Halloween comes once a year, and this weekend launches frightful fun in the York County area.
Whether you celebrate by scaring yourself with haunted houses or deck the children out in cool costumes, it’s time to make plans.
Here are five local events to get you into the Halloween spirit:
1. Great Pumpkin 5K Race
Kick off the festivities early Saturday at the Great Pumpkin 5K Race in Rock Hill. In its 40th year, this fairly flat road course begins on Winthrop University’s campus, winds through a few neighborhoods, around the Winthrop Coliseum and back to campus.
The race, hosted by Rock Hill Striders, starts at Dinkins Hall at 9 a.m.. Race-day registration costs $40 and begins at 7:30 a.m., or save money and register early online. Proceeds benefit Pilgrims’ Inn, a nonprofit serving the homeless and at-risk homeless in York County.
If competing isn’t your thing, then sign up for the Fun Run. It starts at 9:45 a.m. and it’s free with no registration necessary.
2. Carowinds Great Pumpkin Fest and SCarowinds
If you need to entertain your little ghosts and goblins and still satisfy your spooky Halloween spirit, then look no further than Carowinds.
From 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the theme park turns into the Great Pumpkin Fest — a Halloween wonderland with a foam zone, a hay bale maze and a costume parade hosted by everybody’s favorite beagle, Snoopy.
But at 7 p.m., the park transforms into SCarowinds — suitable for adults. Thrill seekers can navigate their way through dark haunted mazes, endure scare zones full of living nightmares and explore haunted houses.
For more information, visit Carowinds.com or call 704-588-2600.
3. Lanterns & Legends Tour
Perhaps you enjoy your fright with a historic twist. The Fort Mill History Museum is offering Lanterns and Legends Tours of historic Fort Mill on Saturday. Friday tours have been canceled due to inclement weather forecast.
Beginning on Main Street, the guided tour shows the spookier side of Fort Mill. Find out who the man is looking for the old train depot, and who the woman is in the rustling petticoat at the top of the stairs.
There are multiple tours throughout the evening. Tour times run about 45 minutes. Tickets cost $15 per person.
For more information, call 803-802-3646 or visit fmhm.org.
4. Haunted Lantern Tour and Boo Fun Fest
Learn about the spooky past of Lancaster County on a guided lantern tour Saturday 6-9 p.m.
Beginning behind the historic Springs House, the tour introduces you to four of Lancaster’s darker characters.
Meet a woman who was locked in the Springs House during the Civil War, a Lancaster sheriff who draped cloth over the gallows so spectators couldn’t watch the hangings, an infamous mass murderer of Lancaster County and a woman from the last witch trial in the country which took place in Lancaster.
Perfect for all ages, the tour also includes visits to the courthouse and the old jail. The last tour starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $3 per person and all proceeds benefit the local playhouse.
And also for the children, Boo Fun Fest runs 6-8 p.m. at City Hall with bounce houses, games, trick-or-treating, food vendors, costume and pumpkin carving contests.
For more information, call 803-286-1145 or visit lancastercitysc.com.
5. Spooky Science: Face Your Fears
Who needs the paranormal when nature offers so many creepy creatures? If you’re afraid of snakes, spiders, owls or the dark, you can earn a Bravery Badge by facing your fears 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at the Museum of York County’s “Spooky Science: Face Your Fears” in Rock Hill.
Visitors can walk through the museum’s galleries to glimpse a close look at preserved bats, mice and bones or brave the darkened halls of the Piedmont Present and Past — flashlights provided.
Check out the phobia and fears trivia game in the auditorium before noon or after 2:30 p.m. At 1 p.m., Carolina Raptor Center educators will share a ticketed presentation on nocturnal birds of prey.
Join A Walk in the Woods for hands-on activities with creepy critters and watch a planetarium show that will make your skin crawl.
Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for ages 4-17 ,
For more information, call 803-329-2121 or visit chmuseums.org.