by Lorie Lewis Ham
I have always thought that an awesome place to celebrate Halloween would be at the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. I found out this year that they do actually have special candlelight tours for the Halloween season, along with some other Halloween fun. I recently chatted with them about this fun and spooky possibility for your Halloween experience this year!
KRL: What exactly is your candlelight tour?
Winchester House: Our Hallowe’en Candlelight Tour is a spine-tingling experience that takes visitors on a tour through one of America’s most famous haunted homes, while accompanied only by candlelight and a somewhat demented estate “caretaker.”
Once guests enter the stately house, known for its “activity,” they embark on a journey to discover what evil forces are at play. In a dark, chilling, and frightful tour they come to realize that the elusive Boston psychic who Sarah Winchester allegedly consulted with upon the death of her husband in 1881, is still attempting to manipulate her, and her house, from the afterlife.
Many of the events and occasions we cite on the tour are pulled from the reported personal paranormal experiences of both employees and guests alike, adding authenticity to the experience.
KRL: Does it take people into a different part of the house, or is it just done by candlelight to be spookier for the Hallowe’en season?
Winchester House: It’s a truly gothic and unnerving experience where your mind plays unintentional tricks on you, eliciting exclamations of “What was that?” “Did you just hear that?” “What’s that in the corner?” Some people call it “theater-of-the-mind,” others call it terrifying.
On the tour, what lurks in the shadows is more frightening than the typical blood and gore of other Hallowe’en experiences. Here foreboding abounds as the house itself, and those within it, seem caught in a terrifying tug-of-war between Sarah Winchester and the malevolent medium who pitted her against the spirits.
KRL: Are there special decorations for the event?
Winchester House: We decorate the house inside and out with over 500 jack-o’-lanterns and pumpkins, plus haystacks, tombstones, cobwebs, and eerie nighttime lighting that sets the stage for the frightening experience within the house itself.
Additionally, we have seasonal foods at our café including specialty cookies, desserts, drinks, and hand-crafted cocktails.
KRL: Are there ghosts?
Winchester House: That’s for the tour guests to decide. Some people are receptive to communication with the spirits; others “perceive” the presence of ghosts. Your readers will just have to visit and decide for themselves.
KRL: When does it take place and how much does it cost?
Winchester House: Brave souls can experience Hallowe’en by Candlelight at Winchester Mystery House during 20 dark nights only in September and October 2017:
September: 29, 30 / October 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 (early value prices range from $15.00 to $46.00)
October: 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 (Prices range from $20.00 to $49.00)
KRL: How do people get tickets?
Winchester House: Tickets are currently available at winchestermysteryhouse.com. This event is extremely popular and advance ticket purchases are highly recommended.
KRL: How long have you been doing this?
Winchester House: This is the second year for the Hallowe’en Candlelight Tour.
KRL: I understand you have a flashlight tour on Friday the 13th that is sold out.- So that people can plan for next year, can you tell us about that as well?
Winchester House: Because Friday the 13th falls within our Hallowe’en Candlelight Tours we will not be presenting our typical flashlight tours of the house. However, we will have our traditional tolling of our bell at the 13th hour of the day (1:00 p.m.) with a special VIP guest. Our Friday the 13th Flashlight tour will return in April and July of 2018.
KRL: Anything else that you would like to add?
Winchester House: We will be presenting our first-ever “Trick or Treat” event for children 3-12 from October 28 – 31. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily kids can come dressed in their favorite Hallowe’en costume, take pictures at various fun photo locations and trick or treat at multiple stations. The event is free and does not require a ticket (treat bags are provided).
Here is just a little background on the Winchester Mystery House:
The Winchester Mystery House is a 160-room mansion here in San Jose, which was once the personal residence of Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun magnate William Winchester.
In addition to being among the most haunted homes in the U.S. the Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion is renowned for its size, its architectural curiosities, and its lack of any master building plan.
It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Although it’s privately owned it’s open almost every day for tours of the mansion and grounds.
The story behind the house is truly one of the great American tales.
Watch for more Halloween related articles throughout the month of October, and you can check out the KRL Halloween event page for even more fun Halloween events! And you can check out more haunted fun for Halloween if you happen to live in Philadelphia by checking out this fun guide: www.alltherooms.com/w/2017/10/ultimate-haunted-guide-philadelphia