Halloween isnt just about the ghosts and ghoulies and getting scared silly: Its about the costumes, the candy, tradition and naturally the creepy. Halloween knows no age limits, and certainly merits a party. Just about any event can take on a Halloween theme, which is part of what makes it so fun.
Heres a sampling from the area buffet of Halloween goodness:
If you like adrenaline, zombies and/or gore:
SCarowinds: (Ongoing) Remember the final scenes of Zombieland, when they all end up in the amusement park? Add vampires, psychotic clowns and 500 other evil beings the most the park has every had and youve got SCarowinds 13th Halloween Haunt on the N.C.-S.C. border. (Without all the gunfire, of course.) For ages 13 and up. www.carowinds.com.
Terror by the Creek: (Ongoing) So the story goes that more than 100 years ago, Denise Propst went to Lincolntons grist mill to see why her husband didnt come home for dinner. She found him, murdered, along with 24 other mill workers. At least, thats what weve heard. Want to explore the same mill and check for hauntings? www.terrorbythecreek.com.
Scarrigan Farms: (Ongoing) Its website proudly states: If someone hasnt peed in their pants by the end of the night we know we havent done our job. The haunted trail and 130-acre Mooresville farm, in its sixth year, features a 3-D maze and a tragic bus. For ages 12 and up. www.scarriganfarms.com.
For the festive:
Music, Monsters and Mayhem: (Oct. 27) Party at NC Music Factory hotspots including Label, The Saloon, VBGB Beer Hall and Garden, Wet Willies, Osso, Small Bar, Matties Diner and the Fountain Plaza parties. The midnight costume contest touts a $5,000 cash prize, which is nothing to shake your plastic pumpkin at. 7 p.m. www.ncmusicfactory.com.
Night of the Living Dead Geek Gala: (Oct. 27) You know this is the place to see the best Storm Trooper and superhero costumes ever. And who doesnt like to party for a good cause? The fourth-annual event, at the Charlotte Marriott Executive Park, benefits the Childrens Home Society of North Carolina. 7 p.m. www.charlottegeeks.com.
For the hands-on:
Creepy, Crawly Celebration: (Oct. 26) Reedy Creek Nature Center will provide live animals and touch-tanks, proving you dont have to be warm and fuzzy to be a lovable creature. This free event also features trick-or-treating, costume contest, marshmallow roast and hot chocolate. Open to all ages, must register in advance. 704-432-6460.
Costume Hiking: (Oct. 31) Head out with a Lake Norman State Park ranger (in your costume!) to look for creepy, crawly things. (In your costume!) OK, so the costumes are optional, but the max group number is 15, so definitely call in advance to register. 704-528-6350.
If your favorite part of Thriller is the dancing:
The Haunted Ball: (Oct. 12) An elegant evening at Dance Center USA in Fort Mill, S.C., that includes wine, a canape buffet, social dancing and entertainment. (Envision a less-smutty version of Dancing with the Stars.) Theres a group Mambo class at 7 p.m.; the party starts at 8. Whether your costume is themed or on the fancy side, its welcome. 704-451-2834.
Senior Halloween Dance: (Oct. 26) Youre never too old to 1) dress up and 2) dance. This combines the best of both worlds, starts at 5:30 p.m. at the South Iredell Senior Center in Mooresville and is open to all senior adults. Costumes are optional, but bring your favorite snack or finger food to share. 704-662-3337.
If youre dying for a classic:
Haunted Carriage Tours: (Ongoing) History is always relevant, especially when youre talking hauntings, public executions and grave robbing in Fourth Ward Charlotte. Walk-ups welcome, but advanced tickets strongly recommended. www.hauntedcarriage.eventbrite.com.
The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow: (Ongoing) The Matthews Playhouse presents Washington Irvings story of poor Ichabod Crane and his inevitable encounter with the Headless Horseman. (If all you know if is the Tim Burton version, you owe it to yourself to see a live production.) Ages 8 and up; costumes welcome. www.matthewsplayhouse.com.
For those with little monsters:
Howloween 2012: (Oct. 28) This is Fort Mills third annual parade of costumes for canines (and human kids), 50/50 raffle, photos for your furry friends, prizes and treats. www.humanesocietyofyorkcounty.org.
Pumpkin-Patching: (Ongoing) Red Wolf Farm in Maiden brings the family-friendly fall fun with a variety of activities. Go find your perfect pumpkin in their 3-acre patch (then paint it), take a hayride, interact with barnyard animals, have a picnic lunch and more. www.redwolffarm.com.
Spinning Spiders and Creepy Crawlers: (Oct. 27) Put your kiddos in their costumes and come learn about whats scampering underfoot at the Charlotte Nature Museum. This falls in the spooky, but not too-scary range of Eek!-factor. (Nothing that the Halloween-themed treats wont fix.) Free. www.charlottenaturemuseum.org.
And the delightfully random:
Haunted Mill and 3-D Mini-Golf: (Ongoing) The Belmont attraction offers the best Halloween combo since chocolate and peanut butter. www.thehauntedmillnc.com.
Shake Your Ghoul Thing: (Oct. 27) Join the Carolina Voices jazz and pop ensemble at McGlohon Theatre for this quirky salute to the spooky side of Halloween. Wear a costume, plan to dance in the aisles and possibly win some prizes. www.carolinavoices.org.
Its the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: No, this isnt an event, but its just not Halloween without it. Get it wherever DVDs or Blu-Rays are sold.