17 October events around Pittsburgh, including festivals, parades and lots of kid-friendly Halloween fun

Photo above courtesy of Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium.

There is no better place to experience spooky season than Pittsburgh. Not only is the region known as the filming site for some famous horror movies like “Silence of the Lambs” and “Night of the Living Dead,” it’s also a top spot for leaf-peeping and enjoying local harvests. As always, October is jam-packed with great events around Pittsburgh — including plenty of family fun. Check out the highlights below. And for even more fall fun, don’t miss our guides to apple picking and tons of fall events and grab a book to read at these Literacy Under the Lights events. 

Through Oct.17: RAD Days, multiple locations

RAD Days continue through most of this month, too. Families can enjoy 40 days of free entertainment with RAD Days with more than 70 events and experiences offered by the organizations that receive funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD). Check out the complete list and be sure to make reservations asap where required. Spots are likely to fill up quickly.

RAD Days 2023 are here.

Weekends in October: Kennywood Phantom Fest

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in October, Kennywood gets its fright on. During the day, the scares are milder and family-friend, but after 5 p.m., things get a bit creepier. There are over 30 rides open during Phantom Fest, several haunted houses, and a trick-or-treat scavenger hunt from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for kids ages 10 and under. 

Saturdays in October: Zoo Boo, Pittsburgh Zoo & Aquarium

What’s more fun that seeing all the amazing animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium? Dressing up to see them while also getting candy. Trick-or-treat throughout the Zoo, create fun crafts and show off your spooktacular costumes in the Halloween parade. This fun family event is included in zoo admission.

Oct. 6-7: “Sugar Skull!” at the Byham Theater

A Día de Muertos Musical Adventure is a touring bilingual/bicultural musical that uses traditional regional music and dance from Mexico to tell the story of 12-year-old Vita Flores, who thinks her family has gone loco planning a celebration for deceased loved ones. Click right here to learn more. Tickets are $30.25.

Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Oct. 7: Mars Applefest

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, the local historical society will be hosting a fall bonanza in downtown historic Mars, which includes rides on their Shortline Railroad for kids. Find all the details here — it should be “out of this world.”

Oct. 7-28: Campfire Ghost Stories,” Allegheny County Parks 

Bring your own chairs and blankets for free Stories & Songs with Josh & Gab, beginning at 7 p.m. at the following dates: Oct: 7 at Hartwood Acres Amphitheater, Oct. 14 at Boyce Park Four Seasons Activity Center, Oct. 21 at Deer Lakes Wagman Observatory (Followed by a star party!), Oct. 22 at  White Oak Park Chestnut Shelter, and Oct. 28 at Harrison Hills Yakaon Shelter . There will be a sign language interpreter at the Hartwood Acres and Harrison Hills events. 

Oct. 14: City of Asylum Story Hour with Jack Wong

As part of the Alphabet City Kids series at City of Asylum, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winning author and illustrator Jack Wong will be on site for a storytime event. He will read his new picture book, “The Words We Share.” After the story hour, there will be time for questions and other activities. Find all the details here

Oct. 14: Monster Mash at CLP Lawrenceville 

From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lawrenceville branch of the Carnegie Library, it’s all about monsterish fun — in a very not-scary way! This free event will feature dancing, spooky stories, and more fall favorites. 

Oct. 20-28: Halloween Movies in the Park: “Hocus Pocus,” Allegheny County Parks

What’s better than a slightly spooky movie on a chilly October night? The fact that it’s free. Grab a blanket and a Thermos of hot chocolate and take in one of four showings: Oct. 20 at Round Hill Park Visitors Center, Oct. 21 at the North Park Boathouse Lawn, Oct. 27 at Hartwood Acres Mansion Lawn, and Oct. 28 at Settlers Cabin Park Moccasin Shelter

Image courtesy of Disney.

Oct. 20-22: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents The Greatest Show on Earth

Come see the show “under the big top” — aka PPG Paints Arena. The reimagined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey offers a spectacle of superhuman feats with an immersive, 360-degree environment and new technology. Tickets start at $16.

Oct. 21: Haunted Guyasuta

This Boy Scout camp event is perfect for kids of every bravery level. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., the trail will be scare-free. From 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the ghouls will come out to haunt this historic camp. Other activities include a hayride, climbing, bonfire, trading post, concessions, and a zip like for guests age 11 and older. Tickets begin at $15 when purchased by Oct. 1, and rise in price as the date approaches. 

Oct. 22: YMCA Camp Kon-o-Kwee Camp Spencer Fall Fest 

If you’ve never been to these YMCA camps in Beaver County, this free family event is the perfect time to check them out and see if one of their summer camps might be a good fit in 2024. This fall fest, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature archery, bb guns, guided nature hikes, face painting, fishing, and more. This event is free, but please register here

Oct. 25: Haunted Dormont

Paranormal investigators will be leading visitors on an informative, spooky, and free tour of Dormont. Hosted by the Dormont Historical Society and the Dormont Public Library, the tours are led by Haunted Pittsburgh Walking Tours. This event is geared towards tweens, teens and adults. It’s free, but please register by calling 412-531-8754, signing up at the front desk, or sending an email at dormont@dormontlibrary.org

Oct. 25: New Brighton Halloween Parade

This large parade (one of the biggest and most popular in the Pittsburgh metro region) takes place on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Come in costume to watch the festivities and catch candy, or sign up to march in it by contacting the organizers at nbparade@gmail.com. This event takes place on Third Avenue in New Brighton. Check out their Facebook page for all the details. 

Oct. 27: Sensory-friendly Trick-or-Treat at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Don your favorite costume and head to Carnegie Museum of Natural History for a sensory-friendly trick-or-treat event. All of the museum galleries will have audio and visual elements dimmed or reduced, and there will be calming sensory spaces for self-regulation available, too. Story time will occur around a faux camp fire, there will be a live animal to meet, and much more fun to be had. This event costs $16 and is open to people of all ages who might enjoy trick-or-treating in a sensory supportive environment.  Details can be found here

Oct. 27: The Great Pumpkin Festival in Cranberry Township

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. come on out to Cranberry Township Municipal Center and Library for games, crafts, candy and more. Registration is $14 per child, but adults are free. Register and find more details here

Oct. 28: Halloween Hunt at CLP Main

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Oakland branch of the library will feature Halloween fun with a trick-or-treat inspired scavenger hunt throughout the historic library (which was one of the filming scenes for “Silence of the Lambs,” though this event is totally kid-friendly). Make a spooky craft and check out a book while you’re there. Details can be found here

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