It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween. Not that I need a special reason to start crafting with skulls, ghosts and other ghoulish creatures, but each autumn I feel my love of the dark side rekindled. When I lived in Glassell Park, I used to have my house done up in Dia de Los Muertos decor year round. My walls were painted with bright, bright colors and a permanent collection of devil masks, calaveras and little skeleton shrines were on display regardless of the season, which led my mother to place cut out paper crosses on the foreheads of my "demonios" for my own protection, but I digress...I really meant to talk about Halloween.
This past weekend, we drove up to Jerome for their annual Ghost Walk. We had been to a Ghost Walk last year in Prescott and I’ve started to wonder if this is a uniquely Arizonan tradition. I’ve taken ghost tours in different cities but usually they involve a tour guide relating spooky stories as the group visits various locations purported to be haunted. It’s done differently here.
In Jerome, we began our evening by meeting in the town hall where we were sorted into small groups while a trio of musicians sang about death, murder and phantoms. Each group departed from the town hall and from there we went to different locations around the small town. At each location, we were met by the "ghosts" of Jerome who told us the details of their own passing. The actors were costumed in period dress and put on a little skit reenacting the significant moments leading up to their deaths. It was fun and entertaining.
I’ve written about Jerome before. It is a colorful place, as befits a mining ghost town that refuses to rest in peace. Inhabited by the type of people who would inhabit a ghost town, it is quirky, spooky and artistic. The ghost walk was fun, but not scary at all. Walking around Jerome on any given night is much scarier. There are places here that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. If you ever drop by, take the unpaved road up to The Jerome Grand Hotel and have a drink at the Asylum. If you should plan to stay and don’t mind a sleepless night, you could get a room at The Jerome Grand Hotel, The Connor Hotel or The Inn at Jerome, all of which are reputedly haunted.
I like to actually sleep, so The Ghost City Inn with its homemade peanut butter cookies suits me just fine, although it is also reportedly haunted. The last time we visited, we ate at the Haunted Hamburger, but this time, we opted for the delicious veggie burgers at the Mile High Inn & Grill. Locals say that just about every place in Jerome has its own spirits. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, it's a good place to visit anytime of year, but especially when there is a chill in the air and you're in the mood for some spooky fun.