With chilly temperatures, falling leaves, and whistling winds comes an extra bite in the air this time of year. Stories of the paranormal and the supernatural take center stage as October encourages us to dive into some of history’s darker stories. Check out some South Dakota spots that offer fun, fright, and a look at the past. These attractions can help any ghost-story scrooge get in the spirit of the year’s spookiest season.
McCRORY GARDENS HAUNTED TRAIL
Brookings’ acclaimed gardens take on a spookier feel during their 3rd annual Haunted Trail event. Walk the inviting grounds at your own risk after dark as clowns, zombies, monsters and more await your arrival. The event, intended for mature visitors, is a partnership between SDSU Theatre, State-A-Thon, Alpha Zi Delta, and the McCrory Gardens to support multiple scholarships and philanthropies.
Tours take place Oct. 26-28 from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. Tickets cost $10 a person, or $9 with a non-perishable food item. Visit mccrorygardens.com for more.
THE ADAMS HOUSE
Built in 1892, legend says a former owner of the historic home still wanders the house. In tours this fall, Black Hills Paranormal Investigations and Deadwood History staff will share the darker stories of this window into Victorian times, and search for paranormal activity using night vision and full-spectrum cameras, digital audio recorders and EMF readers. Ninety-minute tours begin at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21. Visit deadwoodhistory.com for a full schedule of tours and to purchase tickets, starting at $30. Psychic readings will be available following the tour for an additional $20. Reservations required.
THE HISTORIC BULLOCK HOTEL
The hotel staff says dozens of people have spotted Seth Bullock roaming the halls of his hotel, acting up if he sees employees slacking off. But the hotel’s founder is just one of the spirits who’ve failed to leave the historic spot. Ghost tours are available daily at 5:30 p.m., $10 for adults and $5 for kids 11 and under. If you’re feeling brave enough for an overnighter, you can request a room that’s had more paranormal activity reported – try asking for one near room 213. All the details at the historicbullock.com.
THE HISTORIC FAIRMONT HOTEL & OYSTER BAY BAR
The Fairmont Hotel’s inhabitants from its former days as a brothel are reported to still be haunting the building, and the hotel’s third floor is crawling with a high amount of paranormal activity. Introduce yourself to some of Deadwood’s most ghoulish residents on a ghost tour, offered daily at 8:30 p.m. for $20. Call the hotel at (605) 578-2205 to learn more.
A special murder mystery dinner theater has been added to the hotel’s theater fall schedule – Who Killed Nelly? runs Oct. 7, 14, 20 and 21. Billed as a “Deadwood who-dunit,” tickets are $50 and can be purchased at deadwood1876theater.com. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m.
HAUNTED FORT TOUR
Fort Sisseton Historic State Park hosts events for the kids by day, and for braver souls by night. Fall-themed activities and crafts take place from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 14, with tours of the haunted fort beginning at dusk. While soldiers of years past won’t be able to attend, they’ll be there in spirit… Evening tours run from 5-8 p.m. Call the Fort Sisseton office at (605) 448-5474 to reserve a spot.
Volunteers have been bringing ghouls, ghosts, and goblins to Mobridge for 14 years at the Scarecrow Hollow Haunted House. Located in an actual old funeral home, the tour includes a stop in the home’s original embalming room, as more than 50 characters join remaining spirits that roam the halls. Tours run from 7 p.m. – midnight Oct. 20-21 and 27-28 for $12. Catch a special Kids Haunt from 2-4 p.m. on Oct. 28 for $4. Bring a non-perishable canned food item for $2 off one admission. Find them on Facebook for more information.
HOTEL ALEX JOHNSON
Built in 1927, the Hotel Alex Johnson is said to be haunted by a number of ghostly guests, including the hotel’s namesake. The eighth floor is reportedly home to a new bride who died during her stay, and a young girl who can be heard knocking on room doors.
If you’re looking for a haunted weekend getaway, the hotel offers a Ghost Adventure package, which includes a stay in a paranormal room and a K2 ghost-detecting meter.
Check their website for upcoming details on a Haunted Costume Party the weekend before Halloween at alexjohnson.com.
HAUNTED SIOUX FALLS TOUR
Siouxland Heritage Museums offers all kinds of pieces of the region’s history, and it’s not leaving out parts of the city with a haunted past… Prepare for mysterious footprints, elevators with minds of their own and mysterious figures appearing from thin air. The Haunted Sioux Falls bus tour takes place at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 3, 10, 17 and 24, with additional tours on Oct. 22 and 29 at 5 p.m.
You can also get an eerier history lesson through their Voices from the Past: Woodlawn by Lantern tours. Guests will be introduced to some of the most famous and infamous players in Sioux Falls history, brought back to life by local actors inside Woodlawn Cemetery. Tours start at 6:30 p.m. and run from Oct. 19-21.
Tickets for both of these events can be purchased in Sioux Falls at the Old Courthouse Museum for $10. Check out their calendar at siouxlandmuseums.com for details on these events and more.