Like carving a pumpkin or feeling the crunch of crispy leaves beneath your feet, watching scary movies is a time-honored tradition of fall. Get into the spirit of Halloween with a visit to these five real-life horror movie filming locations.
Salem, Massachusetts: Hocus Pocus
The charming town of Salem, Massachusetts—home of the infamous late 17th-century Salem Witch Trials—goes all out each autumn, decking the halls with pumpkins, candlelit ghost tours, and fall festivals. It’s here that the 1993 cult classic film Hocus Pocus starring Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker was filmed on location.
In fact, you can visit many of the movie’s most famous settings, including the home where Dani and Max lived, Allison’s grand colonial home, Salem’s Pioneer Village (where the film’s historic scenes took place), as well as the Town Hall where the extravagant, adults-only costume party takes place.
Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles: Ghostbusters
If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, you know who to call—and if you’re visiting Los Angeles, you should pop into the Millennium Biltmore Hotel to visit a real-life set piece from the 1984 blockbuster film Ghostbusters. The gilded lobby doubles as the fictional “Sedgewick Hotel” in the first film, set in New York City. It’s here that characters played by Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, and Harold Ramis catch their first poltergeist, Slimer.
But you may recognize the hotel from other films too. Its highly photogenic interior has been featured in 10 Things I Hate About You, The Italian Job, Independence Day, Wedding Crashers, and more.
Fans of The Shining can actually stay in the creepy, ghost-infested hotel that served as the exterior for “The Overlook Hotel,” for which Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) is the sole caretaker during the winter. Contrary to the movie’s central premise, Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, Oregon, doesn’t close down for the winter—in fact, it offers skiing 365 days per year, one of the only North American resorts that can make that claim.
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.: The Exorcist
In the memorable climax of the iconic 1978 horror film The Exorcist, Father Karras (Jason Miller) sacrifices himself to save a little girl named Regan who is possessed by a demon. Father Karras hurls himself out the window and down a set of steep stairs, killing the demon in the process. You can stroll the actual staircase in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., which connect M Street NW with Prospect Street NW. Today, the staircase is a popular pit stop for ghost tours and movie tours.
Camp No-Be-Bos-Co, New Jersey: Friday the 13th
In 1981, Friday the 13th debuted in movie theaters—fueling nightmares for sleepaway campers for decades to come and spinning off at least a dozen sequels. The so-called “Camp Crystal Lake” that killer Jason Voorhees terrorized in the original film can be seen in Hardwick, New Jersey. In real life, it’s called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, and it’s a working Boy Scouts camp that’s not open to the public. However, a local outfitter regularly runs Friday the 13th guided walking tours for movie buffs.