Halloween Chills & Thrills

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Lady Luck takes centerstage at this year's Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Orlando Resort.

With Halloween right around the corner, we’re sure plenty of travelers are on the hunt for vacations that will satisfy their cravings for ghosts, goblins and all that is spooky. We’ve even found a thing or two for the kiddies…or the not-so-brave adults.

For 25 nights beginning Sept. 23, Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights returns with a brand-new line up of extreme Halloween entertainment, from elaborate haunted houses, to terrifying Scare Zones. This year, the event celebrates its 21st anniversary with the theme, “Lady Luck.”

Some of the new haunted houses guests can experience at this year’s event will include Nevermore: The Madness of Poe—bringing the author’s most famous works to life; Nightingales: Blood Prey—a creepy WWII-era experience; and H.R. Bloodengutz Presents: Holidays of Horror—an eerie twist to your average holiday tale.

Tickets and vacation packages for Halloween Horror Nights 21 are on sale now and can be purchased at halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando. Due to the event’s popularity, Universal Orlando expects tickets for weekend nights to sell out and advises visitors to purchase tickets well in advance. Guests can also get updates and details on Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights on the event’s official Facebook page (facebook.com/halloweenhorrornightsorlando).

For vacationers headed to North Carolina this October, recommend a stop in historic Wilkesboro, which  is said to be haunted by a variety of locals. Every year, folks check for themselves during the Wilkes Candlelight Ghost Tour. Here, local historians tour spectators through the town, peeking into the Old Wilkes Jail, the Robert Cleveland house, the Brown-Cowles cabin, the English Cottage, the Hubbard Home, and The Smithy Hotel. Visitors will hear tales of Tom Dooly, paranormal investigations, apparitions of ghosts in town, and sounds in the cemetery. Admission for the Candlelight Ghost Tour is $7 for adults (children under 5 are free). Tour times are 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Mount Airy Museum of Regional History combines history with a bit of mystery with its newest program, Historic Mount Airy Ghost Tours. These lantern-lit walking tours lasts 90 minutes through downtown Mount Airy. Visitors will hear about 13 of Mount Airy’s “less-mortal” friends and some of their final resting places. The tours are held every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. through Oct. 22. Tickets are priced at $10 pp.

Information on both tours can be found at northcarolinamuseum.org.

In Hershey, PA, the annual Halloween In Hershey celebration offers plenty of fun, themed activities, ideal for families with little ones. Activities take place the weekends of Oct. 14-16, 21-23 and 28-30.

At Hersheypark in the Dark (open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings through October), for instance, families can enjoy nearly 50 operating rides, as well as a trick-or-treat adventure for kids 12 and under that begins at Hershey’s Chocolate World. And on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Hershey Gardens lights up  with more than 150 uniquely carved illuminated pumpkins during its annual Pumpkin Glow. Children ages 12 and younger are invited to come in costume, listen to a garden-themed story time, and collect candy treats at stops along the Gardens’ paths.

For additional information, including a complete lineup of events, visit halloweeninhershey.com.