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Haunted Venues for Spirited Events

By Tiffany Marascio

Have a wickedly good time at one of these haunted sites.

Although not officially declared a state until 1845, Texas was populated long before the 19th century. Its storied past has given rise to local legends and ghost sightings—so many, in fact, that Texas is consistently ranked among the most haunted states in the country. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, our oversized state has plenty of room for ghosts to roam and “stretch their legs.” Luckily for event planners, there are also a lot of places around Texas to scare up a good time for groups.

Fred the Friendly Ghost

At Arlington Music Hall in Arlington, Fred presides over his historic domain. From all accounts, he appears to be a friendly ghost. His presence has been experienced firsthand by the former owner, Jean Collins, who has heard and seen evidence of Fred both on and off the stage. The owner of the restaurant next door even claims Fred introduced himself and asked him to tell Jean hello. Employees throughout the years have told stories of hearing footsteps and seeing lights turn on late at night when no one else was in the building. 

For a chance to meet Fred or any other spirits occupying the property, book the music hall, which seats 733, or the hospitality room, that can accommodate 100. The two spaces can also be reserved together. arlingtonmusichall.net

Beach by Day, Ghosts by Night

Galveston has experienced many tragedies over the years—including the Great Storm of 1900, one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. But it was another devastating storm that gave rise to the legend of the Grand Galvez’s “ghost bride.” The always-a-ghost-never-a-bride specter is said to have hung herself in the hotel after hearing that her fiance was killed while sailing into the port of the island during a squall. Others report a ghostly child playing with a ball. The hotel was featured on Travel Channel’s “Ghost Stories” and on Discovery Channel’s “Ghost Lab.”

The Grand Galvez has also offered a ghost tour and dinner package. The hotel, which boasts a swim-up bar and grill, can accommodate groups of up to 500 guests with flexible indoor and outdoor event spaces. The Veranda overlooks the Gulf of Mexico with unobstructed views and can accomodate 250 guests in its 2,500 square feet of space. The 2,501-square-foot Terrace Ballroom can also accommodate 250 guests, and the Music Hall is the largest space at 4,500 square feet and can accommodate up to 500 guests. grandgalvez.com

Leaning into the Legend

The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio celebrates its resident ghosts every Halloween with a “Room With Your Boo” package that also includes complimentary “Ghost Buster” cocktails upon arrival and “Boo-Berry” pancakes in the morning. The Gothic-style building, complete with gargoyles keeping watch over its facade, was once home to a morgue and crematorium. Staff and guests have reported doors opening and closing by themselves, strange noises, and ghostly figures walking through walls. 

The hotel has four spaces available for events: The Toribio Losoya is 720 square feet—perfect for up to 58 guests; the 874-square-foot William Phillip King can accommodate 72 guests; the Daniel Cloud can fit up to 65 guests; and the 1,260-square-foot library can host groups of up to 72. emilymorganhotel.com

Stage Fright

Built in 1930, The Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center in El Paso has its share of ghost tales. Historians believe the theater is built on unmarked gravesites. A member of the El Paso Community Foundation found a mysterious ragdoll that had suddenly appeared at the entrance to the theater. It then vanished days later only to reappear in the projection booth. There have also been reports of strange noises, moved equipment, and mysterious floating lights. This National Historic Building of
Significance even has a pipe organ to add to the eerie atmosphere.

Parties of all sizes can have a frightfully fun time at the plaza. The Kendall Kidd Performance Hall seats 2,050, while the Philanthropy Theatre seats 200. Atop of the plaza is the Alcantar Sky Garden rooftop terrace, which seats 130 guests and offers sweeping views of downtown. elpasolive.com

Ghost Tours Around Texas

  • While in San Antonio, be sure to visit the River Walk for one of many haunted tours, including the famous Sisters Grimm Ghost Tours that was voted as one of the top three ghost tours in the country by USA Today in 2021.
  • Catch a ride in a private hearse limo with Austin’s only mobile ghost tour: Haunted ATX.
  • Take a ghost tour on the USS Lexington in Corpus Christi, a haunted aircraft carrier built during World War II. After the ship closes its regular tour operations, ghost tours commence. Be prepared to enter confined spaces as tour guides reveal areas on the ship that have experienced paranormal activity.
  • At dusk on Halloween, the Mahon Library in Lubbock offers a free ghost tour in its spooky, dark basement, guided by a librarian familiar with the venue’s secrets.
  • Dallas is home to US Ghost Adventures. Guides will direct visitors to the Grassy Knoll and The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza—both connected to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963—along with six other spooky stops.