If you’re looking for a spine-chilling good time this Halloween, then look no further than a D.C.-area haunted tour. Follow a ghost, learn about the history of D.C. and its paranormal inhabitants, or simply enjoy a beer as you listen to old legends and folklore. These tours are so spooktacular you may just have to sleep with one eye open when you get home.
National Building Museum
401 F St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
Price: $12 for members/$20 for non-members
Go behind the scenes at the National Building Museum where guests will follow the “ghost” of Mary Surratt, a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and hear tales of spirits and other strange happenings that are said to haunt the building. The lantern-lit tour will take you to the most noted spots for paranormal activity. Visitors as well as staff have described seeing a limping figure sulk down a hallway, a swirling of faces on one of the massive faux-marble columns and a grumpy man riding on the back of a horse. The hour-long tour is available on select dates and starts at 8 p.m.
Washington DC Ghost Tours
1520 H St. Northwest
Washington, DC 20005
Price: $15 adults age 12 and older/$8 children age 7 to 11/free children 6 and younger
Learn about the history of the city, as well as the many ghosts that haunt it, when you sign up for a Washington D.C. Ghost Tour. Your guide, dressed in his or her old Victorian best, will guide you to many well-known sites said to be visited by the paranormal, including the Hay-Adams Hotel, Lafayette Park, St. John’s Church and the Dolley Madison House. The tour starts each night at 8 p.m. and lasts about 90 minutes. Reservations are required. Guests are encouraged to dress for the weather as the tours go on rain or shine.
Alexandria Colonial Tours
221 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Price: $12 adults/$6 children age 7 to 17/free children 6 and younger
Steeped in colonial history, Old Town Alexandria was once the hometown of presidents and other historical figures including George Washington, Robert E. Lee and Gerald R. Ford. It should be no surprise the city is also steeped with scary stories and unsolved mysteries. The family friendly Ghost and Graveyard tour lasts about an hour and consists of a six-block walk that is full of folklore, trivia and tales of revengeful lovers whose ghosts have gone mad. At the end of the tour, visitors are left behind in an allegedly haunted graveyard. Tours are available Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
6220 Massey Rd.
Spotsylvania, VA 22551
Price: $15 Haunted Forest/$7 Murder Manor/$7 Insanitarium Asylum/$25 purchase a three-attraction combo pack
For a truly spooktacular night of fright and fun, head about an hour south of town to the Wicked Woods, a multi-haunt event that is bound to scare the bejesus out of you. Known as Virginia’s premier Halloween event, Wicked Woods provides three frightening attractions including a walk in the woods (sans flashlight), a haunted house and an even more terrifying insane asylum. Some portions of the tour feature extremely scary and intense scenes not recommended for children younger than 12, those with certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure or the faint at heart. The craziness starts at 7 p.m. with the last ticket sold at 10 p.m.
Related: Getaway Guide to Washington DC
Annapolis Ghost Tours
16 Church Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401
Price: $22 per person
If you prefer to imbibe a bit while hunting for ghosts, sign up for the Haunted Pub Crawls with the Annapolis Ghost Tours company. The 2.5-hour tour meets at the Maryland Inn and features a visit at three or four reportedly haunted taverns and bars. You and your fellow pub crawlers may enjoy a drink or two while listening to tales of paranormal experiences that have occurred at each stop.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.