The air is as crisp as a Zestar apple and the pumpkins are plump. But fall fun goes well beyond the seasonal joys of picking and carving. You can make your way through a maze, dress a scarecrow, test your nerves on a haunted hayride or attend a ghostly dinner.
Here's a sampling of orchard activities, fall festivals and local hauntings that offer something for all ages — and fear factors.
Afton Apple Orchard: In addition to fruit picking, Apple Festival weekends include yard games, magic shows and music. Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Apple Festival weekends Oct. 2-17. $5-$7. Afton Apple Orchard, 14421 S. 90th St., Hastings. aftonapple.com.
Anoka Halloween: The self-professed Halloween Capital of the World has a monthlong celebration of seasonal fun for all ages. Events include movie nights, a scavenger hunt, pumpkin weigh-off, scarecrow contest and parades. anokahalloween.com.
Dead End Hayride: A 20-minute hayride sets a chilling tone through a voodoo village, a creepy clown barn and a haunted cornfield. For ages 10 and up. 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays; 7-10:30 p.m. Sundays; 7-10 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 7-28; Wednesdays, Oct. 13-27; Tuesday, Oct. 26. $17-$72. Pinehaven Farm, 28186 Kettle River Blvd., Wyoming, Minn. thedeadendhayride.com.
The Great Pumpkin Fest and Halloween Haunt: The "Peanuts" gang hosts some not-so-scary daytime activities, including rides and live entertainment. After dark, the Halloween Haunt comes to life with more than 300 lurking monsters. Steel your nerves for the haunted mazes and scare zones. Great Pumpkin Fest: 2-6 p.m. Saturdays; noon-6 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 31. Halloween Haunt: 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays; 7-11 p.m. Saturdays. $35 and up. Valleyfair, Hwy. 101 and Valleyfair Drive, Shakopee. valleyfair.com.
Haunted Walking Tour: Dive into the haunted happenings in Minnesota's capital city during a 90-minute tour. 5 p.m. Oct. 22-23, 29-30. $25. Tours leave from Summit Overlook Park, Summit Avenue and Ramsey Street, St. Paul. cyncitytours.com.
The Haunting Experience: In its 35th year of scary business, the Haunting Experience offers a haunted house tour and the Hayride From Hell. 7-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 7-10 p.m. Thursdays, Oct. 14-28; Sundays, Oct. 24 & 31. $20-$45. 10900 E. Point Douglas Road, Cottage Grove. hauntingexperience.com.
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular: There's nothing to fear at this "naturally magical" Minnesota Zoo attraction. Thousands of artist-carved pumpkins illuminate the grounds. Guests can customize their own jack-o'-lantern on site for pickup at the end of the evening. Timed tickets daily 7-9 p.m., plus 10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays through Nov. 7. $16-$24. Minnesota Zoo, 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. mnzoo.org.
Phantom's Feast: Tickets go fast for this evening of dinner and ghost stories with host Jim Cunningham. Adults only. Each weekend includes a ghost hunt following the show. 6 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, Oct. 15-30, Oct. 24, 28 & 31. $80. 12364 Chestnut Blvd., Shakopee. trailofterrormn.com.
Pine Tree Apple Orchard: Enjoy an expanded orchard walk that winds through the corn maze or hunt the 6-acre patch for your perfect pumpkin. Corn maze: Wednesdays-Fridays starting Oct. 6, 1-4 p.m.; Saturdays & Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Pumpkin patch: Wednesdays-Fridays, 1-5 p.m.; Saturdays & Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 450 Apple Orchard Road, White Bear Lake. pinetreeappleorchard.com.
Pinehaven Farm: In addition to the pumpkin patch, there's a new zipline, a superslide and a cluck truck, which offers a peek into the lives of the farm's chickens. Other attractions include a corn maze, train ride, jumping pillow and more. Noon-6 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, Oct. 20; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, Oct. 21-22. $9-$17, advanced tickets highly recommended. 28186 Kettle River Blvd., Wyoming, Minn. pinehavenfarm.com.
Scream Town: Get your shriek on at one of Minnesota's scariest attractions. The 18 acres of horror include vignettes such as Santa's Slay, Ludicrous Labyrinth, Circus Asylum and Oak Blood Forest. The VIP experience includes more intense scares and fewer people. 6:30-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 6:30-10 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 17-31, Oct. 21. $23-$149. 7410 Hwy. 212, Chaska. screamtown.com.
Sever's Fall Festival & Fall Lights: The annual ode to autumn celebrates 25 years with a corn maze challenge. Make it through the legendary maze for a chance to win $500. Other attractions include the rubbery tire mountain, ziplines, corn pit, pig races and magic and wildlife shows. 1-8 p.m. In the evenings, the grounds are aglow with 1.2 million lights for the Fall Lights drive-through experience. Fall Festival: 1-8 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Ends Oct. 31. $14-$17. Fall Lights: 6-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. $25-$40 per car. Ends Oct. 30. 3121 150th St. W., Shakopee. seversfestivals.com.
Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze: This year's themed maze pays homage to the University of St. Thomas. At Minnesota's largest corn maze (20 acres), embark on a scavenger hunt to find information on all things Tommies. Take a tour of the blooming sunflower field, hop in the corn pit and bounce around in inflatables. The quaint marketplace features pumpkins, pies and decor items. Noon-6 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekends, Oct. 21-22. $6-$10. 109th Av. and Hwy. 169, Brooklyn Park. twincitiesmaze.com.