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posted on October 12, 2021

Start planning your Halloween road trip

Spooky stories. Candy. Haunted houses. Good times with your friends. Halloween is one of the best holidays of the year — and the data proves it. A survey of Canadians found that Halloween is one of the country’s top three favourite holidays. So it’s not surprising that everyone’s excited to return to the fun times of #spookyseason. While masking and social distancing measures are still in place, we’re several weeks out of lockdown and over 70% of the country has been vaccinated, giving you almost as much freedom as Halloween 2019.

What is Halloween?

While traditions vary around the world, people celebrate Halloween on October 31 in Canada and the United States. People dress up, play pranks, go trick-or-treating, and do a little thrill seeking. The word “Halloween” comes from the original name, “All Hallows’ Eve.” The holiday’s origin is Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival, where people would wear costumes to ward off ghosts, leading to our current custom of dressing up.

Why is Halloween celebrated and when did Halloween start? 

Halloween marks the eve of All Hallows’ Day on November 1 which starts a traditional period of observance for the dead. Ancient peoples used to gather to pay homage to the dead by offering sacrifices and lighting bonfires. Over time, people began doing something called “mumming” which was dressing up as scary creatures and performing in exchange for food and drinks. Some consider mumming the predecessor to trick-or-treating. 

If you’re preparing your Halloween schedule, here are a few suggestions for Halloween activities and trips you can enjoy. 

What to do on Halloween in Ontario

After a year of on-and-off lockdowns, no one would blame you for asking, “Is Halloween cancelled in Ontario?” Not at all. You should certainly take precautions, but there are a lot of Halloween activities happening in Ontario for you to check out. 

Halloween Haunt at Wonderland

Location: Vaughan, ON

Driving Time: 30 minutes from downtown Toronto

Description: This is one of the easiest day trips from Toronto since you’re barely leaving the city. A half hour drive from downtown Toronto, you can easily get to Wonderland to spend your day at Halloween Haunt. It’s been on hold since the pandemic started, but this “scream park” is officially back on select nights from September 24 to October 31. Guests can enjoy night rides, live shows, street performers, and scare zones. You’ll also need to be on the lookout for over 500 monsters roaming the park. To keep visitors safe, the park has transformed indoor haunted mazes into new outdoor experiences. Admission is $31.99 plus tax per guest.

Haunt Manor at Niagara Falls

Location: Niagara Falls, ON

Driving Time: 1 hour from downtown Toronto

Description: One of the most popular day trips in Ontario any time of year is heading to Niagara Falls, but there are also seasonal offerings if you choose to head there this fall. Haunt Manor Hayrides and Haunted Houses is considered one of the scariest attractions in all of Canada. It’s a 220-year old farm rumoured to be haunted by the ghosts of soldiers from the War of 1812. If ghost stories aren’t your thing, there’s also a theatrical hayride, corn maze, and several haunted houses that the staff switches up every year to keep things interesting. General admission for the full attraction is $40.75 plus tax

Drummond Hill Cemetery Tours in Niagara Falls

Location: Niagara Falls, ON

Driving Time: 1 hour from downtown Toronto

Description: If the Haunt Manor doesn’t satisfy your history craving, check out the Drummond Hill Cemetery in Niagara Falls where their famous tours are officially back. A costumed guide leads guests through one of the most historic resting places in Canada. As you walk through the grounds, you’ll stumble across re-enactments of some of the lives of people who lived in the area. Keep in mind that tickets have to be purchased in advance and that this is a rain-or-shine event, so book your tickets now and be sure to bring an umbrella. Tickets are $12 per person

Acres of Terror in Cannamore Orchard

Location: Crysler, ON

Driving Time: 4 hours from downtown Toronto

Description: If you’re looking for a long day trip from Toronto, consider checking out Acres of the Terror in Cannamore Orchard. Formerly the Spooky Wagon Ride, the Acres of Terror is a four-part experience. Hop on the Spooky Wagon Ride where you can tour the 60-acre property with a witch or warlock as your guide. You’ll meet 30 actors playing out spooky scenes around every corner. Next, you can creep into the House of Terror where you’ll have to use your wits and bravery to make it out in one piece. Then, take a walk through the Spooky Village, where you can have one-of-a-kind experiences such as shopping for a coffin at the Coffin Maker’s House or donating some blood at the Vampire’s House. Finally, wrap the day up with a little confusion at the Fog Maze where you’ll have to focus hard to make it to the end. General day time admission is $25, while general night admission is $32. There are special rates available for families as well as specific time slots. 

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What to do on Halloween in Quebec

Spending your spooky season in Quebec? There are all kinds of creepy adventures you can take. Whether you want to get your steps in while taking a ghost walking tour or take in a little Quebec history while lounging around in a park, there are several options for Halloween activities in Quebec. 

Ghost Walking Tours

Location: Quebec City, QC

Driving Time: Walking tours begin at the Morin Cultural Centre

Description: Officially called, “Les Promenades Fantômes”, these walking tours are a chilling walk back in time to the crime and punishment of New France. Your spooky host will send a shiver down your spine with tales of what happened on Quebec’s streets over a century ago. After you get your steps in, you can treat yourself to a late dinner in one of Quebec City’s many restaurants. Depending on the tour you select, tickets are $16.53 to $19.13 per person and the tours last a little over an hour. It’s an easy day trip within Montreal. 

Fright Fest in La Ronde

Location: Montreal, QC

Driving Time: 15 minutes from downtown Montreal

Description: La Ronde, a Montreal-based amusement park under the Six Flags umbrella, offers nights of frights and fun. You can catch the usual thrills on the amusement park rides during the day before wandering through the spooky haunted houses at night. La Ronde goes from a traditional theme park to an eerie metallic jungle of vampires, ghouls, and zombies ready to scare unsuspecting guests. Tickets start at $29.99

Halloween on the Plains of Abraham

Location: Quebec City, QC

Driving Time: Downtown Quebec City

Description: Have a little downtime while also learning some history. You can spend Halloween on the Plains of Abraham where a battle between the French and the English decided the fate of New France and the future of Quebec were decided. Today, it’s mainly a park used for relaxing and outdoor activities, but during the Halloween season it offers the Halloween Garden, Stories to Wake the Dead, a Halloween treasure hunt, falconry demonstrations, and presentations within Martello Tower. 

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What to do on Halloween in Alberta

Halloween fun operates on a spectrum where you can choose whether you’d like to be absolutely terrified or you’d just like to enjoy the fall colours. In Alberta, you’ve got all kinds of options, from screaming your lungs out at Screamfest to picking out your favourite nice, plump pumpkin at Pumpkin Palooza. Check out some of the cool Halloween activities available in Alberta. 

Screamfest

Location: Calgary, AB (Calgary Stampede Grandstand)

Driving Time: Downtown Calgary

Description: Halloween lovers can get all the Halloween they want at Screamfest, an experience that straight up promises guests they will scream. There are an outrageous number of things to do at this 100% Halloween-focused event. You can check out the outdoor haunted houses, such as the creepy “Clown Town” or the terrifying “What Lurks in the Dark” venue where you’re forced to listen to the sounds of screams while trying to rely on senses other than sight. You can also check out thrill rides like “The Screamer” and “Coffin Ride”, watch a movie in The Screaming Room, and grab some refreshments from the nearby food trucks and beer lounge. General admission tickets are $25.

The Haunted Hike

Location: Vegreville, AB

Driving Time: 1 hour from Edmonton

Description: Pack up the car for a Halloween-inspired day trip from Edmonton. What started off as a fun family activity in 2008 quickly turned into the community event of the season. Originally held in Sherwood Park, The Haunted Hike is now hosted in a warehouse just outside of Edmonton. You can navigate all kinds of spooky rooms packed with actors and thrills around every corner. The Haunted Hike offers both Scary Hours (for adults) and Not So Scary House(for kids). The kids tour offers 18 rooms to walk through with no actors so little ones don’t have to worry about anything too startling lurking in the dark. General admission is $15 while the kids’ tour is $5

Pumpkin Palooza

Location: Calgary, AB

Driving Time: 20 minutes from downtown Calgary

Description: Book some time in your calendar for a leisurely day trip in Calgary. Check out Pumpkin Palooza at Cobb’s Adventure Park & Corn Maze. Once you’ve found your pumpkin, there’s no need to call it a day. You can meet the animals at the petting zoo, including iguana, alpacas, baby kangaroos, and even fainting goats. You can also enjoy tractor rides, mini golf, and more. General admission tickets are $19.75

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What to do on Halloween in British Columbia

The west has some of the best Halloween games, activities, and sights. Some of them even come custom-made like the Vancouver Mysteries experience in Vancouver. If you’re not a fan of doing detective work, you can opt for some more relaxed excursions like a trip around a farm or pumpkin patch.  

Vancouver Mysteries

Location: Vancouver, BC

Driving Time: the games start in downtown Vancouver, close to Waterfront Station

Description: Engage your mind by signing up for a mystery game organized by Vancouver Mysteries. You can save the planet or solve a murder in the streets of Vancouver in a uniquely designed outdoor adventure experience for two to six players. If you’ve got more than six players, no problem! You’ll be split up into teams and asked to compete. Before your game starts, Vancouver Mysteries sends you instructions including your starting point. One of the Vancouver Mysteries team members arrives in character as Agent X with all the materials you need to embark on your journey. Prices vary per experience. An outdoor experience costs $35 per person

Petey’s Pumpkin Patch 

Location: Chilliwack, BC

Driving Distance: 1 hour from downtown Vancouver

Description: Petey’s Pumpkin Patch offers fun for the whole family. In addition to picking up a pumpkin for your household Jack-o’-Lantern, there’s a petting zoo, and train rides as well as playing areas. It’s $10 for an individual general admission ticket and $30 for a family of four. Petey’s Pumpkin Patch is located on Fraser Farms in Fraser Valley which makes for a nice scenic drive there and back.

Maan Farms

Location: Abbotsford, BC

Driving Distance: 1 hour from downtown Vancouver

Description: Whether you want something that’s a little more relaxed or you want to amp up the fear factor, Maan Farms has got something for everyone. If you want something that all ages will enjoy you can check out the play area and pumpkin patch. If you’re an older crowd and you want a scream or two, take a stab at The Haunted Corn Maze for a nice fright. Tickets for Maan Farms Haunts 2021 are $45 per person with options to buy a Fast Pass or an Immediate Access Pass. 

Book a car in British Columbia

There are so many local trips for you to take this Halloween. You can easily find a car as impressive as these destinations by browsing what’s available in your area on Turo. If you see something you like, but you’re planning a trip for the end of October, simply book it in advance so you’ve got your wheels locked for your spooky road trip. You might even be able to find a car that matches your costume! 

Happy Halloween!