Sleep with a ghost:'s haunted inn report

Although autumn doesn't officially begin until Sept. 22, most people judge the beginning of the season by one of these three happenings: A return to school for a new semester, a return of cooler weather or a return of the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks.

All of these things have now happened, which means you should think of a good Halloween costume, break out the sweaters and begin planning weekend fall foliage trips to quaint bed & breakfasts where you can sample a dozen menu items incorporating butternut squash.

But when you do go to those historic B&Bs to watch the leaves croak, keep in mind you may be bunking with a freeloading roommate who has already expired. (via Reuters) has posted survey results from the nation's innkeepers that reveal about 20 percent of the estimated 3600 inns in the United States are haunted.

Additionally, in their "Annual 2009 Roundup of Bootiful and Spirited 'Dead and Breakfasts'" (wordplay!), the site surveyed inn travelers, 64 percent of whom said they either preferred to stay in a haunted hotel or didn't mind if one was. reports that most innkeepers still prefer not to talk about their haunted happenings - despite the current paranormal pop culture boom - but they've managed to compile an impressive list of 100 establishments (such as the Harry Packer Mansion in Jim Thorpe, Pa., shown here) that do openly embrace ghosty guests and offer Halloween packages.

- aaron sagers