What To Do This October

This is perhaps the most glorious month of all for festivals and mood, cooling air drawing one outdoors with the smells and the tastes being especially acute, from woodsmoke and forest mushrooms to pumpkin and cider. Nature is the center of attention for this month and the rural areas are putting on a show in their cornfields and quaint towns. 

If you can't find anything to do this month, you really need to read this post!  

apple festivals

An apple festival is more than just pie eating or cider tasting. It's apple picking and hard cider, spicy hot cinnamon and rolling countryside. An apple festivals is fantastic for a date, a family outing, or simple relaxing pleasure one weekend afternoon. Here's just one example - 

Georgia Apple Festival (Oct 8-9 and 15-16) There are over 300 vendors with handmade, hand-crafted items, as well as many on-site demonstrations of how selected types of crafts are made. This year promises many new crafts as well as favorites from past festivals. There is a parade and antique car show each year. The antique car show is held at the Civic Center on October 8th. The parade is on October 15th and begins at 10 AM in historic downtown Ellijay.

corn mazes

The Great Vermont Corn Maze is touted as the biggest corn maze in New England and considered one of the top best corn mazes, but most states have corn mazes this time of year. Be sure to look up your local ones. These are a blast in daytime and especially at nighttime at mazes that shed a bright light on the corn maze. The one I go to here in Arizona, they used to do the bright light overhead, but when they stopped using it, the corn maze became even better!

pumpkin patches

A real pumpkin patch (no not the parking lot set-up for the Holiday Season), can be a beautiful photo op.

brewery pumpkin ales

Breweries and pubs like to show off the seasonal ales and nothing says it better than pumpkin ale. Whether you just get an assortment in a six-pack container in your grocery store or liquor store or you go to a pub for the great food and brewmeister's newest star, you can't go wrong. It is the month of pumpkin ale! My personal favorite, after trying a couple dozen, is Buffalo Bill's. It tastes like autumn, not perfumy, but wonderfully earthy. 

haunted attractions

Rob Zombie 
Great American Nightmare

They pop up on busy corners and mall parking lots around the US and they are not just for teenagers and date night. They are a personal challenge, as well as often being accompanied by a great carnival-like atmosphere. Great haunted attractions keep you there to spend more $ and get more thrills by having a food court sort of set-up, wandering characterics, and lots of booths for artisans to sell spooky wares. Look them up here (LINK). 

ghost tours

Ghost tours are in most major cities and even some medium-sized cities known for ghosts. Looking up your local ghost tours is easy online, but finding just the kind of tour you want takes some consideration. Some folks like a bus tour, being able to sit, maybe have a drink, look out the windows in a climate controlled comfy situation and a person with a microphone and speakers to explain what you're passing by. Others want to get on foot and walk the streets, buildings, and cemeteries being guided by a costumed person with a theater background. 

photographing cemeteries

When photographing a sunset cemetery, always think in terms of quiet abiding respect. You want to capture the loss, the memorial, the dying of the light, the mood, the climate, the shadows, the eeriness, but consider bringing a trash bag and picking up litter, standing vases of flowers upright again. 

I always bring a handful of flowers and leave one on a grave that is so old that no one visits it anymore. I say the person's name out loud, as it hasn't been spoken in a long time. I leave a flower atop it.

It is not a playground, but it is a beautiful subject matter. Each cemetery shows you how to photograph it. They are very individual with moods, lighting, statues, headstones, and trees. And, sometimes, they provide something unexpected, like a cat atop a grave, eyes lit in the darkness....

outdoor horror movie viewing

Historic City Parks are the ones that usually offer wonderful outdoor horror classic movie watching during the month. Bring a blanket, bring a basket, get comfy among your fellow citizens and get into the mood. If you don't get to do this in your area, consider hanging a sheet in the backyard and projecting a movie there for friends. Offer lawn chairs, blankets, pumpkin ale, and chili. 


A bonfire is awesome, but what if you in the yard somewhere you stretched out some fabric and projected an AtmosFEARFx holographic image or perhaps a movie? 

Bonfires are a great place for storytelling, making foods, drinking some brews, studying the sky, and contemplating the darkness around you. Have some friends over and look up some hobo campfire cooking recipes and have a hauntingly good time!


Who doesn't like Oktoberfest? It's like the German St. Patrick's Day! Goofy music, crazy dancing, tons of beer, kraut and bratwurst. Too much fun! 

Major cities all have Oktoberfests, but lots of breweries take the opportunity to put on their own Oktoberfest nights of entire month with lots of new brews to try.

building scarecrows

A post, straw, old clothes, gloves, burlap and a hat.... A scare crow is a great way to get into the mood of the season and I will admit, if you put a few of these out back around the parameter of the yard and light a bonfire and have storytelling time, everyone sitting around the fire will keep their eyes on those figures all evening. Move them out front when Halloween night comes. 

carving pumpkins

Pumpkins taunt us at the grocery store entrance and parking lot "patches," as well as our favorite farms. You know you want to carve one. You want to put your hands into that pulp and sort through the seeds for roasting, and light it up to enjoy that spooky glow of childhood. 

If you want to something easy but cool, try the pumpkin barf or evil pumpkin tricks - +

Villafane Studios has a fantastic carving kit that is so amazing if you want to try surface work. I had never done that kind of thing before and here's what I created - 

horror movie marathon

If you just want to stay home and curl up with family or friends, or even alone, consider a marathon of horror movies with a similar theme. 

Here's just some theme ideas - 

haunted house
The Awakening
The Amityville Horror
The Haunting
The Changeling
The Woman in Black. 

Hocus Pocus
The Craft
Race With the Devil
The Covenant 
Wicker Man

The Howling
Brotherhood of the Wolf
The Wolfman
An American Werewolf in London

Fright Night
The Lost Boys
Salem's Lot
30 Days of Night
Bram Stoker's Dracula 

If you haven't figured out what to do with your month ahead, I hope some of these ideas have you looking around at the calendar of events in your area. There are plenty of ghost tours, costume events, corn mazes, and Oktoberfests in most parts of the country. Enjoy the season! 

For more ideas, check out my Halloween book - Adult Halloween: Taking Back the Season!


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