33 spooktacular October events for Atlanta families

Pig races, haunted woods, costume contests, chalk art, sheepdog herding, fortunetelling, time travel, and more
Photo by Ren Davis, courtesy of Oakland Cemetery

Through 11/1
Fright Fest
Where: Six Flags Over Georgia
When: 6 p.m. to midnight (10/2, 10/23, 10/30); noon to midnight (Saturdays); noon to 10 p.m. (Sundays)
Cost: From $43.99 (does not include Haunted House) or $58.99 (including Haunted House).
What: New this year at the annual scream-fest: five haunted mazes, four live shows, and 12 never-before-seen “scare zones,” including an evil circus-themed attraction. During the day, little ones can participate in Halloween arts and crafts projects, like painting their own pumpkins, hear “spooky” stories inside the Bugs Bunny World theater, and compete in a costume contest (only for kids 12 and under).

The Sleepy Hollow Experience
Where: Serenbe
When: 8 p.m. (Wednesdays through Sundays), 10:30 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays)
Cost: $25
What: This immersive production leads audience members through actual woods to the “Horseman’s Meadow,” where His Headlessness awaits. Recommended for kids 10 and up—your call as to whether your tween or teen is up for the creep factor.

Gwinnett Ballet Theatre presents Cinderella
Where: Infinite Energy Theater
When: 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $6 to $20
What: The Lawrenceville-based company’s fall season commences with a production of this “of-the-moment” fairytale, beginning with a special sensory-friendly performance on October 2 at 7:30, with softer lighting and music, plus plenty of opportunity to stand, walk, and cheer.

Georgia State Fair
Where: Atlanta Motor Speedway
When: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday through Thursday) 4 p.m. to midnight (Friday), 10 a.m. to midnight (Saturday), noon to 10 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $10 for adults; $5 for kids (ages 5 to 12); free for kids 4 and under. (Certain attractions require extra ticket purchase.)
What: In addition to the inevitable fried treats and midway rides, you’ll find a petting zoo, pig races, circus acts, singing puppets, chainsaw master carvers, a wolf encounter, and more.

Flux Night
Where: Old Fourth Ward
When: 7 p.m. to midnight
Cost: Free
What: After a one-year hiatus, the city’s largest outdoor public art event returns, this time in the Old Fourth Ward. This year’s theme—Dream—references MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and will include works from 11 artists, including Atlantan Sheila Pree Bright and Yoko Ono.
Editor’s note: This event has been postponed due to inclement weather.

10/3-4, 10/10-11, 10/17-18, 10/24-25, 10/31-11/1
Where: LEGOLAND Discovery Center
When: 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Saturdays); 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sundays). Costume contests are on 10/31 and 11/1 at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Cost: $14.95 to $27.95; free for kids 2 and under
What: Stop by Phipps Plaza’s LEGO-themed playspace for trick-or-treating, Halloween activities (construct a Jack O’Lantern out of plastic bricks), and costume contests.

Sunday in the Park
Where: Oakland Cemetery
When: 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: $7 for adults; free for kids 3 and under
What: Oakland was founded in 1850, in the midst of the Victorian Era, when park-like garden cemeteries were popular places for strolling and socializing. This annual event celebrates the time period with a Victorian costume contest (kids can learn to make a Victorian hat), living history demonstrations, a scavenger hunt, and live music performances. Plus: One of the few opportunities to peek inside some of the cemetery’s beautiful mausoleums.

Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic
Where: Phillips Arena
When: 7:30 p.m. (Wednesday through Friday); 10:30 a.m. (Friday only); 11:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. (Saturday); 1:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $19 to $84
What: Created in 2001 to commemorate what would have been Walt Disney’s 100th birthday, this show features a cast of 50, plenty of earworm-y songs (including “Let it Go” and “Hakuna Matata”), and princesses galore, in addition to the classic Disney crew (Mickey, Goofy, et al).

Georgia Mountain Fall Festival
Where: Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday through Saturday); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $12; free for kids 12 and under
What: Check out the beautiful fall foliage on your way up to this North Georgia festival, which will include country and gospel music performances, the official state fiddler’s competition, a flower show, arts and crafts demonstrations, a mini railroad, a replica pioneer village, and more.

Robots Day
Where: Fernbank Museum of Natural History
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($18 for adults; $17 for students; $16 for kids 3 to 16; free for kids 2 and under)
What: Inspired by the National Geographic movie Robots, now playing at the museum’s IMAX theater, this interactive event lets attendees get up close and personal with cutting-edge robotic technology. Folks from the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotic and Intelligent Machines and Grady High School’s G3 Robotics Team will stop by with a collection of ‘bots, plus kids can try out robotic claws and participate in robot-making activities.

Where: Marietta Square
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: Free. (Paid tickets required for the beer tasting plus the children’s arts and crafts area.)
What: This year, the annual chalk-drawing competition coincides with Marietta’s first Craft Beer Festival. Also new for 2015: the Kids on the Block craft-making area. But the real draw is the spectacular chalk creations (there’s one competition for professionals, and another for the public), plus free entry to the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art.

Atlanta Pride Festival
Where: Piedmont Park
When: Various
Cost: Free
What: The 45th annual weekend-long celebration includes three events aimed at youth and families: A Kid’s Zone with face-painting, balloon sculptures, and jugglers; a Youth Liberation Space where queer and trans teens and young adults (ages 14-25) can meet and greet; and a Campus Pride College Fair, with representatives from LGBT-friendly colleges and universities across the country.

Historic Halloween
Where: Atlanta History Center
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cost: $6.50 for adults; $5.50 for kids
What: Part of the History Center’s “Magic Monday” programming for young children (ages 18 months to 5 years), this ‘ween-themed event includes a costume parade and contests, trick-or-treating, and “spooky” storytelling.

10/17, 10/19, 10/21, 10/23
Elevate Atlanta Art in the Park
Where: Woodruff Park
When: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: The 5th annual Downtown arts program (this year’s theme: F.I.L.A., or Forever I Love Atlanta) includes four afternoons of performance art and installations in Woodruff Park. See a hip-hop dance battle, experience musical performances aboard the Atlanta Streetcar, and watch local painter Lionel Daniels create artworks depicting historical Atlanta.

Stone Mountain Highland Games
Where: Stone Mountain Park
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: $17 for adults; $6 for kids (ages 4 to 12); note that park admission is not included.
What: Get your tartan ready for this 43rd annual celebration of Scottish culture, featuring Highland dancing, pipe bands, sheepdog herding, a harp competition, and more. Stop by the “Wee Laddies and Lassies” area for pint-sized activities like the Hammer Throw, Sheep Toss, obstacle course, Scottish-themed crafts, and (of course) face painting.

Little Five Points Halloween Parade
Where: Little Five Points
When: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: This “anything goes” neighborhood is known for pulling out all the stops on Halloween—so this is the place to go if you want to see super-creative (and super-freaky) costumes. (Use your best judgment when it comes to bringing small children who scare easily.) Many floats toss out candy for parade watchers, so bring your treat bag. And expect crowds.

10/17-18, 10/24, 10/31
Boo at the Zoo
Where: Zoo Atlanta
When: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($23 for adults; $18 for kids ages 3 to 11; free for kids 2 and under)
What: Watch as the zoo’s animals get special Halloween treats, make your way through an inflatable corn maze, bop around to a live DJ, and take pictures with characters like Ladybug Girl and Zhu Zhu the Giant Panda. Don’t forget your costume for the twice-a-day costume contests.

Oakhurst Porchfest
Where: Oakhurst neighborhood in Decatur
When: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: Based on a similar event out of Ithaca, New York, this grassroots festival will feature local musicians performing on residents’ front porches and stoops—that’s right: no stage, no venue, just porches. Bring lawn chairs and blankets for lounging, a snack-stocked cooler, and a (pro tip) wagon for toting it all from house to house.

Where: KSU Sports and Entertainment Park
When: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday); 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Saturday)
Cost: $12 for adults; $5 for students; $5 for kids ages 3 to 12
What: Billed as “Atlanta’s only hot air balloon festival and largest costume party,” the two-day event features a nighttime balloon glow; tethered balloon rides; live music and aerial performers on four stages; a “social media costume contest”; Oktoberfest brats and beer; professional pumpkin carving; pole-vaulting; and kid-friendly entertainers and puppeteers.

10/23-24, 10/30
Halloween Hikes
Where: Chattahoochee Nature Center
When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cost: $9; free for kids ages 2 and under
What: This Chattahoochee Nature Center fundraiser features a (well-lit) hike through the woods, where kids will meet and hear about some of their favorite forest creatures. Plus: Crafts, music, face painting, and a campfire (s’mores kits available for purchase).

Capturing the Spirit of Oakland
Where: Oakland Cemetery
When: 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Cost: $25 for adults; $13 for kids ages 4 to 12; free for kids 3 and under
What: Follow a costumed guide (and feel free to don a costume of your own!) through the creepily-lit Victorian cemetery and hear the stories of some of Oakland’s “eternal residents.” Also on hand: Live musical performances and a fortune teller.

World Kite Festival
Where: Piedmont Park
When: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: Watch kite-flying demonstrations or bring (or buy!) your own at this 4th annual event, which will also include live musical performances, arts and crafts, and kite-making and pumpkin-decorating contests.

Fernbank Boo-Seum
Where: Fernbank Museum of Natural History
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($18 for adults; $17 for students; $16 for kids 3 to 16; free for kids 2 and under)
What: Show up in your spooky best for trick-or-treating, music, and Halloween-themed games. While you’re there, make your way over to the Queen of Sheba exhibit and learn about one of history’s most mysterious figures.

Fall Jonquil Festival
Where: Village Green in Smyrna
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday); noon to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: Free
What: This longstanding arts and crafts festival has more than just artisan booths. Look for live country music, a puppet show, a book sale, and a children’s area with bouncy structures, sand art, and more.

Atlanta Streets Alive
Where: Peachtree Street
When: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
What: Explore Downtown and Midtown on foot (or bike, or skateboard) when Peachtree Street goes car-free.

Goblins in the Garden
Where: Atlanta Botanical Garden
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Cost: Free with admission ($18.95 for adults; $12.95 for kids 3 to 12; free for kids 2 and under). Some activities require additional ticket purchase.
What: Little ghouls can show off their Halloween finery on the “Goblin Runway,” plus hear stories from Battina the Friendly Witch, make Halloween crafts, and hop aboard a train or a pony. You can also spot 100 scarecrows placed throughout the grounds as part of Scarecrows in the Garden (10/8-31).

Indian Festival & Pow-Wow
Where: Stone Mountain Park
When: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Thursday and Friday); 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Saturday); 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $15; free for kids under 3
What: The largest Native American gathering in Georgia includes craft demonstrations, storytelling, dance and drum competitions, and an artists’ marketplace. You can also check out traditional native dwellings and learn about skills like fire starting and bow-making.

The B-52s Halloween Scream
Where: The Fox Theatre
When: 8 p.m.
Cost: $36.50 to $121.50
What: Expect costumes and plenty of glitter as the Athens quartet brings their brand of spirited fun to the Fox. What better opportunity to introduce your teen to dance-rock classics like “Deadbeat Club,” “Rock Lobster,” and “Roam”?

Halloween Night at Callanwolde
Where: Callanwolde
When: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: $4 online; $5 at the door
What: This family-friendly Halloween fest includes trick-or-treating throughout the estate; a costume contest; LEGO building tables; and spooky storytelling. Plus, live music, including a performance by the Callanwolde Concert Band (featuring the organist for the Atlanta Braves), which will play selections from Night on Bald Mountain, Phantom of the Opera, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tell Me My Dream
Where: Alliance Theatre
When: 7:30 p.m. (10/30); 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (10/31, 11/1, 11/7, 11/8)
Cost: $15 to $25
What: Atlanta playwright and novelist Pearl Cleage debuts her first play written for a middle-school audience. The story follows two modern-day teens who travel back in time to Atlanta circa 1910.

Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton
Where: Atlanta Symphony Hall
When: 8 p.m.
Cost: $20 to $54
What: Is your tween or teen so over Halloween trick-or-treating? Does he or she love the goth style of Beetlejuice, Batman, or Edward Scissorhands? Book a trip to Symphony Hall for this orchestral ode to director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman’s macabre sensibilities, featuring film clips and original art. Character costumes encouraged!

ASO Halloween Hijinks
Where: Atlanta Symphony Hall
When: 2 p.m.
Cost: $15 to $20
What: In addition to the Danny Elfman/Tim Burton tribute (see above) on Halloween night, the ASO performs an afternoon show geared towards the younger set, with music from kid favorites like Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, a costume contest, and an instrument “petting zoo.”

Great Georgia Air Show
Where: Falcon Field in Peachtree City
When: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Saturday); 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Sunday)
Cost: $22.50 to $25 for adults; $12.50 to $15 for kids ages 6 to 12; $5 for kids ages 3 to 5; free for kids 2 and under
What: See the Blue Angels and other aerial performers; take a ride in a Vietnam-era helicopter, Monster Truck, or WWII-era warbird; bounce around in the Kid Zone; enjoy live music; try your hand at rock climbing, mechanical bull riding, or ziplining; and more.