As we approach the scariest date in the calendar, there's a select group of brave souls who seek out the spookiest places to visit at Halloween. Rather than beaches, clubs and shopping, think ghost towns, nuclear fallout zones, haunted houses and top secret military bases, combining travel with things that go bump in the night.
For those looking for some inspiration on where to find some spooks and frights, we've compiled a list of some of the best places to go for Halloween around the world. And for those of a more nervous disposition, use this list to experience these creepy destinations from the comfort of your own home.
The Catacombs - Paris
For something seriously spooky this Halloween, take a visit to Paris' Catacombs: a creepy underground chamber where the remains of around six million people are laid out. For a period in the 18th Century, Parisian cemeteries ran out of space, so bones from the more traditional burial grounds were moved instead to a series of underground quarries beneath the city's streets.
Perhaps surprisingly, the underground city of death became a tourist attraction almost at once, and that's still the case today. It's also attracted its fair share of illegal inhabitants over the years, with reports of spooky parties, underground squatters and the occasional death of an unwitting trespasser. Zoinks!
If you're curious about visiting the Catacombs this Halloween, practical information on visiting the catacombs the legit way can be found here.
Chernobyl - Russia
Looking for somewhere off the beaten track this Halloween? Perhaps Chernobyl is for you. A niche tourist industry has sprung up around the dead zone: the 1000 square-mile exclusion zone around what's left of the world's most infamous doomed nuclear power plant. Almost thirty years after the accident, radiation levels in Chernobyl are said to be returning to normal - but there's nothing ordinary about this long-abandoned city.
Although one of the best places to go for Halloween in the continent, a visit to Chernobyl is not for the faint-hearted. To gain entry to the exclusion zone you'll need to obtain a pass several days in advance, as well as signing a waiver accepting that you enter at your own risk. On the plus side, you'll also get given your own geiger counter, a tour around the eerily overgrown town, and not to mention some incredibly creepy photographs of an area where few dare to set foot. A perfect chance to up your Instagram game.
Door to Hell - Turkmenistan
What could be scarier than a hole in the ground known locally as the Door to Hell? How about a hole in the ground that's perpetually on fire, smells overwhelmingly of sulphur and is usually swarming with spiders? Now that sounds like a great place to go for Halloween!
It sounds like the stuff of nightmares, but Turkmenistan's Darvaza Crater attracts its fair share of visitors (both human and arachnid) due to its sheer uniqueness. Originally dug out in the early 1970s, the crater was formed when Soviet scientists found a rich source of oil underground. Huge amounts of natural gas were released during the excavation, which the scientists tried to burn off to prevent the toxic fumes from travelling, expecting the fire to die within a few months at the latest.
That fire still burns today, over 4 decades later...
Why spiders are attracted to the Darvaza Crater remains a mystery, but to our human readers looking to visit, it remains one of our favourite places to go for Halloween.
Transylvania - Romania
Few places on earth can claim such creepy credentials as Transylvania, yet this historic and frankly rather pretty region of modern-day Romania is perhaps the least creepy of all the places to go for Halloween on our list. Full of hardwood forests and wildflower meadows, it's been described as one of the last truly Medieval landscapes in Europe. Its remoteness does, however, give the area an other-worldliness that you won't find anywhere else.
If you're determined to pursue the spookier aspects of Transylvania's past this Halloween, you can follow in the footsteps of Count Dracula (aka Vlad the Impaler); by taking a tour around the real-life character's haunts - including the famous Bran Castle near Brașov.
While Transylvania is certainly remote, it's not hard to access, making it a great option for a quick Halloween getaway. Most visitors fly in to Bucharest Airport, before hiring a car and continuing their journey by road.
Battleship Island - Japan
Japan's Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island; is one of the most unique ghost towns in the world, and is definitely one of the best places to go for Halloween in Japan. The island was once the most densely-populated space in recorded history, but since 1974, this small but peculiarly built-up city has been completely deserted. Residents left in their droves when a coal mine, the island's primary source of income was closed down, and it's been left entirely to the elements ever since.
Today, Gunkanjima is an eerie and desolate place, and it only began accepting tourists in 2009. Interest has piqued in recent years since the island was used as a location in the James Bond film Skyfall, where it served as a suitably menacing-looking lair for villain Raoul Silva.
Pluckley - Kent
Just a stone's throw away from Holiday Extras HQ, Pluckley is one of the best places to go for Halloween here in the UK. Located in Kent, it once held the Guinness World Record for most haunted village in Britain, with over a dozen unique ghosts allegedly sighted in the quaint, rural setting.
Aficionados of the paranormal can enjoy a night in the Screaming Woods this halloween, which is thought to be haunted by a long dead couple who became lost in the forested area. You can even camp there overnight... spooky stuff!
Centralia - Pennsylvania
Once a quiet mining town, Centralia is now one of the creepiest destinations in America and one of the spookiest places to go for Halloween.
Centralia was abandoned as a result of an underground mine fire that rages to this day, spewing methane gas from holes in the ground. This chilling landscape have lead some to believe it to be the physical manifestation of hell on Earth.
Would-be halloween travellers beware, as Centralia is so eerie that it was used as inspiration for the film adaptation for Silent Hill. Anyone else sleeping with the lights on tonight?
Sedlec Ossuary - Czech Republic
We think Prague is one the best city break destinations in Europe, with plenty of boutique shopping choices and stunning historic architecture. But travel just an hour outside of the city by train and you'll find a much creepier setting, and one of the best places to go for Halloween, the Sedlec Ossuary.
Also known as the bone church, the Sedlec Ossuary is decorated with over 40,000 human skeletons, which have been shaped into chandeliers, a coat of arm and even sinister bunting! Weird, creeper but beautiful in its own way, the Sedlec Ossuary is definitely a great place to visit this Halloween.
Winchester Mystery House - San Jose, California
If you want to find the best haunted house in the world this Halloween, look no further than than the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. The mansion was designed by Sarah Winchester, who was convinced it was haunted by the ghosts of those killed by the Winchester rifle, invented by her late husband. To keep one step ahead of these ghoulish apparitions, she insisted on false doors and staircases that lead to nowhere being fitted, as well as other questionable design choices, making sure the ghosts were just as confused as unsuspecting guests!
Anyone looking to visit the Winchester Mystery House will be pleased to know that it's open to the public, making it one of the best places to go for Halloween in the US.
Isla De Las Muñecas - Mexico City
If you're looking for one of the most unsettling places to visit this Halloween, look no further than Isla De Las Muñecas, also known as the Island of the Dolls. The legend says that the island's caretaker found the body of a young girl floating in the water more than 50 years ago, and in an attempt to appease her spirit, spent the next 5 decades decorating the island with discarded dolls and toys. Most of these were filthy (having been pulled from the water), or missing eyes and limbs, making for maximum creepiness. But perhaps the spookiest part of the tale is in 2001, the caretaker's body was found in the water, floating in the exact place the girl was found decades ago. Jinkies!
Since then, Isla De Las Muñecas has been open to the public, with a regular ferry boat taking tourists from Mexico City. If you're a fan of Chucky from Child's Play, or Annabelle from The Conjuring, then Isla De Las Muñecas is the to go for Halloween.
Area 51 - Nevada
So far we've talked about some truly paranormal places to go for Halloween this year, but for a totally out of this world experience, then a visit to Area 51 is a must.
A US Air Force base quietly tucked away in Nevada, Area 51 is one of the most secretive locations in the world, which has led to more than a few conspiracy theories as to what goes on behind its closed doors. Stories of alien encounters, exotic energy weapons, weather manipulation and even time travel have all been linked with the facility for decades, with plenty of hoaxes and coverups making it hard to separate the fact from the fiction. Either way, the truth is out there and it sure is creepy.
Although tourists can't actually enter the base, there's plenty to enjoy in the surrounding area to make Area 51 a great place to go for Halloween. Tourists can travel along the Extraterrestrial Highway that runs parallel to the base (although don't expect to see much more than endless desert), that leads towards the tiny village of Rachel. Here you can enjoy local, home cooked food at the Little A'le'Inn (geddit?) cafe, where the locals are Area 51 experts and are more than happy to share their stories.
And that's a wrap on our picks of the best places to go for Halloween (it's ok, you can open your eyes now). Let us know your favourite spooky destinations below, and don't forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel for more great videos. While you're at it, why not like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Written by Tom BakerTop