Are you thinking about taking your big kid to a scary attraction in Greenville? It can be hard to decide if kids are ready for frightening Halloween events. Kidding Around contributor, Kate Lupo has the inside scoop for parents who want to know what to expect, as well as some tips if you are thinking about bringing your children to haunted attractions.
The best time of year has begun! Fall is here! Make way for our favorites things like pumpkins, hayrides, corn mazes, apple cider, that warm fuzzy feeling in your soul, and last but not least…haunted attractions! Halloween is around the corner, and what better way to prepare for your favorite holiday than by planning a spooky adventure.
While many parents may be chomping at the bit to creep their way to a haunted hayride, there might also be a haunted hesitation. For those of us who have children between the ages of 7 and 12 (like me!), it’s hard to know if your child is ready for their first haunted experience. But, of course, the last thing you need is for your child to be so scared, they can’t sleep, and their little fists are knocking on your door in the middle of the night. So to help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top slightly scary Halloween events for big kids and tweens in the Upstate (and beyond), with tips on how to determine if your child is ready for their first haunted experience and if so, which to choose and how to prepare.
Please note that while we have done our research and believe the below attractions provide fun for the whole family before you take the plunge and bring your 7-12-year-old, please exercise caution. While you might have a hunch if your big kid or tween is ready for their first haunted experience, the following questions can also help you make an informed decision.
If any of the questions above give you even a twinge of doubt, it’s probably best to hope for haunted fun next year. But if you feel like your kiddo is ready for the challenge, then proceed if you dare!
To prepare your child for their first haunted experience, here are some ideas to pluck up their courage.
When preparing our 7-year-old for the Wompus Woods haunted hayride (sadly, no longer open), we told him that the live monsters, goblins, and ghouls he would see were just people called scare actors. The scare actors are human beings (“like you and me”) who are having a lot of fun and who love Halloween (“Ohhhh” he said). We told him that the scare actors would have costumes and makeup on and that any “blood” he would see is just makeup (we even joked with him: “the blood is probably just ketchup!”). We told him that the haunted hayride would be a little scary but mostly fun! We said that it’s possible to be scared and laugh simultaneously (a whole new concept to him). Also, we emphasized that we will be together, be safe, but we need to be brave as a family. Finally, we asked him, “Can you be brave with us?” He said, “Yes!”
Also, be sure to let your kid decide whether they are ready for a scary attraction. If your child is forced or manipulated to experience something scarier than they are prepared for, it may increase anxiety.
Your family is ready for a haunted adventure (yay!), but now it’s time to prepare. Here are some essential tips before you start your haunt.
Make sure the whole family wears sneakers or other comfortable shoes for a few reasons. First, there is a high probability you will be standing in line for at least 25 minutes at each attraction (many times much longer), so you want to be comfortable. Second, remember you will be doing a lot of walking in a haunted house, on a haunted trail, or at an amusement park. Furthermore, if you do get startled on your haunt, you don’t want to be wearing unstable shoes that cause you to topple over easily!
Make sure your family is well-fed and hydrated before you begin your journey. You don’t want anyone fainting with hunger or thirst. Though please note the next tip…
Again, you are likely going to be standing in line for stretches of time, perhaps with no access to the bathroom. And, if you do get a slightly spooky scare, you want to make sure you and your kids don’t, ahem, pee your pants.
Many of the attractions below will feature loud noises. For example, when my family went to Wompus Woods, their scare actors fired off cannons that shook the ground. They were so loud. And, of course, there will be screaming. So for those sensitive little kid ears (and even your own), please bring some ear plugs. You won’t regret it.
This attraction makes haunted houses family-friendly events in addition to the haunted house, including a picnic area, bonfires, music, photos with characters, access to food, and more.
Don’t let the family-friendly fun fool you, Madworld claims to be the scariest haunted house in the state.
Open weekends from September 9th until November 5th. See the calendar for date and time details.
Admission: Madworld offers a variety of admission options and packages. See their ticketing website for a complete list of options.
Family Friendly haunted house experience
Scary Haunted House Experience
Big Kids and Tweens at Mad World
We love that Mad World also offers a “No-Scare” Medallion for both grown-ups and kids. The Medallion “allows your children to take back control of the night by not only signaling to the monsters to stay away from him/her but also giving the child special powers to control the monster!”
*Please see the very comprehensive FAQ’s on their website as well
This is a 35-minute Haunted Trail along the banks of the Tyger River in Spartanburg, SC. This trail takes you through multiple staged areas including a haunted corn maze, slaughterhouse, killer clown zone, graveyard, and asylum. 2022 also features a new frightening Farm House to explore.
Nightmare Hollow is definitely scary and there is quite a bit of blood and gore, but one reason why it makes the list of good haunted attractions for big kids and tweens is because the staff is so kind and sympathetic to the children (and parents) that are brave enough to give their attraction a try.
In fact, Bonehead the Clown (he actually even has his own Facebook page) jump scared me while I was taking photos before we had entered the maze. When he realized that he had accidentally also terrified my daughter, he offered her a peppermint and assured her that he was nice. That’s just one example of the kind of experience we had at Haunted Hollow.
You can let the staff know if you want them to tone it down a bit for your child and you have a guide that can allow any member of your party to walk around a part of the attraction that might be a bit too intense.
This is a scary attraction and we recommend waiting until children are old enough to understand that the actors are in costume and that the attractions are all staged.
Admission price: $20 Fridays, $25 Saturdays, CASH ONLY
2022 Opening weekend: September 23rd & 24th
Open September 23rd, 24th, 30th
Open October 1st, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 28th, 29th, 30th, 31st
Sweet Dreams Scare House has a quarter mile of indoor and outdoor haunting, with suspension artists and “freakshow” performances before entering the trail. The attraction offers interactive characters and creative frightening scenery throughout the haunt.
Open weekends from September 16th through October 22nd, 2022
Open October 26th through 31st, 2022
Open November 4th – 5th, 2022
Pricing: Adults $25; Children 10 and younger: $15 ( We do not recommend younger children attend)
Fast pass tickets available for an additional $10