Sure, there are goosebump-inducing haunted houses and creepy costume shops and weird historic buildings in Austin. But did you know the cities and small towns surrounding our fair city are also filled with spectacularly spooky spots?
If you’re a true Halloween aficionado, you can’t beat a quick jaunt to a new haunt in a neighboring town. There’s just something about the way the leaves rustle and the buildings creak and the moonlight casts shadows in an unfamiliar place that can be downright terrifying (in a good way).
Here are five chilling Central Texas day trips to consider before the end of October.
Located just 30 minutes up the road, Georgetown’s historic square is said to be home to a number of haunted buildings. One such building is the Georgetown Art Center, a former firehouse and city hall space built in 1892, where a tall cowboy in a hat and duster has been spotted pacing the stairs. Another is the present-day Williamson County Courthouse, where visitors have reported seeing a woman in a long dress disappear when approached. Book pages here have also been known to turn on their own. You can learn about these buildings and more when the Williamson Museum hosts Downtown Georgetown Ghost Tours, led by a costumed docent, at 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Oct. 13-14 and 27-28. Buy tickets at hellogeorgetown.com/downtown-georgetown-ghost-tours-georgetown-texas.
Hundreds of people died at the Alamo, and some of their spirits are said to haunt the grounds even today. One of the most commonly spotted ghosts? A blond-haired little boy frequently seen in the upstairs left window. Learn more about the Alamo and other haunted downtown locations with a 90-minute Ghosts of Old San Antonio tour, offered nightly ( ghostcitytours.com/san-antonio/ghost-tours/ghosts-old-san-antonio-tour). For extra points, stay the night at the Menger Hotel, which is widely known as the most haunted hotel in Texas.
Presidio La Bahia in Goliad was constructed by the Spanish Army and was the site of both the Battle of Goliad in October 1835 and the Goliad Massacre in March 1836. It’s said to still house the spirits of angry and hurt soldiers whose screams you can sometimes hear. For a true scare, stay the night at the Quarters, a two-bedroom apartment inside Presidio La Bahia. Learn more at presidiolabahia.org.
From haunted historic buildings to Easter Fires to infamous locals, there’s lots of spooky lore to be found in Fredericksburg, located in the Hill Country about an hour from Austin. The Haunted History Tour offered by Fredericksburg Trolley Tours features all of the best-known stories and includes a trolley ride, too. Tours this month will be held Oct. 14, 20 and 28. The tour is not appropriate for children; minors must be accompanied by an adult guardian. Learn more at fbgtours.com.