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Things to do in New York: 25 can’t-miss fests in October 2013

Pick pumpkins, bob for apples and hop in a hayride! Find farm fairs, harvest fests and more awesome things to do in New York City this autumn.

New York City may be a concrete jungle, but come sweater-weather season, it’s hard not to stumble across a street fair or outdoor fest peddling pumpkins, freshly picked apples and autumn treats. There’s just something about October that puts the city in the festival spirit—which is why we had such a hard time rounding up the very best! Click through our slide show to find our favorite harvest celebrations, Halloween happenings and the rest of our top 25 festivals this month.

RECOMMENDED: Download our October calendar of events

  • Photograph: Ann Price

    1. Get into the (usually members-only) Sunnyside Gardens Park for its annual Oktoberfest celebration, with pony rides, German nosh and pumpkin-decorating (Oct 5).

  • 2. Hear mariachi bands, see fire-breathers and try some of the spicy stuff at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Chile Pepper Fiesta (Oct 5).

  • 3. Take your precious pup to the Best in Park competition and get giveaways and goodies at the My Dog Loves Central Park Fair (Oct 5).

  • 4. Taste sugary snacks from the pros (think Momofuku Milk Bar and Peter Pan Donuts) and some enthusiastic amateurs at the Havemeyer Sugar Sweets Festival (Oct 6).

  • Courtesy Affordable Art Fair

    5. Gallery-hop during four days of not-so-expensive showcases at the Affordable Art Fair (Oct 3–6).

  • Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    6. Introduce los niños to an all-female mariachi band, poet and storyteller Bobby Gonzalez and the architecture of Islamic Spain at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts' annual ¡Fiesta! Celebrating Hispanic and Latin American Cultures (Oct 5).

  • 7. Say hi to Elmo, snack on food truck fare, hear local bands perform and play parachute games at the Read NYC Community Festival at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 (Oct 5).

  • 8. Gorge on Central European delights like klobása and Staropramen (for parents!) at the Czech Street Festival (Oct 5).


  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    9. Munch on crisp, just-picked apples and head out on a hayride at the Kickoff to Fall fest at the Queens County Farm Museum (Oct 6).

  • Photograph: Courtesy of BPCPC

    10. Groove to Latin beats by Moona Luna while you fish FiDi style at the Go Fish! Festival at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park (Oct 5).

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

    11. Jam to a vegetable orchestra, catch readings by local authors and march in a costume parade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Ghouls and Gourds (Oct 26).

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    12. Climb to the tippy-top of the city's cutest attraction at the Little Red Lighthouse Festival (Oct 12).

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    13. Build gargoyles, stained glass windows and boats at the Open House New York Family Festival (Oct 12–13).



  • Photograph: Daniel Avila

    14. Meet real live dinosaurs (well, sort of) at Raptor Fest in Prospect Park, where kids will learn all about birds of prey (Oct 13).

  • Photograph: Namdo Pelusi

    15. Help Deedle Deedle Dees frontman Lloyd H. Miller celebrate the release of his new solo album at the first Hip Tot Music Fest of the school year (Oct 13).

  • Photograph: Jon Simon

    16. Enter your little one in the Fun Run, play carnival games and tumble down a bouncy slide at Staten Island Day, where all proceeds benefit relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy damage (Oct 13).

  • 17. Get a taste of farm life (in the Financial District, no less!) at the Battery Urban Farm Harvest Festival, where city kids can hop in potato sack races and bob for apples (Oct 19).

  • Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

    18. Join us in Madison Square Park for Fall Kids Fest—there'll be a costume walk, live music and pumpkins a-plenty! (Oct 19).

  • 19. Craft a costume and sample local autumn treats at the Halloween Harvest Festival in Socrates Sculpture Park (Oct 19).

  • Photograph: Rowa Lee

    20. Discover the popular attraction's seriously spooky past at Haunted High Line Halloween (Oct 26).

  • 21. Arrive early to the Fort Greene Halloween Festival (complete with hayrides, sack races and stilt-walkers) and watch the Great PUPkin, a costume contest for pooches and their parents (Oct 26).

  • Photograph: Clay Williams

    22. Head to one of the city's most stylish 'hoods for the Harvest Fest at Gansevoort Plaza (Oct 26).

  • Photograph: Ethan Ries

    23. Honor the nabe's brine-soaked heritage at L.E.S. Pickle Day with old-timey pushcarts, a kids' costume contest and urban croquet (Oct 27).

  • 24. Decorate pumpkins, visit a haunted house and get your face painted—the Morningside Montessori Fall Fair has everything a New York kid looks for in an autumn street fair (Oct 27).

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    25. Have a go at the Amazing Maize Maze or, for slightly more courageous kids, the Haunted House, at the Queens County Farm Museum's Children's Fall Festival (Oct 27).

Photograph: Ann Price

1. Get into the (usually members-only) Sunnyside Gardens Park for its annual Oktoberfest celebration, with pony rides, German nosh and pumpkin-decorating (Oct 5).

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