Bright colored leaves swirl to the ground as front porches in Charlotte are adorned with pumpkins, scarecrows and mums. October is celebrated with festivals, corn mazes and spooky Halloween attractions. There are plenty of family friendly events, downplaying the blood, guts and gore revelry. Put the jackets on and enjoy a brisk, cool autumn evening with the kids. Here are a few of the Charlotte-area attractions, including some not-so-scary fun.
Halloween Daze and Spooky Knights
Carolina Renaissance Festival
16445 Poplar Tent Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
Price: $20 at the gate/free children 12 and younger
Hours: Oct. 27 and 28 – 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Step back into 16th-century Europe for sword fights, pirates, dragons and knights on horseback. The Carolina Renaissance Festival presents its Halloween Daze and Spooky Knights celebration for a unique type of family fun. The 22-acre festival village in a suburb-city of Charlotte Metro will offer free trick-or-treating, a Halloween costume contest and treasure hunt with prizes. The Knights of the Living Dead zombie jousting challenge happens three times daily. Come at least 30 minutes early to avoid any parking delays. Enjoy plenty of vendor booths for food, drinks and merchandise, if you’ve got a pocket full of cash or an ATM card. Be prepared for some spooky fair goers, but not a scream park experience.
Related: Best Fall Festivals In Charlotte
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28273
Price: $24.99 through $42.99, tickets give admission to Carowinds Theme Park
When: through Oct. 28 – 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Carowind’s Howl-o-Fest Boo Blast will be hours of family fun. Take the kids trick-or-treating at stations throughout the park. A hay-bale maze, foam zone and pumpkin patch will keep the little ones busy. Wear a costume for the grand parade that takes place at 4:45 p.m. each afternoon. A Fraidy Cat Puppet Show is performed all day. If that’s not enough fun, take the kids on a few of the roller coaster rides to top it off. In the evening, Carowinds transforms into a PG-13 scream park. The blood, guts and gore entertainment, infused with high-energy rock bands, makes it not for anyone younger than 13.
Haunted Hayride at Latta Equestrian Center
6201 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
Price: $10 per person
When: October 12,13, 26, 27 at dark
Take a tractor-drawn hayride through the woods of the Latta Equestrian Center. Up to 25 people per wagon may wind past a ghostly figure inside a tent. Then, coming to a clearing, enjoy zombies arising from the ground in a graveyard. Meet talking pumpkins and scary clowns during this 20-minute ride. There is a pony express and a movie to enjoy for those not wanting to explore this haunt. A few scenes involve fake blood, however, no guts and gore.
1643 Pembrook Road
Harrisburg, NC 28075
Price: $10 person
When: Oct. 19, 20, 26 through 28 – sunset to 11 p.m.
This ol’ dairy farm is more than 100 years old. Owned and operated by the Harris Family, visiting Scary Dairy supports a struggling North Carolina farm. A 20-minute ride on the back of a hay wagon will meander across pastures, through animal and hay barns, chug across Reedy Creek and out of the woods. Infants, toddlers and teens have enjoyed this haunt for the past four years. The costume characters are very sensitive to the fright factor among the youngest of visitors. Don’t be surprised if they unmask for a frightened visitor. The attraction features clowns, three giant jack-in-the-box musical contraptions, bonfires and farm animals.
Related: Back to School Guide in Charlotte
Grover Pumpkin Festival
Grover, NC 28073
Price: $3 per person cornfield maze (weekends through Oct. 27)
When: Saturday, Oct. 27 – noon to 8 p.m.
Breathe in the autumn freshness, taste the foods, and enjoy the sounds at the Grover Pumpkin Festival. Chow down on turkey legs, gumbo, barbecue, hotdogs and funnel cakes. Enjoy the sounds of the Nantucket Band while shopping for handmade gifts at a variety of vendors. Take a headless-horseman carriage ride through the charming streets of downtown Grover, and watch the kids trick-or-treat at the festive houses along Cleveland Avenue. Don’t forget to bring Fido. There will be a costume contest for pets, kids and adults. The grand finale of the evening will be the lighting of the town’s great pumpkin wall. Bring a carved and decorated pumpkin to grow the wall.
Catherine Lash engagingly connects with people. She has learned that interested listening and thoughtful questioning are the means through which collaboration creates a story. She grew up traveling the world and learning military life in an Air Force family of seven. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three kids. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.