While Americans on the United States East Coast might flock to Salem for haunted Halloween fun and seasonal decor, it’s a bit out of reach for many Canadians residing in southeastern Ontario. Luckily, plenty of small towns a short drive from Toronto make Halloween a memorable (and eerie) experience each year. Grab a friend, significant other, or the kids and plan a day trip to one of these charming towns.
Elora, Ontario, is one of the most popular places to visit in the province year-round. It’s frequently called the most beautiful town in Ontario, and it’s easy to see why; quaint shops, a historic mill, and a peaceful waterway running beside the town make it idyllic in any season. Elora experiences Monster Month each October, in which ghost walks, parades, and costume dance events all lead up to Halloween on the 31st.
Niagara-On-The-Lake is a gorgeous town in Southern Ontario on the shore of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. It’s well known for its many wineries and for being the home of the Shaw Festival. Attracting wine enthusiasts and theater lovers alike, Niagara-On-The-Lake is especially worth visiting in October, leading up to Halloween. The town is known for being haunted, and there are plenty of haunted houses on Clifton Hill for couples, families, and friend groups to explore.
8 St. Jacobs
St. Jacobs is a small village located north of Waterloo, Ontario. As a rural community, there is lots of farming in the area and plenty of decorations around town to emphasize the harvest season. Families looking to take kids to a pumpkin patch in October will have a blast in St. Jacobs. There is also a St. Jacobs Pumpkin Parade on October 28 and 29, 2022.
Stratford is Ontario’s theater town, famous for the Stratford Theatre Festival. This quaint town has plenty of shops to explore and extremely walkable streets. During October, there are several events to attend, including the Witches and Wizards Halloween Market on October 30, 2022, at the Stratford Country Club and the Rocky Horror Picture Show Screening on the 29th at the Stratford Pride Community Centre.
6 Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is a historic settlement in the northern part of Toronto, Ontario. Travelers, locals, and students visit the village year-round to learn about how pioneers once lived. However, the village is also said to be haunted, and visiting in October offers the chance for adults to experience a ghostly night walk where they learn about the scarier parts of the village’s history.
Kingston, Ontario, is a sizable city located a few hours’ driving distances away from Toronto. Although Kingston has an incredible gastronomy scene, this is not the only reason to visit in October. During Halloween, travelers may be interested in exploring some of the many haunted buildings in Kingston, including the Prince George Hotel and the Kingston Penitentiary. It is said to have been determined in 2003 that there is a paranormal presence on the upper floors of the Prince George Hotel.
Newmarket, Ontario, is located approximately 1 hour north of Toronto and is not a common destination for Ontarians looking for Halloween fun and frights. However, there is a haunted attraction in Newmarket that is sure to give visitors goosebumps at the very least. The Old Town Hall in Newmarket is hosting Ghost Tours during September and October 2022 for $20 per person. After a tour of the historic Main Street, visitors will witness a live paranormal activity investigation in the Old Town Hall put on by the Georgina Paranormal Society.
Cobourg is one of Ontario’s favorite tourist towns, particularly notable for its beaches along Lake Ontario, which are packed all summer. However, during fall, there is another reason to visit Cobourg; the town hosts ghost walks and cemetery tours in the fall, allowing visitors to experience the spooky elements of the town’s history in the days preceding Halloween. The King George Inn is also said to be haunted, so travelers looking for a fright can consider booking a room there.
The town of Caledon, Ontario, offers plenty of family-friendly Halloween and autumn activities to enjoy. Besides pumpkin patches and quaint local decor, the town is hosting the Vanquish a Vampire event which they describe as an interactive scavenger hunt. Groups must use the tools provided (apps, maps, an audio story, and more) to find clues and culminate the search in the Zion Cemetery for the final challenge.
Burlington is located near the city of Hamilton, Ontario, south of Toronto. Burlington hosts plenty of exciting events for residents year-round, but during October, the city steps up the fright factor. In 2022, visitors can participate in the event called Banish a Burlington Heights Ghost at Dundurn Castle in what is described as an escape room, and scavenger hunt rolled into one. Tickets are just $36.42 per person.