October is storytellers’ favorite time of year to share tales of ghosts, goblins, and haunted houses
Ghosts, goblins and other spirits are known to make an appearance during the fall season, setting the scene for a spooky Halloween. Towns across North Carolina capitalize on the local lore and unusual history of their neighborhoods with ghost walks to and through old buildings, houses, cemeteries, and battlefields—often led by a tour guide dressed for the occasion.
North Carolinians are all in for the thrill, so be sure to purchase tickets early because tours do sell out. Wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes. Our Scare-O-Meter ensures those who don’t want a chilling experience won’t get one. Age requirements are also listed.
A ghoulish tour guide shares tales of horror and hauntings from around Wilkesboro and its surrounding areas. Costumes are encouraged. Calm your nerves with a haunted brew or “spirit” at Merle’s, a cocktail lounge and winner of the Best Bar and Best Mixologist of 2023 by the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association.
Cost: $15 per person. Purchase tickets online.
Dates: Tours take place Oct. 21-28 at 7:30 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: Fun for everyone
Creepy Creek Trail follows the namesake creek at Cub Creek Park in Historic Downtown Wilkesboro. First responders and other volunteers lead guests through this family-friendly event. The first 1,000 guests receive a hot dog meal. Partake in the haunted train rides, fish for pumpkins on an accessible ramp, play on an inclusive playground, participate in the costume contest, and grab candy from community partners.
Dates: Oct. 31, 6-9 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: Fun for everyone
Dressed in period attire, Thomas Bailey brings guests through downtown Goldsboro for the Downtown Ghost Tour, a walk just over 2 miles. Guests are welcome to dress up and should expect some action on The Battlefield Tour.
Cost: $10 per person. Text Bailey at 919-738-8946 to make a reservation.
Dates: Ghost Tours are on Oct. 13 and Nov. 3 and Battlefield Tours are Oct. 14 and Nov. 4. All tours begin at 7 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: The Downtown Ghost Tour isn’t scary but the walk is lengthy. The Battlefield Tour is recommended for ages 12 and above.
For ghost stories, folklore, and local history, a professional storyteller with Tobacco Road Tours offers a fast-paced walking tour through six different paranormal sites including Bull Durham Factory, Devil’s Teacher, and The Hotel Malbourne. Those who dress up for this two-hour tour could win a prize.
Cost: $16 to $20 per person. Purchase tickets online.
Dates: The tours take place throughout October.
Scare-O-Meter: Best for the over-8-years-old crowd.
Hunt for ghosts next to investigators from Great State Paranormal, a top paranormal investigation organization in North Carolina, at this haunted house in Hickory. Fans of shows like Ghost Adventures, Destination Fear, and Ghost Brothers will appreciate this opportunity.
Cost: $80-$100 depending on ticket package.
Dates: The event begins at 7 p.m. on Oct. 7 and continues into the wee hours of the morning.
Scare-O-Meter: Only for those over 16 years of age.
Celebrate Elizabeth City’s 25th year of hosting the city’s Ghost Walk. For two nights, guests enjoy a visit to seven sites in the city’s historic district and a live theatre performance. At each location, guests meet a ghost who shares the story of their life and the contributions they made to the community.
Cost: $15 per person. Tickets may be purchased at various businesses in the city.
Dates: The Ghost Walk is scheduled for Oct. 13-14 from 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: Bring the kids, cousins, and grandparents—this is a family affair.
This award-winning 90-minute ghost walk ushers guests through historic homes and burial grounds known to be haunted spaces. A storyteller, dressed for the occasion, shares various tales such as being buried alive in Historic St. James Graveyard and the legend about a bar owner gaining notoriety for collecting ears from unruly patrons.
Dates: Tours are offered every day now through Oct. 31 at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Review the schedule for year-round dates and times.
Scare-O-Meter: Bring the young kids and the family dog to the 6:30 p.m. tour. The 8:30 p.m. tour is better suited for adults and older kids.
Taking you throughout downtown Raleigh, this is not your typical “ghost tour.” No special effects and no ghost hunting involved here. Instead, this is a history tour that discusses real hauntings resulting from past events in Raleigh. There are stops at four city landmarks, where your guide will discuss the history and legacy of said landmark then entertain you with an eerie story. Children of all ages are welcome on this 1-mile walk, which kicks off at the Governor’s Executive Mansion. This is a year-round, pay-what-you-want walking tour, but advance registration through Eventbrite is required.
Cost: Pay what you can, but $15 to $20 per person is suggested. Only cash is accepted.
Dates: The tour runs on Fridays in October from 7-8:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 5-6:30 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: Some of these history tales may frighten small children.
The Sharpe House Historic Players guide leads visitors through a two-hour tour of downtown Statesville. Hear stories about the Fourth Creek Burying Ground, Vance Hotel, and other spirits who gather in the area.
Cost: $15 per person. Purchase tickets online.
Dates: The tours take place on Oct. 20, 21, 27, and 28 at 8 and 8:30 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: This tour is recommended for children over 8 years old.
Tour guide John “Sebastian” Badger leads guests on a walking tour through some of the town’s haunts while sharing stories about the Lady on the Courthouse Balcony, the Unsolved Triple Homicide, and Figures Who Roam the Curb Market Lot. You may even catch a glimpse of a specter or two. Guests are welcome to dress the part.
Cost: $15 per person. Book online up until the tour begins.
Dates: Tours are scheduled for 7 p.m. every Friday and Saturday evening in October.
Scare-O-Meter: Recommended for ages 13 and up. On a scale of 1-10, we’d give it a 7 scare rating.
Learn how to operate professional paranormal equipment during this hands-on investigation through the abandoned Henry River Mill Village.
Cost: $45 per person. Purchase tickets online.
Dates: The tour is scheduled for Oct. 14 from 9 p.m.-midnight.
Scare-O-Meter: It must be pretty scary, as you’ve got to be older than 18 to participate.
During the Halloween season, ghost guides dressed in period clothing lead groups through the city. Between the 1850s and 1930s, Asheboro’s history took a turn toward the macabre, providing fodder for great storytelling and one grand-finale reenactment.
Cost: $20 per person for the Ghostwalk and $30 per person for the Ghostride, which is new this year and only happening on Halloween. Purchase tickets at the Asheboro Cultural and Recreation Services office or online.
Dates: The Ghostwalk takes place every Tuesday in October (save for Halloween) at 7 and 8:30 p.m. The Ghostride will be on Oct. 31 at 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: This event is rated PG-13 because of the gruesome and grisly stories told.
Historic Mount Airy Ghost Tours are led by professional guides through Mount Airy’s downtown. Stories told during the 90-minute tour are based on local history and legend. Once a month, a trolley tour is offered.
Cost: $20 per person. Tickets may be purchased ahead of time (recommended), but walk-ups are permitted.
Dates: Tours are at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from Memorial Day Weekend through mid-November.
Scare-O-Meter: This is a family-friendly tour.
Take a walk along Edenton’s historic waterfront with history enthusiast Wil Hoggard, who for more than an hour will entertain and unsettle you with gruesome true stories about eastern North Carolina.
Cost: $15 per person, group prices available.
Dates: Call 252-209-4092 or email [email protected] to schedule a tour. Four-person minimum.
Scare-O-Meter: Perfect for the whole family.
Before this now-hip neighborhood along Charlotte’s North Davidson Street became the city’s bustling arts district it was a mill village. The neighborhood’s Back in the Day committee has researched ghost stories passed down over the decades, interviewed people who have lived there for generations and even compiled some more contemporary stories over the years to host this annual night of ghost walks.
Cost: Free. Visit the group’s table in front of Stu’s Barrel House on the night of to sign up for one of the tours or pre-register at Eventbrite.
Dates: Oct. 14, with tours beginning at 6 p.m. and leaving regularly until the last one departs at 10:15 p.m.
Scare-O-Meter: The tours become less kid-friendly as the night goes on.