5 Towns with Frightfully Delightful Halloween Traditions
It’s almost spooky how much Americans love Halloween.
The National Retail Foundation says the 157 million who are celebrating the holiday this year will shell out $6.9 billion, with the average American planning to drop $74 on decorations, candy, costumes, and other treats.
It’s a holiday loved by young and old. Eight in 10 Millennials report they are already planning something festive with friends. We even get our furry companions into the act, with $350 million going to pet costumes alone in 2014.
While Oct. 31 is the night the ghouls come out from “ghost to ghost,” a number of locales really trick out their towns and offer week- and monthlong extravaganzas.
Listed below are five American towns that stand out for their celebrations — and their real estate markets are anything but ghoulish.
St. Augustine, FL: The oldest permanent European settlement in the U.S. might be home to some of the most creative Halloween celebrations in the country. Alligators with glowing eyes roam the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park and, like viewers of “Ghost Hunters,” visitors can listen to ghost stories at St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.
According to 2013 data, more than 13,600 people call St. Augustine home. The estimated median household income at $38,964 was slightly below the state average of $46,036. For October, the average listing price for a home was $350,491 and the median sales price $219,000 (a 3 percent down payment is $6,570). Prices are going up as inventory declines.
Sleepy Hollow, NY: The town that gave rise to the legend of the Headless Horseman celebrates Halloween for a full month. There are haunted hayrides; dramatic renditions of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; haunted trails; cemetery tours; and more.
Buyers might lose their heads over this month’s average listing price of $907,103, but houses are selling below at $851,542. And it’s a tight market with only 37 homes for sale as we close in on Ichabod Crane’s fateful night.
Salem, MA: Famous for the Salem witch trials, Salem sees half a million tourists each October. The Festival of the Dead is chock-full of events, from the Annual Psychic Fair and Witchcraft Expo to the Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball.
Prospective homeowners won’t have to go on a witch hunt to find a decent price in Salem. It’s a buyer’s market that’s trended down 42.4 percent since last year. Some buyers might be interested in picking up one of the foreclosed properties up for grabs.
Saint Helens, OR: The town in which the film “Halloweentown” was shot in 1998 is home to a monthlong “Halloweentown” celebration every year. The extensive party features a number of contests for things such as pet costumes, pumpkin carving, and best scarecrows.
Listing and sales prices are on the rise in the riverside town of 13,000 residents where the median household income was $50,254 in 2013. A 3 percent down payment of $6,300 would get a buyer into a house at the market median price of $210,000.
Independence, KS: The population of this tiny town multiplies by about 75 during Halloween. The weeklong celebration is known as Neewollah—Halloween spelled backwards—and it is punctuated by performances by more than 30 bands from the region.
The 2010 census found 2,430 families living in a mere 3,950 households in this festive town on the plains. If you wanted to hand out the candy from the porch of a home you purchased here, you’d put about $3,000 for 3 percent down: The average listing price is $104,450.