With autumn in full swing, cemeteries throughout the country are hosting events to celebrate both the fall season and Halloween. From educational cemetery walks, picnics and story-telling events to historical tours and haunted experiences complete with ghouls and goblins, cemeteries are coming up with creative ways to engage their communities. If you are a cemetery manager looking for some inspiration for next year or a community member who thinks that no fun can be had in a graveyard, here are a few events to spark your interest:
“Soul Strolls” and hot cider
Capitol Hill’s Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. is welcoming visitors for a haunted experience on their historic grounds on October 23 and 24. The cemetery is staying open past dusk to host “Soul Strolls”—hour-long tours throughout the grounds. Attendants are encouraged to bring a flashlight and be ready for uneven terrain, as the tours don’t stick to paths. Visitors will be able to enjoy beer, wine and hot cider during their tours. More information here.
Walks to honor first settlers
Riverside Memorial Park in Fox Lake, Wisconsin will be hosting their annual cemetery walk on October 31. The walk has become a Fox Lake tradition, featuring the first settlers of Dodge County. The settlers to be honored in this year’s walk have never before been featured. Each year, the settlers’ headstones are chosen and researched in the Harriett O’Connell Historical Room at the Fox Lake Public Library. Those who attend will get a taste of what it was like for early settlers to leave their homes, travel great distances by foot or ox cart and carve out a spot in the new world. More information here.
Storytelling and pumpkin patches
Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia has a few events taking place during the month of October to celebrate Halloween and remember the deceased. An Edgar Allen Poe walking tour focusing on Poe’s time in Philadelphia took place earlier this month. “True Tales from the Tombs: Mischief Night by Firelight” will take place on October 30, guiding guests through mausoleums and highlighting notable residents. On Halloween, a family-friendly picnic and parade including arts and crafts, storytelling, a pumpkin patch and sweet treats will take place. Guests are encouraged to wear costumes. More information here.
Spooky historical tours
There are quite a few cemeteries to visit for a good scare in New York City. Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum is offering historic tours, as it is the final resting place for many notable people including former Mayor Edward I. Koch, John James Audubon, Charles Dickens’ son Alfred Tennyson Dickens, industrialist John Jacob Astor and author Ralph Ellison. Green-Wood Cemetery is offering an already-sold out Moonlight Walking Tour of haunted tombstones and catacombs. Green-Wood also offers two-hour private tours that are guaranteed to spook visitors.
Also in New York City, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine has several events taking place, including a Halloween Extravaganza, complete with a live cast of ghouls and goblins. The cathedral is hosting “Crypt Crawls”—events where visitors climb down into the crypt and listen to stories of the entombed. At Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, “Murder and Mayhem” tours run every Thursday and Saturday night in October with a special midnight tour on Halloween. Visitors who attend this tour will walk through the cemetery with only a lantern as they learn about victims and perpetrators involved in grim murders. More information here.
Photo by WTOP