A city with rich history like Madison is bound to have a few ghost stories, creepy-crawly tales and legends of things that go bump in the night. Reading spooky stories or watching scary movies is fine, but experiencing the scary things to do in Madison is the best way to celebrate the Halloween season this fall (or celebrate any season all year long, if you’re into that).
Classics like haunted houses and ghost tours are sure to make you shriek. But that’s not the only way to get in touch with the paranormal in Madison. If you’re a spooky spectator searching for all the haunted things to do, you’ve come to the right place.
Jump to your favorite scary thing to do:
Booking a tour with Madison Ghost Walks is a great way to see a lot of Madison’s spooky side in one experience. These ghost tours uncover the chilling stories behind some of Madison’s iconic locales, with tours covering King Street (the oldest street in Madison, also known as the First Settlement District), the UW-Madison campus and State Street.
Learn what used to bother the cast of Rocky Horror at the Majestic Theater, who’s buried under Abraham Lincoln on Bascom Hill, why you should be afraid of the “night manager” at the Orpheum and a whole lot more.
You’ll be led along some of the best historical and architectural spots in the city with an expert paranormal guide. Tours run rain or shine and are wheelchair accessible.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a place to start your own spooky search, Science Hall on the UW campus is considered one of the most haunted buildings in Madison.
The best way to get up-close-and-personal with all things creepy, and catch an adrenaline rush while doing it, is to visit a haunted house in Madison.
Schuster’s Farm is a family-friendly fall playground by day that transforms into a terrifying outdoor adventure for thrill-seekers by night. Schuster’s Haunted Forest takes you on a bone-chilling ride that is sure to make you scream. (Oh, and did we mention there’s a bar on site??)
Love scary haunts? How about five of them? Screamin’ Acres in Stoughton is home to five terrifying experiences including the new Death Trap sideshow meant to... shock... all who come through.
A twisted trail, a wicked maze, an “onslaught” meant to assault your senses and a scrap yard (where you could become the scraps) are waiting at Terror at Tyrol. Housed on the beloved skiing and snowboarding grounds in Mount Horeb, Terror at Tyrol is four frightening experiences all in one.
Pro tip: Looking for some hidden haunted gems? Hoyt Park in Madison is home to a mysterious mini-pyramid with unclear origins. The pyramid has etches of faces and symbols that are known to give some people the creeps.
Autumn is the best time to dabble in the supernatural, the spiritual, the mystic and the macabre. Rituals and practices like tarot, palm reading and fortune telling are ample in the Madison area.
Ritual Moon on State Street is a combination tattoo and tarot store with a lineup of renowned tattoo artists, piercers and a psychic all hailing from Las Vegas. Check out their website for their rotating lineup of guest artists visiting Madison from across the country.
New and experienced lovers of the metaphysical can find something to love at Budding Butterfly in Sun Prairie. The shop features more than 10 vendors selling spiritual items like crystals, incense, amulets and more in addition to tarot, psychic and oracle readings.
Owners of Cosmic Delights Andrew and Luna Lynn Frey believe everyone has the power to conjure magic and bond with their inner spirit. They help people get in touch with spirituality through their store and services including astrology and birth chart readings, tarot, psychic readings and other special events. Cosmic Delights has two locations: one on East Washington Avenue and another on Madison's west side.
Some of Madison's favorite shops and eateries love to go all in on Halloween.
A Room of One’s Own bookstore is known for elaborately decorated haunted book sections and curated Halloween gift/book boxes.
Zip-Dang, known as purveyors of the un-massproduced unusual, offer locally-made goods and art focused around Wisconsin folklore and mythology. These well-loved pieces make for great Halloween gifts and starters for learning more about the often untold and sometimes chilling stories of the Midwest.
Have you ever been served a drink on a Ouija board? Why not start at Oz by Oz, a King Street bar known for eclectic ambiance, zodiac birthday party specials, and pop-up events like star chart, tarot readings and more.
Looking for more spooky fun (with a bit less fright)? Check out these upcoming Halloween events. Want more? Check out our full events calendar.