Most people come to Myrtle Beach to have fun, not to be frightened, but the two emotions come together in October with a trick-or-treat bag full of festivals and special events. Here are the top 10 ways to celebrate Halloween on the Grand Strand:
* Barefoot Landing: The North Myrtle Beach entertainment complex gets into the Halloween spirit on Saturday, Oct. 25, with its annual Kids and Pets Costume Contest. See littles ones and their four-legged friends dress up in matching outfits or like popular tandems such as Batman & Robin, Shaggy & Scooby and other dynamic duos. Free carousel rides, stilt-walkers, face-painting and other events begin at noon, followed by trick-or-treating, which also will be held Halloween night.
* Boardwalk Fright Nights: Kick Halloween off early in the Myrtle Beach downtown district with Fright Nights, which are held every Friday and Saturday in October beginning Oct. 3. Spooky music and fog fill the Boardwalk, along with costumed characters and zombies who make great photo ops. Get discounts to all the scary attractions and catch live bands on Oct. 18, 25 and 31, when trick-or-treating is a go.
* Broadway at the Beach: Look out for costumed characters roaming the popular shopping district while children go door to door from shop to shop collecting candy and other goodies. A Kids Zone with fun and games for the little ones is also available, while the grownups can head to Celebrity Square for the biggest Halloween party on the Grand Strand. Crazy characters compete in a costume contest while patrons dance in the street.
* Conway Ghost Walk: Take a walk on the scary side in downtown Conway, where guided tours of the city's historic district takes visitors on a spooky stroll to houses believed to be haunted by former residents who have not completely crossed over to the other side. Professional storytellers take guests past homes and various points of interest for a 30-minute walk around downtown. The tours run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 23-25.
* Howl-O-Scream: This long-running, family friendly event has a new home in 2014 at the North Myrtle Beach Sports and Recreation Complex, which opened earlier in the year. This huge park will be transformed into a Halloween wonderland, with fun and games for the kids that include jack-o-lantern decorating and trick-or-treating. There are two paths through the haunted woods – one for the older, braver kids and adults and another no-scare zone. The free event is set for 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25.
* Huntington Beach State Park: This Murrells Inlet nature preserve is the perfect setting for some spooky fun in the great outdoors. Gather around the bonfire for ghost stories and carnival games, or take a walk through Atalaya, the haunted castle, if you dare. The event runs from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25.
* Murrells Inlet Marshwalk: This waterfront haunt gets even scarier on Halloween night as costumed kids and adults gather to get into the holiday spirit. Trick-or-treating and other kids activities get under way at 5 p.m., while the adults start rolling in for a good time at 7 p.m.
* Nightmare Haunted House: This year-round attraction in downtown Myrtle Beach features scary creatures in a show called “Monsters of the Midway” in which the freak-show actors take their revenge. There's also a 30-minute psycho-drama with Dr. Nobody Jones.
* Ripley's Haunted Adventure: Located along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, this year-round haunted mansion takes visitors on a scary elevator ride to the top floor of a defunct import and export company, where ghosts and ghouls emerge to make a frightening tour of the facility.
* Terror Under the Bridge: This popular haunted house has moved from Conway to Myrtle Beach's Waccamaw Pottery district. This troop transforms the X Sports Complex into a chilling and thrilling journey through costumed actors with scary props. This one is open for one week only, Oct. 24-31, from 7 to 11 p.m.