As respectable adults, we are (sadly) considered too old by society to dress up as vampires and go door to door demanding Haribo. While this is desperately disappointing, the rise of 'dark tourism' means we can take your Halloween to the next level. So save the face paint for the kids and get your thrills by sinking your teeth into some of these spine-chilling experiences…
Bat Migration, Zambia
One of the most jaw-dropping natural phenomenons, the bat migration across Zambia's Kasanka National Park is a truly dramatic sight to behold. As if from a Hitchcock film, see the silhouettes of millions of winged creatures darken the sky above your head come sunset. While they may conjure up images of blood sucking vampires, fear not - fruit bats, as their name suggests, do indeed prefer the taste of fruit to flesh. The migration starts in mid-October and begins to tail off come December, making Halloween a great time to see this fantastic spectacle.
The Children of Llullaillaco, Salta
If you have a penchant for the macabre, a visit to the Children of Llullaillaco is a must. In 1999, the mummified bodies of three Inca children were discovered near the summit of the Llullaillaco stratovolcano on the border between Chile and Argentina. It is believed that the children were sacrificed as part of an Incan ritual and were drugged and forced to drink alcohol in their final months to make them more compliant before being left in a room to starve. The mummified children are considered to be among the best preserved mummies in the world, so much so that they were declared 'National Historic Property of Argentina' and are on display in the Museum of High Altitude Archaeology in the Argentinian city of Salta. This is surely one of the finest examples of 'dark tourism' out there...
Salem Ghost Tours, Massachusetts
If Halloween were a place, it would be Salem in Massachusetts. The very name conjures up images of witch trials, black cats and spooky houses with pointed gables. During the Salem Witch Trials over 200 people were accused of witchcraft and 19 were executed as a result. Although the trials ended in 1693, the city's chilling past is never far away. Multiple accounts of eerie, cold and unexplainable sensations have been recorded over the years, as unwitting tourists walk boldly down the shadowy, cobblestone streets. Test your bravery with a tour of the city's most haunted spots, or - for the more faint-hearted - visit the scattering of museums and historic attractions.
Dracula’s Castle, Transylvania
If you think a vampire might be after you on a visit Transylvania, you might also want to consider keeping an eye out for the bears, wolves and lynxes that (also) call the country home. Beasts aside, Bran Castle is a must-see in Romania. Impressive and imposing, it is the only place that fits Bram Stoker's description of Dracula's Castle. On a guided tour, experience the gothic novel of Dracula come to life as you wander the maze of nooks and crannies and scale a secret stairway to a wood-panelled library. Just waiting for fresh meat to walk through its doors, Bran Castle stands proudly on top of a cliff on the outskirts of Bran town and locals still believe there is a presence of evil spirits in the area…
The Day of The Dead, Mexico
Despite the scary-sounding name, the Mexican Day of the Dead (or Dia De Los Muertos) is actually an enlightening festival where people can honour their departed family members. Families arrive with offerings for the dead - favourite foods and drinks, flowers and photos - with the aim of encouraging a visit from beyond the grave. Far from being a mournful festival, it is considered a holiday for celebrating life as much as death, with people dressing up in colourful traditional dress and painting skull smiles on their faces as if laughing at death itself.