Come October, ghost tours seem thick as pumpkins around metro Atlanta. So many pop up that it can feel like every metro community is either haunted by that spectral someone just waiting to tell his or her story or produces an eager tour guide willing to tell the living about the dead.
This year is different, of course. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, many tours are being cancelled, presumably so this year’s ghost fans won’t show up on future tours in a different way.
Still, it’s hard to keep a good ghost story buried, and some metro guides and tour-hosting institutions are going ahead with their shows, which can offer a good way to learn a little local history. Some tours have moved online, while participants in other tours are being asked to don masks and socially distance themselves for in-person strolls through their haunted hometowns.
Here are few tours that, as of mid-September, organizers were planning to present this year. If you want to join one, check the company’s website to make sure the tour still is on and that tickets still are available.
Decatur Ghost Tour
This guided walking tour covers a little more than a mile as participants stroll around downtown Decatur and visit sites such as the DeKalb County Courthouse, High House and the city cemetery. Tour guides retell the stories, both historical and paranormal, of some the city’s haunted spots. Masks are recommended, but not required, and tour groups will be limited to 25 to allow for social distancing.
Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for children 10 and younger. For more: decaturghosttour.com
Ghosts of Marietta
Guides lead a 90-minute, lantern-lighted tour through downtown Marietta. Ghosts of Marietta says its guides base their presentations on documented sightings, first-hand experiences and local history. During the tours, they scare up a ghost or two at some of the Cobb County city’s best-known spots.
Tours are held year-round on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $17 for adults, $12 for children 12 and younger. For more: ghostsofmarietta.com
Roswell Ghost Tour
Owner David Wood said his company shut down its tours for several months this year because of COVID-19, but now is back in operation. They re-started in June, he said, because of popular demand — customers kept calling and saying they wanted to take part in outside activities again. “It an outdoors exercise thing,” he said. “People are just dying to get out of their homes.” Guides lead groups of up to 40 or so tourists on a 1.5-mile walking tour and share local ghost stories as they pass landmarks such as Bulloch Hall or the founder’s cemetery. Masks are recommended, but not required.
Tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and younger. For more: roswellghosttour.com
Tour of Southern Ghosts
For its 35th anniversary, ART Station’s ghost tour is going online. In the past, the tour was presented in Stone Mountain Park, but this year it moves to cyberspace to allow greater distancing between participants. The online tour will include ghost stories from across the South.