This piece was updated September 12, 2019.
The countdown is on to the most wonderful time of the year — Halloween, duh — with the return of SCarowinds.
The theme park’s annual haunted attraction features spooky mazes, performances and 500 costumed creepers lurking all over the grounds.
It’s the best.
SCarowinds is a massive undertaking and planning for this year’s event actually started the day after it closed last fall. The full year of prep allows time to conceptualize new attractions, source creepy props, create costumes and hire hundreds of monsters.
The attraction is open Fridays and Saturdays in September and Friday – Sunday in October (through 10/27).
If you’re into manufactured Halloween fear (like I am), there’s really no wrong way to experience SCarowinds. But these tips will help you find the right experience for you.
Fun fact: All the full-time employees at the park get their own tombstone and can write whatever they want on it.
Buy a Fright Lane ticket to bypass the lines during peak season.
For a $35 upgrade, you’ll get to skip the wait one time on each of the SCarowinds attractions. This is a smart move if you plan on going later in October when the park is busier.
Upgrade your daytime ticket to include SCarowinds admission so you can stay in the park morning to midnight.
SCarowinds is a nighttime-only attraction open 7 p.m. to midnight on weekends (Fridays and Saturdays in September and Friday – Sunday in October). It’s a separate admission fee from the park’s normal daytime hours, but you can choose to upgrade your daytime ticket to include SCarowinds admission for $19.99 if you want to be there all day.
That’s a loooooong day at the park but if you’re into it, you’re into it. This is a good call if you want more daytime hours to allow plenty of time on the park’s major rollercoasters before hitting up the haunted attractions after dark.
The ticket upgrade option is only available for purchase at the park.
Buy a “No Boo” necklace for immunity from monsters.
If surprise encounters from creepy costumed monsters really freaks you out, you can purchase a glowing necklace that signals to the actors to back off. Immunity aside, they’re never allowed to touch anyone (and guests can’t touch them either), but without the necklace they will certainly lunge at you, stand really close and otherwise creep you out.
Buy the necklace ($11.22) if you want them to keep their distance. Note: It only works on the main grounds and won’t keep surprise encounters at bay inside any of the haunted houses and mazes.
If you’ve got little ones, Carowinds still has you covered with the Great Pumpkin Fest.
Looking for family-friendly fall entertainment without all the murderous monsters roaming around? Just head to Carowinds during weekend daytime hours (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) for the Great Pumpkin Fest, a kid-friendly celebration with a costume parade, foam zone, mazes, a pumpkin patch and more.
It runs Saturdays and Sundays through October 27.