Rain is ultimate foe of fun outdoor activities – unless it’s a graveyard tour.
I arrived at Oakland Cemetery last night while the sky had that swirly gray look that Hollywood uses to add forboding to horror movies. Despite the forecast, there was an umbrella-ready crowd in line for the sold-out Halloween tours. Any other place without a roof, I would’ve predicted thin attendance. Not here.
We heard a basic cemetery history from our guide, Andrea Janssen: Oakland was founded in 1850 on six acres that had been a family farm. The orignal entrance was off what is now Memorial, near Six Feet Under.
For those that want to plan ahead: Oakland Cemetery still has about 14 funerals there per year, but you’ve got to get on the list for a plot. And if you’re considering a marker, Janssen recommends granite. After more than 100 years, guides can tell it’s holding up better than most of the marble in the cemetery.
What’s different about the Halloween tours is the introduction to grave markers and the characters (usually) buried beneath them. It’s dark, but more friendly than spooky. The walkways are lit, crowds are friendly and there are corndogs for sale. (For authenticity’s sake, of course.)
So here are my recommendations for next year: book your tickets early, sign up for a tour after the sun goes down, wear comfortable shoes and don’t forget the umbrella.
Wondering which of the cemetery’s celebs are on the tour this year — Margaret Mitchell? Bobby Jones? Here’s the list:
Want to go? Oakland Cemetery, 248 Oakland Ave. S.E., Atlanta. 404-688-2107, www.oaklandcemetery.com.
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