Halloween is a magical time of year, a time when kids of all ages (including moms, dads, and grandparents) don costumes and revel in being frightened.
It’s a time when children can pretend to be super heroes, or a scary ghoul that makes all of the adults in their lives scream in fear.
It’s a time when adults can pretend to be children, and to be afraid of pint-sized ghouls. So it’s not surprising that there are dozens of Halloween events scheduled in the Columbia area, and not all of them are just for children.
In fact, some aren’t for children at all.
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For example the South Carolina State Museum’s Growl at the Moon gives adults the opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry in a costume.
“While the museum normally plans events for the whole family, we know that adults like to get out and have fun too,” says Jared Glover, museum spokesman.
Many events allow kids and adults to don costumes and revel in being frightened and have fun together. What’s more fun than families roaming around Columbia as zombies?
"We are a all ages event, we have had toddlers all the way up to golden years marking it off her bucket list,” says Stephanie Dean, with the Columbia Zombie Walks. "We are a small community of people who love Halloween and love to get dressed up and share our love with fabulous Soda City. It’s fun because we laugh together and make an environment that is safe for people of all walks of life to participate in. Spectators have stopped and taken pictures with us, asked us questions and we have even had some request for us to teach others how to do zombie makeup."
If the idea of being part of the walking dead doesn’t appeal, there are less frightening activities that celebrate Halloween.
"Historic Columbia's annual free Halloween events offer something exciting and affordable for visitors of all ages,” said Anna Kate Twitty, spokesperson for Historic Columbia. “Each year we invite the community to hand make scarecrows to be part of our outdoor exhibit, Scarecrows in the Gardens, which is open for the entire month of October.
“Our annual Trunk or Treat event is the perfect opportunity to dress the kids up and trick-or-treat in a fun and safe environment. We encourage families to come in their most creative costumes for the chance to win a prize at our annual costume contest."
Many churches, local libraries and bars have events you may want to find. Following is a list of some of the bigger attractions in the Columbia area:
The Fun Stuff
BOO AT THE ZOO
When: Oct. 19-30, 6-9 p.m.
About: Kids ages 12 and younger can trick-or-treat through the zoo, ride on a Haunted Carousel, on the Spooky Spots and Stripes Railroad, boogie down at the Mummy’s Eeky Freaky Dance Party, play in Frankenstein’s Foam Zone, enjoy a marshmallow roast and meander through a mysterious hay maze. Costumes are encouraged for kids, but not required. Adults can wear non-scary costumes with no masks.
Where: Riverbanks Zoo
How much: $9 Riverbanks members; $11 general public; children younger than 2 free. Tickets are limited and should be purchased in advanced. Any remaining tickets will be sold the night of the event for $13.
GROWL AT THE MOON
When: Oct. 25, 7-10 p.m.
About: Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the State Museum’s opening in 1988 with an ‘80s themed Halloween party. While ‘80s costumes are the theme, you can come in any costume. There will be a Pink Floyd Planetarium Experience, a VIP “Glow” room, food, craft beer, ’80s music, a 4D movie, a souvenir beer growler, a lunar and night sky observing in the museum’s (weather permitting) an museum ghost tours.
Where: South Carolina State Museum
How much: $28-50
SCARECROWS IN THE GARDEN
When: Through Oct. 31
About: This is an exhibit of handcrafted scarecrows made by local artists, families, business, organizations and classrooms. On a stroll through the gardens, you’ll see dozens of ghoulish, historic and colorful scarecrows.
Where: Robert Mills House gardens, 1616 Blanding St., Columbia
How much: Free
TRUNK OR TREAT
When: Oct. 26, 5:30-7 p.m.
About: Children can trick-or-treat out of decorated vehicles filled with candy.
Where: Robert Mills House parking lot, 1616 Blanding St., Columbia
How much: Free
SEASE FARM CORN MAZE
When: Through Nov. 11; 6-11 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays; 2-7 p.m. Sundays
About: Wander through the maze in the day time, or at night. If you choose dark hours bring your own flashlight. On Saturdays and Sundays in October, there are also pony and horse rides (10 a.m.-2 pm. on Saturdays, 2-5 p.m. on Sundays). There is a pumpkin patch open through Oct. 31 ($1 admission) and groups can schedule a campfire experience that includes a hayride.
How much: $12, children 2 and younger free. Tickets can be purchased up to one hour prior to closing.
DRACULA: BALLET WITH A BITE
When: Oct. 26-27, 7 p.m.
About: The Columbia City Ballet presents this Midlands tradition. Based on the novel by Bram Stoker, the Halloween cult classic is the story of Count Dracula and his seductive reign of terror with his Brides of Darkness in Transylvania. There will be a gala following the Friday night performance and a costume contest during the Saturday performance.
Where: Koger Center for the Arts, 1051 Greene St., Columbia
How much: $20-52
SILENCE! THE MUSICAL
When: Through Nov. 3; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 3 p.m Sundays
About: This unauthorized parody of “The Silence of the Lambs” has rookie FBI agent Clarice Starling matching wits with the brilliant but insane cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in order to catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. Clarice faces her own demons while racing the clock to unlock Lecter’s clues before another innocent girl is killed and skinned by Buffalo Bill. This laugh-out-loud naughty satire features a singing chorus of floppy eared lambs narrating the action as Buffalo Bill gleefully dances a hoedown while kidnapping hapless Catherine Martin. Even Dr. Lecter, scary as ever, sings about the life he’d like to lead someday outside the prison walls.
Where: Trustus Theatre, 520 Lady St., Columbia
How much: $25-35
HALLOWEEN IN FIVE POINTS
When: Oct. 31, 5-7:30 p.m.
About: This family event offers a night full of tricks and treats. Stores will stay open late to hand out sweet treats to ghouls and goblins. Retailers and restaurants will also offer sales, specials, and promotions all day long.
Where: Five Points retail district
How much: Free
HALLOWEEN AT THE PARK
When: Oct. 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
About: Little ghosts and goblins can go trick-or-treating on the park’s outdoor trick-or-treat trail. Inside, there will be carnival games and prizes, a costume contest, a SCREAM contest and concessions.
Where: Crooked Creek Park, 1098 Old Lexington Highway, Chapin
How much: $5 per child
WILL O THE WISP
When: Oct. 27, 4-8 p.m.
About: This event features train Rides, s'mores, face painting, crafts, a mega maze, The Famous Pumpkin Show, amazing animals with Carolina Wildlife, games and candy. Tickets are limited so it’s suggested to buy them in advance.
Where: Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road, Irmo
How much: $7 in advance, $8 day of children ages 2-8); $2 advance, $3 day of for adults
PUMPKIN PATCH EXPRESS
When: Oct. 20, 27; 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
About: Take a train ride to a magical Pumpkin Patch where children will select a pumpkin to take home and have their picture taken.
How much: $15 or $20, ages 3 and older
HALLOWEEN AT HISTORIC CAMDEN
When: Oct. 27, 6-9 p.m.
About: Visit the Halloween Village at Historic Camden with trick-or-treating, hay rides and a guided ghost tours of the Kershaw-Cornwallis House ($3). Food and adult beverages will be available.
Where: Historic Camden
How much: Admission free ($3 for ghost tour)
When: Oct. 31, 4-8 p.m.
About: Surprises await trick or treaters behind more than 15 doors at EdVenture. There will be pumpkin smashing, spooky science experiments and candy. Attendees are invited to be in their best Halloween attire and even EDDIE®, the world’s largest child, will be showing off his black Halloween mask.
Where: EdVenture Children’s Museum, 211 Gervais Street, Columbia
How much: Children 12 and younger free; ages 13 and older $5
SPOOKTACULAR HALLWEEN CARNIVAL
When: Oct. 31, 5-9 p.m.
About: Features Escapology’s “Hot Seat,” inflatables, carnival games, karaoke, trivia, and exhibitors. Food court will be open. For ages six and older. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Where: Dutch Square Mall, 421 Bush River Road, Columbia
How much: Free
COLUMBIA ZOMBIE WALK
When: Oct. 27, 7-9 p.m.
About: The 8th Annual Columbia Zombie Walk begins at the Art Bar Patio, where zombies will begin gathering at 6:30 p.m. The zombies will roam around Main Street and The Vista.
Where: Art Bar, 1211 Park Street, Columbia
How much: Free
When: Oct. 26, 6:30-10 p.m.
About: This Halloween Concert combines a special BC Villanova (solo) CD Release featuring Villa*Nova as his backing band of brothers, as well as "The Herbie Jeffcoat Projekt" first time ever CD release. There will be beer, wine, food for sale, a costume contest with prizes and some hometown live music. It’s a family-friendly event.
Where: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main St., Lexington
How much: $5 kids, and $10 adults.
HAUNTED HISTORY HALLOWEEN PROGRAM
When: Oct. 18-19; Tours begin at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
About: The Lexington County Museum will host the 12th Annual Haunted History Halloween program with ghoulish guides leading guests on a spooky but not too scary journey of the museum property. Visitors will hear ghostly stories, including strange and unusual events in Lexington County’s history, and learn about some paranormal events in the 19th century while meeting memorable specters and ghosts. Visitors will also learn about some of the superstitions held by Lexington County residents.
Where: Lexington County Museum Complex, 231 Fox Street Lexington
How much: $6 for adults and $3 for children Members get in free with a membership card. This event frequently fills up so reservations are required. To make a reservation, call the Lexington County Museum at 803-359-8369 or email the museum at JRFennell@lex-co.com.
The Spooky Stuff
When: 7-10 p.m. Oct. 18, 25, 28, 30-31, Nov. 1; 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27; 7-11 p.m. Nov. 2-3;
About: The Dark Castle is more than a haunted house. On the grounds is the Dark Knight’s Terror Trail, a fully guided outdoor trail through the woods; there is the Dungeon of Darkness, a mostly guided indoor haunted house lurking behind the Dark Castle Walls; and there is the Zombie Zone, an interactive zombie survival scenario. There are also 5-minute escape rooms, and a “break room” described as a “rage room for smashing stuff."
When: Oct. 18-21, 25-28, 31, Nov. 2-3; 7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Sundays and Halloween; 7:30-11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays
About: This self guided haunt includes six buildings. Deceased Farm begins with a unique, mind-warping trip through a 3D nightmare where visitors are surrounded with astonishingly detailed artwork, ghastly monsters with their toys, and 3D effects sure to have you questioning your sanity. You will then be transported to a dark and desolate farm, inhabited by unspeakable creatures hoping to make you this year's harvest. Just when you think you have made it out alive, you will be plunged into two acres of dark cornfields with “horror” hiding behind the stalks. Deceased Farm is not recommended for children under the age of 12. Children under 12 will be allowed with parental consent and accompaniment throughout the entire attraction. Deceased Farm also offers a zombie paintball shooting gallery, a coffin fire pit with s’mores, "Deceased Brews”and three five-minute escape rooms of an additional $5.
How much: $16-$35 ($50 VIP package), cash only
GILBERT HOUSE OF TERROR
When: Oct. 19-20; 26-28; 31, 7:30 p.m.
About: Self-described as an “old-fashioned guided Haunt”, this tour takes visitors through more than 13 “Spooktakular" scenes. All proceeds benefit a variety of local non-profit organizations, including The First Calvary Food Pantry of Gilbert, Gilbert’s Boy Scout Troop 60, Lexington County Juvenile Arbitration Program, and The Palmetto Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Program.
Where: 739 Harley Taylor Road, Gilbert
How much: $15
HALL OF HORRORS HAUNTED ATTRACTION
When: Oct. 18-20, 25-27, 31; go to Hall of Horrors for time information
About: Hall of Horrors' inaugural escape experience places your group captive in the basement of a serial killer known as “The G.H.O.S.T.” You work together to escape before time runs out and you become his next victim. In the Human Stockyards, your group must extract a kidnapped student from the clutches of a demented cannibalistic family known for trapping and torturing its victims in their maze compound.
Where: 1153-B Walter Price St., Cayce.
TERROR FALLS HAUNTED FARM
When: Oct. 19-20, Oct. 26-28; tickets sales begin at 7:30 p.m., haunting begins at dark
About: The town of Terror Falls offers several spooky stops. Hang out on the patio of Meemaw’s Bed and Breakfast, walk the Terror Trail through the haunted swamp and stop for a snack at Uncle Rick’s Smokehouse. There is the Field of Distortion, where you can help the search party find Lydia, who is believed to have been last seen taken by two of the Terror Falls residents. Grab a treat at the Terror Falls General Store and enjoy it around the firepit. You will want to stop byTerror Falls Hospital before you leave. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Where: 370 Mack St., Gaston
How much: $15 online, $20 at the door; cash only, no refunds.
When: Oct. 19, 7-11 p.m.
About: Start at an easy to access parking area and take a short ride into the darkness. You will be dropped off at the trail head to begin your nightmarish walk. Experience over 30 terrifying scenes in and out of 2 huge barns with winding wooded trails in between, all in a dark remote setting with more than 100 actors and countless props bringing your worst fears to life.
Where: 1918 Shady Grove Road, Irmo
How much: $20 in advance, $25 on site
HAUNTS & SPIRITS AT HISTORIC CAMDEN
When: Oct. 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
About: Local paranormal researchers will host a walking tour of Historic Camden on October 28 from 6:30-8:30pm. They will share folklore and legends about Camden and surrounding areas. McCaa’s Tavern will be open.
Where: Historic Camden
How much: $10
When: Oct. 18-21, 25-28, 31; Nov. 1-3; 7:30 p.m.
About: This is a haunted house complete with monsters and scary people.
How much: $20, regular admission; $35, Kreepy fast pass.
SCREAM ACRES HAUNTED HOUSE AND HAYRIDE
When: Oct. 19-21, 26-28, 31; Fridays and Saturdays 7 p.m.-1 a.m., Sundays 7-10 p.m.
About: There is a no-scare trick-or-treat from 4-7 p.m. on Oct. 28. Scream Acres Haunted House and Hayride has been scaring folks fore more than thirteen years. It’s suitable for all ages, but is not recommended for children under the age of six. It contains graphic scenes and simulations.
Where: 1283 Old Camden Road, Bishopville.
How much: $15, general admission; $25, fast pass.