If your idea of a perfect fall afternoon vibe is more pumpkin patch stroll than haunted house tour, we feel you. While Columbia SC has its fair share of thrills and chills we get that sometimes the best fall days include activities that are more snuggly than scary.

Will O’ The Wisp at Saluda Shoals Park

Gather the family for an evening of S’mores, train rides, face painting, crafts and animals with Carolina Wildlife at Saluda Shoals Park on Saturday October 26 from 4 p.m. - 7:30pm. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $7 (child) and $2 (adult) or on the day of if still available for $8 (child) and $3 (adult). 

Scarecrows in the Garden 

During the month of October, stroll the gardens at Historic Columbia’s Robert Mills House to enjoy scarecrows crafted by local Columbia SC families, organizations and arts enthusiasts. The exhibit is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  and Sunday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. during the month. Free. 


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State Farmers Market 

Load up on a bounty of seasonal produce from delectable figs to crisp apples to perfect pumpkins and plants like mums and pansies. Open 6 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday - Saturday and 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. on Sundays. Your porch and table will thank you.


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Strictly Running Halloween Run 

On Oct. 26, three races, including an adult mile at 7:30 a.m., Kids Fun Run at 7:45 a.m. and 5K at 8:00 a.m. will have you up and at ‘um early enjoying fall foliage and the picturesque Devine Street district. The races conclude with awards, prizes, and, yes, a pumpkin pie eating contest. Plan to stick around the district afterwards for Devine Street’s charming shops and eateries. 


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Clinton Sease Farms

Nostalgia abounds at Clinton Sease Farms where hayrides, a pumpkin patch and an 8-acre corn maze are open on Fridays from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m - 7 p.m. Or gather a big group and start a new tradition with a night of telling tales and looking up at the stars with a campfire package, which includes a hayride, hot dog supper, S’mores, and big ole campfire. 


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Boo at the Zoo

Riverbanks Zoo is a crowd favorite year round, but especially in the fall when Boo at the Zoo offers 13 nights of trick-or-treating at the zoo, a haunted carousel, spooky railroad, freaky dance party and much more. Tickets usually sell out, so get yours in advance. 


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Museum of Oz

Follow the yellow brick road to the South Carolina State Museum as they celebrates all things Oz throughout the month of October. Meet the characters from the movie, enjoy crafts and games, enjoy the Wizard of Oz 4-D experience and even spend the night in the museum with special activities. Some activities are included with museum general admission. Planetarium and 4D shows require an additional charge. 

(And if you need more Oz in your life, go ahead and buy your ticket to Broadway’s blockbuster Wicked at The Koger Center with shows January 22 - February 9, 2020.)


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Pumpkin Patches

If decorating your porch is the highlight of your autumn, Columbia SC has some top notch spots to take home a truckload of pumpkins of every shape, size and color. In addition to Clinton Sease Farm  (noted above), Fox Farms in Lexington offers family activities like hayrides, mazes, barnyard animals and a pumpkin and gourd hunt. Tickets may be purchased online. Our Lady of the Lake Cahtholic Church in Chapin, Trenholm Road United Methodist Church and Northeast United Methodist Church offer great selections no matter which area of town you are visiting. 

Happy Fall, y’all!