While COVID-19 has affected many popular fall events, there is still plenty to do in Columbia to celebrate both autumn and Halloween. From outdoor activities such as apple-picking to indoor ones such as haunted houses, this part of South Carolina has a fruitful schedule of festivities to offer. Some may be in the heart of Columbia or a short road trip away.
Clinton Sease Farm, Lexington — You can explore the farm's expansive corn maze, take a socially distanced hayride and, at the end of the day, sit by a cozy campfire to either cook hot dogs or make s’mores. Plus, take some time at its pumpkin patch. The drive from downtown Columbia is about half an hour.
Mcleod Farms, McBee — Depending on how cool you think pumpkin patches and roadside markets are, the one-hour drive from Columbia is worth it. This farm boasts a 13-acre pumpkin patch with many varieties to choose from, plus wagon rides. Its corn maze is unique this year: You won’t just have a fun time in the twists and turns of a maze, but you’ll get quizzed on your outer space know-how, too.
The South Carolina State Farmers Market, West Columbia — Pumpkins are available from the numerous local vendors, along with other fresh produce. Dates and times vary for different vendors, but the market is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Boo at the Zoo, Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia — Running from October 23 to 30, the zoo is open at night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. While many activities are aimed towards a younger audience, it is still fun to be in a zoo after dark, especially when it’s spookily decorated for this holiday season. Plus, you can sit around one of many fire pits and roast marshmallows for s’mores. The drive to Riverbanks Zoo is 10 minutes or less from Columbia.
OZtober, South Carolina State Museum, Columbia — Throughout the entire month, the State Museum hosts numerous events centered around The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz 4D Experience is shown throughout the month, along with numerous unique shows in the museum’s planetarium and other themed activities. Plus, you get to enjoy the Halloween decor of the museum.
Deceased Farm, Lexington — This haunted attraction includes six creepy buildings, three outdoor areas and corn fields to explore Thursday through Sunday nights. A heads up: Tickets are cash only and $22 on Fridays, Saturdays and Halloween, compared to $18 Thursday and Sunday. Deceased Farm includes the new attraction of the Dead and Breakfast this year, which will take place in an ominous farmhouse filled with spooky creatures. This attraction also includes three different five-minute escape rooms you can try out as well. Guest groups going into each attraction will be limited, and all employees and actors will be following proper social distancing behavior. Masks are required to enter (actual ones, not costumes. Don’t try to be funny in a pandemic like that). Deceased Farm is about 30 minutes from Columbia.
The Dark Castle, Elgin — The Dark Castle offers a plethora of scary experiences, including an outdoor terror trail, an indoor haunted house and the unique chance to use a laser gun to kill zombies. It is open Thursday through Saturday in October and Sunday, Nov. 1 for Halloween festivities. It offers break rooms (rooms where you smash things) by appointment this year and a zombie apocalypse-themed scavenger hunt, where partners who do the best each night get free prizes. Like Deceased Farms, masks are required for both guests and staff. The Dark Castle is 20 to 30 minutes from Columbia.