It’s that time of year again—ghost and goblins and goodies, oh my!
One of America’s favorite pastimes is Halloween, a custom that started as a Celtic ritual thousands of years ago. These days October 31, and the weeks leading up to it, are filled with cackling witches, shirtless vampires, and toothy pumpkins, and an estimated 41 million costumed trick-or-treaters take to the streets, parties, and haunted houses to celebrate. Travelers, fear not. Hotels across the country have joined in the fun too, and offer spooky specials for “hallowed” guests. From ghoulish dinners to onsite ghost hunting tours, these five haunted hotels make Halloween travel a scream.
1. The Driskill (Austin, TX) – This hotel is considered the most haunted building in Austin, and maybe in all of Texas, said to be frequented by the ghost of namesake Colonel Jesse Lincold Driskill himself, a cattle baron during post civil war America. Room 525 is rumored to be the most ghostly on the property. Book it if you dare! From October 28 – November 3, the Driskill is promoting an “All Hallow’s Eve” package that includes overnight accommodations, two Batini cocktails at check-in, a trick-or-treat turndown amenity (including a selection of sweets from the 1886 Bakery), prime access to downtown Austin’s sixth street (a Halloween hot spot) and preferred reservations for the Driskill’s “Mad Scientist” dinner on Halloween night.Package starts at $279. Contact the hotel for booking. Or book online at Hotels.com or Priceline.
2. The Carolina Inn (Chapel Hill, NC) – Located on the campus of the University of Chapel Hill, NC, this 184 room hotel is a registered historic landmark considered one of America’s top haunted hotels. The property’s most haunted location is room 256, home of friendly ghost Dr. William Jacocks, a physician who resided in the hotel during the last 17 years of his life. For an added spooktacular value, guests can book the hotel’s “Room With A Boo” package, which includes accommodations in room 256, the good doctor’s quarters; dinner for two, set for three; and two historical books. Packages start at $480. Check with the hotel for availability. Book online at Priceline or Hotels.com.
3. Tarrytown House Estate (Tarrytown, NY) – Comprised of two 1840’s mansions that were converted into an estate hotel, the historic Tarrytown House Estate is located near the legendary village of Sleepy Hallow. A British ghost investigator once called Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow “the most haunted place in the world.” Come find out during October, the mansion offers a family-friendly “The Blaze Package” that includes accommodations, breakfast for two and two VIP tickets to the famed Hudson Valley “Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” that wows audiences young and old with its 4,000 illuminated pumpkins. Tarrytown House also offers a more frightening “Horseman’s Hallow” package, which includes accommodations; breakfast for two and two tickets to Philipsburg Manor, transformed into a spine tingling experience not suitable for young ones. The Blaze Package starts at $299. Check with hotel for availability or book with Priceline or Hotels.com
4. The Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO) – Here’s Johnny! Say it and it’s not Johnny Carson that comes to mind, at least not on Halloween. As one of the most haunted hotels in the nation, The Stanley Hotel was the inspiration for Stephen King’s bone chilling novel, “The Shining” during his stay in room 217 (one of the most spiritually active rooms). The property was also featured in several “Ghost Hunters” episodes. An on-staff paranormal investigator offers a “Ghost Hunting Tour” that teaches guests how to use authentic ghost hunting tools and test their new skills in some of the property’s most haunted locations inaccessible to the general public. Ghost tours are popular, so book early. See the Hotel Scoop review of this property.
5. Inn at Loretto (Santa Fe, New Mexico)- The hotel gets its name from the Loretto Chapel (home of the ‘miraculous staircase’) situated next door, and the Loretto Academy, a catholic girls’ school once located where the hotel now sits, and run by the Order of the Sisters of Loretto. Sister George was a member of the order and legend has it she’s still in school. Former hotel employees reported her ‘presence’ in the late ‘70s, smelling cigar smoke in the empty restaurant and receiving phone calls from the fourth floor while it was closed for renovations, among other unexplained occurrences. The hotel offers a “Ghostwalker’s Package” that includes accommodations for one night, a map, and a copy of the book Santa Fe Ghosts, with tales of the city’s ethereal denizens, and entrance for two to Loretto Chapel. BYOC—bring your own courage. Package starts at $210. Check with hotel for availability. Check prices online at Hotels.com or Priceline. See the Hotel-Scoop review of this property.
Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. She is afraid of ghosts.