The calendar says October — and things are taking a terrifying turn as the Black Hills celebrate Halloween in the weeks preceding the actual holiday.
It all begins this weekend as Keystone “drops dead” with its 8th annual Haunting of Keystone event.
Others may have haunted houses -- but in Keystone the entire town is taken over by ghosts, goblins, zombies and things that go bump in the night. This year there are four haunts:
-- “Phobia” at the 1800's Schoolhouse Museum
-- “Torture” at the Big Thunder Gold Mine
-- “Panic” at Big Thunder Forest
-- “Cavernous” at Rushmore Cave at Rush Mountain.
Hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 to 9 p.m. Sundays through the month of October.
Tickets are $7 per attraction, or $21 for a wristband that gives you access to all four haunts. For information call 605-391-7813.
All proceeds go directly to the Holy Terror Days Association, a non-profit organization which funds events in Keystone and also helps to fund youth, families and organizations in need in the Keystone Area.
In addition, Rushmore Mountain Adventure Park is adding more thrills to the Haunted Keystone, its evil zipline ride and Gunslinger 7-D interactive ride. Tickets for these attractions are separate from the haunted houses.
• Terror in the Dark Haunted House returns to the Soule Building at the Central States Fairground from 7 p.m. to midnight Oct. 20 and 21.
This year, the terrors expand to include the entire 12,000 square foot building. The haunted house is not recommended for children under the age of 10. Tickets are $10 for general admission at the gate of $15 online, which allows you to avoid the general admission line. Info: terrorinthedark.com
• Lead’s Handley Recreation Center and The Black Hills Mining Museum are teaming up to revive the most terrifying mining tour in the area – “Lead’s Legendary Haunted Tour – Dark Matter Mystery.”
Take a tour through Lead’s mining history and learn about the gruesome events of the past, before making a stop in today’s scientific lab, where the past may be repeating itself.
Tours are set for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 27, 28, 30 and 31, and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 29. Admission is $5 for children under 12, and $7 for 12 years and older. All proceeds will benefit the nonprofit Handley Center and the Mining Museum.
• Deadweird returns Oct. 27-Oct. 28. The fifth annual Monster Ball will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Oct. 27 at Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort. The ball features a live band, dancing and prizes.
Then on Oct. 28 events spread to Deadwood’s Main Street beginning at noon. The annual coffin races get underway at 1 p.m., registration starts at noon. From 6 to 9 p.m. there will be live music and of course the annual Costume Contest featuring more than $10,000 in prizes. The costume contest takes places at the Silverado Franklin Gaming Complex.
In addition, Black Hills Paranormal Investigations continues its paranormal tours through the Adams House. The 90 minute tours are by reservation only. They take place at 6, 7:30, 9 and 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 13-14 and 20-21. To purchase tickets go to DeadwoodHistory.com or call 605-722-4800.
• Things turn spooky at Ellsworth Air Force Base when Camp Lance turns haunted on Oct. 31. They leave the lights on for the kids when from 3 to 4:30 p.m. for a trunk or treat and a not-so-spooky trail through the haunt.
But at 5 p.m., it’s lights out and things get downright terrifying for brave hearted adventurers.
Both haunts are free and open to anyone with base access.
For the family:
• Old MacDonald’s Farm, 23691 Busted Five Court is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday in October. Activities include pumpkin and face painting, corn bin play area, wagon rides, hands on with the critters. bounce house, hay rides, pony and train rides. A costume contest will be held Oct. 29. Admission is $6.50 per person, ages 2 and under are free. Additional cost for pony, train and hayrides and bounce houses. Info: 605-737-4815 or Oldmacdonaldsfarmrc.com
• Rapid Valley United Methodist Church’s pumpkin patch is open daily. Hours area 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Free hayrack rides every Saturday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Special events include: Public Safety Day, 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 14; Kid’s carnival, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 21; tickets four for $1.; and Hoe down Party, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22, for ages 3 to 8. Cost. $5.
• Rushmore Mall hosts a fall festival from 11 a.m. 4 p.m. Oct. 21, in the Sears parking lot. The event features live music by the Lonely Ranger Band with special guest Kenny Putnam, car show, pumpkin carving demonstration, pumpkin bowling, ring toss and putt putt golf, pumpkin painting, a pumpkin pie eating contest and more.
• Halloween Night Hike, at Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center, Custer State Park, Oct. 27-28. Take a 1.5 mile guided hike along a paved trail and meet costumed characters that portray natural history about the various plants, animals or people living in the Black Hills. Hikes depart every 15 minutes starting at 5:30 p.m. The last hike departs at 8 p.m. each night. Reservations are required. Call 605-255-4464.
• Deadwood’s 16th Annual Kidweird has big plans, with a new venue and plenty of frightful sights including a haunted house, trick or treat lane, games and costume contest for children ages 12 and under. This free, safe, family-friendly event for children from the Lead, Deadwood and Central City area takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31, at the Deadwood Mountain Grand.
• PumpkinFest Belle Fourche will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Oct. 28. Activities include pumpkin carving and pumpkin chucking contests using homemade catapults, a kid-friendly Halloween play featuring the Tri-State Performers, a haunted cabin and crafts.
• Scare in the Square, 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 28, Main Street Square. Enjoy an afternoon of ghostly family fun. The event is held in conjunction with the Downtown Rapid City Business Group’s Downtown Trick-or-Treat. Both events are free. Children and parents are encouraged to wear costumes, bring their own trick-or-treat bags and meet at Main Street Square, where they may pick up a map of participating downtown businesses.
• Safe N’Sweet Trick N’Treat at Storybook Island, 1301 Sheridan Lake Road, 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 28. Cost is $3 per person. Info: 605-342-6357