Cemetery walks, haunted trails teach local history

By Erika Wurst For Chronicle Media

The annual cemetery walk will be held at Oswego Township Cemetery on Oct. 3. (Photo by David Lewis/Oswego Twp. Cemetery)

Halloween is headed our way, and with it comes all things creepy, cool and fun. But, history can often disguise itself as it sneaks its way into events and activities held throughout the suburbs.

Cemetery walks and tours are great ways to learn about the pioneers of your towns, the families that settled and created our communities.

Costumed actors recreate these characters as you visit their grave sites, traipsing through dark cemeteries under the moon light. A little spooky, a little educational, and a whole lot of fun. Check out these events happening throughout the suburbs this October.


West and East Side Cemetery Tours

Explore Geneva’s Oak Hill Cemetery on Route 25.  Learn the meanings of markings of tombstones and stories of prominent settlers. Meet at the east side cemetery from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 12. Then, head to the West Side Cemetery, 301 Stevens St., at 2 p.m. for more spooky fun.


Dining with the Dead

Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner catered by Skuttlebutts from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 and then take a tour of the Lombard Cemetery to learn more about historic citizens of Lombard portrayed by reenactors.

The menu includes boneless chicken breast, meatballs, bow tie pasta, mac & cheese, tavern potatoes, sweet orchard spinach salad, garlic bread, & French bread and butter.

Event will take place rain or shine.

Tickets are $55 per person. Your PayPal paper or digital receipt is your ticket. Ages 14 and Up

Co-Sponsored with the Kiwanis Club of Lombard, Illinois. Visit www.lombardhistory.org for tickets.


Cemetery Walk Scheduled for Oct. 2

The 11th annual Cemetery Walk in Montgomery’s Riverside Cemetery will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 7- 8:30 p.m. Guests will be led through the cemetery in small groups to meet the fascinating “ghosts” of some of the early pioneers and other area residents who now occupy the cemetery.

This is not a scary event, but more an opportunity to learn about the past from authentically costumed actors who will portray some of the people buried in the cemetery.

This year’s event will highlight one of Montgomery’s earliest settlers, a local business owner, two sisters who grew up in Montgomery, and the superintendent of the Montgomery sheep yards.

Tours will begin near the corner of River and Taylor streets on the south side of the cemetery about every 10 minutes, so visitors can arrive any time between 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Parking is available along River Street and at the playground at the north end of Montgomery Park. Visitors are encouraged to bring a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes. Montgomery street signs will also be for sale for $10 at the event and Dieterle Memorial Home will provide refreshments.

The Cemetery Walk is organized by Montgomery’s Historic Preservation Commission. There is no charge for this event. In the event of rain, the Cemetery Walk will take place on Thursday, Oct.  3 at the same time.

Volunteers are being sought to serve as guides to escort the groups through the cemetery. To volunteer or for additional information, please contact Debbie Buchanan at the Montgomery Village Hall at 630-896-8080, ext. 9003.

Indoor Cemetery Walk presentation Oct. 8

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, Montgomery’s Historic Preservation Commission will present an indoor version of the Cemetery Walk for those who are unable to attend the evening event in the cemetery on Oct. 2.

The reenactment presentation on Oct. 8 will take place in the board room at the Village Hall, 200 N. River St., and will feature most of the original actors as well as a PowerPoint slideshow.


Naperville Ghost Tour

The new 2019 Naperville Ghost tour runs weekends through Nov. 2.  This year’s tour is called “Voices from Beyond”.  Event organizers crammed the tour full of amazing full-body apparition photos and jaw-dropping EVPs (ghost voice recordings). There’s never been anything like this, they boast, so bring your camera / phone, and your nerve.

The new 2019 Naperville Ghost tour runs weekends through Nov. 2.  This year’s tour is called “Voices from Beyond.” (Photo courtesy of Naperville Ghost Tour)

Your tour host is investigator and author, Kevin Frantz.  Frantz has hosted the tour for over 12 years, and has written two books on the paranormal. He is an award-winning speaker who holds a bachelor of arts in biblical study.

Here’s What You Need to Know:

Tour Type:  A walking tour, with ghost hunting, through the haunted streets of historic Naperville.  There is about 1/4 mile of walking.

Tour Length:  Tour is 1 hour, 30 minutes long.  Arrive 15 minutes prior to start time, for check-in.

Tour Cost: $20 per person, no other fees are added. Ticket pre-purchase NOT required, pay at tour with cash.

Reservations:  Call 630-205-2664 (click phone at top of app) for reservation, charge card deposit is not required.

The minimum allowed age is 16.  For those 12 – 16 years old, call 630-205-2664 to discuss.

Naper Settlement All Hallows Eve

Experience two of the darkest nights of the year, Oct. 18 and 19, with 13-acres of haunting creatures, eerie entertainment, screaming delights, and must-see horrors! All Hallows Eve brings some of the scariest characters of the past, present, and future to life.

Meet the lost souls of the dead in a haunted happening you won’t forget. Tickets are $20 and online ticket sales will end at noon on the Thursday before the event. Children ages 4 and under are free. Visit the Naper Settlement website for purchasing options.


Oswego Cemetery Walk

During this free popular annual event, small groups will be guided through the cemetery to visit with the “ghosts” of early Oswego residents and pioneers at their grave sites in the Oswego Township Cemetery on South Main Street. Event takes place Oct. 3 from 7-9 p.m. No registration is required. Arrive anytime during the event. Be sure to bring a flashlight, wear comfortable shoes, and expect moderate walking. Tours will leave every 5-10 minutes during the duration of the event. Participants should park on Main Street and use the South Entrance to the cemetery. Presented in partnership with the Oswegoland Heritage Association.

Rain Date: Friday, October 4


“Halloween Night Walks”

Tickets for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s hugely popular “Halloween Night Walks” go on sale Saturday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. at Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center, 3609 Spring Road in Oak Brook.

Tickets for the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s popular Halloween Night Walks go on sale Saturday, Oct. 5. (Photo courtesy of DuPage County)

During the 75-minute family-friendly walks, which take place at Fullersburg Woods on Oct. 25 and 26 from 6 to 9 p.m., costumed guides will lead guests through lantern-lit woods with short stops along the way to delight with dramatic antics and humorous tales. The walks are for all ages, but adults must accompany children under 18. No strollers or pets are allowed.

Tickets are $14 each with a 10-ticket per person maximum and must be purchased at the Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center (no phone or online orders) with cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. For more information, call Fullersburg Woods at 630-850-8110.


Grave Reminders Cemetery Walk 

As the sun sets on a cool autumn day, enjoy an exclusive opportunity to walk through one of St. Charles’ oldest cemeteries, The North Cemetery, after dark. Explore the cemetery’s dark corners, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Oct. 18 and closely inspect the headstones to see what you might learn, and take a moment to step across the graves – if you dare.

Learn about the history of St. Charles graveyards, and hear the stories of the individuals who found their final resting place in St. Charles. At each gravesite, guests will “encounter” a community figure and listen as they tell in short monologues about their lives, their joys, their sorrow, and their loves.

Parking available in the lower parking lot at Bethlehem Church, 1145 N. 5th Ave. Ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Residents $18, non-residents $27

Register through the St. Charles Park District

Grave Reminders

The St. Charles History Museum will hold its annual “Grave Reminders” Cemetery walk on Friday, Oct. 18, from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at North Cemetery, which is next to Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 1145 N. 5th Ave., St. Charles.

Attendees at the family-friendly event will encounter actors portraying some of the most notable and well-known people who have helped shape St. Charles at their actual grave sites in North Cemetery, according to the news release. Each actor will share an overview of their life story and some information about their lasting impacts on the community. Attendees will also learn about the history of cemeteries and their architecture.

The St. Charles History Museum will hold its annual “Grave Reminders” Cemetery Walk in the North Cemetery. (Photo courtesy of St. Charles History Museum)

Tours will be led by trained Museum docents and will depart from the north parking lot at Bethlehem Lutheran Church every 15 minutes, according to a news release from the St. Charles History Museum. Tickets for the event are $5 per person and free for children and are available for purchase at www.stcmuseum.org/events or at the event.

For more information, please contact the Museum at 630-584-6967 or email info@stcmuseum.org.


Tales Tombstones Tell

On Friday, Oct.  4, the City Museum will present the 30th annual Tales Tombstones Tell at Oakwood Cemetery, located at York Street and Oakwood Avenue. Tours begin at 6:30 p.m. and start off every 10 minutes thereafter, with the last tour starting at 7:30 p.m.

Tours last approximately 45 minutes and no reservations are necessary. If the weather is inclement the program is cancelled.

Guests will be entertained by historic music from Roger Kotecki as they wait to start to the tour. The program is appropriate for families and is based on our community’s history.

This year will feature stories of those who were first introduced to guests at Oakwood Cemetery 30 years ago during the first ever Tales Tombstones Tell event.

With updated information now available through online research platforms, the stories of George Roundy, the Vergie Family, the Gaede Family, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Benjamin Family, Rhoda Wiant and John Fairbanks come to life.

Come join us for this impactful evening stroll, with lanterns and luminaries lighting the path through West Chicago’s oldest cemetery.  Although the program is free, donations are appreciated.  For more information, call the museum at 630-231-3376 or email us at museum@westchicago.org.