The historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA sponsors several annual Halloween events. One is a night-time candlelit tour of the location, and a 5K run!
Are you going to be in the Atlanta, Georgia vicinity this Halloween? If so, do not miss out on Oakland Cemetery, the historic landmark of Atlanta. The lots were sold out long ago; there are over 70,000 souls resting here in this Atlanta tradition. The Cemetery has its own tours, no outside tour company is needed. They even offer a special Halloween night tour but tickets must be purchased in advance.
The History Behind Oakland Cemetery
The Oakland Cemetery was first established in 1850. This was before the Civil War and the Atlanta city founders saw the need for a large cemetery, because with the burgeoning population of the new city, a place such as Oakland was desperately needed. After Sherman hit Atlanta and burned the city down in his infamous March to the Sea, the desperate need for burial space became one of epic proportions.
The Oakland Cemetery is located on the south side of Atlanta proper. Here hundreds of Confederate dead are buried. I will admit that this is a very creepy but beautiful place. When I worked for a downtown interior design firm, I once had to go alone in the afternoon to place some very pricey silk flowers in one of the Mausoleums.
The Mausoleums are incredibly beautiful with lovely glass, hallways and design. They are a must see for anyone studying design or architecture. I would just have not preferred to have been there alone. I did it as a favor to our delivery driver, who was a superstitious man. He refused to go and trembled at the thought of it.
A huge building with the dead interred in the walls one marble hallway after another, the place gave me the chills. It was deserted. There was no caretaker around, yet I had the distinct feeling of being watched. Perhaps they had security cameras. Most ghostly activity is said to occur around the Lion of Atlanta, a monument honoring the 3,000 unknown Confederate Soldiers.
The Beauty of the Cemetery
The monuments are exquisite and definitely one of a kind. For a while in Atlanta, it was absolutely the rage to decorate graves with the most elaborate monuments, in a sense, outdoing the dead Joneses. These are a lasting monument to that time and to cemeteries of that time. To build such elaborate monuments, headstones and other items around the cemetery would cost a fortune in this day and time.
Atlanta and the Long-Dead
In true Atlanta spirit, the community has rallied around the cemetery. For most people in Atlanta, it is a wide, appreciated green space. Residents walk their dogs here atop Potter’s Field, a burying ground for paupers and unknowns. It is a socially connected historical cemetery with Twitter accounts and a Facebook page. Want to know more about the approximate 70,000 residents amidst the 88 acres? Take Oakland’s own Twilight Tour, and visit the gift shop!
The Halloween Walk
Capturing the Spirit of Oakland is the theme of the Halloween Walk, an annual tradition. Although Oakland receives guests every day, only during Halloween is the park open after dark. Tickets must be pre-purchased from Oakland and they go fast. Usually the tour is hosted over three evenings, but could be expanded due to demand. The walk begins at the Bell Tower and lasts about one hour. You must have a ticket to enter the cemetery. There is limited free parking at the gate. You cannot park in the cemetery due to the nature of the event. Carpooling is suggested. Here is a way to see Oakland at night, not a usual occurrence. See if you can see the orbs of light reported near the Confederate Monument.
The Run Like Hell (and Heck) 5K and 1K Race
This annual event is held Halloween Weekend and is a fun spin on running, while benefiting the ongoing restoration activities that support historic Oakland Cemetery. Applications can be downloaded from the Oakland website and the application fees range from $15 to $25 depending which race you enter and when you complete the application. Prizes with a cemetery theme are awarded. This year’s route will wind around the graves of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, Bobby Jones, famous golfer, and Maynard Jackson, former mayor of Atlanta and civil rights leader. This is a family event and children are invited to participate. The cap is set at 1,500 participants. Once that number is reached, there will be no more registration allowed.