6 Things To Do Around DC If Your Kid Is Obsessed With Ghosts

Spend the night in an insane asylum, take a candlelight ghost tour, or get spooked in a haunted forest.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user aotaro.

Ghosts of Lafayette Park Tour
Find out the spooky stories behind the area’s haunted houses and ghoulish ghosts on this 90-minute tour of “Tragedy Square,” which mixes fright and delight. The tour begins in front of the Dolley Madison House at 8 PM nightly from March until mid-November. Free for children 6 and under, $10 for children ages 7-11, and $17 for those 12 and up.
1520 H St., NW; 888-844.3999.

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Though it’s just over four hours away from D.C., this mad house is worth the drive. The sprawling complex is home to plenty of phantoms (at least according to paranormal investigators) and unexplained scary sounds are practically the soundtrack. The most immersive experience is an overnight ghost hunt from 11:30 PM – 6 AM ($100 plus tax per person), which allows visitors to explore the spooky space with a paranormal guide–though brave souls are welcome to venture off on their own.
71 Asylum Dr., Weston, WV; 304-269-5070.

Markoff’s Haunted Forest
Scare yourself witless for a good cause. The annual interactive paranormal performance funds the year-round Calleva leadership school. Head down one of the trails for a series of startles from ghostly ghouls, zombies, and skeletal specters inspired by Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), or head into town where gruesomeness galore awaits. Open October 27, 28, 29, and 31 at dusk (roughly 7 PM). Trail tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day-of; town tickets are $25.
19120 Martinsburg Rd., Dickerson; 301-216-1248.

Jericho Covered Bridge
Arching across the tumbling waters of Little Gunpowder Falls, this charming covered wooden bridge has a haunting history. There are stories of ghostly bodies hanging from the rafters, while others have seen the apparition of a little girl who burned to death. Some drivers have even reported their car stalled for no apparent reason as they crossed the bridge.
12228 Jericho Rd., Kingsville.

St. Paul’s Cemetery
Keep your eyes open as you wander amongst the graves and you just might spot the ghost of Revolutionary War officer Tench Tilghman walking with a lantern across the nearby bridge. Put your ear to the tombstone of actress Tallulah Bankhead, who starred in Hitchcock’s Lifeboat, and you just might hear her singing in her trademark rasp. Even the church is supposedly haunted—the doors are rumored to open and close on their own, while disembodied voices have been heard inside.
7579 Sandy Bottom Rd., Chestertown; 410-778-1540.

Candlelight Ghost Tour
Historic downtown Frederick will never seem the same after this terrifying tour. The pamphlet promises you’ll learn about “true documented stories of the paranormal,” “gruesome acts of revenge,” and “spiteful exploits.” The 90-minute, 1.2 mile tour begins in front of Brewer’s Alley Restaurant and Brewery and is $5 for children ages 7-13, $10 for adults, $8 for seniors ages 62 and up.
124 N. Market St., Frederick; 301-668-8922.

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Parenting writer

Nevin Martell is a parenting, food, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, and many other publications. He is author of seven books, including It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids, the travelogue-memoir Freak Show Without a Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. When he isn’t working, he loves spending time with his wife and their four-year-old son, who already runs faster than he does.