Halloween is only days away. Before you indulge in a night of trick-or-treating with a bevy of ghosts, goblins and ghouls, make time for your family to enjoy these great Halloween-themed day trips:
4520 Highway 53 E
Dawsonville, GA 30534
Why go? From shooting the corn cannon or working your way through a corn maze to finding that perfect pumpkin or participating in a goat walk, there is no shortage of happenings this season. “I just got an e-mail from someone whose family has made a tradition out of it by coming every year for seven years,” founder and owner of Uncle Shuck’s Mike Pingl said. “When I started, people didn’t really know what corn mazes were, but now they’re everywhere around the state. It’s a once-a-year type of activity.”
Insider Tip: Older kids might want to wander the grounds at night. Haunted walks, evening hayrides and bonfires with the marshmallows add to the spooky ambiance.
Must Do: We know what you’re thinking: “What’s a goat walk?!” Well, it involves an overhead platform that goats clamber up. At the top, the animals look down on their human observers. Tin cans are connected to pulley wheels, and when people fill the cans with corn, goats use their hoofs to spin the wheels and raise the cans until they are close enough to snack on. When they’re done noshing, the goats lower the cans, hoping for more grub.
The Fine Print: The corn maze and pumpkin patch are open seven days a week in October; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The “whole bushel” package includes admission to the corn maze, haunted maze and hay ride for $16. (Admission to each attraction can also be purchased individually.) Children under the age of four get in free.
55 Lawrence Drive
Dawsonville, GA 30534
Why Go? The gourds are out
in full effect at Bradley’s, an ideal destination for young families in the
hunt for the perfect pumpkin. “We pride ourselves on staying small to ensure a
good time for the families that come here,” Karen Weaver, Bradley’s mom said. “Families
can focus on their time together rather than just worrying about being
Insider Tip: Cooking pumpkins are
available at the gift shop through Thanksgiving. The store also offers a
variety of jams and jellies, wooden toys, gardening books, handmade soaps,
all-natural beef jerky and locally-made quilts.
Must Do: Take the kids on a
tractor-pulled hay ride. Snacks and refreshments are sold on site, or you may
BYO cooler and take advantage of the picnic areas.
The Fine Print: Families visit for free and educational field trips receive a group rate.
3895 Freeman Springs Road
Rocky Face, GA 30740
Why Go? This 170-year old, 175-acre family farm provides hay rides, a petting zoo and seasonal produce grown on site. With a regular and haunted corn maze, the straw or hay bale maze and a child-size hay bale maze, you and the family are bound to get lost--in a good way.
Insider Tip: The gift shop at Freeman Springs is loaded with fall goodies like jams, jellies, baking mixes, cookbooks, candles and country craft gifts, along with Halloween and Christmas decorations.
Must Do: Get a family portrait taken at Freeman Springs custom photography. Sessions are by appointment, so call ahead of time.
The Fine Print: The farm is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. The cost of a hay ride and corn maze combo is $9 per person; cash only.
174 Chatillon Road
Rome, GA 30161
Why Go? Simulating a post-apocalyptic world, the Gates of Misery dares visitors to walk through the corridors of a two-story building packed with live actors and special effects in a dark atmosphere. “Right now, we’re the scariest haunted house in Georgia according to Haunt World,” owner Debby Nugent said. “My actors have been with me since the beginning. And the building itself is an 85 year-old building, so it’s just kind of creepy.”
Insider Tip: On Friday and Saturday nights, tickets will be sold until 11 p.m., but the house doesn’t close until the last person has left the building.
Must Do: Groups of ten or more receive a special rate.
The Fine Print: Admission is $15, regardless of age. Open Thursday-Saturday with tickets going on sale each night at 7 p.m.