Halloween is approaching, and there’s no better place to celebrate than one of the most actively haunted cities in the South. Haunted happenings take place year-round in this spirited town, but they all culminate in a month-long celebration throughout October. Plan for a Hallo-Scream Getaway to Wilmington with authentic ghostly experiences and enjoy seasonal Halloween events for everyone from scaredy-cats to thrill seekers.
There is no shortage of ways to get a good scare for the bravest among us. Tour the city’s most actively haunted homes and burial grounds with a Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington, listening to eerie tales and true ghostly occurrences from professional storytellers and ghost hunters. Hear about Samuel Jocelyn Jr., for example, the man who was buried alive in 1810 in St. James Episcopal Church Cemetery. Today, visitors claim to see a shadowy figure leaning on a tombstone near Jocelyn’s grave. More chilling stories await you on this nationally-acclaimed, award-winning tour. It has appeared on MTV, Haunted TAPS, the Discovery Channel, Learning Channel and History & Travel Channel and was named "One of America's Top 5 Tours" by USA Today and "Top 10 Tour in the U.S." by Trip Advisor. Through Oct. 31, tours are available each night at 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Join a guided tour at Poplar Grove Plantation to chance a visit from spirits. The ghosts of those young and old from the 1850s through the 20th century still haunt the Manor House, Tenant House, graveyards and grounds. Deceased members of the Foy family make their presence known in particular rooms of the house, and there are plenty of stories to be told of how they have introduced themselves over the years. These eerie tours are available each Friday during October at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Spirits and Pints
For the 21+ ghouls, Wilmington offers plenty of mischief just waiting to be discovered. Grab a pint or two as you adventure around the city’s most extraordinary pubs on a Haunted Pub Crawl, hearing true ghostly and grizzly tales of murder, mayhem, love, lunacy, humor, debauchery and more. One of Wilmington’s favorite resident spirits is that of the barbarous pub owner known as Meg. She ruled her pub with an iron fist, using her size to intimidate any unruly patrons. Occasionally a patron would get out of hand, so Meg would beat the unwitting fool half to death, sinking her teeth into an appendage and pickling the remains that she spit out. The Haunted Pub Crawl is available year-round for even more true stories, with the schedule and tickets available on the website. During the months of September and October, Haunted Pub Crawls are available Wednesday through Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Wilmington also hosts many family-friendly Halloween-themed events sans scare factor for the younger goblins to enjoy. On the Halloween Ghost Trolley, listen to ghost stories specifically tailored to young children while costumed horses and riders take you past the historic homes of downtown Wilmington.
Welcome all things autumn with the Children’s Museum at the annual Fall Festival. Kids will have fun celebrating the season with a festive photo booth, pastel leaf craft, pumpkin ring toss, dry ice bubbles and pumpkin slime. Join in on the fun Oct. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Goosebumps in the Grove, held at Poplar Grove Plantation, is a daytime gift show and carnival perfect for all children 2 years old and up. Featuring 75 artisan vendors, food trucks, trick-or-treating for the kids and carnival games with prizes, it’s spooktacular fun for the whole family. Come out on Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Monsters on the Big Screen and Stage
Sit back, relax and let the scare come to you with Monster Movie Madness at the Mansion. An outdoor showing of a classic Halloween thriller on the lawn of the historic Bellamy Mansion will thrill audiences with an inflatable movie screen and concessions of hot dogs, popcorn, drinks, beer and wine for purchase on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
“Let the Right One In” at Thalian Hall tells the story of Oskar, a teenager living with his mother in a small town that gets shocked by a series of brutal killings, and Eli, the new girl next door with a secret. This captivating vampire myth and coming-of-age love story adapted from the best-selling novel and award-winning film comes to Thalian Hall Oct. 21-31.
Make sure to catch “Halloween Kills” on the big screen starting Oct. 15. The sequel in the “Halloween” reboot trilogy garnered a lot of buzz after its filming in Wilmington. The heroine from the original 1978 “Halloween,” Jamie Lee Curtis, reprises her role for a new story. After believing she had successfully killed her nemesis, murderer Michael Meyers, Laurie Strode (Curtis) finds out that he has in fact escaped her trap and his ritual bloodbath resumes. Strode, along with her daughter and a group of other survivors of Michael’s first rampage, set out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.
In honor of the movie’s release, enter the Visit North Carolina sweepstakes through Oct. 31 for a chance to win a three-day getaway to Wilmington for two including lodging at Dreamers Welcome, a guided Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington, a sunset cruise on the Cape Fear River and much more.
Wilmington is chock full of true ghostly stories and authentically haunted spots, and it is home to spirits young and old, friendly and sinister. Plan a Hallo-Scream getaway this fall to the South’s favorite haunted destination for a scary good time.