by Adam Kincaid
It’s the last week in October, and that means Halloween is right around the corner.
With the crisp air and falling leaves, there’s no doubt it’s time to pick out your costumes, summon your inner artist for topical pumpkin carvings, make themed plans with friends, teach lessons in trick or treat safety, and tell spooky stories of haunted houses and ghosts around the fire pit.
On the subject of spooky stories, here are five things you might not know about Halloween in Atlanta.
1. Atlanta’s symbol is the phoenix.
The phoenix in Atlanta’s official seal represents the fact that ours is the only U.S. city ever destroyed by an act of war. When General Sherman burned it to the ground, the seeds of countless ghost stories were sown from that fateful 1864 March to the Sea. Though Atlanta rose from the ashes of the Civil War long ago, one mystery from our history remains unsolved today — the curious case of the vanishing phoenix. The airport had long-displayed a statue of the phoenix in honor of Atlanta’s resilient rebirth, until it disappeared forever from Hartsfield-Jackson during terminal construction. To this day, it has never been found.
2. The ghosts have roll call at Oakland Cemetery.
Every night from now until Halloween, Oakland Cemetery is offering it’s Capturing the Spirit of Oakland tour.
Nearly 4,000 Confederate soldiers who died in battle are buried at Oakland Cemetery. Legend has it that if you listen closely at night, you can hear a strange voice calling their names one by one. See for yourself as a costumed tour guide leads you through the Victorian gardens to share in the history, legend, and haunting of Oakland Cemetery grounds. Tickets are technically sold out, but Oakland Cemetery staff encourage you to visit the Facebook event page and connect with attendees who may be selling tickets.
3. You can scare yourself silly with all the history.
The Ellis Hotel was once the Winceoff Hotel, which burned down in December of 1947 and took 119 people with it.
Basically all of Marietta is allegedly haunted.
The mural at Kroger in Poncey-Highland seems to have a selective memory, given the history of the Murder Kroger (or Beltline Kroger as they prefer it be called) parking lot.
Guided tours nightly outline what may remain from Historic Roswell’s Civil War mill fire. But perhaps its better to avoid the Old Roswell cemetery by staying home, locking the doors and following these Halloween pet safety tips than to join the dozens brave enough to try the city’s ghost tour each night.
Do not even start down the Devil’s Turnaround wormhole. And remember, no trespassing.
4. The Little Five Points Halloween parade is an award-winning event
It’s too late this year for the L5P Halloween parade. But don’t let that stop you from adding Little Five Point’s stellar annual festival and parade to your 2016 Halloween calendar. In 2003, the festival won the International Festival and Events Association’s Best Festival award.
5. Fall Festival season doesn’t end with Halloween
The last night of Fright Fest at Six Flags Over Georgia is Nov. 1, while the excellent bluegrass and chili party that is Chomp and Stomp will be held on Nov. 7. Last year, 129 variations of chili competed for Chomp and Stomp’s top prize, sharing the stage with 75 artists and musicians, 20 food vendors, 19 celebrity judges, and more than 22,000 attendees.
After all that, you may just be ready to turn the page towards the holiday season, which is good news as Lake Lanier will launch their 20th annual Magical Nights of Lights on Nov. 20.