Myrtle Beach and Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort are two of the happiest destinations on the planet, so there's nothing scary about an autumn retreat to the Carolina coast. Unless you come around Halloween time, that is — and then there are plenty of reasons to be afraid. The Grand Strand area goes all out for the holiday, including a downright spooky lineup of haunted houses and attractions.
The highlight of the Halloween haunted house destinations is Terror Under the Bridge, although the name is a bit misleading. For starters, this long-running spook house is no longer located under a bridge, as it was in its original spot in Conway. Its new location is much closer for Compass Cove guests — only a short drive inland to George Bishop Parkway and the X Gym Sports Mall complex.
From 7 to 11 p.m. nightly Oct. 21–31, this popular multi-sport facility is transformed into a fear factory featuring a strobe-light maze filled with menacing monsters. Hold on tightly to your friends and family while finding your way through a labyrinth of scary character actors who do their best to give you your money's worth in adrenaline.
Terror Under the Bridge is only for the brave at heart and is one of the few haunted houses that allow the actors to physically touch the patrons, if only for the additional fear factor. Other haunted attractions in the area offer similar high-level scares. And, for the faint at heart or those with young children, there are tamer and even scare-free Halloween attractions where you can get a less-frightening taste of the season in Myrtle Beach. Here are some of the top options in the area:
* Boardwalk Fright Nights: Compass Cove guests can go for a scary stroll down the beach or boulevard to the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, where Fright Nights are held every Friday and Saturday night in the month of October beginning at dusk. Realistic character actors dressed up as zombies and other ghouls roam the Boardwalk in the downtown district, and live music will be presented on the Plyler Park stage each evening. Members of your party looking for a scarier experience can visit Ripley's Haunted Adventure and Ripley’s Mirror Maze. Halloween night culminates with trick-or-treating at participating shops and a costume contest.
* Dr. Screams: A trip to the doctor's office is always a little scary, but it’s nothing compared to this popular haunt on the Grand Strand. This medical-themed haunted house features ghoulish scenes of bizarre malpractice and even includes a surreal ambulance ride to the trauma center, so this attraction is truly for the strong of heart. Dr. Screams has been so successful in recent Halloween seasons that it has added a second location in North Myrtle Beach to serve as a companion to the Broadway at the Beach location in Myrtle Beach. The Broadway location opens for business on Oct. 14, while the (Haunted) House of Blues opens its doors on Oct. 19. Both haunted houses are open through Halloween night.
* Howl-O-Scream: This North Myrtle Beach event celebrates the more festive side of Halloween with a fun experience for the kids in mind. Let the little ones dress up and take part in pumpkin decorating, face painting, trick-or-treating and other games, activities and rides in a fear-free environment. There are costume contests and two hayrides to choose from — a hay-wagon ride through a no-scare zone or a spooky trip down a haunted trail for more mature guests. Held at the new North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex, Howl-O-Scream is held Saturday, Oct. 29, and admission to the festivities is only $5 per carload.
The highlight of Halloween in Myrtle Beach isn’t the haunted houses as much as the comfortable stay at Compass Cove Resort. Featuring deluxe accommodations and the best amenities in Myrtle Beach, Compass Cove is the place to stay to celebrate the scariest of holiday seasons.