No Trick… Haunted Tours are a Treat

Last Updated October 15, 2015

Just because the leaves are falling doesn’t mean your tour sales need to follow.  Chilly weather isn’t stopping tourists and locals from enjoying spooky tours to get them in the mood for Halloween.

Chew Philly Food Tours offers a Haunted Food Tour, driven by demand in their local market. “The development group in our Philadelphia neighbourhood approached me in 2013, saying they were looking to increase the local Halloween activities and wondered if I’d be interested in operating Ghost Tours of the neighborhoods.”  Elyse Castillo runs the successful tour company in Philadelphia, but wasn’t sure the idea would be a good fir for her.  “I gave it some thought, and decided that I wouldn’t be interested in standard ghost tours, but would be interested in Haunted Food Tours. While there are several food tour companies throughout Philly, I hadn’t heard of any doing Haunted Food Tours, and our neighborhoods seemed like the perfect location. I took a chance on the tours, and they’ve been really well received and a lot of fun to work on.”

On the opposite side of the country, Neel Sodha was inspired to go a bit dark after the success of a seasonal experience built around the Christmas season.  “Downtown LA Walking Tours has been offering a Holiday Lights tour over the past few years due to the December season. So we decided to expand a theme offering into the Halloween season. This tour details the ‘dark side’ of LA’s past with hauntings, secret tunnels, murders, mass lynchings, crimes, etc… It’s not a traditional ‘ghost tour’, but a tour that’s based on real-life situations that have been happened in the City and how their mysteries still haunt Los Angeles.”

Haunted Tales will operate year-round, outside of the December Holiday season. The stories are not tailored specifically for Halloween, they can be told at all times of the year. However, this is a fun activity to participate in with the October season.”

Both operators agree there are unique elements to consider in planning spookier offerings, whether it’s arranging for food tastings to match the mood or navigating the challenges of grittier content that may not be the most child friendly.  The payoff, however, can be impressive.  For Elyse, she keeps it family friendly and largely sells out the short annual run.  “The Haunted Food Tours are only offered for 2 weeks around Halloween, and are highly in demand due to the seasonality and our reputation for great food tours. October in Philly is truly one of the best times to take a food tour, with the fall foliage and cooler temperatures, so this is a sought after Autumn activity for locals and out-of-towners.”

Every market will offer plenty of inspiration, giving operators a chance to truly create a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else.  Neel says Los Angeles has no shortage of spooky or grisly tales to draw in tourists and locals alike. “The good thing with visiting a large media-driven city like Los Angeles, is that most of the guests have had heard variations of these murders, mysteries in some way before. We’re the Company who will tell you the full story and also show you via pictures, video, etc.. the entire narrative. For example, most people are aware of the O.J. Simpson murder trial….but do you want to see where the alleged knife was purchased? Want to see the hotel that housed “The Night Stalker”, “Jack the Writer” and the infamous story of a girl traveling from Vancouver who’s body was mysteriously found in the water tank? Or LA’s deepest unsolved crime…the tale of the Black Dahlia; we’ll show you the final place she was seen before her corpse was found six days later.”


Be it seasonal foods, scary stories or even crimes from the past, Neel and Elyse have dug deep in their markets to create unique experiences to keep their guests coming back.

Are you planning seasonal adventures for the coming holiday season in November?  Maybe your city truly shines in the snowy new year!  Let us know in the comments below where you might be looking for inspiration on the holiday calendar.

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