34 Free Things To Do In October


Flaming leaves, spooky touches, and crisp air can only mean one thing—October is here, and there’s plenty to do with the fam. (Oh, and did we mention it’s free?) Watch kites soar with LBI Fly International Kite Fest, see over 300 artists at the Hoboken Fall Arts and Music Festival in Hoboken, or try everything cranberry at the Chatsworth Cranberry Festival in Chatsworth. And fill your bucket list with our guide to fall activities in NJ. (featured photo credit: istock/Bastiaan Slabbers)

(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events)

Cranberry Harvest at the Whitesbog Preservation Trust
September 30 and October 1
Take staff-guided hikes to see New Jersey cranberries, learn about cranberry history, and taste cranberry products and there will be a harvest activity too.
120 West Whites Bog Road #34, Browns Mills, NJ 08015

An Olde Time Italian Festival
September 30-October 1
It’s the 16th Annual Olde Time Italian Festival with a Procession of the Saints, Italian food, vendors, games, and live entertainment. A grape stomping contest and Italian Folk dancing will take place as well.
Fox Park at Ocean Ave., Wildwood, NJ 08260

Hamilton Irish Music Festival
September 30-October 2
Enjoy Irish music, a petting zoo, Irish dance, vendors, food, and a kid-friendly area.
2419 Kuser Road, Hamilton Square, NJ 08690

Oktoberfest at Morey’s Piers
September 30-October 2, October 7-9
Get ready for four consecutive weekends of German-themed goodness with “Oktober das Oktopus,” live entertainment, kids’ activities, and more at the lively Oktoberfest on Morey’s Piers. 
3501 Boardwalk, Wildwood, NJ 08260

(609) 729-3700

9th Annual Somerville Oktoberfest
October 1
 live music throughout the day. There will be an annual Stein Holding Contest, a pumpkin painting experience, a custom beer puppeteer setup, and temporary tattoos for the kids.
N. Bridge St., Somerville, NJ 08876 

Atlantic Highlands Oktoberfest
October 1
See Oompa Bands and dancers, try authentic German food, or be a part of stein holding or costume contests at this Oktoberfest event. The rain date will be October 2.
Veterans Park, 51 Bay Ave., Highlands, NJ 07732

Fairy Day Fest
October 1 at 10 AM
At Deep Cut Gardens, you can build a fairy house for the garden fairies to live in all winter.
Deep Cut Gardens, 152 Red Hill Rd, Middletown, NJ 07748

JC Harvest Fest
October 1 at 10 AM
There will be dance performances, arts and crafts, and food for the whole family. And don’t miss the pumpkin painting station.
Cost: Free
Hamilton Park, Jersey City, NJ 07302

New Jersey Botanical Garden Harvest Fest
October 1 at 10 AM
Hayrides and pumpkin painting are just part of the fun at the NJBG. Enjoy games, face painting, applesauce making, booths, exhibits, free activities, food, all-day music and dancing, an autumn Plant Sale, free garden tours, and many photo ops. The rain date is October 2.
Morris Road, Ringwood, NJ 07456

2nd Annual Hunterdon Harvest Fest
October 1 at 11 AM
It’s a farm-to-festival harvest celebration with live music, local foods, craft beer, and games for all ages. Bring your own chair, and the rain date is October 2.
44 Stangl Rd., Flemington, NJ 08822

North Brunswick Heritage Day
October 1 at 3 PM
It’s the 40th Annual North Brunswick Heritage Day at Community Park with vendors, entertainment, and an art contest. There will be fireworks after the evening band performance. The rain date is Sunday, October 2.
Community Park, 2051 Route 130, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902

Annual Cranberry Fest
October 1-2
It’s the 32nd annual Maker Fest on Farnsworth with over 100 crafters, artists, and vendors. There will be live music and children’s activities on both days.
Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown City, NJ 08505

Historic Smithville Oktoberfest
October 1-2
Get the whole family ready for a family-friendly Oktoberfest with over 100 juried crafters, live music, kids’ activities, non-profit organizations, and a gourmet food court.  
Route 9 and Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ 08205

Hoboken Fall Arts and Music Festival
October 2 at 11 AM
Over 300 artists, crafters, makers, local businesses, and food vendors will come together with live entertainment from local musicians on two performance stages.
Washington Street between Observer Highway and 7th Ave., Hoboken, NJ 07030

Country Seat Jazz And Blues Street Fest
October 2 at 12 PM
Listen to talented and well-known musicians from the Tri-State Area and beyond. Visit a variety of vendors and enjoy the music.
West Main Street, Freehold, NJ 07728

Newark Arts Fest
October 6-9 10 AM
The Newark Arts Festival (“NAF”) will celebrate “Artful Healing” this Fall  NAF to showcase Newark’s dynamic and diverse arts and culture sector. This year, the Newark Arts Festival is partnering with The Newark Museum of Art, which will host an exciting group exhibition, “Artful Healing,” opening with a reception on Thursday, October 6, and closing on October 30.
NAF Headquarters, 33 Washington Street Newark, NJ 07102

LBI Fly International Kite Fest
October 7-9
Soak up the last of the summer fun at this kite festival with colorful artist-designed kites, fun flying giant inflatable kites, and sport kiting all along the beach.
Long Beach Island, NJ

Lima Bean Festival
October 8 at 9 AM
West Cape May will celebrate the area’s farming heritage with the Annual Lima Bean Festival in the Borough’s Backyard Park. Learn about a vast array of recipes and crafts and purchase products.
732 Broadway, West Cape May, NJ 08204

Pine Barrens Jamboree
October 8 at 10 AM
Take a trip to the Pine Barrens for this lively festival featuring Music of the Pines, cultural demonstrations, nature and history programs, food, vendors, and fun for the whole family.
905 Wells Mills Rd. (Rt 532) Waretown, NJ 08758

West Milford Autumn Lights Fest
October 8
This is one of North Jersey’s largest street fairs with over 300 vendors, live music, children’s activities, games, and rides.
1490 Union Valley Road, West Milford, NJ 07480

Pack the Park
October 8 at 2 PM
Head to the park for an art show, car show, live music, and beer garden all in one place this October in Gloucester City.
Proprietors Park, 225 S. King Street, Gloucester City, NJ 08030

South Jersey Pumpkin Show Fall Festival
October 8-9
This pumpkin show has it all—artists and craftsman, rides, live entertainment, ponies and hayrides, a pumpkin pageant, and a Fall Home and Garden Show.
Salem County Fairground, 760 Harding Hwy, Woodstown, NJ 08098

Town of Newton 7th Annual Fall Festival and Car Show
October 9 at 11 AM
Check out the cars from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s while listening to live music, perusing the vendors, and tasting seasonal foods.
Spring Street Spring Street Newton, NJ 07860

Wildwoods Food and Music Festival
October 9 at 11 AM
Formerly known as the Wildwoods Seafood and Music Festival. The Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce presents a Food and Music Street Fair with food, music, shopping, a pie-eating contest, and kids’ activities.
Downtown Wildwood starts at Byrne Plaza along Pacific Avenue between Oak and Schellenger Avenues

12 Annual Diwali Mela- Festival of Lights
October 9 at 12 PM
See cultural performances, try Indian cuisine, and see live entertainment. There are activities for the kids too.
Buchmuller Park, 150 Plaza Center Secaucus, NJ 07094

New Brunswick’s 4th Annual Oktoberfest
October 9 at 12 PM
Find some festive German attire for fun and enjoy local and traditional food, music, games, activities, vendors, and drinks for the adults.
Monument Square Park, George St & Livingston Ave New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Chatsworth Cranberry Festival
October 15-16
Bring out the family to peruse a juried craft show, shop from over 150 vendors, taste cranberry foods, and enjoy live music too.
3980 Main Street, Chatsworth, NJ 08019

Thompson Park Day
October 16 at 11 AM
Enjoy everything from pumpkin painting to wagon rides, kids’ races, and entertainment. Don’t miss the corn ghost husks and apple cider demos. Some activities have a fee, but parking and admission are free.
805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, NJ 07738

Princeton Fall Fest
October 22 at 10 AM
See over 80+ vendors, and live music, and taste plenty of fall-themed foods.
Princeton Shopping Center, 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton, NJ 08540

Homegrown Harvest Festival
October 23 at 12 PM
It’s a book, crafts, art, and music fair. The rain date is October 30.
Bay Ave., Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

Downtown Somerville Halloween Spooktacular
October 28 at 3 PM
Trick-or-treat with participating businesses, a costume contest, and pumpkin decorating. There will be an outdoor screening of Hocus Pocus too.
Three locations: Division Street, Somerset County Courthouse, Main Street, Somerville, NJ 08876

Annual Sussex County Harvest, Honey, and Garlic Festival
October 29 at 10 AM
Celebrate the fall harvest at this event, where Garden State Garlic Growers and the Sussex County Beekeepers will have educational displays and materials along with an array of honey and garlic products. There will also be local artisans, crafters, hayrides, pumpkin painting, face painting, and crafts.
Sussex County Fairgrounds, 37 Plains Road, Augusta, NJ, 07822

Haunted Downtown of Metuchen
October 29 at 11 AM
Halloween takes over Metuchen—get ready for spooky fun with attractions, games, and lots of surprises all day.
1 Pearl St 1 Pearl Street Metuchen, NJ 08840

NJ Angels Fall Festival
October 30 at 3 PM
Bring the kids for games, a trick-or-treat costume parade, a carved pumpkin contest, and a gift basket raffle pull. Event admissions, children’s activities, and pumpkin contests are free. Food, beverage, and gift basket raffle have separate charges.
Calgo Gardens, 462 Adelphia Road, Freehold, NJ 07728

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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.