There’s a ranking for everything nowadays, and that suits us just fine, as WalletHub named Irving and Plano among the top 20 cities nationwide for celebrating Halloween. The personal finance website compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 20 key metrics, ranging from candy and chocolate stores per capita to average price per Halloween party ticket, to share of potential trick-or-treat stops to compile 2018’s Best Places for Halloween report. Arlington, Dallas, and Fort Worth also made the list, rounding out the top 50.
To be fair, it seems awfully hard to quantify a city by its “Halloween-ieness” when most cities were just a few points apart, so to help you decide for yourself here’s a look at some local spooky spots, both haunted houses and real-life horrors, in WalletHub’s top five Texas cities for Halloween:
Ranked #9 in the U.S.
What makes Irving the Metroplex’s most Halloween-tastic city? Well, some longtime Dallas Cowboys fans say Irving is home to the ghost of Superbowl performances past — a curse of the now leveled Texas Stadium, if you will. Sean Mosley writes in Haunted Places in Texas about sightings of an old man and his granddaughter walking the second floor, the young girl dressed in a cheerleader’s outfit and waving a flag. Interpret that as you will.
But WalletHub had some more tangible reasons why Irving is one of the best cities to celebrate Halloween in the country: its neighborhood walkability for Trick-or-Treaters, generous Trick-or-Treat stops, Halloween-themed events and parties, and of course, plentiful places to purchase costumes and candy. Rumor has it you can score full-size candy bars in the north Irving neighborhoods near Las Colinas and Valley Ranch, but I only heard that from a friend of a co-worker whose son told his mom that his friend said one house was handing out full size Snickers bars last Halloween. (Your mileage may vary.)
Plus, here’s a fun fact: City council named Irving after the city founders’ favorite author Washington Irving, who wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Ranked #20 by WalletHub
Looking to scare up some fun in Plano? Downtown Plano is full of historic buildings that were built up during the 1870s, burned down to the ground in the 1880s, and built back up as brick buildings in their place. Tenants of those old rebuilt historic buildings tell tales of curious footsteps, echoes of children playing, and other anomalies during the annual “Apparition Expedition: A Stroll Through Plano’s Paranormal Past.”
Local author Mary Jacobs chronicled many of those stories in Haunted Plano, Texas, including tales of smallpox epidemic of 1895, the Muncey murders of Plano’s early settlers, and the Goatman legend from the 60s and 70s. “The people who grew up here in the 60s and 70s, they love the Goatman,” Jacobs told the Plano Star Courier.
For something more intense, Plano is home to Dark Hour Haunted House. For once, a haunted house that’s not frightfully far away. Dark Hour is located at 701 Taylor Road, near George Bush Turnpike and Plano Parkway. Expect plenty of high-tech frights at this year-round haunted house (Yep, “Wreck the Halls” at Christmas, and more themed shows for Valentine’s Day, St. Pats, and summertime.)
Ranked #24 Nationwide
There are real frights in Arlington, namely the Screaming Bridge at River Legacy Park where paranormal seekers and tourists say they feel the spirit of long-gone teens who died at that bridge. In February 1961, a carload of six teenage girls careened off a burned out bridge into the water below, killing three. Some say faint car headlights can be seen approaching from either side of the bridge, though the bridge road was decommissioned years ago and now only accessible by foot.
Of course, there are many iterations of this popular Arlington tale, but Mosley writes one particularly chilling one in Haunted Places in Texas. “If you find the bridge, you will see the dates of the occurrence and the names of the deceased glowing as headstones in the water,” he writes.
Not looking for real ghosts? Try Fright Fest at Six Flags of Texas, where you can find your way through Cadaver Hall Morgue, Hell Block 6, or Blackout, a completely darkened maze you have to navigate your way out of.
Ranked #33 in the country
What makes Dallas scary? (Shh, Houston, no one asked you.) The Adolphus Hotel, that’s what. An Adolphus ghost bride roams the halls of the 19th floor, having hung herself before her wedding was to take place in the ballroom. Even when she can’t be seen, the sound of her sobbing can be heard, and is often accompanied by the chiming of a music box.
The ghost bride isn’t alone. Other sightings include a dearly departed customer occupying her old table inside the Bistro, and tableware moving about inside the French Room. Ranker reports that patrons complain of the sound of footsteps echoing in the halls even though it’s carpeted. Windows fly open and slam shut on their own, a phantom piano can be heard playing in the night, and many guests have reported being touched by unseen hands.
5. Fort Worth
Ranked #48 by WalletHub
Fort Worth is home to what enthusiasts deem the gold standard and voted one of the scariest haunted houses in the country, the Cutting Edge Haunted House at 1701 E Lancaster Avenue. Cutting Edge is located in an old meat-packing plant, and the theme fits accordingly. It’s located on the outskirts of Fort Worth in what Texas historians call “Hell’s Half Acre,” a Civil War time nickname for various Red Light Districts with saloons, dance halls, and bawdy houses in San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Tascosa.
“Among the various Hell’s Half Acres that dotted the frontier, none was more infamous or more rambunctious than Fort Worth’s,” Richard Selcer writes in the Handbook of Texas. “Only those looking for trouble or excitement ventured into the Acre. The usual activities of the Acre, which included brawling, gambling, cockfighting, and horse racing, were not confined to indoors but spilled out into the streets and back alleys.”
What great Halloween spot did we leave out? Comment below.
P.S. Rabbit hole warning: This Haunted Texas website has an alphabetical listing of frequently reported paranormal sites in Texas. Enjoy and happy Halloween!