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5 ways to explore Seattle this Halloween

Where to find graveyards, abandoned places, and horror movie scenes

A series of deteriorating metal boxes are mounted on a wall with chipping, dull green paint. It’s in an abandoned place.
Northern State Hospital, a defunct psychiatric facility popular with abandoned-place explorers, in Sedro-Woolley.

Dark, foggy Seattle is a spooky kind of town, full of plenty of murder legends and ghost stories. Our creepy mythology extends beyond ghost tours and programmed haunted houses, leaving plenty of room for self-guided or last-minute spine-tingling exploration.

Before you hit your Halloween parties, here’s a kind of choose-your-own-adventure guide to our creepiest (or just very festive) locales, perfect for a low-key Spooktober adventure—old and storied Gold Rush buildings, current and former graveyards, abandoned places, and more.

Whether you’re a seasoned local or a new visitor, maybe you’ll discover something new through our ghost stories. Or, if you’re one to shy away from a good fright, maybe just visit a pumpkin patch or head to your favorite bar that just happens to allegedly be haunted. It’s up to you!

In an old, black-and-white photo, a carriage drawn by two horses is followed by rows of people dressed in black in front of brick three-story buildings.
A funeral procession in front of the Butterworth Building in an undated—but undoubtedly quite old—photo.
National Register of Historic Places

Visit a haunted place

Let’s start with the basics: Visiting a place that’s haunted. Thankfully, we’re absolutely lousy with them.

If you’re not sure where to get started, we have kind of a master list of Seattle’s most notorious haunted places, including the former mortuary and current Irish pub at the Butterworth Building near Pike Place Market (which is, just generally, quite haunted).

Our hotels—many dating back to the Gold Rush—are also the subject of legend. We’ve mapped out the most storied haunted hotels, from the Hotel Sorrento (haunted by Alice B. Toklas, allegedly) to Thornewood Castle, which has to be haunted from the name alone (but has some tales).

If you ask around, though, you’ll find most older buildings have their stories, like the Rendezvous in Belltown. Liminal Earth—formerly Liminal Seattle—is a tool for people to map their metaphysical experiences, and chances are you’ll find a strange happening nearby. We spoke with the project’s founders last year.

An aerial photograph of a large lawn with concrete paths, full of graves and dotted with evergreen trees. A busy road runs to the left, and skyscrapers and a lake are visible in the distance.
Lake View Cemetery in Capitol Hill.

Explore a graveyard

Technically these should qualify as haunted places, but cemeteries are really their own category. From massive campuses like Evergreen Washelli to notable gravesites like Chief Sealth—and even a former graveyard—get acquainted with the Seattle area’s most notable cemeteries here.

Visit a pumpkin patch

Have you not gotten all your fall farm Instagram shots yet? Some of the area’s pumpkin patches are open through Halloween—and while some have spooky programming, like zombie hayrides, many offer wholesome, festive fun, like regular hayrides. We’ve mapped out the best pumpkin patches over here.

Take a spooky hike

One of the Pacific Northwest’s most beloved pastimes is a gorgeous nature hike—but why not add a spooky air to it? You are, after all, walking through the woods in one of the country’s darkest locales.

Some of our creepiest hikes are more like casual strolls, like visiting the popular campus of a former mental hospital. Others take you on dirt trails through, in one case, abandoned railway infrastructure. Another hike takes you to a ghost town submerged beneath a lake. Pick your comfort level on our map over here.

Relive a horror movie

Seattle is home to a few filming locations, but our woodsy vibe lends itself especially well to the horror genre. Movies like The Hand that Rocks the Cradle and The Ring got their spine-tingling vibe from our spooky backyard—and while it’s not quite a horror movie, it’s the same environment that made the town of Twin Peaks such a surreal place. Hopefully you don’t actually relive a horror movie, but you can get a good hair-raising from standing in a creepy spot.