As an unincorporated U.S. territory, Puerto Rico celebrates most of the same holidays as the mainland does—Halloween included. Never mind that October falls into this Caribbean island's shoulder season, there are still plenty of haunted houses, ghost hunts, costume parties, and Halloween-themed events to get into, especially in its biggest city, San Juan.
In 2020, many events have been altered or canceled. Check the websites of organizers for updated information.
La Concha Resort in San Juan's Condado is one of the most popular beachfront hotels in Puerto Rico, but it becomes the absolute spookiest on Halloween weekend. The resort has in the past celebrated the October holiday with a Maze of Wonders, but in 2020, it's offering an entire Halloween package including a two-night stay (October 30 to November 1), a three-course dinner for two, a show by illusionist John Michael, poolside live music, and more. Costumes are encouraged and masks are required.
A military-fortified city that saw its share of pirates, bloody battles, and shackled prisoners who were once led up San Sebastián Street to the Plaza de Armas, Old San Juan is thought to be prime territory for ghost hunting. Many of its fortifications were designed to inflict heavy casualties on opposing armies, so of course, spirits abound in some of the most famous structures, including El Morro fortress and the Hotel El Convento.
While there may be a variety of haunted houses in Puerto Rico, there aren't many located in a 1930s mansion-turned-museum. If you happen to be on the southern coast of Puerto Rico and hoping to celebrate Halloween with a thrill, Soul Screams is the place. This beloved haunted house in its ninth year is presented by Party City. The museum (El Museo Castillo Serralles) overlooking the large city of Ponce and its nicely preserved old town is a worthwhile stop of its own. On this very hill, scouts often looked out for ships on the attack.
In 2020, Soul Screams will be a drive-in experience. Tickets start at $13 per person for cars of six or seven people, $14 per person for cars of four or five people, and $15 per person for cars of two or three people. The Soul Screams Drive-In will take place from October 22 to November 15.
Immerse yourself in the culture of Puerto Rico by celebrating Halloween the local way: with the mask of the vejigante. You'll see these beak-shaped masks, called careta, with horns jutting out from them around the country any time of year. The vejigante are folkloric demons that can be traced back to medieval Spain and they've become integral symbols of Puerto Rican culture. If you dress as one during Halloween, be sure to pair your mask with a flowing cape in true vejigante style.
One of Puerto Rico's most notorious haunted houses, Paranormal Nights typically serves up a healthy dose of creepy clowns, terrifying ghouls, and chilling monsters of all sorts. Anasco, where it's located, is a municipality located on the island's west coast that's been curiously dubbed la ciudad donde los dioses mueren ("the city where the gods die"). The organizers have not announced a 2020 season.
Located in the Hato Rey neighborhood of San Juan, Plaza Las Américas—the largest mall in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico's first indoor mall—has been known to put on a Party City-sponsored Full Moon Mansion around the time of Halloween. This family-friendly haunted house and party has in the past included Spooky Mini Golf and a 13 Doors of Horror haunted experience. In 2020, the Full Moon Mansion has been canceled, but Plaza Las Américas will hold a virtual Monster's School—a 45-minute dance party and show for little ones—instead.
Just east of San Juan in Carolina, in the Isla Verde tourist area, you'll find Club Brava, located in the lobby of the El San Juan Hotel. This is Puerto Rico's trendiest nightclub and it has hosted an annual Halloween blowout every year since 2008. The gathering includes a costume contest (with a $1,000 grand prize), live music, and dancing through the night. In 2020, the club will not be hosting its usual party.