The terrorizing stuff happens after dark at Boone Hall — during the day it’s strictly child’s play. The pumpkin patch has green pumpkins and gourds on the vines with some strategically-placed Appalachian-grown pumpkins priced to sell along the way. But before you saddle yourself with a pumpkin, you should take in the other sights and sounds.
The big attraction for the kids is the jump pillow, which looks like a giant yellow-and-red inflatable mattress that a hundred kids can bounce on at a time. A duck race course uses old-fashioned water pumps to push ducks to the finish line. Tiny tots can challenge themselves to the mini maze, or they can feed the goats and rabbits (hand sanitizer is available in abundance).
But the good stuff is past all these diversions. The best part of the daytime fun is the corn maze, which boasts an easy way and a hard way. From overhead, the maze has an outline of the state and the Ravenel Bridge along with a bunch of other crop circle-looking things. It’s a good idea to study the picture before plunging into the 7-foot stalks. Seriously. When you’re in the middle of the maze and you keep passing by the same bridge signs, you’ll wish you knew which direction to head. It’s easy to get turned around, and it’s easy to give in to the urge to cut through the rows of corn and bypass your way to the finish. Don’t do it! At night, we hear you have to go in one by one. After watching Children of the Corn enough times, we thought it was plenty scary during the day.
What wasn’t scary at all was the hayride. Sanitized for your children’s pleasure, you won’t see much beyond cute fish and a couple of pumpkinheads along the trail. We think it’d be way more fun to have the real deal during the daylight and scare the crap out of the kids. Overall, the Boone Hall fall festival is a great way to spend the day with your littlest ones, but do yourself a favor and take the older kids at night for some real Halloween scares.