What do you get when you combine a dimly lit morgue, a fortune teller, and a group of masked men with chainsaws?
Just some of the most legendary Halloween parties ever thrown.
That’s right, during my formative years, my mom set up a morgue in our garage, roped a friend into sitting in a fog-filled room to tell middle schoolers’ their fates, and convinced my dad and his buddies to chase party-goers around our front yard with chainsaws. (While I think the statute of limitations is up, I will state for the record that the chains were removed—don’t arrest my dad.)
It’s no wonder my family is obsessed with Halloween. I mean, my sister drives around with a life-sized skeleton named Benjamin in the back seat of her car every fall. And trust me when I say it was a treat working on this article.
So, hold on tight to your brooms. We’re about to fly through some of the spookiest things you can do in Franklin this October.
Ghoulish Ghost Tours
First on the hit list is our very own Haunts & Headstones walking tour. This free self-guided tour pulls visitors back in time and introduces them to the spirits still living, err, residing in the area. As you step closer to examine the handprint streaked across the glass at the Gaut House or read about the Rest Haven Cemetery as you roam through it, you may move a bit faster than you would any other day.
If you’d rather have your hands free—to stifle your screams of terror, no doubt—book a guided Haunted Franklin tour. When my sister came to visit after I moved to Tennessee, this was the first thing I put on our itinerary. During this nighttime tour, you’ll amble alongside peers passionate about the paranormal and hear tales about spectral happenings that’ll stick with you long after your tour ends. You’ll also see undeniably creepy photos taken by those who’ve stood where you stand. And if you’re anything like me, you won’t want to keep your back turned to the pitch-black windows looming behind you for too long.
While children are allowed on these tours, you’ll know whether or not your little one will be able to sleep after hearing chilling chronicles. Don’t worry. If you’ve got a scaredy-cat on your hands, there are plenty of kid-friendly events happening around Franklin this month.
Pumpkinfest is one of them. Branding itself Middle Tennessee’s largest family fall festival, it lives up to the title. You can partake in seasonal activities and costume contests (for two and four-legged attendees) and sink your teeth into snacks like kettle corn. A beer garden put on by Bavarian Bierhaus also adds to the autumnal theme. The annual event will overtake Main Street on Saturday, October 30.
And, of course, there’s candy to be found around town on All Hallows’ Eve. Kids should grab their plastic pumpkins and head to Historic Hincheyville. There they can wander up onto decorated porches and sing out, “Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat.” (Or maybe something a little more polite.)
Spell-Binding Movies and Shows
On a particularly gray, overcast day, a mom asked her young daughter who she thought would be behind the door we were standing in front of. The reply came: a ghost! But she wasn’t scared. She was going to see the Friendly Ghost, Casper. Eerie entertainment doesn’t have to wait until the end of the month. Throughout October, The Franklin Theatre is showing holiday classics, such as Casper, Beetlejuice, and Coraline. And Cirque-tacular’s Spooktacular acrobatic show is coming to the historic theatre’s stage, October 29–30. Remember to bring your mask. No, not that one, Michael—the other one.
You might want to give the popcorn some time to settle before traveling to the next spot on our list. It’s a horrifying haunted attraction that promises to “scare the yell out of you.” Located in Spring Hill, Creepy Hollow Haunted Woods features a bonfire and three startling scenes set in the forest. Once you muster up the courage to choose a date (tickets are available every Friday and Saturday and on Sunday the 31), you can explore the Trails of Terror, the Halls of Horror, and the Zombie Maze. Remember the fortune teller I told you about earlier? Yeah, the one you’re going to meet doesn’t have the same welcoming energy.
After your terrifying time in the woods, you’ll probably need to wind down. While a steaming mug of spirit-spiked apple cider works, I’ve got an even better idea: goat yoga. Yep, you read that right. Head on over to Brentwood for Goat Yoga Nashville’s Halloween Spooktacular on Friday, October 15. These furry friends get a bad rep in horror movies, but here you can do corpse pose while they prance around on top of you. Did I mention they’re in costume?
A devilish date night is also in the cards this month. Nab your partner and make your way to the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs on Saturday, October 16 or 30 for The Dinner Detective: Murder Mystery Dinner Show. There’s nothing more romantic than solving a ghastly deed during a multi-course meal.
Wicked-good desserts are waiting once you’ve caught the killer. Devour a scoop of dark, shimmery Black Magic ice cream from Hattie Jane’s Creamery. (A mystical sweet that’ll surprise your tastebuds and temporarily stain your tongue.) Then slink to Kilwins. While I’ve waxed poetic about their ice cream before, their caramel apples are especially good this time of year. Finally, spend some time in Leiper’s Fork, roasting gooey s’mores in the moonlight.
Whether you’re in Franklin looking for the mischievous or the macabre, there’s a frightening activity waiting just around the corner. Oh, and one more thing: Boo!