Halloween on Cape Cod: From Family Friendly To Ghostly Tours

Have you ever felt a supernatural presence? Do you want to?

There’s no shortage of supposed “haunted” houses and structures on Cape Cod, with its nation-defining and often tumultuous whaling, fishing and developmental history.

If anything about the running theories on ghosts is to be believed (and we are neither confirming nor denying that one SHOULD believe them), the Cape is a breeding ground for legend and lore; a place near which fishermen lost their lives on ill-fated voyages; where natives were stripped from their own land; where prominent families harbored dark secrets; and where capricious citizens were all-too willing to explain the unknown with tall tales and far-fetched theories.

Here are a few suggestions for Halloween celebrations and spooky locations around the Cape:

Capt Lazarus’ Haunted Harbor is back! For its third year, this frightening, nautical haunted house will feature deadly mermaids, swamp monsters, zombie pirates, mutant shellfish, and more. Come on down for the scariest event of the season! October 25th – 30th, 6:00 – 8:30 PM at the Cape Cod Community Media Center, 17 Shad Hole Road, Dennis Port, MA. ADMISSION: $10 (profits go to scholarships for high school students)

Heritage Museums & Gardens is the place to be for Halloween fun in the Sandwich community! They have partnered with the STEM Academy/Sandwich High School Parent Teacher Student Association and Sandwich Soul to put on (not-too) Spooktacular family festival! Activities included with admission: Join the Halloween dance party with DJ Ooch, Snap a family photo in our spooky Model T, Take a ride on the vintage carousel, Create a Halloween-themed craft, Participate in STEM activities at The Hundred Acre School.

Barnstable Village Halloween Stroll: A community event for all ~ wear your costumes and join the parade around the County Courthouse Complex. After the parade walk around to all the decorated trunks for treats and goodies. Enjoy the dance party, costume contest, Ice cream & hayrides! Everyone will gather on the court house lawn promptly at 4:00pm. (Rain date will be Sunday, October 28th from 4-6pm)

Mashpee’s Annual Halloween Parade (for Kids & Dogs) + Trick-or-Treating at the shops on Saturday, October 27th! Dress up in your Halloween best and meet at the Village Green (across the street from the library) for the pre-party from 1-2pm. The party will feature spooky tunes, refreshments, fun giveaways for the kids, a doggie costume contest, and a Thriller Dance performance by New England Ballet Theatre.

Kids and Family Fun at the West Barnstable Fire Department. Wear your Halloween Costume. Kid Games. Candy. Pumpkin Bowling. Refreshments. Face Painting. The NOT-SO-SCARY-MAZE! Sunday October 28th from 11-1pm

The Enchanted Forest, a one-night only (Friday October 26th) haunt at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary (345 Bone Hill Road, Barnstable), awakens the woodlands and features creatures of all kinds.

Now for something GHOSTLY…

Visitors to the 1790 Doctor Francis Wicks House (Palmer Avenue, Falmouth) around Halloween may encounter the Nightwatchman. A visit with this ghostly raconteur will give spectators an inside look at the spirits that hide within the old home.

Many police reports have been filed over the years regarding the Dillingham House (Main Street, Sandwich). Built in 1650, it has serious haunted credentials in age alone; but the structure also housed two deaths that left children orphaned. Branch Dillingham is said to have committed suicide in the home, leaving behind his wife, who died just weeks later, and nine children. Visitors should keep an eye out for moving rocking chairs which don’t have any visible occupants and lifting door latches.

The Wood Duck Inn (1050 County Road, Bourne) in the Village of Cataumet is secretly noted for the presence of only one ghost: a gentle elderly lady. She has appeared only a few times, usually sitting quietly at the foot of a guest’s bed. She reportedly also turns off the lights from time to time.

In 1855, Captain William Burgess died while aboard the famed clipper ship, Challenger. He left behind a widow, who survived another 63 years and received over 50 proposals for marriage, denying all of them. Their homestead, known as the Burgess House (1603 Main Street, Brewster), is still known to harbor a spirit, perhaps that of Burgess’s wife. Past owners of the home have remarked that artwork and adornments are sometimes rearranged, and footsteps are sometimes heard where there should be none.

The Penny House Inn (4885 US-6, Eastham) is another name in local haunts. Multiple guests have noted a friendly “goodnight ghost” who whispers to them at night and rearranges their items. One person said that “bottles of sparkling water I had placed in the room size refrigerator began exploding. The temperature control had mysteriously reset to full cold.”

Those that want to see more “haunted” Cape Cod destinations should really be in touch with the Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society (CAIPRS). They offer 3 tours regularly: one which roams throughout Barnstable Village, a private tour for two, and a ghost hunter’s tour which explains how to capture the voices of the dead.



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