Right there between the Historic Uptown and Historic Kenwood districts is a neighborhood known as Euclid/St. Paul’s, established back in the 1920s and containing just enough brick streets and restored, renovated old homes to make it an historic part of St. Petersburg, too.
Euclid/St. Paul’s has another unofficial designation.
“About 18 years ago,” says area resident Wendy Wesley, “we claimed it as ‘St. Pete’s most paranormal neighborhood’ because we have the intersection of 13th Avenue and 13th Street. We said ‘hey, you’ve got to be famous for something in this town,’ so we claimed it.”
This was done with tongue firmly in cheek, as a launch pad for the annual Haunted Hike, an hour-long, family friendly, neighborhood-wide event that’s been held every year since 2003, making it the longest-running district Halloween event in the city.
More than 40 residents participate in the all-hands-on-deck spooktacular, taking place Saturday (Oct. 23). Guided tours leave from that fateful intersection, 13th and 13th, every 15 minutes between 6:15 and 8:45 p.m.
The walkabout includes five homes where storytellers (including event co-founder Wesley) tell ghost tales from eerily lighted front lawns and porches.
“I had lived in Old Northeast,” Wesley explains, “and we always had trouble getting people to open up their homes for candlelight tours, as you can imagine. That’s a tough sell.
“When I moved to Euclid I said ‘We’ve got to do something to get on the map.’ And I noticed that nobody was doing a ghost tour in St. Pete. Nobody was doing a neighborhood event that was around Halloween. So I said ‘We’re going to own this.’”
Along the way are “interstitial” tableaus, the stuff of haunted house nightmares – zombies and witches and other “spooky things,” as Wesley calls them.
There’s also a bake sale – “with a lot of eyeballs” – and an appearance by the multi-zombie dance troupe Thrill St. Pete, which takes up an entire front lawn grooving out to the Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance.
Eighteen years and counting, and Wesley says the event sells out every year (space is limited; tickets are here).
And they come from all over. “It blew us away how far people would drive to Euclid/St. Paul to do this Haunted Hike,” she says. “Our neighborhood is old and spooky, so that in and of itself is a novelty to people from Palm Harbor.”