Ghost Tours: Spooky history comes alive in metro Halloween walks

Halloween Tours of Oakland Cemetery.

Come October, ghost tours seem thick as pumpkins around metro Atlanta. So many pop up that it can feel like about every metro community is haunted by that spectral someone just waiting to tell his or her story or produces an eager tour guide willing to tell the living about the dead.

This year is different, of course. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, many tours are being cancelled, while some have moved online. Participants in others are being asked to don masks and socially distance themselves for in-person strolls through their haunted hometowns.

Here are few tours that, as of mid-September, organizers were planning to present this year. If you want to join one, check the company’s website to make sure the tour still is on and that tickets still are available.

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tour
Oakland Cemetery’s popular tour, a major fundraiser for the cemetery, returns Oct. 15-Nov.1. Visitors who take the tours meet ghosts who inhabit the historic cemetery and retell the tales of their lives. Due to the pandemic, fewer tickets are being sold for each night this year than in the past to allow for greater spacing between people on the tours. Participants will be required to wear masks. The cemetery will offer hand-sanitizing stations, not use paper tickets for the tours, and require payment by credit or debit card. Tickets cost $40, $28 for children aged 4 to 12. On VIP night, Oct. 16, admission includes a three-course meal and tickets cost $150. A virtual ghost is available for $15.For more, visit oaklandcemetery.com.

Legends and Lore at Rhodes Hall
The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is hosting this tour of the 1904 “Castle on Peachtree” in Midtown Oct. 29-30 to hear some of the spine-chilling experiences and encounters that have been reported by guests and staff. Wrap up the evening with socially distanced spirits on the front porch. Spaces are limited. Ages 21+. $35 per person. Masks required indoors. For more information, visit georgiatrust.org.

Decatur Ghost Tour
This guided walking tour covers a little more than a mile as participants stroll around downtown Decatur and visit sites such as the DeKalb County Courthouse, High House and the city cemetery. Tour guides retell the stories, both historical and paranormal, of some the city’s haunted spots. Masks are recommended, but not required, and tour groups will be limited to 25 to allow for social distancing. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for children 10 and younger. For more information, visit decaturghosttour.com.

Roswell Ghost Tour
Owner David Wood said his company shut down its tours for several months this year because of COVID-19, but now is back in operation. They started back in June, he said, because people kept calling and saying they wanted to take part in outside activities again. Guides lead groups of up to 40 or so tourists at a time on a 1.5-mile walking tour and share local ghost stories as they pass local landmarks such as Bulloch Hall or the founder’s cemetery. Masks are recommended, but not required. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger. For more information, visit roswellghosttour.com.

 Tour of Southern Ghosts
For its 35th anniversary, ART Station’s ghost tour is going online. In the past, the tour was presented in Stone Mountain Park, but this year it moves to cyberspace to allow greater distancing between participants. A link to this year’s tour, presented Oct. 15-31, will be available at artstation.org, includes ghost stories from across the South. Tickets cost $17. For details, visit artstation.org/current-events.

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