O nce the excitement of the first day of school and Labor Day weekend starts to wear off, kids immediately turn their attention to the next big holiday:
As costume picking gets into full swing and parents begin squirreling away bags of treats, families start looking for opportunities to celebrate this sugar-filled holiday. And while most neighborhoods allow early evening trick-or-treating, more and more homeowners associations and small towns are turning to the traditional Halloween festival as a fun and safe way to enjoy the holiday. What's more, almost all of these festivals are open to the public, so if you don't want to stick around your own neighborhood for Halloween, there are plenty of festivals around Charleston to choose from. We asked several parents in the know about the best places to celebrate Halloween and they were kind enough to share some of their favorites:
Halloween Under the Oaks Riverland Terrace, James Island
Every year, the Riverland Terrace Neighborhood Association gets together to celebrate Halloween in their beautiful, old oak neighborhood. The main road of Wappoo Drive will be closed to traffic from Plymouth Avenue to Riverland Drive to allow neighbors to gather and kids to trick-or-treat safely down the street. “It's one of our favorite holiday gatherings. It's great to see all the neighbors and my kids love it,” says Sarah Mullins, mother of two-year-old Jason and six-year-old Annie.
WHEN: Thursday, October 31, 5:30 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: Wappoo Drive in
Riverland Terrace, James Island
MORE INFO: visit the Riverland Terrace Neighborhood Association (RTNA) Facebook page.
38th Annual Halloween CarnivalFolly Beach
Held every year on Halloween Day, the annual Halloween Carnival on Folly Beach is as much a social neighborhood gathering as it is a carnival for the kids. With volunteers from every organization on the island and even members of the City Council pitching in with games, food and decorating, the festival is always overflowing with activities as well as attendees. “We have five to six hundred kids attend each year,” says Mary Cunningham, Municipal Clerk for Folly Beach and grandmother of last year's baby costume contest winner. One of the most popular games, she notes, is the Cake Walk with cakes donated from island residents and the Folly Beach Piggly Wiggly. A costume contest is also held for kids up to age 10, and food and drink are provided free for children from various island organizations as well as Piggly Wiggly. “Pretty much everyone in the city volunteers for this event,” says Cunningham. “We have a Walkway of Ghosts, a haunted graveyard, all kinds of things going on. It's a great way to celebrate Halloween without having to worry about trick-or-treating door to door.”
WHEN: Thursday, October 31, 6 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: Folly Beach Park, Folly Beach
MORE INFO: www.CityofFollyBeach.com or 843-588-2447
Isle of Palms Halloween CarnivalIsle of Palms Recreation Center, Isle of Palms
“We love traditional Halloween games and the Isle of Palms has such a great family atmosphere. We take our daughter every year,” says Janet Fielding, part-time Isle of Palms resident and mother of five-year-old Cassie. For more than a decade the Isle of Palms Recreation Center has helped trick-or-treating kids get out of the streets and into some old fashioned festival fun. “We have kids come from all over every year and it's free to attend,” says Will McElheny, Isle of Palms' Recreation Supervisor of Special Events. Along with games such as the bean bag and ring toss, fishing for prizes and hockey goal shots, the carnival also features an indoor haunted maze with spooky black lights and surprises around every corner. A Halloween costume contest, which starts at 5:30 p.m., is open to all ages from 0 to 13+ and concessions such as hot dogs and chili are available from $1 to $3.
WHEN: Thursday, October 31 from 5 – 7 p.m.
WHERE: Isle of Palms Recreation Center, 24 Twenty-Eighth Avenue, Isle of Palms
MORE INFO: www.IOP.net or 843-886-8294
Legare Farms' Pumpkin Patch and MazeLegare Farms,
“Our daughter loves the pumpkin patch and scarecrow station at Legare Farms. We can't wait to go this year!” says Austen Akhyari, Johns Island resident and mother of 20-month-old Vivian Rain. Legare Farms' renowned Pumpkin Patch and Myrtle Maze is open every weekend, Friday through Sunday, in October, with a special Haunted Weekend taking place on October 25 and 26. Activities include pumpkin picking, hayrides, horse rides, a Scarecrow Factory, gem mine, fish and turtle feeding, a farm animals' barnyard, mini-maze and playground. The Myrtle Maze is one of the largest in the world and is carved out of 10 acres of old-growth wax myrtle. Activity costs vary from free to $10 and concessions are available for purchase.
WHEN: Every weekend in October
WHERE: Legare Farms, 2620 Hanscombe Point Road, Johns Island
MORE INFO: www.legarefarms.com or 843-559-0788
St. Andrew's Halloween CarnivalSt. Andrew's Gymnasium, West Ashley
St. Andrew's Parks and Playgrounds in West Ashley goes out of its way to provide plenty of fun activities for kids at their gymnasium every year. It features the only haunted hayride in West Ashley (weather permitting) and kids are encouraged to bring their own trick-or-treat bags to collect all of the goodies. Admission is $3 for children 2 and up.
WHEN: Friday, October 25, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: St. Andrew's Gymnasium, 1095 Playground Road, West Ashley
MORE INFO: www.standrewsparks.com or call 843-763-4360
Pumpkin Patch Fall Festival Summerville Baptist Church, Summerville
Summerville mom Hillary Harling recommends Summerville Baptist Church's Pumpkin Patch as a great family event. “Summerville Baptist Church does a whole fall festival with games and candy on Halloween night, and it's early enough that you can still go trick-or-treating afterward,” she said. Held as an alternative to traditional Halloween festivals, the church asks that attendees wear “friendly” costumes as opposed to scary, and that families bring a donation of a non-perishable food item for admittance. All of the food items collected will be donated to area homeless shelters. Games at the event are designed for children through sixth grade and include apple bobbing, go fish and beanbag toss with candy rewards.
WHEN: Thursday, October 31 from 6 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: Summerville Baptist Church
MORE INFO: www.summervillebaptist.org or call 843-873-2440.
Halloween in Hibben Belle Hall, Mount Pleasant
Sometimes the only thing that will satisfy your Halloween-hungry young ones is good old fashioned trick-or-treating. In that case, the Hibben subdivision in Mount Pleasant's Belle Hall is an excellent place to pick up some tasty treats and enjoy some of the more frightening front yard displays in the Lowcountry. The home of Chris and Tami Kolb has become particularly famous for their haunted chainsaw man set-up. It has kids screaming all night.
WHEN: Thursday, October 31, just before sunset
WHERE: Hibben subdivision, just inside Belle Hall Plantation on Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant
Boone Hall Fright Nights Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant
Billed as the state's “largest multi-attraction haunted event,” the glow from this massive spookfest lights up the fields along U.S. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant. The giant event features a “castle Mid-Evil,” “Wicked Woods Hayride,” “Zombie Town” and something disturbingly entitled “Little Amy's Nightmare.” Yikes.
When: Weekends and some weekdays throughout October, from dark until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, 10 p.m. other days.
Where: Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant.
West Farm Corn Maze, Moncks Corner
Get along little doggies to what might be the area's only Wild-West themed corn maze. Don your white hat and sheriff's badge to help find Farmer Joe in the “FSI: Farm Scene Investigation” attraction. You'll have to investigate farm animals and collect evidence within the corn maze. Yeehaw.
Where: 2641 Cooper Store Road, Moncks Corner