25 FREE Things To Do In October


It’s finally fall, and to celebrate, we found lots of fun FREE things to do with the fam this month. Head to Hudson County to watch live performances at the Jersey City Harvest Festival, put on your lederhosen for a family-friendly Oktoberfest in Historic Smithville, or spot the Headless Horseman and go on a hayride at the South Jersey Pumpkin Show in Woodstown. And if you are looking for more to do this season, take a peek at our Fall Activities in New Jersey Guide.

Featured Photo taken at Historic Smithville

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(Note: Since COVID-19 rules and regulations are continually changing, it’s best to check ahead for in-person events)

An Olde Time Italian Festival
October 1-2

It’s the 15th anniversary of the Olde Time Italian Festival with delicious food, vendors, games, and live entertainment. And sign up for the spaghetti eating contest while you are there.
Fox Park, Ocean Ave., Wildwood, NJ 08260
(609) 729-7499

Elmer Harvest Day Festival
October 2, 5K registration begins at 7:30 AM, Festival 10 AM-4 PM
What’s better than a car show and an annual 5K walk? Elmer will be hosting their Harvest Day, and local businesses will be participating along with local restaurants. There will be live entertainment, children’s activities, and there will even be a fire truck ride through town.
Various locations in Elmer, NJ 08318

(856) 358-6171

Deep Cut Gardens Fairy Day Fest
October 2 from 10 AM-2 PM
Kids will love building a fairy house perfect for the garden fairies to live in this winter. All ages are welcome to join in this day of fun and explore the gardens too.
Deep Cut Gardens – 152 Red Hill Road, Middletown, NJ 07748
(732) 671-6050

Ocean Grove Fall Harvest Festival Arts and Crafts Show
October 2, 10 AM-4 PM
This October festival in NJ features artists, crafters, and live music coming together at this biannual family-friendly fair, with free admission. Sway to the sounds of local bands like Jo Wymer and Band from 11 AM to 1 PM and Chuck Lamber Blues from 1 PM to 4 PM, rain or shine.
Main Avenue, Pilgrim Pathway – Auditorium Square Park 
Ocean Grove, NJ 07756
(732) 774-1391

Jersey City Harvest Festival 2021
October 2 from 10 AM-2 PM

Bring the family to see dance performances, arts and crafts, food, and more at this fall festival. The festival will be combined with the 7th annual Cultural Diversity Festival, highlighting various performing arts studios.
City Hall Plaza – 280 Grove Street, Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 547-4900

New Jersey Botanical Garden Harvest Fest
October 2 from 10 AM-5 PM
Visit the beautiful New Jersey Botanical Garden for hayrides, pumpkin painting, games, face painting, and plenty of kid-friendly fun. Dance to live music, pick up a hearty mum at the autumn plant sale, try applesauce making, and check out the foliage on a garden tour. Rain date October 3.
New Jersey Botanical Garden – Morris Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456
(973) 962-9534

Cookstove Demonstration at Historic Longstreet Farm
October 2 from 11 AM-3 PM

What’s cooking? Reenactors will fire up the woodstove at Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel, and you will discover how recipes, cooking techniques, and kitchens have changed since the 1890s.
44 Longstreet Road, Holmdel 07733
(732) 946-3758 

Asbury Park PorchFest
October 2 from 11 AM-5 PM
It’s the 5th annual PorchFest in Asbury Park. This family-friendly event features musicians and performers on porches in town. Stroll from porch to porch and enjoy local talent.
Springwood Park Kickoff, 126 Atkins Ave., Asbury Park, NJ 07712

4th Annual Rock for Awareness Festival
October 2 from 11:30 AM-6 PM
Bring your whole crew out to see crafts, vendors, and good music from artists like The Nerds and The Surge. There will be kid-friendly activities and food trucks too. The festival benefits the Nicholas Hudanish Foundation, which raises awareness about addiction.
Community Park, 2255 Bridge Ave., Point Pleasant, NJ 08742

2nd Annual Kindle Oktoberfest
October 2 from 12 PM-6 PM
Grab a beer from local breweries on hand at this craft, food, and drink festival that gives back to Cape May County Chamber Education Fund. You can peruse the socially distant vendor tents with jewelry, soaps, and handmade crafts, while the rest of the fam feasts on shrimp, donuts, and soft pretzels—all while listening to the sounds of two live bands playing throughout the day.
525 Stone Harbor Blvd.,
Cape May Court House, NJ 08210
(609) 465-5000

Historic Smithville Oktoberfest
October 2-3
Get the whole family ready for a family-friendly Oktoberfest with over 100 juried crafters, an International food court, live music, kids’ activities, non-Profit organizations, and more. The Villages 60 Shoppes, train and carousel rides, paddle boats, 7 Eateries, and antique arcades will also be open.
Route 9 and Moss Mill Road, Smithville Road, NJ 08205

(609) 652-7777

31st Annual Cranberry Fest Bordentown
October 2-3 from 11 AM-5 PM

Come to see the artists, crafters, vendors, and live music all day at the annual Cranberry Fest. There will also be free parking and shuttle buses.
Farnsworth Ave., Bordentown, NJ 08505

Caldwell Street Fair
October 3 from 12 PM – 5 PM

Hit up the largest annual family event in Essex County, the Caldwell Street Fair. With vendors, the streets and sidewalks will be buzzing with good times and lots of new merchandise. With designated kid-friendly vendors and rides, the littles will have plenty to do while you sample local fare and stop to peruse jewelry, art, and crafts.
370 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006
(973) 618-0660

Celebration of Pets Verona
October 3 from 1 PM-4 PM
Holy Spirit Verona is hosting their 5th annual Celebration of Pets in the Verona Town Hall Square with pet-orientated activities, rescue organizations, vendors, crafts-people, pet blessings, and more. There will be activities for kids, DJ music, food vendors, and a Pet Parade at 2:30 PM with prizes in several categories.
36 Gould Street, Verona, NJ 07044
(973) 239-2850

Hoboken Arts & Music Festival
October 3

What can be better than an all-day party boasting children’s activities, handmade crafts for sale, and a fantastic street food lineup? Your littles will enjoy face painting, sand art, balloons, and more. This is one of those fun fall festivals in NJ that you don’t miss.
Washington St. between Observer Hwy & 7th St., Hoboken, NJ 07030 

Late Night at the Museum Rutgers Geology Museum
October 6 from 6 PM-7:30 PM
To celebrate Earth Science Week and National Fossil Day, join the Rutgers Geology Museum to step back in time to discover the different types of dinosaurs and other creatures that inhabited Earth during the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic Eras. This virtual event will include at-home arts and crafts, a trivia game, and a guest presentation. Check out their Late Night webpage for the schedule of activities. Tune into the Late Night Event here.

(848) 932-7243

Oyster Shellabration LBI
October 9
Celebrate shellfish and raise money for the Oyster Recycling Program. The event will have food, drinks, music, demonstrations, and more.
Bayview Park, 68th Street, Brant Beach, NJ 08008
(609) 361-3395

South Jersey Pumpkin Show
October 9-10

Just in case live entertainment, hayrides, and free family contests aren’t enough to entice you, wait until you find out what happens—the Headless Horseman will arrive at the Graveyard to tell a spooky story. On Sunday, stick around for the pumpkin pageant at this 18th annual fall festival in NJ.
Salem County Fairgrounds – 735 Harding Highway (Rt. 40), 
Woodstown, NJ 08098
(856) 765-0118

Smithville Irish Fest
October 9 from 10 AM-6 PM and October 10 from 11 AM-6 PM

Two days of family fun with food, vendors, live music, and family fun. There will also be Celtic dancers, the Sandpipers Pipe & Drum Band, and two stages of live music with traditional Irish folk music to modern American-Celtic rock.
The Village Green of Historic Smithville Village, 615 E. Moss Mill Road, Galloway, NJ 08205
(609) 316-7901 

Fall Fest in Princeton Shopping Center
October 16 from 11 PM-3 PM

Kids will love the pumpkin painting party at Color Me Mine, sustainable scarecrow making, spooky stations, and more at this Mercer County Fall Fest. Halloween costumes are encouraged, and DJ Darius will be spinning the tunes.
301 N. Harrison Street, Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 921-6234

Bradley Beach Fall Festival
October 23 from 10 AM-4 PM

They’ll be plenty of fun on hand for littles and families—find to-go craft kits, live music, face painting, arts and crafts vendors too. Don’t miss the Touch-A-Truck fun and Scarecrow Building Station.
701 Main Street, Bradley Beach, NJ 07720
(732) 776-2999

Long Branch Fall Bazaar
October 23-24, 12 PM – 5 PM
“Celebrate fall and shop small!”—handcrafted and vintage items make this indoor and outdoor popup market unique. While you enjoy some shopping, don’t miss the pet Halloween costume contest, the crystal class for kids, treat or treating at vendor tables, haunted birdhouse decorating, and more. This event is rain or shine.
The Whitechapel Projects – 15 2nd Ave., Long Branch, NJ 07740
(732) 963-9218

New Providence Fall Festival
October 24 from 10 AM-4 PM

This Fall Festival is packed with fun activities for kids and families to enjoy. A Kids Zone with face painting and a climbing wall are just some of the awesome things planned for the festival. There will also be mechanical rides and carnival games. After all the fun, indulge in the delicious food, live entertainment, shopping, and more.
1260 Springfield Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974

Somerville Summer Stage
October 2 from 6 PM-9 PM

Bring chairs to this concert series, which ends with the last performance this Saturday.
Division Street, Somerville, NJ 08876

(908) 524-0104

RWJBarnabas Health: Cooking Classes for Kids
Dates and times vary depending on the program
Kids of all ages will love cooking up healthy treats in these virtual hands-on cooking classes (adult supervision required during class): Try Healthy Kids in Hannah’s Kitchen for kids 8-12, where they’ll learn to use a recipe, cook with nutritious ingredients, and utilize kitchen basics or try Taste Testers in Hannah’s Kitchen, a Mommy and Me style class for 2-4-year-olds.
RWJBarnabas, Virtual
(973) 926-7371

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.