ELEGANTLY EERIE: We'd never make the claim that some city's spirits are fancier than another town's run-of-the-mill ghosts, but if we had to choose a place where visitors from the Other Side boast a slightly more elegant mien, we might choose Riverside. Yes, the castle-like Mission Inn has much to do with that opinion, and the area's citrus-baron past, and the fact that there's a general ye-olde-ness to the place (as evidenced by its wintertime Dickens Festival). Look also to the California Riverside Ballet, which is the sophisticated outfit behind the city's October Ghost Walks. Nope, not every ghost you'll hear about will be bedecked in a top hat and gloves (we're picturing the top hat as slightly see through); but given that the "history-rich downtown" serves as a setting for the walk, and that the walks boast a "theatrical style of storytelling," you just may sense as much cultural goodness as chilling thrills.
GHOST WALKS FOR FAMILIES, TOO: There are two tours suitable for kids and their grown-ups on Friday, Oct. 24 and Saturday, Oct. 25. Those are the nights of all the ghost walks, for youngsters and those older folks looking for more edge with their eerie tales, and the walks comprise a cornucopia of choices: Spellbound Night is rated G, Blood Springs Road is PG-13, and there are more walks to choose from. Plus? The Dark Dreams Doorway, a separate and lickety-split experience that involves you stepping into a space and hearing all sorts of dread-delightful audio.
A HAUNTED HISTORY TOUR... and a Paranormal Exhibit round things out for 2014. Riverside is storied, no doubt, and there's no doubt that ghosts run the gamut. But something about sundown set against the Mission Inn, and the area's century-old buildings, lend the proceedings a posher air. Best pack your lace hankie, should you need to dab your forehead from all the phantom-y excitement.