If you have older kids like I do, gone are the days of fun family outings to the pumpkin patch and weeks spent agonizing over the perfect Halloween costume. But the weather is becoming more bearable and you might still want to find some sort of Halloween-themed activity that everyone in your family can enjoy. At a certain point, kids get too old (and way too cool) to trick or treat, but some of the more adult-oriented Halloween activities (haunted houses, I’m looking at you) might be a little too much for some kids to handle… and, ahem, too much for some moms to handle, too. Enter—a fun Halloween activity that might just become your family’s newest tradition: ghost tours.
San Antonio is known as one of the most haunted cities in Texas, so it stands to reason that the city has several good options for ghost tours. With so many options, you can choose the ghost tour that most interests your family. The thing I like most about ghost tours is that in addition to some tame but spooky fun (trust me: nothing wielding a chainsaw will jump out at you during a ghost tour), each tour is infused with more history than your teens are probably currently getting in the classroom and might cause you or your kids to come home and research one of the stories you heard on the tour.
All of these ghost tours require a moderate amount of walking, so be sure to dress accordingly. Also, some tours are more family-friendly than others, so be sure to read the FAQs and details on each tour to choose one that fits your family best. Remember that the stories you hear could include details of gruesome deaths, and some locations on the tour were formerly brothels and other businesses of “ill repute,” so use your judgment on whether your kids are mature enough to handle these types of stories.
Curious Twins offers several tour options, so you could plan a couple of different tours during the spookiest season. The Haunted Historic Cemetery Tour is sure to uncover lots of fascinating stories of those buried beneath the city. Curious Twins also offers a Haunted King William Tour, which features some of the historic homes and places of business in the city. Your family is sure to come away with a newfound appreciation for history and even science, as the tour guides delve deeply into the science of paranormal investigations. Bonus: Curious Twins Ghost Tour is dog-friendly, so take your brave pup along for this haunted walk!
Voted San Antonio’s #1 Ghost Tour, Bad Wolf Ghost Tours features a San Antonio Ghost Walk, which is described as their most paranormally active ghost tour and is conducted around the Alamo and River Walk area. They also offer tours of Victoria’s Black Swan Inn, which is said to be the most haunted location in San Antonio. Bad Wolf also has a Haunted Pub Crawl, but obviously, kids younger than 21 can’t participate in this. Perhaps a fun date night activity?
Voted the #2 Ghost Tour in the Country by USA Today, Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours offers a Haunted History Walk that is suitable for all ages and is full of dark history and chilling lore! Sisters Grimm also offers a Ghost Bus Tour for ages 13 and up. The Ghost Bus Tour is 2.5 hours long and features a stop at the most haunted hotel in Texas, as well as a tour inside the city’s most historic (and haunted) cemetery.
With Certified Tourism Ambassadors leading the charge, RJA Ghost Tours allows you to experience the paranormal first-hand. The tour guides first educate their visitors on the different types of hauntings and manifestations, then they escort them through the haunted history of downtown San Antonio.
If you know all there is to know about the haunted history of San Antonio, consider a jaunt outside the S.A. city limits to check out one of the ghost tours in the Texas Hill Country’s other haunted burgs.
This is my personal favorite ghost tour. As a resident of New Braunfels, I’ve done this tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. The New Braunfels Ghost Tour is owned and operated by local teachers who know the history of New Braunfels like the backs of their hands. The tour begins outside of the oldest bakery in Texas, Naegelin’s Bakery, and is 90 minutes chock full of the totally absorbing and spooky history of New Braunfels. You’ll love it, as will your kids!
Another old town in the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is full of history and intrigue. Guests of the Haunted Fredericksburg Ghost Walk frequently report paranormal experiences during the tour, so put on your brave pants for this one. Also, this ghost tour allows you to BYOB, as Fredericksburg allows guests to drink beer or wine from a cup while walking around town.
With cooler weather on the way and fall activities back on the calendar, it’s fun to find a Halloween-inspired activity that the whole family can do. Ghost tours appeal to history buffs, as well as those who enjoy a good spook, and they get everyone out of the house for a bit. Convince your teens to bring along a friend and prepare for a fun evening of mystery and a little history to celebrate this festive time of year!