The Best Towns to Trick-or-Treat This Halloween
It's estimated that US households will spend over $12 billion collectively on candy, costumes, and more for Halloween this year. With all that money, time, and energy invested in what is the third most popular holiday in the country, potential trick-or-treaters will want to know what are some of the best places to be on October 31st. WalletHub recently set out to discover the answer to this question, and ranked the best towns in America to spend Halloween this year.
WalletHub compared 100 US cities using 20 metrics that included trick-or-treater friendliness; crime rates and pedestrian safety; the number of costume stores, party supply stores, and chocolate and candy stores; entertainment options like haunted houses, pumpkin patches, movie theaters, bars, and amusement parks; as well as weather forecast predictions and averages. Below are the destinations that topped their lists.
Welcoming cities on the East Coast
There are several great advantages to being a large metropolitan area for Halloween. For trick-or-treating, condense city living makes it easy to hop from one household to the next and kids can easily rack up large bags of sugary loot. There's also typically lots of shopping options for costumes and candy, as well as several kinds of entertainment for all ages.
Taking the top spot overall is New York, New York. The Big Apple took first place in the treat-or-treater friendliness category, and came in third for the most Halloween fun. With winter still holding off at this point in the northeast, the city even took fourth place for good weather. Additionally, New York City tied for the most costume stores per capita and candy and chocolate stores per capita—so there's no doubt that both those trick-or-treating and those passing out the treats will be well-prepared for a great evening. Nearby Jersey City, New Jersey came in at second place, just behind New York, in the friendliness category. Overall, Jersey City took fifth place.
Eighth place-ranked Boston, Massachusetts also got a great rankings boost thanks to its welcoming and friendly atmosphere, which came in third in that category. Boston and the surrounding New England area is a great place for "Halloween vibes" thanks to the many intriguing, and often spooky, stories behind the historic homes and destinations in the area. It's perfectly crisp autumn weather also landed it a 27th place position in that category.
Western towns with the most fun
Second place over all went to Las Vegas, Nevada. Sin City topped the rankings for the most Halloween fun, most costume stores per capita, and most candy and chocolate stores per capita. It had modest placings in the friendliness and weather categories, but its sure be a perfect spot for those looking to party. Those without kids, especially, will likely find Vegas as the most fun place to spend a holiday with spooky attractions and adult-only thrills, and bars and nightclubs for the crowd that wants to party the night away.
However, if family-friendliness is what you're looking for, check out Gilbert, Arizona, ranked 10th place overall. The Southwestern town topped the list when it came to the lowest crime rate; it also came in fourth for most friendly, third for highest percentage of potential trick-or-treaters, and fourth for highest percentage of potential trick-or-treat stops. Overall, Gilbert has the perfect recipe for a traditional night of trick-or-treating with young kids.
Other Western towns performed well in the rankings, even if they didn't make the overall top 10 list. Laredo, Texas (ranked 19th overall) has the highest number of potential trick-or-treaters and is the eighth most friendly; Henderson, Nevada has the fourth lowest crime rate; and Boise, Idaho took third place for best weather forecast.
Sunny destinations in California
California towns domination the rankings for best place to spend Halloween, with especially good showings in the "most fun" category. In addition to the wonderful weather in Southern California and along the Pacific Coast, the state has plenty of fall attractions like farms and pumpkin patches, plus a great nightlife and entertainment scene in its major cities.
Los Angeles ranked fifth in the fun category and took a decent 23rd place for friendliness; overall, the City of Angels is third best place to spend the holiday. Nearby Anaheim came in sixth place overall, with a tenth place finish for most fun and 16th place ranking for most friendly. San Diego was close behind at seventh place overall, with a seventh place ranking for most fun and 20th place position in the weather category.
Even California towns that didn't top the overall rankings made an impressive showing in other individual categories. When it comes to the highest percentage of potential trick-or-treaters, Bakersfield ranked second, Fresno ranked fourth, and San Bernardino ranked fifth. Santa Ana took second place for the highest percentage of trick-or-treat stops. Sacramento also took first place for the best average weather forecast on Halloween night.
South Florida standouts
Is it any surprise that Florida towns are both fun and have excellent weather, a perfect combination for a successful Halloween evening? Miami ranked fourth for most fun, tied in 20th for weather, and took 31st for friendliness, launching it into fourth place overall. Nearby Hialeah, Florida made it to ninth place overall thanks to its fifth place finish for most fun environment and 20th place tie for weather. In addition to Halloween, Florida is also the perfect place to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, thanks to its large Latin American population.
—To see the full rankings and data, visit WalletHub.
6 VRBO Escapes Inspired by the New Bird Dog Whiskeys
If your favorite whiskey flavor were a vacation home, where would you go? Transport yourself to the very places your taste buds dream of. Dive into the vacation realm inspired by Bird Dog Whiskey's new innovative flavors. These aren’t just destinations; they’re sensory adventures. Pack Bird Dog Whiskey's newest flavor releases and match the mood of these magnificent, unique, and exceptionally rated vacation homes from VRBO – from the rich aromas of pumpkin spice to the surprising undertones of mesquite brown sugar. Your escapade just got a whole lot zestier. 1. Pair with Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice: Book on VRBO: Elegant Cabin in Perfect Location! Private but close to Everything! Gatlinburg, TN Source: VRBO - The large open area floor plan makes the cabin feel even bigger than it is! Enjoy the falling leaves of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This beautifully maintained log cabin is a stone's throw away from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Adorned with cathedral ceilings, it features a luxurious upstairs primary suite with a jetted tub. Outside, a covered deck boasts a new hot tub and stunning natural views, while a front porch offers seasonal mountain vistas from comfortable rocking chairs. Whether for a romantic escape or a family getaway, its location and charm make it an ideal vacation choice. Bird Dog Pumpkin Spice 2. Pair with Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar: Book on VRBO: Desert Reverie at Mesquite Cabin - Twentynine Palms, California Source: VRBO - The private stone hot tub at Mesquite Cabin Step into this sanctuary amidst the Mojave Desert, perfectly positioned by Joshua Tree National Park. The Mesquite Cabin is a green retreat, where eco-friendly meets luxurious relaxation. Indulge in a heavenly soak in its stone tub, filled with mineral-rich hot springs, under the vast, starlit sky. Nature’s elegance, with a sustainable touch. Bird Dog Mesquite Brown Sugar 3. 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After exploring the vibrant streets of Savannah, retreat to the tranquil courtyard, and warm yourself by the fire pit with a heartening drink. Bird Dog Gingerbread There you have it – six destinations, six experiences, all enhanced with a touch of Bird Dog Whiskey. So why wait? Let flavors guide your next journey. Cheers to spirited adventures! Sponsored by Bird Dog WhiskeyBird Dog Whiskey is proud and honored to be the most-awarded flavored whiskey on the market, earning top honors in both industry and consumer competitions. Each of its flavored whiskeys is meticulously crafted to deliver a smooth, complex, and unique drinking experience that balances a delicious flavor with real Kentucky bourbon whiskey. For more information, please visit https://birddogwhiskey.com/Bird Dog Whiskey
Want to get into the holiday spirit, but don't like the colder temps that come along with the season? Head to sunny Florida for late fall and early winter. The Sunshine State is home to several great celebrations and events—from food festivals, art shows, light displays, and more—leading up to the holidays. Enjoy musical performances along the Gulf Coast Pensacola, Florida - courtesy of Visit Pensacola Taking place this November, the Annual Frank Brown Songwriters' Festival will once again bring nationally acclaimed songwriters and musicians from around the world to venues along Florida's Gulf Coast from November 9th to 19th, with several can't-miss engagements at the iconic Flora-Bama on Perdido Key. Next year will mark 40 years as the festival continues to provide musicians an opportunity to share their stories behind lyrics that otherwise may go unheard with music-loving fans. Additionally, this November also marks the 10-year anniversary of a Pensacola staple, the Pensacola Foo Foo Festival. A 12-day celebration of culturally creative happenings, events, and moments under one banner, this year's events will take place from Thursday, November 2nd to Monday, November 13th. Set to be one of the most memorable iterations yet, this year's Foo Foo Fest will see leading acts such as Manchester Orchestra, Broadway star Megan Hilty, immersive fine art experiences and tours, performances by the Pensacola Opera, Pensacola Children's Chorus and others. Celebrate the holidays on the beach Celebrating its 11th year in Jacksonville Beach, Deck the Chairs will start November 22nd. During this unique event, visitors will see American Red Cross Lifeguard chairs decked in coastal holiday decorations and lights. New for the event this year is an additional display at James Weldon Johnson Park in Downtown Jacksonville that debuts on December 6th. Each year, thousands come out to see the decorations and support local arts education. Take part in a frost-free snowball fight From November 24th to December 29th, the Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will host the Dazzling Nights exhibition. Immersive lighting displays dazzle the property and can be enjoyed on evenings throughout the holiday season. With their nightly snowfall during the event and snowball fights inside a gigantic snow globe, guests can have a wintery experience not common to Floridians. See dazzling lights in St. Augustine Christmas lights illuminate St. Augustine, Florida - courtesy of Florida's Historic Coast For the past thirty years, St. Augustine has marked the Saturday before Thanksgiving with Light Up! Night (November 18th this year). During the annual Nights of Lights, millions of twinkling white lights come to life and illuminate the historic architecture of the nation's oldest city. The festival has roots in the Spanish tradition of placing lit white candles in the windows of homes to mark the Christmas season. Light Up Night! is a free event that begins at 4 p.m. with a spirited holiday performance by Showtime USA at City Hall. Then at 6 p.m., the All-Star Orchestra takes the stage with great swing and big band sounds at the historic Plaza de la Constitución Gazebo. At 6:45p.m. the switch is flipped, lighting up the city. St. Augustine has many local businesses that provide a variety of ways to sit back, relax, and enjoy the lights. Join Ancient City Tours for guided walking tours full of fascinating stories, or check out Old Town Trolley's Famous Nights of Lights Tour and Ripley's Red Train Nights of Lights Tours. For a vintage vibe, climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage and take in the lights leisurely. Rides with The Tasting Tours are offered daily, including boutique wines and VIP boarding. Take in the entire illuminated landscape from the sea by booking an intimate and highly customizable sailing experience on one of St. Augustine Sailing's luxury sailboats departing from Camachee Cove Marina. For larger groups, the Schooner Freedom brings traditional sailing techniques to life during their Sunset and Nights of Lights sails. For a powered boat journey, hop on board with Florida Water Tours, St. Augustine Scenic Cruise, St. Augustine Boat Tours, St. Augustine Eco Tours, Pia & Me Charters, and Red Boat Tours. For a piratical spin, check out the Black Raven Pirate Ship. Enjoy fresh seafood in Ormond Beach Daytona Beach Located between The Casements and the Halifax River in Ormond Beach, Rockefeller Gardens will celebrate the coastal lifestyle and all things water at the 13th Annual Riverfest Seafood Festival on November 18th and 19th. Guests can enjoy freshly caught fried fish, sip on a craft beer and enjoy live music and much more. The kids can even get in on the fun with the annual kid fish clinic. That same weekend, Woodland Boulevard in DeLand will transform into an artist’s garden of colors with the 30th Annual Fall Festival of the Arts. The event will feature works from 170 national artists, who will display and sell artwork in a wide variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, glass, jewelry, leather, photography, printmaking, wood, ceramics and fiber. Go on a festive shopping spree in Jacksonville Holiday lights in Jacksonville, Florida - courtesy of Visit Jacksonville Holiday shoppers traveling to town will want to check out the St. Johns Town Center Holiday Spectacular on November 11th. The outdoor mall's annual event includes giveaways from the Town Center's stores, ornament decorating, oversized games, a 360 photo studio and live entertainment. The Spectacular ends with Santa Claus lighting a 32-foot holiday tree and kicking off a fireworks display. Residents of Jacksonville love putting together light displays throughout their businesses and neighborhoods during the holidays. Thanksgiving weekend brings the Jacksonville Light Boat Parade, a 30-year tradition, where boats float down the North and South Banks of the St. Johns River with fantastic holiday light arrangements. The parade finishes with a fireworks show featuring one-of-a-kind waterfall fireworks on the Main Street and Acosta Bridges. Gather at Daytona International Speedway for the Turkey Run The largest combined car show and swap meet in the United States is celebrating its golden anniversary in 2023 with the 50th Annual Daytona Turkey Run on November 23rd through 26th at Daytona International Speedway. Car enthusiasts will gather to view show-quality cars from around the county, discover beautifully restored classics and foreign cars. From accessories to hard-to-find parts to classic cars, there’s something for everyone at the Turkey Run.
Experience Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico City
Mexico City sets the scene for one of the most important holidays in Mexico — Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This ancestral tradition dates back to pre-Hispanic Mexico, with roots originating in the cultures of Mesoamerica. Over time, these traditions were blended with Catholic beliefs to give rise to the holiday we know today, celebrated across Mexico. For American travelers, Mexico City is one of the easiest international destinations to access, thanks to thousands of non-stop flights. Benito Juarez International Airport is one of the main hubs of Latin America, with direct U.S. flights from Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Chicago, Houston, and several other major cities. The central pillar of the celebration is remembering the lives of those no longer living. Loved ones and family members take to cemeteries and each other's homes with offerings of flowers, water, photographs of the deceased, their favorite food and drink, and other items that help to remember those who passed. The celebration is so integral to Mexican culture that UNESCO has established it as a Cultural and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and nowhere in Mexico celebrates Day of the Dead as vibrantly and passionately as Mexico City. This year’s celebration promises to be just as magical, poignant, and beautiful as ever. Catch pre-holiday festivities all month long The Mexican flag and Dia de los Muertos decor by Antonio Lapa - Unsplash The month-long celebration kicked off on October 6th with the Festival de la Llorona en el Embarcadero de Cuemanco, which took place on the canals of Xochimilco, the Venice of the Americas. The evening show takes place aboard the colorful trajineras and includes a performance on the legend of La Llorona (The Crying Woman). On October 18th, the Festival de las Flores de Cempasúchil takes over Paseo de la Reforma with thousands of brilliantly colored marigolds illuminating the path of the dead. It is estimated that five million marigold flowers will be produced this season. Marigolds in Mexico City by Roger Ce - Unsplash October 21st marks one of the most highly anticipated events of Day of the Dead in Mexico City: the Desfile de Alebrijes Monumentales, a parade of giant puppets that measure up to eight feet tall. Alebrijes are gorgeous works of art that blur the lines between reality and surrealism. They have become one of the most time-honored traditions of Mexico City's Day of the Dead. Catrina's parade in Mexico City by Salvador Altamirano - Unsplash The parade is a precursor to the next magnificent event. The following day, October 22nd, begins the Mega Procesion de Catrinas. This spectacle is a massive parade that begins at the Angel of Independence in Reforma and ends at the Zocalo, in the heart of the Centro Historico. Hundreds of gorgeous Catrinas take to the streets, with hauntingly beautiful painted faces, elaborate costumes, flowers, and music. La Catrina is the primary figure of Day of the Dead, a representation of an Aztec figure, The Goddess of Death, who was later popularized by engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada. Engines rev on October 26th at the Formula 1 Mexico City Grand Prix, one of the most important events in professional car racing. Enjoy a week-long main event Colorful skulls by Sam Brand - Unsplash All of this is, of course, a build-up to the actual Day of the Dead. Celebrated between October 31st and November 5th, this is when the offerings are made to the dearly departed. In Mexico City, the Zocalo hosts an Ofrenda Monumental, or massive offering that fills the entire plaza with altars, flowers, incense, photographs, and much more. Thousands of people take to the streets dressed as zombies for another festive, colorful, decked-out parade. All are invited to participate in the events spread out over the month of October. Celebrations are held in every city across the country. But there is no better place in Mexico to experience Dia de Los Muertos than in the beautiful, vibrant, exciting capital city.
This City is the Perfect Destination for a Veterans Day Trip
As Veterans Day approaches, Columbus, Ohio stands out as one of the top places in the country to honor and celebrate veterans. Ohio's capital is home to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, which is currently celebrating its fifth anniversary as the only museum in the country that honors veterans from all branches of service. In addition, the city's blend of neighborhoods, dynamic nightlife, noteworthy music scene, arts and culinary experiences, events, attractions and accommodations are all made unforgettable by the diversity of its outgoing locals who eagerly await and warmly welcome visitors. Here are several reasons why Columbus is a must-visit destination this Veterans Day. See courage up close and personal at a one-of-a-kind veterans museum American flags strung up as a decoration by Tim Mossholder - Unsplash The National Veterans Memorial and Museum takes visitors on a narrative journey, sharing the personal stories of veterans as you progress through the various stages a veteran would, from taking the oath of enlistment to attending basic training and from deploying to returning home and reintegrating as a civilian. At this unique museum, history is presented through a dynamic, participatory experience with photos, letters and personal effects, multi-media presentations and interactive exhibits. On Veterans Day, visitors are invited to participate in an annual commemorative ceremony to honor the contributions of veterans. The history of the museum goes back to former astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn who was the visionary behind the $82 million project that opened in October 2018 after six years of planning and construction. One of the primary focus areas of the museum in addition to educating the public is to serve veterans. They do this by offering year-round resources and programs, including Jiu Jitsu, yoga and art classes, as well as a space to hear other veterans' stories through their Veteran Voices program. Experience other unique military museums Skyline of Columbus, Ohio by Oz Seyrek - Unsplash Other Veterans Day experiences visitors can have while in Columbus include visiting Motts Military Museum, whose mission is to share artifacts and recount their history through the stories of those who witnessed them firsthand while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Exhibits range from ones focusing on the Revolutionary War to World War II and from the Vietnam War to Dessert Storm. Visitors can see uniforms, weapons, military aircraft, tanks, boats and armored vehicles from past wars up close in an intimate setting. In a hanger outside, visitors can see larger artifacts such as a fire truck from the September 11, 2001 attacks. Pay your respects at the Ohio Veterans Plaza A National Guard helmet by Israel Palacio - Unsplash Not far from the National Veterans Memorial and Museum downtown is the Ohio Statehouse. On the Capitol grounds, visitors can stop by the Ohio Veterans Plaza, which honors Ohio veterans from World War II to the present. Limestone walls feature inscribed letters with moving messages from veterans who depict being at concentration camps, being injured during combat, missing their children's milestones and spending holidays apart from loved ones. The inspiration for the plaza is rooted in an act of civil disobedience. In 1981, two Vietnam veterans erected under the cover of night on the Capitol grounds a hand painted four-by-eight-foot sheet of plywood as a tribute to veterans of the Vietnam War. The two were to be charged with trespassing and destruction of state property until then-State Senator Richard Pfeiffer, intervened. Pfeiffer, also a Vietnam veteran, convinced officials to allow the handmade monument to stand for a period of time. Shortly after, the Ohio legislature passed a bill to install a permanent veteran's monument. Support local veteran-owned businesses In addition to these experiences, visitors to Columbus will also find a thriving community of veteran-owned businesses, providing a unique opportunity to support and connect with local entrepreneurs who have served in the armed forces. Some of the local businesses include Crew Supply Co., which creates high-quality barware and infusion kits, and Jump Start Java, which provides barista-style gourmet coffee for businesses. — Learn more about all there is to see and do in Columbus this fall here.