I just learned the sad news that Halloween Highway, a mainstay on S. Pleasantburg drive for 25 years, is closing its doors November 1st. I discovered this when I stopped in to go through their wonderful walk-thru FREE haunt.
However, all is not lost - the haunt, this year called The Swamp, is already up and running at the new permanent location: Carolina Fashions, 400 Bon Air Street in Mauldin.
The Swamp is open Tuesday through Friday from 4:00pm until close, and Saturday from 10:00am until close. This is a wonderful little haunt, kid-friendly, and atmospheric. There are no actors jumping out at you, and you can take your time really savoring the delightfully devious tableaux. Consider adding this to your Halloween tradition.
Also, while you're there, you'll notice that many of the houses in the neighborhood are outlandishly decorated - so that's a bonus!!
photos by Todd Livingston
Greenville, SC is already a destination for Halloween haunt seekers in the southeast. The Upstate boasts a dozen professional haunted attractions, from terrifying trails and exciting escape rooms to traditional walk-thru haunted houses. Some of these pro haunts offer several attractions in one, intended to appeal to a wide variety of tastes for terror. But that often means long lines, especially during the week leading up to Halloween night. If you desire a less congested, more atmospheric activity, consider a tour of the area’s spook-tacularly decorated homes! GVLtoday recently posted a list of Greenville’s top spots for amazing Halloween décor.
photo courtesy of Angie Miller-Willis
I am always on the lookout for amateur home haunts. The passion and creativity of their designers embodies the spirit of the season and reminds me of my own first haunt and love for Halloween. Houses with delightfully dramatic decorations satisfy my appetite for eerie art direction.
Greenville is adorned with some frighteningly festive Halloween decor.
The GVLtoday article lists a few handfuls of homes within a several mile radius and gives a quick logline about each. That's all I need to load the car up with my loved ones and some snacks and head out for an evening of free entertainment. It feels great to get out of the house and drive around my beloved city to look at something other than TV, and in a 100% safe environment, without having to wear a mask (Halloween masks excepted).
In the seven years since its debut, Sweet Dreams Scare House in Easley, SC has become one of the highest-rated haunted attractions in the region. Owner Joe Kirk works year-round to ensure his attraction offers something special to customers. First, you won’t find actors roaming around in Freddy or Jason masks. “We create our own characters,” Kirk says. “Nothing from horror movies.” Their goal is to instill doubt in the minds of the customers, to encourage them to wonder if the actors are “really in costume – really acting” or if this is their natural state.
When you enter the haunt, you’re told the house rules by Sy Kosis, a disturbing and imposing character who can turn from friendly to menacing in an instant; is he a gifted improvisational actor who never breaks character, or is Sweet Dreams the perfect place for him to hide from the authorities?
Kirk describes the attraction as an “old school” haunt, more concerned with performances, stylish tableaux, atmosphere, and pop scares than with animatronics and other high-tech gear. “I was always into the scare, not into horror or gore, just scaring my sister made me happy,” Kirk confessed.
Sweet Dreams Scare House owner Joe Kirk
Kirk constantly improves the attraction, sometimes adding things daily. Fresh from the grave at Sweet Dreams this season is a new entrance that offers photo ops, an additional structure named Jones Manor that Kirk is careful to not reveal too much about, and The Compound, a holding area to keep customers safe. Speaking of safety, COVID-19 prevention “is taken seriously at Sweet Dreams. Masks are required to enter! We have several hand sanitizing stations all over the Compound. We ask everyone to practice social distancing the best they can. And all actors are not allowed to work if (they are) feeling ill for any reason. Everyone checks in healthy every night.”
This is especially crucial for Sweet Dreams, as they offer an intense R-Rated experience as an alternative to their already frightening General Admission tour. A waiver must be signed prior to entrance, giving actors license to touch, grab, insult, terrorize, and otherwise break down your defenses. Kirk warns that the R-Rated tour is definitely for “the mature adult. Families should choose the general admission.”
Sweet Dreams Scare house is a lively, creative, and independent professional haunt, locally owned and operated. Your ticket dollars stay in the community, not funneled away to a corporate headquarters in another part of the country. Consider adding Sweet Dreams Scare House to your Halloween holiday tradition this year.
Sweet Dreams Scare House is located at 250 Saco Lowell Rd. in Easley, SC 29640
For hours, parking, and other info visit sweetdreamsscarehouse.com/
All photos courtesy Joe Kirk/Sweet Dreams Scare House