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Some of the most popular Halloween costumes are inspired by TV shows, movies and other forms of pop culture. According to Google, the big ones this year will likely include nods to Fortnite, Spider-Man, and IT.)  And some of the best Halloween parties around the country are based around a wide variety of spooktacular pop culture themes. Attend one of these parties, and your night will feel like a treat…you know, instead of a trick.

RELATED: The best pumpkin festivals and corn mazes

Stranger Things ‘80s Halloween Party
Royal Oak, MI (Fri, Oct 18)

Expect to see a lot of people dressed up as Eleven, Dustin, Chief Hopper and other characters from Stranger Things this Halloween. The Netflix series has been a hit for three seasons, and costumes have been inspired by the hit show for just as long. And if watching the 1980s-set series makes you nostalgic for the “Me Decade,” this dance party in suburban Detroit offers the perfect excuse to don a pair of acid-washed jeans, tease your hair, and get into the groove of those ‘80s beats. Get tickets here.

The Nightmare Before Halloween: A Tim Burton Experience
Chicago (Oct 17–31)

nightmare before christmas - flickr cc - Sam Howzit

Flickr CC: Sam Howzit

Headquarters Beercade is a bar in Chicago’s River North neighborhood known for its funky vibe, vintage arcade games and killer craft brews. But in the middle of the month, the vibe will become more quirky and gothic. Starting October 17, the style of director Tim Burton takes over the space. Since just about all of Burton’s movies are Halloween-appropriate, the installations and events (including a “Burtlesque,” aka burlesque, show on October 24) will likely cover a big chunk of his resume, including classics like Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and especially The Nightmare Before Christmas. More info here.

A Gorey Halloween
San Francisco (Oct 23)

This roving West Coast celebration of author and illustrator Edward Gorey is entering its second decade and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The whimsical San Francisco event is set in a re-imagined “Edwardian Era” and features live music, art, circus-like acts, and extravagant costumes on performers and ticketholders alike. Fun fact: Gorey’s slightly morbid and surreal drawings heavily influenced director Tim Burton, which means you can expect a highly stylized Gothic vibe throughout the night. Get tickets here.

Interview with the Vampire Halloween Party
Boston (October 27–28)

Over the years, the annual costume party at the Liberty Hotel has become one of the most popular Halloween events for Boston’s 21-and-older crowd. It makes sense the Liberty embraces the ghoulish holiday every year: The luxe hotel is housed in a former jail, so its possible a ghost or two may crash the party. This year’s theme is based on 1994’s Interview with a Vampire starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst. But instead of dressing like a character from that movie, it could be more fun to dress as a vampire version of a character from one of their other films. Vampire cheerleader? Bring it on! More information here.

The It Halloween Costume Party
Atlanta (Oct 26)

If you suffer from coulrophobia that means you have a fear of clowns. And it just might be time to face your fears in a big way at this costume/dance party dedicated to the silver screen’s creepiest clown. The action takes place at Tongue & Groove, a legendary nightclub in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood. It’s a sleek see-and-be-seen kind of place, so there’s a good chance the clown costumes here could veer on the sexy side which could alleviate your fears…or make them worse if you’re also afraid of showing some skin. More information here.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Orlando (Through Nov 1)

halloween mickey

Photo courtesy of Allison Mata

As you can imagine, special celebrations at Disney World are big, festive productions and they’re for everyone. So the all-ages Halloween parties hosted at the Magic Kingdom are less scary boo and more bibbidi bobbidi boo. Park goers are encouraged to wear costumes (expect to see a lot of Frozen looks) while enjoying special fireworks, exclusive entertainment like a Hocus Pocus-themed stage show, and candy. Lots of candy. More information here.

A Hitchcock Halloween Party
New York City (Oct 25–26, 31)

For three nights, the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea will be transformed into a cinema-scape focused on all things Alfred Hitchcock. The director from Hollywood’s Golden Age helmed a lot of classic suspenseful films, so expect this multi-level interactive dance party to be equal parts movie premiere glitz and spooky references to movies like The Birds, Vertigo, and Psycho. More information here.

A Hitchcock Halloween
Los Angeles (Oct 26)

Yep, both coasts are having Hitchcock Halloweens this year. The original “Master of Suspense” gets the Hollywood treatment at The Theater at Ace Hotel’s annual spooky shindig. The building dates back to 1927, and its Spanish Gothic style should add a heightened haunted feeling to the festivities that include DJs, themed cocktails, and nods to Hitchcock’s signature scary scenes throughout the evening. Get tickets here.

Michael Jackson Halloween Thriller Spectacular
Flagstaff, AZ (Oct 27)

Silhouette some zombies on the cemetery walking around at sunset. Selective focus

No soundtrack to Halloween is complete without “Thriller.” The King of Pop’s ‘80s hit (the song and especially the video) is a spooky staple this time of year, and is the centerpiece in this Flagstaff tribute stage show starring top Michael Jackson impersonator Danny Dash Andrews. The all-ages show covers Jackson’s other biggest hits, so the concert will feel like a giant dance party. Get tickets here.

Darkside in Riverside: A Halloween Pop Culture Con
Riverside, CA (Oct 19)

In the words of Stefan on Saturday Night Live, this bootiful pop culture con in Riverside, about an hour from LA, has everything: a haunted maze, a zombie 5K chase, horror speed dating, photo ops and panels with celebrity guests and more over the course of three days. If you consider Halloween to be more of a lifestyle instead of just a holiday, this is a can’t-miss event. Get tickets here.

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Tagged: California, Chicago, Destinations, Events, Florida, Holidays, L.A., New York City

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