You don’t have to believe in the supernatural to enjoy a ghost tour, but you just might find yourself at least a little creeped out at the end of one. And with Halloween slightly more than two weeks away, ‘tis the season for some goosebumps.
So how about a night learning about all the creepy history surrounding where you live? The Austin area — and apparently plenty spooky surrounding towns like Salado and New Braunfels — offers these ghost tours, screaming optional.
Austin Ghost Tours
Apparently, downtown Austin is haunted with specters of all kinds, and this walking tour company knows where to look for them after more than 25 years in the business of freaking us all out. There are four different kinds of tours you can take, depending on what you’re looking for; most of them are about 90 minutes long and $20 each.
Tour highlights include a look at the first hospital in the city, the grounds of the Texas Capitol, “the whispering banks of Waller Creek” and the especially haunted and historic Driskill Hotel, which since opening in 1886 has acquired some pretty spooky paranormal activity.
Reservations are required to go on one of the tours, which happen every weekend all year and on additional days during the month of October. Tours include a boozy Haunted Pub Crawl on Oct. 29. For more information, visit austinghosttours.com.
Don’t want to walk? Don’t worry: Haunted ATX has a solution — just ride around in a “classic Cadillac hearse that has been converted into a spooky limousine.” Stops along the ride include the Tavern, Driskill Hotel, Clay Pit and the Littlefield House, all of which are reportedly haunted or have experienced paranormal happenings. (Y’all, this is new to me — the Clay Pit has ghosts?!)
Tours run nightly year-round and last between two-and-a-half and three hours. The limousine holds between 4 to 7 people. There are general tickets for $49 and VIP tickets for $129, which guarantee you a private tour and other perks like complimentary champagne and personalized pick-up and drop-off locations. And even if you don’t order the VIP experience, you can still bring your own booze.
The Haunted ATX tours book up quickly, so make sure to reserve yours soon if you want one before Halloween. For more information, visit hauntedatx.com/austin-haunted-limo-tours.html.
The Williamson Museum Ghost Tour
Who better to give a ghost tour around Georgetown than a costumed docent for the Williamson Museum, which catalogues the history and culture of the county just north of Austin and no doubt knows all its ghostly secrets? These outings are more limited, with tours only on Oct. 14, 27 and 28, but there will be four each night, including an extra-scary tour at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $15 per person unless you’re a museum member or a student, in which case the tickets are $12. For more information, visit williamsonmuseum.org/product/ghost-tour-2017-tickets/.
New Braunfels Ghost Tours
Austin isn’t the only old Central Texas town with a paranormal past, and the New Braunfels Ghost Tours will reveal it with regular $20 tours through Oct. 31. Each tour is 90 minutes and covers all the haunted aspects of New Braunfels history, walking you through such downtown locales as the Comal County Courthouse, the Faust Hotel and the Phoenix Saloon (fun fact: it was the first Texas bar to serve women).
For the most part, you won’t actually be going inside each of the spooky spots — unless you take the $30 Haunted Pub Crawl on Oct. 21. During that boozy tour, participants will visit five bars in the area and “hear tales of each bar before we enter as well as true happenings from events long ago in our town,” according to the tour’s website.
Sign up for the tour of your choice at nbghosttours.com.
The Historic Salado Ghostwalk
Head north of Austin for this lantern-lit stroll down Salado’s Main Street. Doesn’t that sound nice? This description from the Ghostwalk website sounds even better (if you’re a ghost story junkie, that is): “Get lost in tales of cowboys, Indians, buried treasure and... ghosts!”
People will meet at Barrow Brewing, Salado’s first brewery and what has become a prime hangout in the small, artisan-filled town, to partake in the $20, hour-and-a-half ghost tour. Local author, historian and storyteller Jonathan Hal Renolds will lead each one. (And yes, he’ll really give everyone a lantern to walk with. For more about what to expect at his tours, check out this Temple Daily Telegram article.)
The tours run through Dec. 9 this year. For more information, visit saladoghostwalk.com.