The smell of pumpkin spice is in the air, temperatures are dropping, and there’s a peek of color in the trees. That can only mean one thing … fall is here! Are you ready to make beautiful family fall memories? Here are 10 activities to take advantage of this season in the Capital City!
If there is one thing that truly puts you in the fall mood, it’s the changing colors of the leaves. Take it all in at one of our many parks and kid-friendly hiking trails – Sesquisentennial, the Riverwalk , and so many more.
Luckily, Columbia is a net of trick-or-treat communities, liberally sprinkled with places to Trunk or Treat, and indoor and outdoor park trick or treating. One of my favorite trick or treat activities in Columbia is Halloween in Five Points. There, shops give out loads of candy as you walk down the street. Plus, there is a costume parade and pet styling. Village Church offers Lake Scare-O-Lina at the Jeep Rogers YMCA in Lake Carolina (October 22, 4 – 6 p.m.). Come in costume and play a variety of games and get lots of candy! Riverbanks Zoo offers Boo at the Zoo, which includes trick-or-treating at the zoo! Halloween Hoopla is free for 12 and under Halloween night, 4 – 8 p.m. at Edventure. It features a slime machine, pumpkin smashing, a costume contest for the grown-ups and of course scary amounts of candy. It’s all you could ask for at a Halloween event! Looking for more fun? Check out our all inclusive Guide to Halloween Activities Around Columbia.
Visit a Pumpkin Patch
There are many places to get your gourd around Columbia. However, my personal favorite is Northeast United Methodist Church. Open all of October, this church has wagons and hay bales, free photo ops, a variety of large and small pumpkins, fair prices, and raises money for a good cause. The South Carolina Farmer’s Market and Clinton Sease Farms also have you covered. Here is a guide to more fun pumpkin patches around Columbia to check out.
Explore a Corn Maze
What’s fall without a Corn Maze? Clinton Sease Farm has a wonderful corn maze! Just try not to get lost. I dare you! The Clemson Sandhill REC Fall Festival hosts another fantastic corn maze. They also have a hayride and haunted trail. And it’s affordable and fun! Out of sight of any buildings, you can have a fall, country experience, still just minutes from the mall.
Check out the South Carolina State Fair
Honestly, even if you don’t trust rides or eat everything deep fried, there is so much to do and see at the South Carolina State Fair. There are buildings showcasing local artists and crafts, musical performers, award-winning plants and animals, local honey, unbelievable cakes, Lego creations and more. Lucky Ducks is one game where you always win a prize. Later, watch the piglets race or the ducklings go down their water slide. You can even head to the arena for a horse show. Mark your calendar for October 11 – 22 and make plans to attend. (Pssst… rumor has it Columbia SC Moms Blog will be giving away a family 4-pack of tickets and ride vouchers, so follow us closely for your chance to win!)
Have a Haunted Experience
Historic Columbia offers an evening tour of Elmwood cemetery (they also have a Trunk-or-Treat and host Scarecrows in the Garden during the entire month of October – both free and lots of fun). For the daring, Dark Knights Terror Trail offers an indoor adventure, an outdoor adventure, and a zombie experience! Gilbert House of Terror, opening October 14, and Cayce-West Columbia Jaycees Hall of Horrors, opening the 13, are for the thrill seekers and benefit local charities. And, Deceased Farm is one of Columbia’s oldest and scariest traditions. Be prepared to scream!
The Columbia City Ballet will be performing their annual and popular production of Dracula at the Kroger Center, October 27 and 28. Even if you’ve never seen the ballet and you’re considering a more cultured activity, channel your inner Bruce Wayne and check out this show. It’s visually stunning, the music will have you on the edge of your seat, and you won’t believe what these talented artists can do!
Fall means festivals in Columbia. For music lovers, Congaree Bluegrass Festival is October 7 and 8. For you foodies, Gaston’s Collard and BBQ festival occurs October 7. Channel your inner German at Oktoberfest, October 13 – 15, downtown. Didn’t get enough beer at Oktoberfest? Head on over to the Lexington Craft Beer Festival on October 14. There is a Pride Festival and parade downtown on October 20. Need something to do in November? Head on over to Columbia’s Korean Festival on November 4, and experience a new culture. Find out all the details and more in our Guide to Columbia Festivals and Celebrations.
‘Tis the season of football games and 5ks. This is Gamecock country, and it is officially football season. On the other hand, if the pigskin is not your thing, or you’re more into being active than watching, there are quite a few 5ks for a good cause (besides burning some calories before Thanksgiving). The Falllen Firemen 5k is in Lexington Saturday October 7. The Walk for Life Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon occurs October 14 to benefit Palmetto Health Breast Center. Searching for a fun 5k that involves your kids? Look no further than the Jeep Rogers YMCA Pumpkin Run/walk on October 28.
Check Your Schools and Libraries for More
Chances are your local schools and libraries (both Richland and Lexington) offer a number of free and low cost activities for the season. Plus, attending these help grow and encourage our community. Plays, crafts, hayrides, games, face painting and more are right here in Columbia’s fall fun with your neighbors!