Halloween in Charleston, SC (Updated 2020)
Charleston is known for its Halloween celebrations. When it comes to the most hallowed of eves, this city gives other famous haunted cities — like Salem and New Orleans — a run for their money. From haunted hotels to creepy graveyards and plantation fright nights, you won’t find a shortage of Halloween activities in South Carolina. Check out some of our favorite Halloween activities in Charleston this season.
Halloween in Charleston: Will COVID Affect Halloween in 2020?
Yes, COVID-19 has affected Charleston. The good news is that many of our activities take place outdoors in the Holy City — thanks to our mild autumns. You can trick-or-treat, enjoy brunch at a rooftop bar, or head to the city’s most popular Halloween events.
Charleston Halloween may not be the same as it has been in previous years, but we do have a few recommendations to make sure you have just as much fun.
Head Outdoors for Charleston Halloween Activities
The CDC COVID guidelines recommend partaking in outdoor activities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This means choosing outdoor activities over indoor ones in public. COVID-19 can spread easier throughout indoor spaces because there is less ventilation indoors. Socially distancing and wearing masks outdoors can help prevent the spread.
Nearly all activities on this list take place outdoors, including:
- Historic walking tours
- Magnolia and Boone Hall plantations
- St. Michael’s Graveyard
- Boone Hall Fright Nights
- Legare Farms
Socially distancing (keeping a distance of six feet or more between people not living in the same household) and wearing a mask in public places is required by the City of Charleston. While the city of Charleston has rules and regulations against overcrowding bars, restaurants, and other public spaces, enforcing these rules isn’t always an easy task. If you want to visit indoor attractions and restaurants, we recommend heading to spaces that set a max cap on visitors, such as museums. To ensure everyone’s safety throughout the pandemic, you may want to call ahead to a venue to ensure social distancing and capacity limits are in place.
Dine Outdoors if the Weather Permits
Enjoy a picnic on the beach, buy a few grab-and-go sandwiches, or eat under the stars (or sun!). Charleston is known for its al fresco dining, so you shouldn’t have any issue finding a spot to grab a bite.
Poogan’s Porch (on this list) has outdoor seating, as do many of Charleston’s other historic eateries. In fact, we’re known for our courtyard cafes and Charleston rooftop bars and restaurants!
Halloween Events in Charleston
Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
Nothing says Halloween in Charleston like visiting a haunted dungeon. The Provost Dungeon in Downtown Charleston once held American soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Yet before the war, the land was once home to a jail that housed pirates, including Stede Bonnet (and possibly even Blackbeard).
Today it’s said that the dungeon is still haunted by those who haven’t been able to move past their dark time in these quarters. It’s not surprising, considering the dungeon was once the site of executions and torture. Many visitors claim to see old chains that still hang from the walls of the dungeon swinging on their own. Sometimes visitors report being pushed by unseen hands or see strange orbs of light in the darker areas. Tour the Provost Dungeon in Charleston to find out for yourself.
With so many bars and restaurants located in some of Charleston’s oldest buildings, it’s no wonder this city is full of haunted eateries and watering holes. If you’re looking for an extra diner to join you at your table, Poogan’s Porch is one practically surefire way to see a sighting.
One of Charleston’s oldest restaurants, Poogan’s Porch serves up some of the most delicious lowcountry cuisine in South Carolina — with a side of haunted entertainment. It’s haunted by not one — but two spirits. Many diners have reported a woman in black trying to free herself from the restaurant, who is believed to be one of the house’s former owners, Zoe St. Armand. Many diners also claim to feel the ghost of a small dog playing at their feet, who is thought to be the restaurant’s namesake dog, a terrier named Poogan.
Past Charleston’s large thoroughfares sit a complex pattern of back alleyways and narrow streets. While these streets are often inhabited by some of Charleston’s elite, they’ve also seen some of Charleston’s darkest history. Pirates and drunken sailors once roamed these narrow passageways — and some believe they still do.
In fact, Philadelphia Alley is thought to be one of the most haunted in the city. You can hear the history of Philadelphia Alley and many more on Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages Tour.
It may not be an ‘official’ ghost tour, but our Charleston’s Alleys and Hidden Passages Tour will still get you ghost-adjacent. And who knows? You might even see one of Charleston’s long-departed souls with your own eyes!
Charleston’s plantations are some of the area’s biggest attractions at Halloween. Most of the plantations are decorated for the holiday and offer a variety of themed activities for both children and adults.
Magnolia Plantation runs a family fright night in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Included in the $10 admission are haunted train rides, a hay maze, face painting, a costume contest and other Halloween treats. It’s fun for the whole family! Magnolia prides itself on offering fun that everyone in the family can enjoy — including little ones.
Battery Carriage House Inn
While some visitors prefer to be terrified for a few hours, others crave the promise of getting creeped out for an entire night. If you want a more “authentic” spooky experience, why not stay at a haunted hotel for a night or two?
Charleston is known for its haunted hotels, and none is scarier than the Battery Carriage House Inn. This historic inn attracts guests year-round for its quaint architecture and convenient location. Yet if you’re looking for some extra entertainment, you’ll want to stay for the ghosts.
Request to stay in rooms 3, 8 or 10 for the spookiest experiences. You might run into some glowing lights, floating apparitions — and even a headless torso.
For those craving a little more wholesome fun this fall, head to Legare Farms in September and October. This famous pumpkin patch offers horse rides, a scarecrow factory, hay rides and after-dark pumpkin picking every weekend in October. Also included in the admission is live entertainment, including live music and pumpkin carving.
St. Michael’s Graveyard
Like most graveyards in Charleston, St. Michael’s Graveyard is super haunted, and it’s no wonder: it’s the oldest church in Charleston. If you head down to the churchyard, you might even see some of the city’s most famous ghosts wandering around. Head past the grave of Charles Cotesworth Pickney to hopefully meet one of the signers of the US Constitution. Also buried here are former governors John Rutledge and Robert Young Hayne — amongst many others of Charleston’s elite.
Boone Hall Fright Nights
If you’re looking for something spookier, head to Boone Hall Fright Nights. Though the plantation features a pumpkin patch for the entire family by day, it’s known for its spookier Halloween activities by night. In September and October, the entire plantation is transformed into a farmhouse of horrors. The Boone Hall pumpkin patch, corn maze, and Halloween party (replete with Halloween costumes and haunted houses and a costume party) ensure plenty of Halloween fun.
Four different areas offer guests the opportunity to become entirely scared out of their wits for a few hours.
Mercantile and Mash
While Charleston is known for its Halloween celebrations, it isn’t known for its autumn weather. Luckily, you can still get all the cozy feels this Halloween season — even if you’re not feeling the average pumpkin spice latte.
For a warm drink to take on your ghost hunting adventures, head to Mercantile and Mash for a juniper and sage latte. Slightly spicy and equally warming as a PSL, this drink is the perfect companion to your late-night jaunts.
Don’t forget to pick up a few pumpkin cookies at King Street Cookies for the haunted car ride home either. With so many Halloween activities in Charleston, it’s not hard to find one that’s perfect for every member of your family. You might even end up taking back an extra guest with you back home — if you’re not careful.
Halloween in Charleston might look a little different this year, but we still know how to have a frightfully good time in the Holy City!