Trick or travel? Halloween holiday options for the whole family

Lynn O’Rourke Hayes | (TNS)

Trick or treat? Why not treat your family to a haunted holiday. Here are five to consider:

1. New Orleans, La.

A recent TripAdvisor survey ranked New Orleans as the spookiest city in the U.S., based on the number of spooky tours and events available to visitors. Among the options in NOLA is a family-friendly, small group tour during which your clan will learn about the legends that are part of the French Quarter’s storied past. It’s a spooky, but not over-the-top wander through an historic neighborhood said to be frequented by ghosts and goblins.

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2. Great Wolf Lodges

Choose from 18 resorts across the country where seasonal décor — think Fall leaves, pumpkins, and other ghostly treats — await youngsters. During October, select resorts will feature special packages through which families can swim through a sea of floating pumpkins to find their favorite gourd, embark on an immersive journey to reunite a little pumpkin with its family, and enjoy seasonal treats like cider and donuts while they decorating pumpkins.

Also, be on the lookout for Trick-Or-Treat Trails, a Monster Bash Dance Party, Howl-O-Ween trivia and engaging crafts. Visit the Great Wolf Lodge in the Pocono Mountains, Pa., Gurnee, Ill., Grapevine, Texas, LaGrange, Ga. or Garden Grove, Calif. and you can check into a Pumpkin Spice Suite. That means you’’ll have access to bottomless Pumpkin Spice Lattes from the coffee shop located in the lodge, a daily amenity service that includes warm buns with pumpkin cream cheese frosting and sleep in a room with pumpkin pillows and pops of oranges and browns to further celebrate the season.

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3. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Check out the brilliant autumnal display while hiking, biking, visiting historic attractions and celebrating the spooky season. Take in the Jack-o’-lantern Blaze where more than 7,000 individually hand-carved and illuminated jack-o’-lanterns glow in a historic, riverside landscape.

Learn more about Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow during a spine-chilling tour on the Irving estate. Take part in a literature-themed scavenger hunt and take in a special exhibit that highlights how the Legend has lived on in popular culture.

Take your chances during a haunted hayride and pay homage to the author and the season with a visit to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where Washington Irving is buried.

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4. Virginia City, Montana

Perhaps it’s the ghost of Calamity Jane who saunters back into town. Or maybe it’s the gold miner whose luck ran out. No one knows for sure, but the colorful mining town is said to be “spirited.” Once home to as many as 10,000 residents, lively saloons and dance halls, Virginia City was considered the capital of the Montana Territory.

Today, travelers who make their way to this well-preserved treasure are treated to old-time theater, music, train rides, living history demonstrations as well as walking or horse-drawn carriage tours. And, plenty of good ghost stories.

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5. A haunted house near you

Sticky cobwebs, spine-chilling music, hair-raising sights. If you dare, find a haunted place near you and go boldly into the night.

During this spooky season expect fields of screams, terror in the cornfields and whole towns devoted to scaring you out of your wits. If you dare, you can find a chamber of horrors to suit your family’s tastes.

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