Trick-or-Treat Time In the ‘Lou’

Briana Kagy / Chief Illustrator

Briana Kagy / Chief Illustrator

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Briana Kagy / Chief Illustrator

Briana Kagy / Chief Illustrator

People may know St. Louis to have extravagant Mardi Gras celebrations, but one experience with the city’s Halloween festivities and it’s clear that the St. Louisans are serious about the spooky holiday. From family-friendly activities to a St. Louis Halloween tradition and some serious haunted houses, St. Louis puts a unique spin on this time of the year.

For some of St. Louis, Halloween is a year-round activity. While many people are accustomed to only temporary Halloween stores and activities, St. Louisans can enjoy aspects of this holiday whenever they please. In addition to a select few Halloween costume shops that are open year-round, the city also plays host to some authentically haunted attractions—the most popular of which might be the Lemp Mansion.

Although people are welcome to visit the Lemp Mansion at any point in the year, a certain fascination with the haunted building definitely becomes more prominent around Halloween time.

The building, an early 1860s structure, has been said to be haunted since the 1920s by its first owners, the Lemp family. The family immigrated to St. Louis from Germany in 1838 and became some of the first people to pursue the invention of lager beer, an industry which earned their lineage millions of dollars. This fortune, however, soon became tainted with familial death and the mansion was eventually witness to three Lemp suicides.

This grotesque ending to the Lemp lineage has resulted in a hauntingly authentic St. Louis attraction. CNN rated the Lemp Mansion last year to be in the top ten haunted attractions in the world.

“People are very intrigued by it,” stated Vice President of the Lemp Mansion Patty Pointer. “They see orbs or capture sounds, or sometimes deadlock the doors which then open by themselves.”

Affiliated with this attraction is the Lemp Brewery Haunted House, an acclaimed authentic haunted house experience as people are taken underground into the caves and caverns of the old Lemp Brewery. But even more famous than this haunted experience is St. Louis’s prized haunted house, The Darkness.

Located in Soulard, The Darkness is a two story haunted house that features over 50 actors and everything from 3D images to a Monster Museum. It has been featured on the National Geographic and Travel channel, as well as on USA Today, Fox News and other various media.

Perhaps one of the more innocent and family-fun Halloween activities, however, is the telling of trick-or-treat jokes. A St. Louis tradition, this interesting addition to a trick-or-treater’s agenda challenges them to tell a joke before receiving their candy.

“Growing up, a big part of my Halloween was coming up with a really good joke to tell,” said student Mary Fitzpatrick. “I didn’t find out until years later that the joke part was local to St. Louis only—I thought everyone did that in order to get their treat.”

A St. Louis Halloween can also include a trip to the Six Flags Fright Fest, a celebratory trip to Boo at the Zoo, a Halloween Bash in the Central West End and many other festive activities.