel isn’t filmed here ( the exterior of the Timberline lodge in Oregon was used for the movie ) Stephen King pulled inspiration from the Stanley Hotel when writing the novel. He actually ended up staying at the hotel in the 1970’s and felt so uneasy when staying there that he felt it was the perfect setting for his latest horror novel. Opened in 1909, the Stanley Hotel has long been regarded as one of the most haunted hotels in the country with a few permanent ghostly guests that call this place home. Paranormal activity is a regular occurrence here with reports of the voice of ghostly sounding children being heard as well as apparitions of people disappearing as quickly as they’ve appeared.
Sleepy Hollow, New York | Sleepy Hollow
One of the more popular tourist destinations and mecca for Halloween lovers, the town of Sleepy Hollow is a must stop place to visit this spooky season. Sleepy Hollow can be found about 50 kilometers away from bustling New York City and is known to be one of the most haunted cities in the world. Formerly known as North Tarrytown, the name change went down in 1996 and was inspired by the short story written by the famous writer Washington Irving. Washington was a long time resident of Tarrytown and wrote the story Sleepy Hollow based on the local area and the infamous Headless Horseman. This helped make the town as popular and well known as it is today.
Amityville Horror House, New York | Amityville Horror
Based on true events, the movie Amityville Horror is well known by many and is a must watch every Halloween season. Though the movie was filmed partially in New Jersey, the actual Amityville house can be found in the town of Amityville, New York on Ocean Avenue. The house is privately owned but you can still catch glimpses of it as well as get a few photos. This house rose to infamy in the 1970’s when Ronald Defeo Jr, who was living in the house, brutally murdered all the members of his family while they were asleep. He claims to have been possessed by a demonic spirit which made him act out his crime. The story doesn’t end there though as only 13 months after the grisly murders took place, the Lutz family moved into the home. Everything was going fine until the family claimed to be seeing a large amount of poltergeist activity happening in the house which made them essentially pick up and move away. This tale ended up inspiring the story line for the Amityville Horror movie.
Bangor, Maine | It
If you haven’t yet been to the theater in the past few weeks to see the new adaptation of the popular movie It, you’ve seriously been missing out. Not only did the movie break box office records but it even creeped out Stephen King himself. With the movie in the spot light and being all that anyone seems to be talking about these days, you’ve got to be wondering when and how you can plan your own trip to the town of Derry, Maine where Bill and his friends fought the dancing clown, Pennywise. Sadly enough though, the town doesn’t actually exist and was created just for the novel. There is a silver lining though as Stephen King has said that it was the town of Bangor, Maine that inspired him to create Derry. Not only was the town used as inspirations for his novel It, it was also used in Dreamcatcher as well as Pet Sematary and is the town in which King resides in with his wife.
Blairstown, New Jersey | Friday the 13th
Less fun and amusing for those who are superstitious, Friday the 13th is basically a holiday in the small town of Blairstown in New Jersey. This is because it was the filming location for the original 1980’s Friday the 13th movie and is a pilgrimage site for many fans who visit the small town around the date each year. A few of the buildings that you can visit in real life that were used in the movie include the Blairstown Diner and Roy’s Hall which was formerly known as the Blairstown Theater. You also can’t forget about the famous Camp Crystal Lake, one of the most well known locations from the movie. The real life camp is a boy scout’s camp that can also be found in Blairstown and is know as Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco. Unfortunately however, since the camp is privately owned it is inaccessible to visitors and hefty fines are given to those found trespassing on the grounds.
The Dakota, New York City | Rosemary’s Baby
Built in the 1880’s and sporting a Gothic style architecture, the Dakota is an elite apartment building found in the Big Apple. It also sports a different name, the Bramford, in the horror movie Rosemary’s Baby. The building was used in the movie as the apartment in which Rosemary Woodhouse was living when she was impregnated by the devil. Though the story line of the movie was fiction, the building is still a real life location that can be visited and was also the scene of the one of the most infamous celebrity murders in history. Not long after the filming of Rosemary’s Baby came to an end, John Lennon, who was one of the members of the Beatles, moved into the apartment building. Twelve years later he was shot and killed by a deranged fan in the entryway of the Dakota in 1980.
Burkittsville, Maryland | Blair Witch Project
In a town with less than 1,000 residents and an abundance of quaint, little shops, the popular movie Blair Witch Project was filmed. The movie is about a group of three college students who travel to Burkittsville to shoot a documentary on the legend of the Blair Witch. They never return home and video camera footage of the horrors they went through are found a few weeks after they disappear. Most of the movie was filmed in Seneca State Park which is found about an hour away from Burkittsville, while the remainder of the movie was filmed in the small town. If you’re a die hard Blair Witch fan, you can also visit the town of Adams, Tennessee where the Bell family reportedly faced off against a poltergeist between 1817 and 1820. This tale partially inspired the story line for the Blair Witch Project.
Monroeville Mall, Pennsylvania | Dawn of the Dead
One of the most iconic zombie movies and one that paved the way for other zombie movies and tv shows was Dawn of the Dead. If you love this movie as much as everyone else, you’ll be happy to know that you can visit and shop at the actual mall in the which the 1978 movie was filmed. The Monroeville mall is a two story edifice and boasts about 150 stores and restaurants. George A Romero, who was the mastermind behind the film, was so inspired by this small town mall that he absolutely had to film his movie here. Filming took place during the closing hours of the mall which were between 10 pm and 6 am. The mall now sees hundreds of horror movie buffs visiting each year to pay tribute to one of the most iconic horror movies of our time.
Georgetown, Washington | The Exorcist
Found in the town of Georgetown in Washington, DC are two of the most prominent filming locations that can be seen in the Exorcist movie. The house shown in the picture above was used as the movie poster for the 1973 movie and was also used as Regan and her mother’s home. Not far from the house are the infamous set of stairs that can be seen in one scene of the movie. The stairs are known as the M Street stairs but have also started being called the ‘exorcist’ stairs. The scene that was filmed on these stairs was the scene in which Father Karras is thrown to his death by Regan’s dream. The set of stairs have become so well known and popular that they even have their own plaque commemorating their involvement in film history.
Kingsland, Texas | Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Though this town may not sound familiar or seem like much, Kingsland, which can be found about an hour outside of Austin, is actually the home of the vicious masked killer, Leatherface. Originally found in Red Rock, Texas, the house shown above was used in the original 1974 version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre as the home base for all the brutal murders that Leatherface and his deranged family carried out. After the filming for the movie wrapped, the house was bought and then moved to Kingsland where visitors can still visit it to this day. The house has been transformed into a restaurant known as the Grand Central Cafe and sees hundreds of horror fanatics coming from around the world to grab a bite to eat at Leatherface’s former house of horrors.
Let me know in the comments which is your favorite horror movie that you love watching during the Halloween season & which of these destinations would you most love to visit.