It’s finally time to bring out the fleece blankets and pumpkin-spiced-flavored-everything. Halloween is just around the corner.
Not in town on Halloween night? No worries – check out our list of top things to do this fall in the Great Smoky Mountains for autumn-related, Halloween-adjacent fun activities and events throughout October.
There are several fun events leading up to Halloween, like Dollywood’s award-winning Harvest Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights event. This fan-favorite activity is closed on Halloween Day.
With that in mind, whether you are on vacation in Gatlinburg on Halloween night or Halloween weekend, there are several themed activities for both families and adults to enjoy. Here are some of the best ways to spend Halloween in Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas:
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1. Take a Comedy Ghost Tour
If you’re in the mood for something hilariously spooky, Gatlinburg Comedy Tours is offering guided walking ghost tours to help get you in the “spirit” of Halloween.
Mike Howard, a local media personality and paranormal investigator, will guide guests through a late-night tour of Gatlinburg.
Visitors will enjoy local ghost stories including the story of Radford Gatlin, the town’s namesake, and how he became the most disliked man in the mountains.
Guests must be at least 21 years old to book the Comedy Ghost Tour. Visit their website to learn more.
2. Bear-Varian Festival at Anakeesta
Anakeesta is an award-winning theme park located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. This year’s fall event, Bear-Varian, will feature seasonal food, drinks, games, live entertainment and a variety of family-friendly activities. Look forward to the fall colors and plenty of nature-inspired pumpkin carvings.
The entire mountain will be decorated in fall-themed decor as part of Anakeesta’s fall event. Don’t forget to check Tripster for discounts before you go. It’s often an easy way to save $2-$3 per ticket.
Anakeesta is open from 9 am to 8 pm on Halloween and is located at 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, Tenn.
3. Boo Bash at Gatlinburg SkyPark
The Gatlinburg SkyPark will be hosting a Boo Bash this year in Gatlinburg during the month of October.
During the celebration, the park will be covered in fall decor to celebrate the incoming fall foliage of the Smoky Mountains.
The park will also host Fall Fest the weekend of Oct. 27-28 from 3-6 pm. During this time, the park will have activities and games including face painting and balloon artists, live music and more.
These festive events are included in your admission. Visit the website to learn more.
4. Trick or Treat at Ripley’s
On Halloween Day, Ripley’s will host a Trick or Treat Kick-Off Karnival from 11 am to 4 pm.
During this special one-day event, guests can expect to see contests, costumes, candy and more. The event will be held at the Smokies Plaza with proceeds benefitting the Forgotten Child Fund.
And remember, if you want to visit the Aquarium afterward, combo passes can help you save up to $35 per person.
5. Visit Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
Speaking of Ripley’s, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure excels at year-round spookiness, but Halloween is kind of their jam.
For the entire month of October, they’ll be featuring Ripley’s Fright Nights, an extra scary version of their already-scary haunted attraction each Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening until Halloween Day.
Children must be at least six years old to enter.
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure Fright Night hours tend to vary by day but generally run from 4 pm to 11 pm most nights. Call (865) 436-5096 to confirm hours before you plan your visit.
And if you plan to check out multiple Ripley’s attractions during your trip, be sure to check out some of the combo passes, which can save up to $35 per person. This package deal includes Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is located at 908 Parkway, Gatlinburg, Tenn.
6. Visit the Mysterious Mansion
Another area fan-favorite haunted house is the Mysterious Mansion, a 3-story haunted house, located in downtown Gatlinburg.
This year, Gatlinburg’s favorite haunted house turns even spookier with their Halloween event featuring special showings, extra actors and extra special effects.
These special showings will take place every Friday-Sunday during the entire month of October and are only recommended for teens and adults.
Normal, less spooky tours will be presented on weekdays throughout the Halloween season.
7. Enjoy family-friendly Halloween events
Each year, Pigeon Forge hosts a non-scary event for families to enjoy trick or treating.
This year, the Pigeon Forge Community Center will host the Pigeon Forge Spooktacular event on Friday, Oct. 27. The event will feature free trick-or-treating, games and safety demonstrations. Safety Day will be held from 3-7 pm while the Halloween Spooktacular will be from 6-9 pm.
In Gatlinburg, be sure to check out the fall Craftsmen’s Fair, which will run on select days in October. Visit the website to learn more.
8. Trick or Treat at The Island
Located about 30 minutes outside of Gatlinburg, each year, the Island at Pigeon Forge invites kids of all ages to trick or treat on Halloween night, Smokies style.
This year, you can bring the entire family to The Island in Pigeon Forge on Halloween night for music and trick or treating.
Trick or treating will take place at the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and participating stores.
The event itself is free, but there are plenty of excuses at The Island to get your wallet out with several shops and restaurants in the area.
Trick or treating will take place on Oct. 31 from 5 pm-7 pm. The Island is located at 131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
9. Enjoy a corn maze or hayride
Located about 45 minutes from Gatlinburg, Kyker Farms offers mazes with different themes and challenges, including scavenger hunts, fact-finding missions and kid-friendly routes.
Families can also enjoy a pumpkin patch, hayrides, tunnel slides, a cob swing and more. This year, opening day will be Sept. 30, 2023.
The event will run through Oct. 31. Hours are listed below:
- Thursday-Friday: 4 pm-7 pm
- Saturday: 10 am-7 pm
- Sunday: 1 pm-7 pm
Kyker Farms is located at Alder Branch Rd in Sevierville, Tenn.
10. Enjoy some themed mini golf
Crave Golf is getting into the spirit of things this Halloween with its Craveyard Bash.
It will feature 13 days of Halloween, from Oct. 18-31. The event will feature themed mini golf, painting contests and dance and costume competitions.
If you visit Crave Golf, you can save $3 when you purchase two courses online with promo code TSC at Crave Golf Club mini golf.
11. Ride a haunted mountain coaster
We’ve all heard of haunted houses, haunted forests and haunted corn mazes, but have you ever ridden a haunted coaster?
On select nights throughout the month of October, and the week leading up to Halloween, Rocky Top Mountain Coaster transforms its attraction with special lighting effects, extra thrills, live actors and surprises at every turn.
This year’s Coasts and Goblins event starts Friday, Oct. 6. Visit their social media page for more information.
For Rocky Top Mountain Coaster discounts, always check Viator, a TripAdvisor company, before you go.
Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is located about 30 minutes outside Gatlinburg at 2940 Veterans Boulevard, Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
What are your Halloween plans in the Smokies this year? Let us know in the comments below.