Fright, fairs, and fun featured this fall in Southern Maryland

Marie Gullard

“Cornstalker’s Trail of Terror” opens, appropriately, on Friday the 13th of October in Waldorf, Md. The “grownup” attraction is designed to scare visitors 13 and older. (Charles Co. Tourism)

Charles County, Md., welcomes in the fall season with festivals and fright. And, while you’re in the neighborhood, you are more than welcome to the party.

The 90,000-square-foot Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf is the scene of the 2017 “Celebrate Charles Marketplace” on Oct. 21, noon–4:00pm. Here is great opportunity to get a jump start on holiday shopping.

“This is the festival’s sixth year and we generally have a very good turnout,” said Rachel Ammerman, who promotes events for Charles County. “We’re up to 40 vendors (featuring) jewelry, woodworking, needlework crafts, body lotions, and candles.”

Vendors provide an opportunity for early holiday shopping at the “Celebrate Charles Marketplace.” (Charles Co. Tourism)

Kids can play in the Family Fun Zone, a dedicated area for games such as basketball and air hockey, and are encouraged to dress in their Halloween costumes to call on the vendors for trick or treat. A puppet show and two magic performances take place from 12:30pm to closing. 

There also is a concession area where visitors can enjoy a tasty timeout.

“Most people come in, do a loop of the vendors, let the kids play for a bit, then leave, so we get a lot of people during the day,” Ammerman said. “(This) is a fun, high-energy, family-friendly festival to shop (and) let kids play and give their Halloween costumes a trial run.”

Other fun fall activities

Kids also can enjoy a day in the country at Serenity Farm on the Patuxent River in Benedict, where the Robinson family welcomes them to “Kasper’s Kastle,” the farm’s fun, fall extravaganza. Now in its 24th year of operation, the event is open every Saturday and Sunday in October from 10:00am–5:00pm. 

A $10 admission fee ensures an all-inclusive experience, and no reservations are needed. There is a convenient parking lot on-site where tickets can be purchased. A hay ride takes visitors on a leisurely trip to the petting pen to enjoy the farm animals up close and in person. Then, it’s back on the hay for a ride to the “Kastle” and barn which showcases a cast of costumed fairy tale characters. 

After face painting, a special treat bag from Kasper, and a walk through a small maze, it’s time to call on the pumpkin farm where each visitor can pick out a pumpkin to take home.

“The farm comes alive for that month,” said David Robinson, who encourages folks to check out the website for upcoming events.

For a more grownup fright, “Cornstalker’s Trail of Terror” opens, appropriately, on Friday the 13th (of October) at the Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf. Presented by Jimmy Guy, of Elite Beatz Entertainment, this attraction, for ages 13 and older, features 5,800 square feet of mazes and areas that include a torture chamber, butcher’s shop, and clown room. Live actors portray hapless victims in horrific situations. Special effects include color, strobe lighting, and fog machines.

“This year, we have two rooms with clown actors inspired by the movie remake of ‘It’ coming out around Halloween,” Guy said. 

Running on Friday and Saturday nights until Oct. 29, admission to the event is $15 per person. The stadium location provides food stands, restrooms, and ample parking.

“Our attraction is unique in that it has multiple layers of fright in a fall atmosphere,” said Guy, not denying that his event plays to people’s phobias.

Find more fall events in Charles County at


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