Haunted Sacramento: Your Guide to a Happy Halloween


Possible Halloween costumes: junior high P.E. teacher (wig, sweatshirt, and gym shorts found at local thrift store)
Possible Halloween costumes: junior high P.E. teacher (wig, sweatshirt, and gym shorts found at local thrift store)

A Sacramentan’s go-to Halloween guide featuring tips on ghost stories, jack-o-lanterns, costumes, ghostly haunts, and spirits.

Ghost Stories:
No Halloween party is complete without a haunted tale. If your theatrical skills are lacking, or you’ve long forgotten how the story of The Hook ends, I’ve got the answer for you! Professionally-narrated audio ghost stories are available for download from the Sacramento Public Library. Simply download your favorites and turn up the volume. You are no longer limited to the spooky CD of the door creaking or the smash hit “Monster Mash” played on repeat. These ghost stories are sure to send tingles down your spine.

Fill your front steps with flickering pumpkin faces. Green Acres Nursery & Supply makes it easy—and somewhat adventurous—with their clever sale: all the pumpkins you can carry for $15. I plan to bring my 5’ 4” husband and load him up like a scarecrow, then hurry back home to carve menacing faces that are sure to scare the neighbors.

If your mom isn’t sewing your Strawberry Shortcake costume on her Singer like she did when you were seven, it’s time to get creative on your own. Those plastic-wrapped costume kits and fancy party store outfits might come complete, but they’ll cost you a bundle and frankly, everyone’s wearing them. Be original with a little help from your local thrift store. I recently visited the Goodwill on Fulton and Hurley, which was loaded with possibilities: funny hats, crazy shoes, vintage clothes, wigs—everything you need. I found a cheerleading skirt and pom-poms for a whopping $8.

Ghostly Haunts
Looking for ghosts? Many events, like ghost tours of Old Sac, are already sold out. Yet, you can scare up your own ghosts at local spots rumored to be haunted. Paradise Beach is said to be haunted by a man who once drown there. At the freeway exit off W Street heading west to San Francisco, the victim of a hitchhiking murder is said to appear at night, still looking for a ride. If you want guaranteed ghouls, head over to Crest Theater on October 31 for their 10pm showing of “The Howling” and “From Dusk Til Dawn” as part of its Halloween Double Feature Shock Show.

If you prefer your spirits shaken or stirred, I recommend the Back Door Lounge in Old Sac. This bar has an eerie quality year-round (let alone Halloween night) with its dark and ancient décor. You’ll expect to see vampires crawling from under the floorboards of this fabulous haunt! On Halloween night, they’ll host a three-piece rock n’ roll band. Cover is $5.

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