8 Affordable Destinations If You Wanna Get Spooked This Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner. If you're thinking of doing something a little more adventurous this year, but are watching the pennies, then check out these great vacation ideas. You'll find there's a lot about these destinations that is scary … except the price tag.

1. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

There's nothing quite like a cold, creepy, rundown prison to get your Halloween juices flowing. The Travel Channel calls it, "one of America's scariest Halloween attractions," and it is literally a haunted house inside a real prison. The prison itself was at one time the most famous and expensive prisons in the world, housing criminals like Al Capone and William Francis Sutton, aka "Slick Willie." Now, the building is filled with echoing cell blocks, cold damp air, and the feeling that the ghosts of prisoners are walking the halls. If that's not enough, Steve Buscemi narrates the audio tour. Tickets are very reasonable indeed, costing $45-$50 on the Saturday before Halloween, and just $25-$30 on the actual night. And accommodations close by are also very affordable, with hotels nearby starting at just $125 a night during Halloween weekend.

2. The French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana

If you like your Halloween with a little Voodoo flair, get yourself down to the French Quarter this year. There are plenty of options when you arrive, from the Dead of Night Ghost Hunt (under $50 per person) to Bloody Mary's Moonlight Graveyard Tours ($30 per person). As you would expect with any New Orleans event, it's a fun, almost carnival-type atmosphere, with a lot of booze flowing and plenty of pub crawls and wedding parties in the vicinity. And if you're really feeling brave, try the St. Louis Cemetery at night. Hotels and motels within five miles of the French Quarter are well under $100 a night, and are just minutes away from the tours in a cab. Or you could get yourself right in the heart of the action for upward of $250 a night.

3. Witch Trial Museums in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem is famous for the Salem Witch Trials, which took the lives of 19 innocent victims who were killed simply because of their beliefs and lifestyles. As you can imagine, this horrific event lead to a lot of speculation and rumors about hauntings, ghosts, and unusual activity. And if you visit Salem during Halloween, that is really amped up. All through October you'll find fun family events, with a few things thrown in for the grown-ups, and it's all very reasonably priced.

From horror movie screenings and ghost tours, to Jack the Ripper musicals and haunted cruises, you will be engulfed in horrifying happenings. Hotel rooms average around $200 per night during peak Halloween season, but as usual, you can find great deals if you stay outside of the downtown area. And don't forget to check out Airbnb for excellent deals on lodging. (See also: 9 of the Craziest, Coolest Airbnb Listings)

4. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

The horror of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining hits you full in the face at the Stanley Hotel. This is where Jack Nicholson's character went out of his mind, and it's a known hot spot for paranormal activity. Strangely enough, this all started after the publication of Stephen King's infamous novel of the same name. Coincidence? Well, you can decide for yourself.

Every Halloween, the Stanley Hotel puts on a series of events, and in 2017, those include a murder mystery dinner at $170 per person, or a masquerade ball for $5 a head more. That price also includes food and drink. On top of that, a standard room for a couple will set you back around $250, or you can find other hotels in the area for about $72 a night. And as you are in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, so taking in the scenery is a must … and free.

5. Sleepy Hollow in Westchester, New York

If you don't know the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, where have you been hiding? If you're looking to immerse yourself in the legend of Sleepy Hollow, check out the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze for just $20 for adults, $16 for kids, and free for children under three. If you don't want to spend a dime, there are places of spooky historical interest that you can visit, including the chilling Old Dutch Church and Raven Rock. There are also plenty of plays, concerts, haunted tours, and many other events to keep the whole family entertained through your entire stay. And don't think that because this is New York, that it's going to cost an arm and a leg (or even a head in this case). There are myriad options for accommodation, with bed-and-breakfasts and motels starting at just $79 per night during Halloween. (See also: 4 Affordable Autumn Destinations for Nature Lovers)

6. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia

Be warned, this one is not for the faint of heart. A former state hospital for the mentally insane, the asylum was constructed in 1858 and originally held 250 patients. By the 1950s, that number had grown to over 2,000. It is said that the ghosts of Civil War soldiers roam the hallways, and many people who come to the tour have left feeling shaken and disturbed. But if you are built of stern stuff, and fancy spending the night in a cold, dark hell-scape, this is for you.

There are events and tours going on throughout the year, with Halloween really amping up the scares. Basic tours start at just $10, but special events and photo tours range from $35-$150. Accommodation in the area if very affordable, starting at around $70 a night. However, it's a small place so these rooms get booked fast. Get your reservation in early to avoid sleeping in the car.

7. West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia

If you're already in West Virginia for the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, why not make it a double whammy with another terrifying tour? The West Virginia Penitentiary has been called one of the scariest places in the United States, and with good reason.

First opened in 1876, the daunting gothic architecture was foreboding enough. But the history that followed turned it into a nightmare. Over 100 prisoners were hanged or electrocuted on the grounds. The prison saw multiple riots and countless escape attempts. And an actual phantom, the Greenbrier Ghost, gave testimony here (that's a long story). Tours range from one-hour explorations to three-hour investigations and overnight stays, if you dare. You can even partake in Zombie Paintball or an escape room. Prices range from $20, all the way up to $950 for private group sessions of around 20 people (that's about $50/head).

8. Bell Witch Cave in Adams, Tennessee

If you like your experiences cheap and haunting, try the Bell Witch Cave tour. The tale of the Bell Witch makes the skin crawl. Back in 1817, John Bell and his family were physically and mentally tortured by the witch that would visit their farm. His daughter, Betsy, took the brunt of the attacks. And just three years after they started, John Bell died. It is said that the spirit of the witch resides inside the cave, and eerie things happen to people who visit it. Cameras refuse to work. Photographs come out looking odd. Some say you can hear the witch, or see her face in the rock. A tour of both the cave and a replica of the Bell cabin will set you back less than $20 per person. And local hotels and B&Bs start at a very affordable $49 a night during Halloween season. Maybe you can use some of the money you save on some therapy afterward.

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