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Why October is the Best Time to Visit the Winchester Mystery House

by Angelique Platas

Sep 23, 2019

Tatiana Morozova | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, boasts a long, intriguing history for curious travelers and eager-to-be-creeped-out families. Nearly 100 years old, the once home of Sarah Pardee Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune, and previously known as Llanada Villa, is now a beloved haunted mansion.


With stunning architecture from a bygone era, the estate is deservedly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a California Historic State Landmark and a San Jose City Landmark. All this is to say, whether the haunted history or architectural aspects intrigue you, the Winchester Mystery House is a must-visit in the Bay Area — and there’s no better time than October.


With Halloween fun around the corner, the historic home is the perfect venue for family fun, adults-only haunts and spooky-themed everything.


Sarah’s Spirited Supper: Oct. 19, 7–10 p.m.

Head to the Winchester Mystery House for a gourmet Halloween-themed dinner in the stunning ballroom. Guests enjoy a four-course meal, including wine pairings just as the heiress would have in her day. This is a more intimate dining experience and tickets will be limited. Priced begin at $259 per person; the tickets also include admission to Unhinged.


Trick-or-Treat Trail: Oct. 26–27, 12–4 p.m.

Something the kids will love: Head to the haunted house for friendly ghosts and ghouls during the family friendly trick-or-treat trail. Venture through the property gardens, searching for candy, treats and some tricks along the way. You may see some estate caretakers get in on the fun. More games, a bouncy house and family-friendly fun await at the end of the trail. This is a free event for all ages.


Unhinged: Select evenings through Nov. 2, 6:40 p.m.

For the more paranormally minded in your bunch, Unhinged is a real-life psychological thriller. Explore the Winchester Estate’s many dark, ominous hallways in an enveloping experience. With help from ThemeDream Productions and San Francisco-based immersive-theater show The Speakeasy, brave guests will be transported to another realm. Think a twisted tour, but with surprises and never-before-visited (by the public) corners of the house. The show kicks off at nightfall, beginning around 6:40 p.m., and is not recommended for kids younger than 13. Tickets range $44–$54, per person.


Enjoy festive decorations and spooky themes all month long on any regular tour of the Winchester Mystery House … if you dare.



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