‘Tis the season when all manner of ghouls and goblins come crawling out of the woodwork to do their peculiar brand of mischief. Eerie jack-o-lanterns with an array of grotesque expressions festoon the neighbor’s yard, and ghostly white specters sway in a gentle breeze. Dismembered arms and legs litter the porch. A skeleton dangles from the rafters and calls out to anyone who dares to approach.
Halloween, as we know it, derives from an ancient Celtic ritual known as Samhein (pronounced SAH-ween), when ghosts of people who had died during the past year mingled with the living before traveling into the underworld and bonfires were lit to aid them in their passage. In the eighth century AD, Christian missionaries established a special date for the feast of All Saints Day to honor the saints and pray for the recently departed who had yet to reach Heaven. In an attempt to convert the pagans over to Christianity, church holy days were intentionally set to coincide with native celebrations and incorporated many of their traditions. Bretons believed that the souls awaiting final judgement would be liberated from Purgatory and free to visit their old homes on that night, known as All Hallows Evening and later contracted to Hallowe’en.
stiffs stealthily swarm the Styx
with angst to bestow,
characters in crape
cunningly creeping across
to cook their eclair
from frothing phobia
and fractious fingers of fear--
Traipsing through the trees
to a tryst with victims lured
into their trusty traps.
Leave no doubt. There’ll be
on All Hallows’ Eve.
Here in the Lowcountry, we observe this special day in many ways at various venues around the area:
Fright Nights at Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant feature a number of spine-tingling activities with the help of many weird creatures:
Dr. Alex Hacker opens The Asylum to the public so that you can witness his research as he probes into the dark depths of the most disturbed minds ever encountered. He has the demented desire to see how “normal” minds react when repeatedly exposed to heightened insanity.
The Chaos Quarantine allows visitors to enter the Biotech Industries facility, even though it was placed on lockdown after it experienced a major contamination leak. Many workers remain at large, displaying horrific physical deformations and violent behaviors.
Dare to climb aboard the Terror Trail Haunted Hayride and venture into dark woods inhabited by indescribable creatures and indefinable beings who prey in the night.
Experience Little Amy’s Nightmare when you put on the special 3D glasses that will allow you to see what goes on in the tormented mind of a little girl who is terrorized nightly by horrific nightmares.
More specitics can be found on their website:
Black Cat Walking Tours:
Haunted Charleston Tour is a journey through the Holy City’s most haunted places by lantern light. This darkly romantic blend of ghosts, magic and the roots of Gullah superstition also incorporates real-life weird science with tragic tales of honor, occult spirits and demons, secret societies, cryptic architecture, and more.
Wicked Charleston Tour leads you into the more unsavory crannies of Charleston’s history, focusing on some of its most colorful elements: prostitutes, gangsters, politicians, scoundrels, scandals, and debauchery. This one is definitely for ADULTS ONLY.
Free Historic Battery Sunday Stroll explores the area south of Broad Street, one of the most exclusive and wealthiest neighborhoods in America. Highlights include:
The Battery at White Point, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired and pirates were hanged from ancient oak trees.
A view of Fort Sumter, renowned for being the ignition point for the Civil War, aka “that recent unpleasantness.”
Civil War houses and blockade runners.
St. Michael’s Church and its famous cemetery.
The Walled City, where French Huguenots first settled on the peninsula.
Advance reservations are highly recommended and can be made through their website:
rUNdead 5k Race:
As the sun begins to set on October 27, this grueling zombie challenge to survive will begin at the Old Towne Creek Park, adjacent to Charles Towne Landing in West Ashley.
Runners will weave their way through the woods, meadows, barns, and decrepit houses, competing against not only the clock, but also rugged terrain, low lighting, man-made obstacles, and zombies rambling around the course, intent on interrupting their mission.
Innocent bystanders can witness the carnage and cheer on the runners and/or zombies from several observation clearings. There will be live entertainment, music, costume contests, rUNdead kids’ area, and vendors dispensing food and drinks.
Runners, zombies and spectators are encouraged to bring canned goods and non-perishable foodstuffs to help the Lowcountry Food Bank feed the poor and hungry in the ten coastal counties of South Carolina that they service.
USS Yorktown Hosts Blackbeard's Ghost, October 28 - 31:
Rumor has it that the ghost of the most terrifying pirate of all time, Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard the Pirate, will once again walk the deck of a ship in Charles Towne harbor. His ship, The Queen Anne’s Revenge, and a flotilla of seven other pirate ships blockaded the port and brought all trade to a screeching halt back in May of 1718. Royal Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard finally captured Teach and had him decapitated, hanging the head from the bowsprit of his sloop as a warning to other pirates.
Tours begin at 7 PM and end at 11 PM. Tickets are $15 per person, and a parking fee of $5 per car applies. Tours are not recommended for children under 11. Reservations are limited for each night, so you should order early here:
Charleston Ghost & Graveyard Walking Tour:
You’ve heard the spooky stories about the ghosts of Charleston. Now, you can experience them up close and personal inside the gates of one of the Holy City’s oldest graveyards after dark. Inspect the headstones and listen to the echoes of famous people who found their final resting place in this historic city.
So get your ghoul on and have yourself a spooktacular witching Halloween!