Guest Author - Shelley Shearer
Rather than spend the evening watching a spooky movie to get into the Halloween spirit, why not throw on a sweater and go for a ghost walk? Most cities offer them at this time of year and you can find one in your area by checking with the local tourism office or possibly county website. Some locations with more haunted pasts such as Gettysburg or New Orleans, offer them year round!
Generally you’ll find a ghost walk to fit one of two categories. There’s the kid friendly one where you walk around and hear the history of the location and the ghostly lore. This is earlier in the evening, but can still be quite a hike for young legs. So a stroller or carrier will come in handy! Also even though they are considered more kid friendly than the later tours, they can still scare young children especially when actors are re-enacting portions of the story. Call ahead and get as much information as you can.
For the adults and older kids who want more of the gore and scare, maybe companies offer a later tour. These tend to be a bit more graphic and often have costumed characters jumping out at you or mingling trying to scare you. If all you want to do is enjoy the walk and hear some wonderful stories, the first walk is the one to go for.
Another mundane thing to consider is the weather. Think ahead and dress appropriately. You’re outside the entire time and can get very cold. We took one last year happy that the weather was so mild and that we could dress lightly. About halfway through the tour, we were dreaming of passing anything that was open so that we could nip in and buy some hot chocolate!
Our walk was also extremely crowded and we had to make sure that we were at the front of the pack or we could barely hear the tour guides talk. As with any tour, please be considerate and don't talk during the tour guides spiel. Also, look around and let the shorter or younger people in front so that they can see and be involved as well. Very frustrating to have a child with you and a wall of adults blocking their entire view.
Some walks take you through cemeteries, abandoned buildings and even underground passageways. I’ve only been on one underground tour and that was through Edinburgh, Scotland, but I highly recommend it to anyone traveling that way. I’ve yet to see something similar in the U.S., but if you know of a unique tour please email me!
Next on my list to try is this wonderful combination of scavenger hunt and ghost hunt currently offered by Scaventures. So far they are only set up in Williamsburg, VA, but more hunts coming soon! If you’ve tried one I’d love to hear your comments!
Last but not least – be sure to reserve space for your walk. At this time of year the more popular walks fill up quickly and can only handle so many people at a time.
Have fun and keep thinking of new things to try!