Tricks, Treats and Travel Deals

October 20, 2009 9:52:40 AM PDT
Too old for a trip around the neighborhood for candy this Halloween? With the spooky holiday falling on a weekend this year, you might consider taking your little goblins on a trip to a scary destination.

Travelzoo's Senior Editor Gabe Saglie says some of the most bone-chilling getaways are offering hair-raising value deals to lure travelers this holiday. From haunted mansions and hotels to torture museums, ghost tours and more, Gabe has the inside scoop on the creepiest travel sites; several are within easy drives from the city. For more information on Halloween deals, visit www.travelzoo.com/tv/Chicago

To scare up the best deals, Gabe says:

  • Check hotels for special pricing and events created in the Halloween spirit. Halloween-themed packages can often mean a substantial savings over planning elements separately.
  • Check with amusement parks for Halloween events, specials and packages that are free with admission.

SAMPLE HALLOWEEN TRAVEL PACKAGES

The Pfister, Milwaukee www.thepfisterhotel.com

The Pfister is a luxury AAA 4-Diamond hotel and member of Historic Hotels of America, located 3 blocks from Lake Michigan and close to museums, shopping and nightlife. Haunted hotel? The ghost of founder Charles Pfister is said to regularly survey the hotel lobby from the grand staircase and to spend time in the minstrel's gallery above the ballroom and in the 9th floor storage areas

Room with a Boo Package, $186 per night
- Overnight accommodations
- Halloween-themed breakfast for 2
- Copy of popular Milwaukee Ghosts Coast book
- Good for travel in October only

Six Flags Great America: Fright Fest; Gurnee www.sixflags.com

Kid-friendly activities include trick-or-treating w/Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes characters, shows by The Wiggles and scare-free zones. All kids' activities are free with admission. Other free attractions include Love at First Fright musical and zombie parades. Adults-only haunted houses (includes. Studio 13, which showcases horror flicks) require additional fee $35 per person; children 2 and under are free. Event runs weekends through November 1.

STAY AT A HAUNTED HOTEL

Gabe says there are dozens of hotels around the country where "haunted lore" has developed over the years and has become part of the marketable cach? of the properties. Tip: Rates will trend upward during the pre-Halloween season and availability may be limited, so plan ahead

The Crescent Hotel & Spa, Eureka Springs, AK www.crescent-hotel.com

Historic upscale hotel built in 1886 and refurbished in 2002, often labeled the "most haunted hotel in America"

- Lobby: ghost of man often reported at lobby bar and foot of staircase
- Room 218: reports of Michael's ghost, an Irish stonemason who died there during hotel's construction; known to bang on walls and turn TV and lights on and off
- Hospital ghosts: property was hospital and health resort in 1930s; ghost of head doctor often seen, looking
confused; ghost of nurse in white seen in 3rd floor; ghost of woman who introduces herself to guests inside Room 419

Paranormal Pair Package: 3 days/2 nights; $249

  • 1 night at the Crescent Hotel
  • 1 night at the nearby (and also haunted) Basin Park Hotel
  • 2 tickets to ghost tour at each hotel
  • Chance to win a night's stay at the local Morgue
  • Available year-round

The Stanley, Estes Park, CO www.stanleyhotel.com/

This hotel inspired the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's The Shining. Property built in 1909 was once a hunting reserve owned by British Fourth Earl of Dunraven. Tip: hotel offers daily ghost tours but they often sell-out, so reserve your space ahead

- 4th floor is said to be haunted by the earl, himself, known to switch lights on and off and move furniture to spook guests
- Also haunted by Flora Stanley, hotel's first owner's wife, who likes to play the piano late at night
- Room 217: where Stephen King stayed while writing The Shining; the made-for-TV movie was filmed at this hotel
- Room 409: guests report hearing kids playing outside (when the hallway is empty)

Fall rate special: $79 per night. Rate good midweek through December. Open year-round

The Queen Mary Hotel; Long Beach, CAwww.queenmary.com/

Famous ship served as a transport vessel for Allied troops and Sir Winston Churchill during World War II. Queen Mary also served 2 decades as passenger cruise liner for trans-Atlantic trips. Ship is now permanently docked and has been a hotel since the early 70s. Ship also offers daily tours and nighttime paranormal tours.

- In the first class pool area: reports of ghosts splashing in the pool and of a little girl ghost named Jackie striking up conversations with guests
- From the ship's bow: sounds of crying and screaming, and visions of wandering soldiers; the bow of the ship was involved in 1942 collision where hundreds of troops were killed
- From engine room's Door 13: ghost of an 18-year old mechanic named Jon who died when he was tripped by the water-tight door.

Fall rate special: $89 per night. Rate good through December. Open year-round.

The Driskill Austin, TX www.driskillhotel.com

Historic upscale hotel in downtown Austin rumored to be one of the most haunted hotels in the country. Built in early 1700s and site o Texas struggle for independence from Mexico in 1835.

- The ghost of Col. Jesse Lincoln Driskill is said to wander through the original hotel, his presence known by the smell of cigar; reports also say he likes to play with bathroom lights
- The spirit of a young girl bouncing a ball is reported often in the first floor lobby
- Room 525: considered the most haunted room, a hub for ghost activity

Rates from $135 per night, with lowest pricing in November. Open year-round

VISIT A HAUNTED LANDMARK OR ESTABLISHMENT

Many historical landmarks, especially ones where people have died in battle or times of war, are reported to be haunted, Gabe says. There are many places of business where tales of ghosts prevail

Woodstock Opera House, Woodstock www.woodstockoperahouse.com

Visit this well-known "haunted hot spot" in the far northwest suburbs. Built in 1889 and hosted minstrel and vaudeville players until the early 1960s, when it became a venue exclusively for theater, dance and lectures.

- Elvira: ghost of young actress who killed herself in the theater in early 1900s when she didn't get the part she wanted; her ghost, described w/long blond hair to her waist, is said to move props and to regularly occupy Seat 113 in the audience
- Ghost of theater patron and theater critic also said to reside in theater

Holiday theater season runs through December 20. Open seasonally.

HERE ARE SOME ADDITIONAL HAUNTED TRAVEL DESTINATIONS FROM GABE:

More About Gabe Saglie
Gabe Saglie is a leading expert on travel deals, travel tips and trends. Gabe has appeared on dozens of highly rated national and local news programs including CNN NBC Weekend Today, CNBC On the Money, FOX Good Day LA, FOX Chicago, NBC Philadelphia, FOX Washington, D.C., FOX Atlanta, NBC Tampa and ABC Phoenix. He has uncovered hundreds of valuable travel deals and has become an authority on several topics of travel such as family travel, golf getaways, best food & wine travel, cruises, island getaways, gaming vacations and ski vacations. Gabe has an extensive journalistic background. He worked as a news writer and field producer for KGTV (ABC) in San Diego, producer on the 5pm News at KEYT (ABC) in Santa Barbara and anchor and weathercaster for KEY News This Morning, and executive producer and anchor of the popular Coastal Business Report. Gabe currently produces and hosts his own weekly food and wine radio show which airs three times a week on KZSB 1290AM (on California's Central Coast) and online. Gabe resides with his wife Renee and son Gabriel in New York and Santa Barbara.


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