Happy Haunted Halloween!

Lynn Cline - October 25, 2016

Santa Fe's spooky season returns...

Santa Fe's spooky season has returned, a time to dust off old ghost stories for telling on long, dark nights, as the veil between worlds grows thinner. and Halloween approaches. And you can bet that a city more than 400 years old has ghost stores galore, tales of spirits seen wandering arroyos and ancient streets and lingering in historic houses as well famous hotels and restaurants. If you'd like to encounter some of these spirits this Halloween, here's a list of places they've been known to haunt.

La Llorona may be the area's most famous ghost tale, about a weeping woman who roams the riverside, searching for her children after she threw them into the river,. She had an immediate change of heart and ran after them, reaching out to save them, from the waters, but she fell and died. Legend has it you can still hear her calling their names in mournful cries in her endless search to find them.

The Oldest House is reputed to be haunted by two sisters who once lived there and were said to be witches, offering love spells and other potions to those in search of otherworldly aid. The sisters took revenge on a customer who refused to pay when his love spell didn't work, and the man ended up dead. It could be his ghost who's been seen wandering the lane beside the house. The sisters were later beheaded after a trial resulting in guilty verdicts, and there have been reported sightings of a head rolling right down De Vargas Street.

Just around the corner, the P.E.R.A. Building, was built on top of an old pauper's cemetery. Employees have felt invisible hands tripping them as they're headed down the stairs into the basement, and heard moans and cries from the bowels of the building. Not a single state employee who works in the building will go down to the basement...alone... after sunset.

If you head out to dine this Halloween, you may encounter some infamous ghosts at La Fonda on the Plaza, standing on what may be the country's oldest hotel corner, where an inn has stood since the city was founded circa 1610. Keep an eye out for the ghost of a politician who killed a man for having an affair with his wife while they were guests at the hotel, and than was hanged for his crime from a tree in the courtyard. La Plaza now occupies the courtyard, where the politician has been spotted. During the 1930s, a salesman from St. Louis gambled and drank away his money, then threw himself in despair down the well in the courtyard. His ghost has been seen walking toward that well, now a fountain inside La Plazuela, and disappearing into the floor.

The boutique Drury Plaza Hotel and its acclaimed restaurant Eloisa occupy another famously haunted building, which used to be the old St. Vincent's Hospital. The ghost of a young boy is said to haunt Room 311, which hospital officials closed, and another ghost has been seen on the fourth floor. Mysteriously slamming doors, flickering lights, and other unexplained phenomenon are among the many urban legends attached to this building.

But if, instead, you're in search of fun nightlife rather than scary stories about the dead, Santa Fe has plenty to offer this Halloween, starting at the Drury with Happy Hour specials from 5 to 6:30 pm at Eloisa on the ground floor and at Bar Alto, the hotel's rooftop bar,, where you can watch the sun go down while sipping a Seaside Negroni, made of gin, cappelletti, cardamom and a splash of seawater, or an Italika, with mezcal, green-chile infused vodka and lillet blanc. If you stick around after it turns dark, you might spot a few resident ghosts yourself...

Then head over to Rio Chama for American JeM's third annual SpooktacularParty, with dancing, dining a costume contest, door prizes and more, taking place from 6:30 to 9 pm in the restaurant's grand President's Room. American JeM—a trio of Santa Fe musicians singing three-part harmony in original and cover songs,—sings mostly upbeat rock'n'roll and Americana, but it's known for two haunting tunes that are perfect for Halloween— “La Llorona” and “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," a song that describes the feelings of many a ghost.

If listening to American JeM makes you feel like singing, you're in luck as Tiny's Restaurant & Lounge hosts an Open Mic Night from 7 to 10 pm, where you can belt out a tune of your own in front of an enthusiastic crowd. You'll find more great food here, including burgers, steaks and New Mexican specialties, but an order of Killer Onion Rings is almost required on Halloween, don't you think?

Over at Skylight Santa Fe, a happening club with three full bars and three dance floors, you can experience “Alluring Oddities” a sensual pop-up art gallery and eerie asylum with D.J. Tribe, starting at 7 pm and lasting well past the midnight Witching Hour, until 1:30 am. If late-night hunger strikes , the club serves dinner until midnight and pizza until closing.

And lastly, thought it's closed on Halloween, don't miss the final performances of Meow Wolf's “House of Halloween,” this weekend, where you'll see more than 50 performers wearing crazy creature costumes as you walk through the interactive installation, “House of Eternal Return,” on a magical, mythical adventure, which is what every Halloween should be.

Happy Haunted Halloween!