October is that eerie time of year when ghost hunters, paranormal experts and fans of the macabre pack up their EMF meters, night vision cameras and audio recorders and head down I-45 towards Galveston.
Haunted Mayfield Manor is open year-round; the attraction was built in the same 1867 building that served as a morgue after nearly 10,000 residents were killed in the Great Storm of 1900. Only the bravest choose to stay in room 501 at the Hotel Galvez, where the ghost of a hanged bride still searches for her fiancé who was thought lost at sea. And then there's the Broadway Cemetery Historic District, covering a six block area and comprised of seven burial grounds plotted between 1839 and 1939.
"Galveston has a history of death and destruction, to be blunt about it. The 1900 storm obviously is the biggest piece of that story, a significant loss of life," explains Will Wright, chief creative officer for the Galveston Historical Foundation.
"In any of these communities you also run into ghost stories. So you have a massive incident that took lots of lives, you have an old community — Galveston is one of the oldest cities in the state — you have different cultures coming in and you have the age of the city," says Wright.
Wright won't go on the record to say that these Victorian-era buildings and cemeteries are actually haunted, but he does say that Galveston gets into the spirit of things by opening up locations that are closed the rest of the year. "It's a fun time of year for us. Not only is the weather cooler but we get to open up Ashton Villa and the Menard House. A lot of people have a curiosity about these buildings and their history."
Haunted Mayfield Manor
The young Dr. Mayfield has been declared quite insane and his actions can be unpredictable. Tour Haunted Mayfield Manor and you might encounter ghosts, ghouls or strange shadow people. Enter at your own risk.
2-9 p.m. Fridays, noon-10 p.m. Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Sundays, October 25-28 and 31, 2313 Harborside, Galveston, 409-762-6677, hauntedmayfieldmanor.com, $10.
Historic Galveston Ghost Tours
Join Johnny Medium and Mr. Zombie on nightly tours of Galveston where they will recount tales of horror, murder, suicide, cannibalism, pirates, ghosts and visions.
8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 8 and 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, through December 31. Three tours are scheduled on Halloween at 6, 8 and 10 p.m., 23rd and Sealy, Galveston, 832-345-0492, historicgalvestonghosttours.com, free to $20.
Harry Potter Wizardry Night Drop-In
Wizards and muggles are invited to celebrate Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during this fun night of activities at the library. Hogwarts attire is encouraged.
5-8 p.m. October 23, Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy, Galveston, 409-763-8854, rosenberg-library.org, free.
Full Moon Tour of the Bishop's Palace
Explore by moonlight the architectural gems inside the 1892 Bishop's Palace, Galveston's grandest and best-known building. From colored stone, intricately carved ornaments, rare woods, stained-glass windows and bronze dragons, it's no wonder this Victorian castle has been named by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most important buildings in America.
7-8 p.m. October 24, 1892 Bishop's Palace, 1402 Broadway, Galveston, 409-762-2475, galvestonhistory.org, $30.
The Haunted History of Galveston
Join Lantern Light Tours on this epic journey through the haunted history of Galveston with photos from the past and audio recordings by actual survivors of the Great Storm of 1900.
6-8 p.m. October 25, Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy, Galveston, 409-763-8854, rosenberg-library.org, free.
Ghost Tour at the 1859 Ashton Villa
Don't miss this rare opportunity to explore Ashton Villa and learn about the early days of Galveston and the possible afterlife of Miss Bettie Brown.
7 and 8:15 p.m. October 26-27 and 31, 2328 Broadway, Galveston, 409-762-2475, galveston.com/haunts, $30
Lanternlight Tour of the Bishop's Palace
Grab a lantern and explore the architectural nooks and crannies of this 1892 masterpiece while also learning about the history of Walter and Josephine Gresham and their family.
7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m. October 26-27 and 31, 1892 Bishop's Palace, 1402 Broadway, Galveston, 409-762-2475, galveston.com/haunts, $30.
Living Dead Tour
If walking tours aren't your thing, join Galveston Historic Tours for this driving ghost tour of historic places on the island. Stops include Ashton Villa, Menard House, Williams House, Bishop's Palace and more.
8 p.m. October 26, 6:30 and 8 p.m. October 27, Ashton Villa, 2328 Broadway, Galveston, 409-789-9911, eventbrite.com/e/living-dead-ghost-tour-tickets-37541736344, $15.
Silent Film with Rob Landes – Phantom of the Opera
Get creeped out by Lon Chaney's 1925 silent film masterpiece and enjoy a specially-created and totally-improvised musical score by Rob Landes. Costumes are encouraged.
8 p.m. October 26, The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston, 800-821-1894, tickets.thegrand.com/online/article/2019-phantom-of-the-opera, $18 to $20.
Galveston Graveyard Tour
The only thing more frightening than a graveyard is a graveyard at night. Take this historic walking tour of Galveston's oldest cemeteries and learn about murders, suicides and ghosts. Stops include the grave sites of the Menard, Williams and Childress families.
9:30 and 11 p.m. October 26-27, Broadway Cemetery, 4001 Avenue K, Galveston, 409-789-9911, eventbrite.com/e/galveston-graveyard-tour-tickets-37542669134, $15.
Rumor has it that the WWII submarine, the USS Cavalla, is haunted by ghosts. It's berthed at Galveston's Seawolf Park, named for the downed submarine USS Seawolf, which was lost a sea. Tour the Cavalla and see for yourself if ghosts abound, then head over to the WWII destroyer escort, the USS Stewart, for some good old-fashioned trick or treating. Catch one of the free shuttles going back and forth from Mayfield Manor.
6:30-10 p.m. October 26, 27 and 31, Galveston Naval Museum, 100 Seawolf Parkway, Galveston, 409-770-3196, galvestonnavalmuseum.com or facebook.com/events/335864853624594, $5 to $20.
8th Annual Mini Monster Bash
The kids will want to dress up and trick or treat the businesses in downtown Galveston, then take part in crafts and games at Saengerfest Park. Prizes will be handed out for cutest, scariest and most creative costumes.
1-4 p.m. October 27, Saengerfest Park, 2414 Strand, Galveston, 409-761-4111, galveston.com, free.
Night of Terror Film Festival
Not for the faint of heart, or kids for that matter, Moody Gardens is screening classic horror flicks on the largest screen in Texas at 5 p.m. (The Conjuring), 7:10 p.m. (Annabelle), 9:05 p.m. (The Conjuring 2) and 11:35 p.m. (Annabelle: Creation). Ticket price gets you all four flicks, popcorn and a beverage. It's a ghoulish night of possessed dolls, satanic cultists and haunted farmhouses; the nightmares are free.
5 p.m. October 27, Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, 409-744-4673, moodygardens.com/halloween, $25
Reignforest of Terror
Tour Moody Gardens' Rainforest Pyramid in this after-hours theatrical tour for adults that highlights the scary truths animals face in the wild. Tours are scheduled every half hour; the last tour begins at 8:30 p.m. Ticket sales support ocelot conservation, which is a good thing, because they're native to the southern region of the Lone Star State. The deadline to make reservations is October 25.
6 p.m. October 27, Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, 409-744-4673, moodygardens.com/halloween, $15 to $25.
Put on those costumes and head out to this kid-friendly event that includes trick or treating throughout Moody Gardens, creepy crafts and face-painting. The big draw is the 3 p.m. costume contest with prizes for best costume in different age groups, up to age 12. Wear a costume and get into the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, SpongeBob SubPants Adventure, Discovery Museum, MG 3D Theater, 4D Theater and the Colonel Paddlewheel boat for just $5 per attraction, per person. The trick or treating and costume contest are free.
2-4 p.m. October 28, Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, 409-744-4673, moodygardens.com/halloween, free.
The Annual Great Pumpkin Festival
Take a selfie in the pumpkin patch, navigate the inflatable obstacle course, play carnival games and go trick or treating at this family-friendly event.
5-7:30 p.m. October 28, Moody Methodist Church, 2805 53rd, Galveston, moody.org/pumpkinfestival, free.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Sailor's Superstition Tour
Climb aboard the 1877 tall ship Elissa and delve into the supernatural world of nautical know-how to uncover the ghostly past of this national landmark. Find out if whistling will bring about a storm or why bananas are thought to bring bad luck. Much transpired during her 90 year commercial history, perhaps even some plank walking, but will Elissa's ghosts give up their secrets?
2-3 p.m. October 31, Texas Seaport Museum, 2200 Harborside, Galveston, 409-763-1877, galvestonhistory.org, free to $12.
Trick or Treat at the 1838 Menard House
The Galveston Historical Foundation opens the doors of Galveston's oldest residence for one scary night of ghostly fun; don't forget your ghost hunting equipment and treat bag.
5-7 p.m. October 31, Menard House, 1605 33rd Street, Galveston, 409-765-7834, galvestonhistory.org, or facebook.com/events/261225441279115, free.
Hotel Galvez Ghost Tour Dinner
Twice a month the historic Hotel Galvez embraces its ghostly past by hosting "Dinner with the Ghosts." Learn about the hotel's lovesick ghost bride, take a 90-minute tour and then enjoy a three-course diner in the Galvez Bar & Grill
6-9 p.m. November 7-8, Hotel Galvez & Spa, 2024 Seawall, Galveston, 409-765-7721, hotelgalvez.com, $65.
Dash Beardsley's Ghost Tours of Galveston
Broaden your ghost hunting with paranormal expert Dash Beardsley, the "Ghost Man of Galveston." Tours include the Original Ghost Tour on the Strand, the Restless Spirits Tour, the Secret Society Cemetery Tour and the Jack the Ripper Mystery Island Tour.